Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review

"The Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama" by Alexander Norma is very engaging historical tale of the succession of Tibet's god-king. This book with a forward by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama revealed previously unknown information regarding the origin of the institution of the Dalai Lama. As a staunch devotee of the Dalai Lama, I felt honored to have read the book. Despite of all the diabolical  secret, bloodshed, scandal, and other controversy surrounding the lives of those previous Dalai Lama, getting to know the historical perspectives on it has further strengthened my conviction in the greatness-and historical legitimacy of this institution. I cannot cease to marvel at the ingenuity of this creation in the anal of Tibetan history and the whole hardheartedness of the Tibetan laity and clergy's acceptance.
 Sometime back during a conversation with a well educated Tibetan friend, he confessed to me to much of my surprise, that he does not believe the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of the Bodhisattva  Cherezig. I heard he is a non-believer or atheist. But he accepts without doubt in the leadership of HH the Dalai Lama. No matter what his believes are , according to me, if there is  really a god, than who can be better manifestation of Him, than the Tibet's God- King, the Dalai Lama.  

Faith based on understanding and logic will remain unwavering. So the book on the Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama has not diminished my respect and faith in the Dalai Lama institution. It rather bolstered my understanding of its historical background, besides  the book  bequeathed on me the essential knowledge for  a more intellectual discourse  on this important topic in anytime in the future. 
Of all the previous successive  Dalai Lama, the lives of the 6th is heart-wrenching tale. In actually there appeared to be three 6th, and the one most believed by the Tibetan met with a mysterious ending, with no particular confirmation of death or alive. But they believe that the high beings have the liberty to choice when to reborn, to whom and where is soothing to my curious mind.
When the present Dalai Lama devolved all his political power to a elected leadership, I am awestruck that this is such a historically turning out in the institution of the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama did what he has done keeping in mind for the best interest of the Tibetan people in the long run. Looking back in history, the rule of regency is rigged with controversy and corruptions , and powerful struggle, that sometimes lead to much bloodbath and to the consternation of the ordinary citizens.

His Holiness the great 14th Dalai Lama is fully aware of the strength of the institution as well as its weakness. And  he is tackling head on to salvage the weakness of the institution by having a legitimate political leadership in the event of the Dalai Lama's demise that create a leadership vacuum.
Another earth - shattering news for Tibetans and Chinese government will be how the present the Dalai Lama decides on his reincarnation.
As a Tibetan reading this book gives me tremendous pride on our rich history and Buddhism culture and how strong and illustrations foundation and canons of literature with a scientific bases of understanding human mentality. Each Dalai Lama has demonstrated different personal characteristic, and the present one is perhaps the most popular within the Tibetan legion and internationally.
 His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in his forwarding for the book stated "While I do not necessarily agree with every opinion the author has expressed, I very much appreciate the frankness he brings to bear in this analysis of these matters". So opinions are without factual basis, which could be true or false. But author has also done substantial research with pages of biographical notes at end of the book.
 This book maybe shelved as Tibet's historical reference, and must be in possession of all educated Tibetan. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama recommends it to all readers in his forward " I commend this book to anyone wishing to deepen their knowledge of Tibetan history and culture. It contains insights which, I am sure, will be illuminating even to experts in the field".  

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