Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fearless Heart Review

                                                           A Fearless Heart

                                                                                                       By Dorjee Damdul

               “You are your own enemy, and you are your own savior” (p81).


Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come. The idea here is the cultivation and practice of compassion for others, for self and for the entire humanity in this interconnected world.


When we discuss and share our thoughts on reading a book, I feel it is more like a review of the book. So the question is how to do a book review?  I have no answer to this myself, but I am interested to share with you what inspires, and strikes me and any Ah Ha moment I have felt from reading the book: A Fearless Heart.

Of all the things that the book touched on, I would focus on the fascinating story of the author, who we all know is the principal English translator  for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, but little did I know about his other facet of life, until I read the book. I would try to encapsulate the central idea of the book and finally the learning that occurred to me.

I.                  Thupten Jingpa went against his parents’ wishes to be the breadwinner of the family and choose to be a monk at the tender age of 11. But two decades later, he gave up his celibacy vow to become the breadwinner of his own family. The reason he gave for why he chooses to leave the monastery is for his longing to have a family of own, which he feels he was deprived at his young age. There is some mention of his difficult decision on this issue.  I thought it would be very interesting stuff for western readers, if he could share a little more details of his romance with a westerner. How it started, what was the trigger point for his aberration. I wonder if he ever feel remorse today? Even though the author said that his disrobing is not a sign of disillusion of monastic life, but I feel people may not perceive that decision as a sign of strength. In fact, as intellectually stalwart as he is today, could he have achieved more by remaining a monk than being a lay person.
D.C Tibetan Book Club meeting at Office of Tibet. Aug.03.2015

What is interesting is that the author has not attended any formal school, and he is self-taught. He learnt English by listening to VOA, and BBC world service and through the help of another Germany lady, while staying at the monastery. No doubt he was a veracious reader. He wrote the  evocative power of the English language deeply impressed him and thanks to his mastery of the language, landed him the job of interpreting for His Holiness the Dalai Lama since 1985. His Holiness sensing his acute intellect told Thupten Jingpa to lead an independent life dedicated to scholarship. His attendance at o Cambridge University to further his studies on religion might have been a turning- point in his life. Dr. Jinpa is one of the rarest cream of the crop in our exile society, who has a combination of deep knowledge on Buddhism philosophy and western thoughts.