FREEDOM IN EXILE: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama; Harper Collins. New York. 1990; hardcover.

OCEAN OF WISDOM: Guidelines for Living, by the Dalai Loma of Tibet; Harper & Row. San Francisco. 1990; paperback.

TO THE LION THRONE: The Story of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, by Whitney Stewart; Snow lion, Ithaca, N Y, 1990; paperback.

WHITE LOTUS: An Introduction to Tibetan Culture, edited by Carole Eichert; Snow lion. Ithaca, NY, 1990, paperback.

CUTTING THROUGH APPEARANCES: Practice and Theory of Tibetan Buddhism, by Geshe Lhundup Sopa and Jeffrey Hopkins; Snow Lion , Ithaca, NY, 1989; paperback.

TAMING THE MONKEY MIND, by Thubden Chodron; Graham Brash. Singapore. 1990; paperback.

The Dalai Lama has said that the Chinese, by occupying Tibet, inadvertently helped Tibetan Buddhism. As Tibetan Buddhism was drawn out of isolation and thrown into the larger world outside of Tibet, the tradition has been invigorated.

Evidence for this observation is abundant, not the least in the thriving industry of books about Tibetan Buddhism. This is only a partial selection of the latest batch of releases.

The autobiography by the Dalai Lama is simply wonderful. “It is as a simple monk that I offer this story of my life,” he writes. The Dalai Lama “is a title that signifies the office I hold. I myself am just a human being, and incidentally, a Tibetan, who chooses to be a Buddhist monk.” The book is illustrated with a number of photographs.

The pocket-sized Ocean of Wisdom is a splendid little book that can be used as you would a meditation manual; it has many brief comments by the Dalai Lama on compassion, kindness, just ice, taming your mind, non attachment, and their application to life. It is beautifully illustrated with color photographs.

The Whitney Stewart book is an illustrated story of the Dalai Lama for children. On the day the Dalai Lama was born , the story says, “The weather was dark and thundering, but some people saw a rainbow touching the baby's house. Other neighbors noticed that a pair of noisy crows came to perch on the family's rooftop. And the baby's father jumped from his sickbed, declaring himself cured by his son's birth.”

The Eichert book is a collection of short essays on various aspects of Tibetan culture, illustrated with many photographs, some in color.

Geshe Sopa was one of the young Dalai Lama's teachers, and has been a longtime faculty member at the University of Wisconsin. The book by Sopa and Hopkins covers the fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice and theory.

Thubden Chodron is an American woman who graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles, taught school in Los Angeles, and did graduate work in education. In 1975, she attended a Buddhist meditation course, and two years later was ordained a nun. In 1986 she received full ordination in Taiwan. She travels throughout the world, teaching Buddhism and meditation. Her book is a clear description of the Buddhist view of life and relationships, and should appeal to non-Buddhists as well as Buddhists.


Summer 1991