WHAT THE LOTUS SAID: A Journey to Tibet and Back

Eric Swanson, Author . St. Martin's $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-26693-6

After studying with his lama for three years in the U.S., Swanson (The Boy in the Lake) accompanies him to Tibet, where he begins his spiritual journey. Swanson writes beautifully of the Buddhist saints who left their civilized countries to bring Buddhism to a people known for their "demons, ogres, dragons... and mountains that gleamed like white fangs." He experiences the usual revelations about bad food, miserable bus rides, lodgings, poorly clothed people and poverty. A doctor traveling with them finds many cases of Tibetans complaining of heart pain, very troubling medically until she discovers that they are describing their depression. Swanson and the doctor realize that he word for "heart" is the same as the word for "mind." The author nicely documents the stories of the saints and Tibetan history in general. The popularity of Tibetan Buddhism, the success of the Dalai Lama's books as well as a growing awareness of the Tibetan plight under the Chinese will deposit this successfully on the growing shelves of Tibetan travel memoirs. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/18/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-312-28373-5
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