cover image A LIFETIME OF WISDOM: Essential Writings by and About the Dalai Lama

A LIFETIME OF WISDOM: Essential Writings by and About the Dalai Lama

Bstan-'Dzin-Rgy, . . Marlowe & Co., $16.95 (368pp) ISBN 978-1-56924-573-6

In this anthology, Willis (Why Meditate?) draws from 17 diverse sources to illuminate the multifaceted life of the 14th Dalai Lama. Both those who follow the Tibetan spiritual leader closely and those who are merely interested in seeing what prompts the global attention can benefit from this artful array of autobiography, biography, conversation, spiritual commentary and essays. Some of the most touching passages are found in the excerpts from the Dalai Lama's My Land and My People, such as this autobiographical memory of "the most momentous [day] Lhasa had ever seen.... Everything was fresh and gay with spring: the spears of the new green grass, the delicate buds on the poplar and willow trees, the lotus leaves in the lake thrusting up to the surface and unfolding to the sun—all was green.... That was the last brief moment of peace of mind I was to know." The very next moment, Lhasa erupted with thousands of Tibetans in revolt against the Chinese presence. Commentary, such as that found in an excerpt from Stages of Meditation, rests comfortably alongside more popular pieces such as an essay by Heinrich Harrer, whose time teaching the Dalai Lama was chronicled in Seven Years in Tibet. There are also interviews with His Holiness by actor/performance artist Spalding Gray and travel writer Pico Iyer. In Buddhist terms, this choice book is a comprehensive "vehicle." (Aug.)