THE BLACK HAT DANCES: Two Buddhist Boys in the Himalayas by Luree Miller

THE BLACK HAT DANCES: Two Buddhist Boys in the Himalayas

Email this review


The lives of two youngsters growing up in Sikkim, one on a monastery, one on a farm, are compared and contrasted in an introduction to the Buddhist lifestyle as practiced in northern India. Although an opening chapter describes Buddhism and its practice in the US, the book focuses on Tashi, the 11-year-old son of a Himalayan farmer, and Samdup, a novice in a nearby monastery. Tashi attends school, does farm chores, and--after a long day combining both--is almost too tired to study. Samdup's day is less free, circumscribed with strict rules for each activity, but he seems to be working towards a more secure future. The closing chapters describe a festival called the Black Hat Dances, in which the lama of Samdup's monastery enacts a ritual that destroys the evils of the world, an act made concrete afterwards when the two boys resolve a minor misunderstanding. Although Tashi and Samdup lead different lives, the point of the story, made well in both text and pictures, is that Buddhism is the central focus for each. Customs and beliefs are described clearly and presented on a level understandable to middle readers. Miller's use of the present tense adds immediacy. A useful and entertaining book.

Pub Date: June 8th, 1987
Page count: 86pp
Publisher: Dodd, Mead