TIBET by Thubten Figme & Colin M. Turnbull Norbu


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The Dalai Lama's brother--himself the 24th incarnation of the monk Tagtster--presents his view of the customs, religion, people, and hopes of the land of Shangri-la. Tibet is now under the control of Communist China, and Norbu lives in New York, where anthropologist Colin Turnbull of the Museum of Natural History (The Forest People and The Lonely African) helped him write this book. They worked in Sanskrit, Tibetan, and English, and Turnbull saw his task as translation ""without intruding any of his own thoughts."" Evidently, Turnbull was largely successful, for the book appears clearly as the voice of a learned Tibetan who is steeped in the Buddhist tradition but who nonetheless is willing to accept Tibet's new political role. He credits the Chinese for improving internal communications and spreading education (though it presently is an anti-religious education) and hopes that when Tibet is returned to its people some of these reforms will remain. Norbu relates the myths of the coming of the gods, the rituals of the selection of the Dalai Lama, monastery life, and the harsher days of the coming of the Chinese. It is a personal account, skillfully written. Norbu, both thinker and dreamer, recreates ably the mountains and valleys now seen only on film. The shapes seem truer here.

Pub Date: Jan. 2nd, 1969
Publisher: Simon & Schuster