By Donald S. Lopez Jr.
During this wonderful scholarly paintings, Lopez (Asian Languages and Cultures/Univ. of Michigan) warns his readers clear of romanticized visions of Tibet, which finally damage that beleaguered nation's clients for independence. Buddhism, the faith of enlightenment, takes as its activity the dispersal of human misconceptions of fact. it is just becoming that, within the wake of heightened renowned curiosity in Tibet, Lopez should still write a corrective to either optimistic and damaging misconceptions of Tibetan Buddhism. one of the assets of misinterpretation he notes are: mental interpretations of the Tibetan e-book of the lifeless; The 3rd Eye, by means of Englishman Cyril Hoskin, a phenomenal (and well known) story of Tibetan spirit ownership released in 1956; mistranslations of the well-known mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum; exhibitions of Tibetan artwork in Western museums; the institutionalization of the educational self-discipline of Tibetology; more and more ethereal spiritualizations of Tibetan tradition. What these kind of acts of examining Tibetan Buddhism proportion, says Lopez, is an entire or partial forget for the concrete, dwelling contexts of Tibetan faith. parts of Tibetan Buddhism turn into summary symbols onto which Western writers undertaking their very own non secular, mental, or specialist wishes. for instance, the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum, mistranslated as ``the jewel is within the lotus,'' is allegorized into an edifying image of conjoined opposites whilst, in truth, it's easily a prayerful invocation of the Buddhist god Avalokiteshvara. The irony is that Tibetans confirm those Western misreadings in hopes of profitable extra sympathy for his or her fight for independence. the risk, in response to Lopez, is that the complete particularity of Tibet could be misplaced in ineffectual platitudes. he's indignant approximately a few of the extra outrageous manglings of Tibetan trust and tradition; he is also relatively witty over the extra ridiculous purposes by means of New Agers of ostensibly Tibetan ideals. As an interpreter of interpreters, Lopez features the following two times faraway from the particular faith of Tibet; readers should still method with a few past wisdom of Buddhism.
Prisoners of Shangri-La is a provocative research of the romance of Tibet, a romance that, at the same time it really is invoked by way of Tibetan lamas residing in exile, finally imprisons those that search the objective of Tibetan independence from chinese language occupation.
"Lopez lifts the veil on America's romantic imaginative and prescient of Tibet to bare a rustic and a religious historical past extra advanced and not more excellent than well known perceptions enable. . . . vigorous and fascinating, Lopez's e-book increases very important questions on how jap religions are frequently co-opted, assimilated and misunderstood via Western culture."—Publishers Weekly