The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (Vintage Departures)

The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (Vintage Departures)

Pico Iyer

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0307387550

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

For over three decades, Pico Iyer, one of our most cherished travel writers, has been a friend to the Dalai Lama. Over these years through intimate conversations, he has come to know him in a way that few can claim. Here he paints an unprecedented portrait of one of the most singular figures of our time, explaining the Dalai Lama's work and ideas about politics, science, technology, and religion. For Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike, The Open Road illuminates the hidden life and the daily challenges of this global icon.

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government appealed to the U.N. and never received an answer; its allies in London and Washington and New Delhi were able to pretend that Tibet hardly existed as a real place at all (though six years earlier F.D.R. had sent a letter and two Office of Strategic Services emissaries to the eight-year-old Dalai Lama, asking for help in the transportation of American supplies through Tibet during World War II). When the young Dalai Lama made his first foreign friend, the Austrian traveler Heinrich

don’t argue about where it came from or which craftsman fashioned it—you simply pull it out. A practical, immediate cure for suffering and ignorance is what he offered; when asked about the existence of the soul or other lofty philosophical questions, the Buddha customarily said nothing, as if to suggest that such disquisitions were beside the point when a patient was lying on his deathbed and you had the chance to help him. As Somerset Maugham, the onetime medical student and lifelong traveler

them, especially the young but even many of those who had worked inside his government and can no longer contain their restlessness, there is less and less hesitation about criticizing his Middle Way policy and the government deputed to implement it. I thought back to the book of English-language poems I had been given and recalled that, even in its introduction, its editor had written, “The collective conscience expressed by [exile youth] has a root of deep resentment directed towards the U.N.

culture, and one of the great centers of Buddhism, five times as large as Britain, has been all but wiped off the map. The leader of the Tibetans finds himself carrying an entire culture on his shoulders; and even as he’s trying to support six million people he hasn’t seen in half a century, he is obliged to create a new Tibet among those who have seldom or never seen Tibet. One evening in Dharamsala, I notice clouds beginning to gather above the Kangra Valley below. The little town in northern

more than sixty years, and not a monk or a sacred text could be seen. The story, in other words, did not end with one particular being, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama; if anything, it began there (the story of a Tibet that is part of the wider modern world, of a modern world that is part of Tibet, and of those who see, as the Buddha had stressed, that the teacher is not important, only the teaching). Many of the ideas that this particular Dalai Lama had put into circulation enjoyed such currency now

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