One of the best books I’ve ever read: The Open Road – The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama by Pico Iyer. Pico, who is one of my favorite writers, creates the Dalai Lama whole by breaking him into pieces.
The book is divided into 3 sections: In Public, In Private and In Practice. Each of those is divided into 3 sections. In Public, for instance, has three chapters: The Conundrum, The Fairy Tale, The Icon. Each chapter resonates with understanding and intellect, drawing evidence of the Dalai Lama’s gifts and presence from his life as lived, and his impact on others and the world.
This is not a biography in any traditional sense. We learn little about his being discovered to be a rinpoche – a reincarnate lama. We learn much about the land of Tibet and the context of those beliefs. We learn about China, spirituality, the Dalai Lama’s meditation practice, his community of Dharamsala in India. Pico’s view, as an agnostic, gives distance and acute observations. His view, as the son of a father who wrote a book in the early 60’s about Asia’s separation from the West, with a foreword by his friend the Dalai Lama, gives an immediacy and intimacy that is irrestible.
The book is rhythmic, full of beauty and clarity, meshed with left brained logic and right brained wholeness.
Hard to classify, easy to absorb directly into one’s soul. Aaaahhhhhh.