Thursday, 17 April 2014

THE CAVE OF THE YELLOW DOG - BYAMBASUREN DAVAA & LISA REISCH


RATING: C+

This easy~read book, based on a Mongolian tale, is now a movie. It describes everyday life incidents of Mongolian nomads including their diet, housing, routine, family lifestyle, etc. There are plenty of photographs included.

I would recommend the book to those interested in the Mongolian nomadic lifestyle that is now fast disappearing, those who have seen the movie, and those interested in world cultures.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

HOLDER OF THE WHITE LOTUS - ALEXANDER NORMAN


RATING: C+

A chunky book covering not only the lives of the 14 Dalai Lamas to date, but the surrounding history. While some of the facts given do not match those in other books, as a whole the historical background is helpful in showing the full picture. I much approve of the concluding comment, and am in agreement with it. Now that the Dalai Lama has brought Tibetan Buddhism to the whole world, there will likely be interest in his next incarnation arising all around our planet when such time comes for his next rebirth. There will likely be people all over our earth that seek the next Chenrezig incarnation, not only in Tibet.

I would recommend this book to those with an interest in Tibetan history, the institution of the Dalai Lama, and Tibetan Buddhism.

Friday, 4 April 2014

A HUNDRED THOUSAND WHITE STONES - KUNSANG DOLMA

RATING: B+

A hearty Tibetan tale covering the early years in Tibet, escape to India, and subsequent life in USA of a once~nun now~mother from Amdo. I can relate well to one theme, best mentioned on page 217, of not sharing the cultural interests of those dwelling around me. That same feeling of not sharing the values and lifestyle of those around me once led me to migrate to the other side of the planet to try to seek those who were similar to me. I still find that I relate better to Himalayan cultures than to my own.

I would recommend this book to those wishing to hear a Tibetan's story and to those wishing to contrast the various lifestyles ~ Tibetan, Indian, and American.


Monday, 31 March 2014

NINE LIVES - WILLIAM DALRYMPLE


RATING:C

This book contains nine stories from various Indian beings of differing religious and social standing. The very first story gave me someone to relate to, in their sharing of my attitude towards death among other matters. I too am opposed to Western medicine, though not for the same reasons, and I too wish to die naturally rather than prolong my ailing body by pill~popping when something arises that cannot be cured without.

I related well to this first tale, as I also shared a rejection of vehicular use, have lived several of my more than 40 years with one meal a day, and hold ahimsa as higher priority than convention. The stories continued, traversing such variables as Godly whores, blind singers and soldier monks.

I would recommend the book to those interested in seeing a different side of India from the conventionally seen city life.

Monday, 24 March 2014

SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET - HEINRICH HARRER


RATING: B+

Predominantly a good read, spoiled by my not being able to attune to the Western viewpoint from which it is written. For one example, the use of prayerwheels is referred to as 'childlike', whereas it is something I myself have faith in and consider to be meaningful. I have not seen the movie that was made from this book, but as it is not shot in Tibet itself, I have no inclination to move beyond this book, which gives insight into the Tibetan way of life ~ that I can relate to far easier than that of my own culture.

I would recommend the book to those interested in the Tibetan way of life shortly before it was ruined by Chinese invasion and those interested in seeing Tibetan culture through Western eyes.

Friday, 21 March 2014

CLASSICAL KOREAN POETRY - I&T by JAIHIUN KIM


RATING: C+

The majority of poems seem to refer to former officials who have escaped to the countryside and taken such delight in the natural life as to pop poems. They talk of seagull friends, fishing, farming, plum blossom and disappearing into a haze of wine~soaked contemplations. Unfortunately, the printers malfunctioned when printing my book as several pages are missing/duplicated in my copy.

My personal recommendations to those wishing to sample just a few poems rather than reading the entire book front to back as I did are as follows: 15, 1665, 1840, 733, 1386, 2370, 1223, 2213, 632, 740, 468, 457, 2231, 1972, 1190, 423, 840, 254, 292, 1122, 1952, 381, 1178, 2076, 1060, 766, 787, 524, 2301, 2070, 1958 and 1049.

I would recommend this book to those interested in reading poetry, Korean studies, and those wanting a change from the more familiar Euro~American style poetry.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

THE FUTURE IS NOW - KARMAPA



RATING: B+

A thick and chunky book filled with short constructive quotes composed by HH the Karmapa. Although primarily aimed at the worldwide youth of today, the quotations cover a wide range of living situations and choices and can guide readers of all ages.

I would recommend this collection to those interested in an easy yet helpful read, those wishing to read words of wisdom from Karmapa, and those interested in how we can make ease with today's many life struggles.