9780553103465

Circling the Sacred Mountain : A Spiritual Adventure Through the Himalayas

Thurman, Robert; Wise, Tad

ISBN 10: 0553103466 / 0-553-10346-6
ISBN 13: 9780553103465
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover
Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis:
To Tibetan Buddhists, Mount Kailash is the most magical place on earth, a place where one's prayers are answered instantly.  The journey to the diamond-shaped peak is arduous, as it is located in the heart of the world's tallest mountains; yet it is well worth the effort.  For according to tradition, one trip around the sacred mountain at 17,500 feet can wipe away the sins of a lifetime.

It was this promise of transformation that inspired Robert Thurman, preeminent Buddhist scholar and teacher, to lead a group of eager pilgrims on the spiritual trek of a lifetime.  Among the group was a former student and longtime friend, Tad Wise.  Together, Thurman and Wise recount their experience circling the mountain, in chapters that counterpoint the most profound inner teachings of Tibetan Buddhism with a magnificent description of a land of awesome beauty and unexpected hardships.

Thurman serves as the group's spiritual leader.  Through the wisdom and insight gained from years of study in India with the Dalai Lama and other gurus, he offers his fellow companions a rich understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, including techniques of meditation, visualization, compassion, and selflessness.  Meanwhile, Wise describes in vivid detail the soaring mountains and breathtaking vistas of this hidden land of snows.  He also chronicles the difficulties he faces as he tries to incorporate Thurman's accelerated Buddhist teachings into his own life.

Together they take us deep into Chinese-occupied Tibet to visit sites few Westerners have ever seen: sacred graveyards, meditation caves of ancient masters, and majestic monasteries.  As they navigate perilous mountain passages, Thurman guides the travelers past the pitfalls of spiritual life to the realization of the Buddha's promise of liberation from human suffering.

Chronicling the inner as well as the outer journey, confrontations both physical and metaphysical, Circling the Sacred Mountain serves as an inspiring metaphor for the challenging passage to enlightenment open to each of us.

Review:
In the harsh, forsaken landscape of Western Tibet, a holy mountain rises up, the legendary center of the world. Sacred to Hindus and Buddhists alike, Mount Kailash had been in professor and popular writer Robert Thurman's mind for some time when he finally decided to organize a group and go--across the Chinese border, where he has always been persona non grata. Writer Tad Wise decides to tag along and put the adventures on paper. While recording Thurman's dharma lectures, Wise comes face to face with the magic of the mountain, its myths and its people, and haltingly transforms from cynical skeptic to tear-streaked pilgrim. Wise's writing leans toward the quirky, pushing ordinary sentences to their lapidary limits, and Thurman, as usual, tosses off tantalizing Buddhisms like "mind-body bubble" and "supreme orgasm of bliss-void-indivisible." For a book that's effectively about walking 32 miles over rubble around a remote peak, Circling the Sacred Mountain succeeds in drawing you into a mandala of swirling ideas and experiences, nudging you toward your own realizations. --Brian Bruya

Review

Review:
To Tibetan Buddhists, Mount Kailash is the most magical place on earth, a place where one's prayers are answered instantly.  The journey to the diamond-shaped peak is arduous, as it is located in the heart of the world's tallest mountains; yet it is well worth the effort.  For according to tradition, one trip around the sacred mountain at 17,500 feet can wipe away the sins of a lifetime.

It was this promise of transformation that inspired Robert Thurman, preeminent Buddhist scholar and teacher, to lead a group of eager pilgrims on the spiritual trek of a lifetime.  Among the group was a former student and longtime friend, Tad Wise.  Together, Thurman and Wise recount their experience circling the mountain, in chapters that counterpoint the most profound inner teachings of Tibetan Buddhism with a magnificent description of a land of awesome beauty and unexpected hardships.

Thurman serves as the group's spiritual leader.  Through the wisdom and insight gained from years of study in India with the Dalai Lama and other gurus, he offers his fellow companions a rich understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, including techniques of meditation, visualization, compassion, and selflessness.  Meanwhile, Wise describes in vivid detail the soaring mountains and breathtaking vistas of this hidden land of snows.  He also chronicles the difficulties he faces as he tries to incorporate Thurman's accelerated Buddhist teachings into his own life.

Together they take us deep into Chinese-occupied Tibet to visit sites few Westerners have ever seen: sacred graveyards, meditation caves of ancient masters, and majestic monasteries.  As they navigate perilous mountain passages, Thurman guides the travelers past the pitfalls of spiritual life to the realization of the Buddha's promise of liberation from human suffering.

Chronicling the inner as well as the outer journey, confrontations both physical and metaphysical, Circling the Sacred Mountain serves as an inspiring metaphor for the challenging passage to enlightenment open to each of us.

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Circling the Sacred Mountain A Spiritual Adventure Through the Himalayas (ISBN: 9780553103465)
Thurman, Robert;Wise, Tad
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