Tibetan Portrait: The Power of Compassion

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9780847819577: Tibetan Portrait: The Power of Compassion

This is a book about a deeply spiritual culture's struggle to survive and maintain compassion in the face of tremendous aggression. The invasion by the Chinese Communists in 1949 led to massive destruction and repression, and to the occupation of Tibet, which continues to this day.
Throughout 1994, photographer Phil Borges traveled to Tibet, as well as parts of Nepal and northern India where thousands of Tibetan refugees now reside, photographing Tibetans in an effort to understand what had happened to them, to their country and their culture. In doing so, he became fascinated by Buddhist philosophy and the Tibetan commitment to nonviolence.
Tibetan Buddhists believe that there is no greater vehicle than compassion and forgiveness to counteract the suffering in the world. Their unique Buddhist practices and beliefs provide a framework for the attainment of mental peace and enlightenment, a goal they are encouraged to pursue from an early age. They are taught to value contentment, fulfillment, and mental peace above all else, since one's state of mind is believed to be the only possession that survives from one lifetime to the next.
As the Tibetans work to save their unique culture and to regain their country, their internal struggle as human beings is to try to reconcile their nonviolent principles with the rage that can arise when harmed. It is an extreme test of their commitment to compassion, to their religion, and to their culture.

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About the Author:

An award-winning Seattle-based photographer, Phil Borges divides his time between editorial and commercial assignments and documentary projects which focus on different cultures and subcultures. A recent chapter president of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Borges received the Pacific Northwest Media Inc. Photographer of the Year award in 1992. His work has won numerous awards during his career and is used by editorial and corporate clients worldwide.

His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, is the spiritual and temporal head of Tibet. Since 1959 he has lived in Dharamsala, India, where he leads the Tibetan government-in-exile. A spokesman for nonviolence, his efforts toward world peace were acknowledged with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. A scholar and writer, his many books include My Land and My People; Kindness, Clarity and Insight; A Flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night; Ocean of Wisdom; and The World of Tibetan Buddhism: An Overview of its Philosophy and Practice. His wisdom and compassion have served as an inspiration for people all over the world.

Jeffrey Hopkins is a well-known Buddhist scholar and writer. The author of twenty-one books, including Empty Yoga, The Tantra Distinction, and Meditation on Emptiness, he has also introduced, annotated, and edited translations of many Tibetan Buddhist texts. Hopkins has served as the official interpreter for His Holiness the Dalai Lama on many of his U.S. lecture tours. He is currently a professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia.

A well-known writer and scholar, Elie Wiesel was named the Nobel Peace Laureate in 1986. Since 1976 he has been the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities as well as University Professor of religious studies at Boston University.

Review:

"Every word substantial food for thought, every picture honest and revealing. Tibetan Portrait is truly moving. Everything here goes straight to the heart."--Robert Thurman Tibet House

"Phil Borges has somehow transformed portraits of Tibetans into landscapes of the soul of an occupied nation. We cannot avert the steady gaze of his chosen subjects. Their haunting eyes are open windows into a culture of compassion that must attract global attention to regain its freedom and its homeland."--Galen Rowell
-- Review

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Published by Rizzoli (1996)
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Dalai Lama; Phil Borges
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