From the Jacket :
The Dalai Lama of Tibet are unique. A succession of fourteen have been guiding the spiritual life of the Tibetan people for nearly six centuries, and for three hundred years have held secular power as well. Revered as the human embodiment of Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion, they choose, out of their great desire to benefit others, to reincarnate life after life as the Dalai Lama.
Thubten Gyatso, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, was born to a peasant family in 1876. He was discovered, brought to Lhasa and enthroned at the age of three. Educated as a monk, he took over full power when he was eighteen and ruled until his death thirty-seven years later. His rule would prove to be more strong, more radical and more complete than that of any Dalai Lama since the Great Fifth.
"His courage and energy were inexhaustible. He recoiled from nothing," writes Charles Bell, who as Political Officer in the Himalayas first met him in 1910. They developed a firm and affectionate friendship, politically and personally, that would last for twenty-five years.
Portrait of a Dalai Lama is packed full of history, stories, facts and figures, anecdotes and conversation, and is compelling reading.
About the Author :
Sir Charles Bell was born in Calcutta in 1870 and educated in England at Winchester and Oxford. He joined the Indian Civil Service in 1891 and was transferred to Kalimpong, Sikkim in 1901, where he began his lifelong relationship with Tibet. He twice acted as Political Officer for Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet and eventually held that post for ten years before retiring in 1919. He was recalled to duty, however, and in 1920 headed a successful diplomatic mission toLhasa.
He wrote several books about Tibet, her people and her language; few since, and certainly none before, have written so well about Tibet.
PART THREE: ADVERSITY
PART FOUR: THE TWO-FOLD POWER
PART FIVE: STORM AND CALM IN LHASA
PART SIX: FOREIGN AFFAIRS
PART SEVEN: LATER YEARS
PART EIGHT: CHANGING THE BODY
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