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Preview — The Open Road by Pico Iyer
The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
The premise of the book is far better than its execution. For instance, Iyer quotes a Tibetan as saying that Tibe ...more
What is it like to live, practice, preach a faith while facing oppression from one of the most powerful countries in the world? Even as Tibet becomes more of a Chinese province day by day - the Potala Palace is treated as just another tourist attraction and the streets of Lhasa are filled with entertainment and shopping options - and several Tibetans question ...more
I felt as if Iyer's observations, while trivial, improved the readability of the work and possibly served as a way to draw the ordinary reader into the environment that is Dharamsala. (As someone who's been there, I felt that most of his observations were pret ...more
Although biographical details ...more
The book was predictably biased, and also shirked challenging questions like, "The Tibetans think you're a god. So, are you?" The writer (like th ...more
In his study of the Dalai Lama, Iyer offers a rich historical context made stronger by his own diligent research and vast knowledge of global politics (not to mention a personal connection). Given the current unrest between Tibet and China, Iyer's book takes on additional weight by lending urgency to the story of an otherwise little understood
We are not accustomed to thinking of our leaders as perennially jolly, which has at times proven to be a problem for the Dalai Lama. Though he is one of the world's wisest and certainly one of its most spiritual men, Pico Iyer reminds us that he sometimes sounds like he is promoting saccharine, feel-good truths — “bromides, as it may seem, that tell people no more than any Golden Rule or Boy Scout’s manual might.” In part, this is because he must reg ...more
p96: … “Middle Way,” in deference to the Buddha’s guiding principle of walking along the road at the center, not veering toward extremes.
p155: Indeed, even though all monks are committed to the same task, deep down – as doctors or hospital construction workers are – the details of their practice are as different as their wildly divergent times and cultures. A Christian generally ...more
For me though, this book proved a fascinating read. While Lyer had uniqu ...more
Iyer is also more focused on the tragic political situation in Tibet rather than on Tibetan Buddhism and that shows plainly throughout. This isn't a bad thing but it wasn't what I expected exactly.
I also thought that since Iyer and his family have had a long-standing personal relationship with the XIVth Dalai L ...more
How are we to think about the Dalai Lama? He is a Nobel laureate, a king kept from his country, a spiritual leader, a pop culture darling and an unswerving voice of global compassion. In the past half century he has been thrust onto the world’s stage, first as a fairy tale prince driven from his home and now as the beatific wise man who has charmed billions of people across the globe, drawing 65,000 people to Qwest stadium in Seattle to hear him speak. ...more
Rather glowing in its description of Dharamsala; new visitors would probably be disappointed after reading this book. Having been there though, with eyes closed it seems, I very much enjoyed seeing more than the symptoms of exile, and getting a feel ...more
The author's purpose is, I believe, to peal away the layers of myth and cult surrounding the Dali Lama and give the reader an insight into the Dali Lama as a person, an exiled head of state, and to some, a god figure. (Pico Iyer's father is a friend of the Dali Lama, and Pico himself has known him for more than 30 years).
Instead, I came away feeling the ...more
This book is a portrait and overview of the Dalai Lama. Iyer's father was friends with His Holiness and Iyer has known him for more than 30 years. This enables him to give a good overview of the DL and his general character and daily life. I like the DL a lot, and appreciated the chance to learn more about his character. However, this book has ...more