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Dalai Lama: Man, Monk, Mystic

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  237 ratings  ·  39 reviews

Written with the full cooperation of the Dalai Lama, this fascinating, up-to-date biography at once captures the public persona and enduring mystery behind one of the world’s most important spiritual leaders.

In 1997, the Indian journalist Mayank Chhaya was authorized by the Dalai Lama to write about his life and times. The only authorized biographer who is not a Buddhist

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Crown Archetype
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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robin friedman
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
An External View Of The Dalai Lama

As the spiritual leader of the once-obscure religion of Tibetan Buddhism, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama has become revered by people in all parts of the world for his sincerity, openness, common-sense, teaching of non-violence, and spirituality. In "Dalai Lama: Man, Monk, Mystic" (2007) the Indian journalist Mayank Chhaya has written an informative if somewhat limited biography of this charismatic spiritual leader. At times, the focus of the book seems to be more on
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I was torn between 2 and 3 stars on this one. I was expecting an in-depth biography of the 14th Dalai Lama, with a bit of bonus learning about Buddhism and about the Tibet/China situation and its history. What I got was a long (albeit repetitious and not necessarily in-depth) discussion of the Tibet/China situation and its history with a bit of bonus information about the Dalai Lama -- it felt like less than half of the book. One of my favorite features of the book was the inclusion of the Dalai ...more
Sep 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is about the 14th Dalai Lama. Buddists believe that each Dalai Lama is a reincarnation of Buddha. Due to China's forceful invasion of Tibet in 1959, the Dalai Lama has lived in India ever since. He has been a wonderful spokesperson for the Tibetan people, and he has always stressed nonviolent political methods. It seems unlikely that Tibet will ever regain its independence from China. The 6 million Tibetans are currently outnumbered by the 7 million Hans Chinese who have moved to Tibet ...more
Jul 07, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book was incredibly disappointing. It had relatively little to do with the Dalai Lama. The first 194 pages the reader suffers through is entirely on the political history of China and Tibet. In fact, his departure from Tibet covered less than a full page. This is followed by a few pages on His Holiness with a subsequent chapter where his not mentioned until the very last sentence. The final chapters of the book are of the same political topics as the first 194 pages.

I somehow finished it, s
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is misleadingly sold as a biography of the current Dalai Lama, which is decidedly is not. It is more aptly an overview of the historical relation of Buddhism to Tibet, which does naturally include the current Dalai Lama. Had it been sold honestly titled, it'd have been a decent work for those interested in the subject matter. As it is though, Ch. 23 has the most focus on the current Buddhist leader, although there are interesting things involving him spread out amongst the text. That s ...more
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I grew up in China. Upon reading this book, I always thought Tibet is part of China thru all history, Dalai Lama is the one trying to separate Tibet from China. Thru our education from China, Dalai is always the bad guy trying to break the peace between China and Tibet. But after reading this book, I actually learned about the background information regarding the ongoing conflict between China and Tibet, and Dalai is a true charismatic spiritual leader.
This Author offers a portrayal of the Dala
Venkatraman Ramachandran
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful read even if not having the most in depth information. Fascinating in ways that it makes you want to read more about His Holiness.

Getting to know about people and their struggle is always an eye-opening & enlightening exercise in many ways, especially when the path taken is non-violent.

Certainly a book recommended for people interested in this genre. Personally a satisfying experience too, reading another biography after a while.
Nov 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Because I had roommates from Taiwan at BYU, I had a more personal connection to Taiwan's struggle against China. I really didn't have a clue about Tibet and their fight to reclaim their land from China. Jon has been bringing up the Dalai Lama for years and I always thought he (the Dalai Lama not Jon) was some kind of wacko religious person. This book gave me a better understanding of the land of Tibet and its culture. I found it a little slow, and a bit wordy-rehashing ground already covered. St ...more
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book randomly from the library. I was trying to restart my reading habit and this book sustained my interest and helped me to make a good beginning! Though it is a biography of Dalai Lama, it has lot of details on the history of Tibet and the politics surrounding it. This is not out of place, as Tibet and Dalai Lama are inseparable. I enjoyed the historical aspects discussed in this book. Though the title sounds heavy and serious, this book is actually quite an easy read. I reco ...more
Sagnik Sengupta
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very late addition to the shelf. But this book was probably one of my significant read. Though I haven't read "Freedom in Exile". But if any one wants to have a look at the difficult yet enlightening life of a Dalai Lama, this book should be in your reading list. Plus there's a added bonus of political dilemma he has faced.

A must read
Oct 03, 2019 rated it liked it
The author brings together excerpts from a range of interviews and conversations to give this biography quite a broad scope. Themes discussed include religion, Tibet's occupation and the future of the institute of the Dalai Lama. Will there be a 15th? ...more
Mar 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I expected more about DalaiLama and less about Tibet political situation.
Mar 10, 2014 rated it liked it
You get many insights into the life of the revered His Holiness Dalai Lama.
How, from being a small kid, Tenzing Gyatso, to becoming the world famous 14th Dalai Lama, his journey has been beautifully captured and penned by Mayank Chhaya. I must say he has done extensive research, spanning over 7 long years, to come with this detailed book. A must read for People who follow the Dalai Lama or who feel for Tibetan people in exile/ refugees... Being uprooted from your place, your people, when you ha
Mar 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book not only was about the Dalai Lama but also about the politics of Tibet and China and it gave an unbiased view of some different possibilities of outcomes of the situation. I think the Dalai Lama's life and personality is quite interesting and I would recommend this to anyone who wants to learn more about him and the politics of the area. It also gives a nice historical background about Dalai Lamas and about the future of that position. If you are looking for a book about spirituality a ...more
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, is considered the 14th incarnation of Buddha. Since the 1959 Chinese invasion and annexation of Tibet, he has lived in exile in India. Historically, the Dalai Lama has been viewed as both the civic and religious leader of the Tibetans.

Mayank Chhaya, not a Buddhist himself, has written an enaging history of Sino-Tibetan relations, modern Buddhism, and an exiled monk who has attempted to preserve Tibetan cultural identity from afar. This is the authorized biogr
Gunjan Juyal
Sep 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
A good summary of the history of Tibetan Buddhism and how it came about in its present form and a third-party's (ie a non-believer in Buddhism) view on HH The 14th Dalai Lama.
Gives a good glimpse of the the Dalai Lama's personality, role and importance to the Tibetan cause. But quite a few times the analyses feels shallow and lacking an opinion or insight.

It's an easy and fun read and doesn't drag at all since it frequently switches from one topic to another. Sort of a fun-to-read Dalai-Lama-101
Sep 09, 2013 rated it liked it
A good picture of an excellent man. This book barely scratches the surface and leaves you wanting to know more about the person. Alas, it does not fulfill this need, focusing instead on the historical and political aspects of the Dalai Lama's situation than any character picture. This is partially due to the man's status and general inaccessibility, but I still think a more complete picture is possible. Couple that with some stylistic challanges and noticeable grammar/spelling errors, and this b ...more
Mar 03, 2014 rated it liked it
To be very honest, i am a bit disappointed by the book. The reason i picked up this book was that i was quite curious to know about the Dalai Lama mostly as a person. But this 'biography' offers more about the tibet and the world politics surrounding it, the roles played by India, USA and not to forget China rather than the Dalai Lama himself. I think the only chapters which essentially describe a little about Dalai Lama as a man (monk and mystic) are chapter numbers 18 and 30, with 30 being pro ...more
Apr 30, 2010 rated it liked it
I went to hear the Dalai Lama speak in May and wanted to freshen up on his history.

An interesting description of Tibetan spirituality and politics.

He was found to be the 14th reincarnated Dalai Lama when he was 3 years old. The process included being shown two rosaries; he correctly chose the one that had previously belonged to him. He also remembered where his dentures were.

(I made it to page 90. Perhaps I will continue the adventure again, but I am done for now.)
Aug 02, 2007 rated it liked it
This book is very interesting. It gives a good overview of the history of China and Tibet, as well as the life of the current Dalai Lama. My main complaint is that the central theme of "Man, Monk, Mystic" gets hammered into the ground several times to many. Overall a good read, with lots of information. ...more
Mary & Tom
Mar 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Certainly not the insider's view that I was hoping for. However, it offers lots of background information about China's invasion and take over of Tibet. Will there be another Dalia Lama?

Did not contain the inside information on reincarnation that I was seeking. Darn it.
Gints Janelsins
Aug 20, 2014 rated it liked it
The author makes a statement that Dalai Lama personifies Tibet: Dalai Lama = Tibet.
And then spends 80% of the book on the context of Dalai Lamas life.
This is less of a biography, but more religious and political history of Tibet.
Alex Walker
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Listened to this as an Audible audio book. Really interesting and enjoyable about one of the most influential people on the planet. A humble man who has been peacefully fighting for his countries freedom from China.
Fascinating. Great narration as well.
DAVID Miller
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
An informative read on the life of the 14th Dalai Lama, especially in regards to his long exile and struggle for a peaceful resolution to the Sino-Tibetan problem. Again, I am in awe of this extraordinary monk and gifted human being.
Mar 28, 2008 rated it liked it
A bit slow, but an interesting read on the history of the Dalai Lama, Buddishm, Tibet, China, and India.
Apr 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
this book is an authourized biogaphy of the Dali Lama
Sep 05, 2008 is currently reading it
A bit of a tough read in the beginning. Was hoping it had a bit more of an autobiography feel to it. Will finish this book eventually.
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved it! I thought it would be more in-depth on the Dalai Lama but it was very thorough on the whole Tibet vs China issue. It was well written! Five stars!
Sep 18, 2012 rated it liked it
more like a history book with snippet(s) here and there of the Man, Monk and Mystic...
Hampi Chakrabarti
Jun 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Very interesting read on the struggle of Tibet and the Dalai Lama's part in it. But, as a biography, the focus on the person's personal life was lacking. ...more
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