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Circling the Sacred Mountain: A Spiritual Adventure Through the Himalayas
Explores Tibetan Buddhism as part of a spiritual and physical journey to Mount Kailash, holiest of the Himalayan mountains, to reach sacred graveyards, majestic monasteries, and meditation caves.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published July 5th 2000 by Bantam
(first published 1999)
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This is a book of two natures. One is that it is a travelogue, describing the sights, sounds, and smells of the journey, with a small group of men, to one of the holiest mountains on the earth. The other is that it is an autohagiography of sorts; documenting one man's own spiritual triumphs as he approaches the mountain which he has sought after for years. The first author, Tad Wise, paints himself as a simple man, of artisanal pursuits, who vacillates between great spirituality and great vice. ...more
This was supposed to be very profound as it was written by a former Buddhist monk who returned to being a layperson, but because of all the sexuality within it mostly just was extraordinarily uncomfortable. There were parts that were very beautiful and were, in fact, profound, but mostly it stuck out in my mind as being embarrassing to read. Similarly, many of the arguments weren't very well written as easily contradicted and as such, it wasn't a good book was for someone looking to learn about ...more
bought this book on a whim, in a mountainous mood as well as just signed up for a meditation class, so it seemed apt. Robert Thurman is father of Uma and the first Westerner ordained as a Tibetan monk, Tad Wise is a former student/long-time friend/disciple-of-sorts who joins him and a small group on a pilgrimage to the most sacred mountain in Tibet, Kailash. The book alternates between lessons-on-the-trail from Thurman, which are DENSE and intense and I had a hard time wrestling with; the rest ...more
Robert/Tenzin Thurman and a former student of his, Tad, lead us on a month-long pilgrimage to circumnambulate Mt. Kailash, the cosmic center of the Tibetan Buddhist universe. Tad writes a disarmingly honest account of his frustrations and strivings with the spiritual aspect of the journey; Thurman's parts are primarily transcripts of his nightly dharma talks on the Blade Wheel of Mind Reform, an ancient sermon of defeating the demons of self-addiction. The interplay of their accounts works ...more
At first I found the chosen style of this book, chopping between the insights of Robert Thurman and his friend Tad, a bit annoying. But as I settled in to the book I came to really enjoy their different perspectives. I found the Blade Wheel teachings revealed on their journey to be really helpful to me in practice and in life. A very enjoyable book although the last chapter or two seemed a bit like unnecessary padding. I would thoroughly recommend this to any readers who have a good basic ...more
This is written in a very fun way. Tad Wise is a cynical, womanizing jerk kind of a guy and he is describing the spiritual journey he took around Mt. Kailash in Tibet with Robert Thurman, who is meanwhile writing all of the Dharma talks he gave during the trip. Tad's descriptions are more fun to read, but without the Dharma and his slow transformation the book would be hard to take. (Since he's a cynical womanizing jerk)
I absolutely loved this book. Both Robert and Tad are brilliant writers, painting a clear picture of Tibet in the 1970s when they traveled to Mount Kailash. Furthering my research for my own novel, this book inspired me in so many ways. In fact, I intend on meeting "Tenzin", Mr. Thurman soon in a workshop I plan on attending. There I will tell him personally how much his book meant to me.
If you are interested in the self-obsessed musings of American Buddhist males as they lecture one another on Tibetan religion, then you're welcome to this book. If you're interested in learning about Kailash and walking the kora, then you'd be better served by another book.
Tenzin Robert Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, holding the first endowed chair of Buddhist Studies in the United States. He is the author of the bestseller Inner Revolution, as well as Anger, Infinite Life, and other popular books. He is also a translator of Tibetan texts. He serves as co-founder and president of Tibet House US, a ...more