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Lions Roar : May 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2011 42 I traveled to tibet in the spring of 2009 to see places: rivers, palaces, obscure corners of old lhasa. i was writing a book about the occupation of tibet and the dalai lama’s escape, and when i’m writing nonfiction about a country i’ve never seen, it can seem like i’m describing an imaginary place. to make it real, i went to lhasa to see the landmarks where the story had played out fifty years before. Places like the ice-cold river Kyichu that so many lhasans had fled across during the 1959 uprising, and the cobblestone street where a monk saw a dead tibetan man, shot in the back, a leash in his hand still clipped to the collar of his dog. if i was on a pilgrimage, it wasn’t a religious one. i was a journalist, a lapsed Catholic, writing a book about a nationalistic event. one can’t go to tibet and not encounter buddhism, of course, but it wasn’t in the front of my mind. Stephan talty explores the key events of the Dalai lama’s early life that freed him from the strictures of his traditional role, deepened his devotion to the dharma, and made him the world spiritual leader we know today. the Making of a Spiritual hero Left: Tibetans praying in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa on March 10, 2009, the fiftieth anniversary of their failed uprising against Communist China. PhotobyXilin/zumaPress.Com/KeystonePressPhotobyClivearrowsmith©www.Clivearrowsmith.Com