Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Book Review: Autobiography of a Buddhist Monk

Genre:  Biographies & Memoirs
Author: Palden Gyatso
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Nearly the entire world turns a blind eye to the horrific crimes perpetrated by the Chinese in Tibet. China's rape of the environment and it's subjugation of it's people have rightly been called cultural genocide. Yet the truth is far worse and the genocide has been more than cultural. To call China's treatment of the Tibetan people inhuman or barbaric or criminal is still to minimize a horror that few of us can imagine. Yet this should not just be the struggle of the Tibetan people alone. China ia ascendant and attempting to inflict it's will on the rest of the world. It would be dangerous and foolish to think they would, given the chance, treat any oh the rest of us any differently. If they have no respect for the human rights of their own people what hope have the rest of the "barbarians" in the world.

Palden was a young 28 year old monk when the Chinese invaded Tibet. He was arrested for protesting that invasion and spent the next 33 years in Chinese prisons within Tibet enduring hardship and torture that few of us could even imagine. Gyatso planned his escape from Tibet before he was even released from prison. He smuggled out from prison the implements of torture that the Chinese insisted didn't exist and in the years since Gyatso has been a voice of conscious speaking all over the world; a witness to Chinese brutality and the apathy of the world at large.

The Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk is his incredible story.

Each year I usually find one book that speaks to me as no others have and which touches me deep within my soul. Each year I usually find one book that makes reading worthwhile. Each year I usually find one book I wish I could place in the hands of everyone in North America as required reading. This is the book for this year.

Even if you have no interest, and sadly many do not, in the plight of the land and people of Tibet I urge you to read this book. It is a shining testament to courage and faith and the indestructible optimism of the human soul.

(Originally posted to Multiply November 27, 2008)

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