Sunday, June 20, 2010

Surviving The Dragon by Arjia Rinpoche

Firstly, this copy of the book is signed by Arjia Rinpoche ... in Tibetan, no less.

I've read the book from the Dalai Lama's perspective on the takeover of Tibet by China. Or the liberation of Tibet if you swing that way. Surviving the Dragon is Arjia Rinpoche's account of the same takeover from inside Tibet. He didn't manage to escape Chinese rule until the 90s, having survived 40 years under Chinese rule. China came into Tibet to "free" them in 1949. Arjia Rinpoche was 8 in 1958 when the Chinese came into his monastery and basically tore everyone's life apart under the guise of freeing them from feudal serfdom.

Arjia Rinpoche is the 8th incarnation and was found in his family's little nomadic hut and taken to Kumdum monastery to serve out his duties. This book starts there and takes us through all of the horrors of communist China and the humiliations and torture faced by many monks at that time. Arjia Rinpoche was lucky and rose higher in the political world, but many of his fellow monks, teachers and friends weren't so lucky.

Arjia Rinpoche now heads the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center in Bloomington, Indiana and through his book, tells a fantastic story of surviving what couldn't even be imagined here in America.
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