Karmapa - The Politics of Reincarnation by Lea Terhune. On one hand, an in-depth account of how successive lamas in Tibet are chosen, generation to generation, and on the other hand we are given an in-depth look into the lives of the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje (1924-1981), and the current 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje, born in 1985.
Tibetan Buddhism is the religion the Karmapas live and preserve by rigorous and long years spent in its study and practice.
Myself, like other westerners, it seems, are curious and ripe for the philosophies and practices of Tibetan Buddhism - meditation and chanting included.
With world peace seeming to elude our planet at this time, the insight these holy men bring to the world table is just what we need to nurture our souls and spirits.
Throughout the book we get views now and then of how His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has been instrumental in preserving the lineage of Karmapas. I enjoyed reading glimpses into this great spiritual leader told in a personable way.
The text is illustrated with many photos of the 16th and 17th Karmapas and their Heart Sons - other high lamas who reincarnate as Karmapas' closest disciples to extend the work of Tibetan Buddhism.
Even though I consider this basically a scholarly text, for all the detailed insight into the process of finding and maintaining the lineage of Karmapas, Lea Terhune has woven in the personal side of the process of choosing reincarnations so effectively, that the book reads as a good novel.
I spent several late nights with this fast-paced book keeping me company; it was hard to put down!
Details - 308 pages by Wisdom Publications; 8.9 by 6.1 inch paperback; ISBN: 0861711807
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