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The Heart of the World: A Journey to the Last Secret Place

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The myth of Shangri-la originates in Tibetan Buddhist beliefs in beyul, or hidden lands, sacred sanctuaries that reveal themselves to devout pilgrims and in times of crisis. The more remote and inaccessible the beyul, the vaster its reputed qualities.

Ancient Tibetan prophecies declare that the greatest of all hidden lands lies at the heart of the forbidding Tsangpo Gorge, deep in the Himalayas and veiled by a colossal waterfall. Nineteenth-century accounts of this fabled waterfall inspired a series of ill-fated European expeditions that ended prematurely in 1925 when the intrepid British plant collector Frank Kingdon-Ward penetrated all but a five-mile section of the Tsangpo's innermost gorge and declared that the falls were no more than a "religious myth" and a "romance of geography."

The heart of the Tsangpo Gorge remained a blank spot on the map of world exploration until world-class climber and Buddhist scholar Ian Baker delved into the legends. Whatever cryptic Tibetan scrolls or past explorers had said about the Tsangpo's innermost gorge, Baker determined, could be verified only by exploring the uncharted five-mile gap. After several years of encountering sheer cliffs, maelstroms of impassable white water, and dense leech-infested jungles, on the last of a series of extraordinary expeditions, Baker and his National Geographic-sponsored team reached the depths of the Tsangpo Gorge. They made news worldwide by finding there a 108-foot-high waterfall, the legendary grail of Western explorers and Tibetan seekers alike.

The Heart of the World is one of the most captivating stories of exploration and discovery in recent memory — and extraordinary journey to one of the wildest and mostinaccessible places on earth and a pilgrimage to the heart of the Tibetan Buddhist faith.

Review:

"A heady mlange of history, wilderness exploration and Tibetan Buddhism study, this true story of the search for the 'hidden-lands' of Pemako, Tibet, is scholarly, entertaining and transcendent. Baker first heard of this place 'where the physical and spiritual worlds overlap' in 1977, while living in Kathmandu, and spent much of the next 22 years obsessively exploring it, as both an adventurer and a Buddhist pilgrim. As far back as 1377, Tibetan lamas were led by dreams and visions to secret texts hidden in Pemako's caves and behind its waterfalls: the manuscripts supposedly described physical and spiritual landscapes leading to an Eden-like earthly paradise. Baker chronicles British imperialist explorations of this area as well as Tibetan lamas' pilgrimages there. Local deities called Suma protected Pemako from 'those whose intentions are not in harmony with [its] spirit' (including the latest 'liberation' by the Chinese), until 1998, when Chinese scientists penetrated its deepest wilderness and began planning to destroy it with a hydroelectric dam. Interspersing the account with tales of Tibetan rimpoches (monastic lamas) and British botanists, Baker describes three of his trips to Pemako: to a gorge (perhaps the world's deepest), a sacred mountain and, finally, an elusive, mythic waterfall. His success is intimately tied to his deepening understanding of Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan culture. Heartbreakingly, his sportsman's ambition collides with his appreciation of the mystery when his 'discovery' of the last hidden place threatens it with the onslaught of civilization. Photos. Agent, Owen Laster. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

One of the most captivating stories of exploration and discovery in recent memory, The Heart of the World is an extraordinary journey to one of the wildest and most inaccessible places on Earth — and a pilgrimage to the heart of the Tibetan Buddhist faith.

Synopsis:

The myth of Shangri-la originates in Tibetan Buddhist beliefs in beyul, or hidden lands, sacred sanctuaries that reveal themselves to devout pilgrims and in times of crisis. The more remote and inaccessible the beyul, the vaster its reputed qualities. Ancient Tibetan prophecies declare that the greatest of all hidden lands lies at the heart of the forbidding Tsangpo Gorge, deep in the Himalayas and veiled by a colossal waterfall. Nineteenth-century accounts of this fabled waterfall inspired a series of ill-fated European expeditions that ended prematurely in 1925 when the intrepid British plant collector Frank Kingdon-Ward penetrated all but a five-mile section of the Tsangpoandrsquo;s innermost gorge and declared that the falls were no more than a andldquo;religious mythandrdquo; and a andldquo;romance of geography.andrdquo;

The heart of the Tsangpo Gorge remained a blank spot on the map of world exploration until world-class climber and Buddhist scholar Ian Baker delved into the legends. Whatever cryptic Tibetan scrolls or past explorers had said about the Tsangpoandrsquo;s innermost gorge, Baker determined, could be verified only by exploring the uncharted five-mile gap. After several years of encountering sheer cliffs, maelstroms of impassable white water, and dense leech-infested jungles, on the last of a series of extraordinary expeditions, Baker and his National Geographicandndash;sponsored team reached the depths of the Tsangpo Gorge. They made news worldwide by finding there a 108-foot-high waterfall, the legendary grail of Western explorers and Tibetan seekers alike.

The Heart of the World is one of the most captivating stories of exploration and discovery in recent memoryandmdash;an extraordinary journey to one of the wildest and most inaccessible places on earth and a pilgrimage to the heart of the Tibetan Buddhist faith.

About the Author

Ian Baker has lived in Kathmandu, Nepal, and been a student of Tibetan Buddhism for more than twenty years. He studied fine arts, literature, and comparative religion at Middlebury College, Oxford University, and Columbia University. He has written several books on Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism, including The Tibetan Art of Healing, Celestial Gallery, and The Dalai Lama’s Secret Temple: Tantric Wall Paintings from Tibet. He is also the coauthor of Tibet: Reflections from the Wheel of Life and has contributed articles to Explorers Journal and National Geographic magazine. He currently divides his time among New York, Thailand, and the Himalayas.

Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

The Call of Hidden-Lands

The Gorge

The Mountain

The Waterfall

The Veils of Paradise

Glossary, Notes, Bibliography, Index, and List of Illustrations

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594200274
Subtitle:
A Journey to Tibet's Lost Paradise
Introduction:
The Dalai Lama
Introduction:
Dalai Lama
Author:
Baker, Ian
Author:
Lama, Dalai
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Religious
Subject:
Adventurers & Explorers
Subject:
Buddhism - Tibetan
Subject:
Buddhism
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20060502
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
b/w photos, illustrations, and maps thro
Pages:
544
Dimensions:
9.52x6.46x1.69 in. 1.96 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Asia » Tibet
Religion » Eastern Religions » Buddhism » Tibetan Buddhism

The Heart of the World: A Journey to the Last Secret Place Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.95 In Stock
Product details 544 pages Penguin Press Hc - English 9781594200274 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A heady mlange of history, wilderness exploration and Tibetan Buddhism study, this true story of the search for the 'hidden-lands' of Pemako, Tibet, is scholarly, entertaining and transcendent. Baker first heard of this place 'where the physical and spiritual worlds overlap' in 1977, while living in Kathmandu, and spent much of the next 22 years obsessively exploring it, as both an adventurer and a Buddhist pilgrim. As far back as 1377, Tibetan lamas were led by dreams and visions to secret texts hidden in Pemako's caves and behind its waterfalls: the manuscripts supposedly described physical and spiritual landscapes leading to an Eden-like earthly paradise. Baker chronicles British imperialist explorations of this area as well as Tibetan lamas' pilgrimages there. Local deities called Suma protected Pemako from 'those whose intentions are not in harmony with [its] spirit' (including the latest 'liberation' by the Chinese), until 1998, when Chinese scientists penetrated its deepest wilderness and began planning to destroy it with a hydroelectric dam. Interspersing the account with tales of Tibetan rimpoches (monastic lamas) and British botanists, Baker describes three of his trips to Pemako: to a gorge (perhaps the world's deepest), a sacred mountain and, finally, an elusive, mythic waterfall. His success is intimately tied to his deepening understanding of Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan culture. Heartbreakingly, his sportsman's ambition collides with his appreciation of the mystery when his 'discovery' of the last hidden place threatens it with the onslaught of civilization. Photos. Agent, Owen Laster. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , One of the most captivating stories of exploration and discovery in recent memory, The Heart of the World is an extraordinary journey to one of the wildest and most inaccessible places on Earth — and a pilgrimage to the heart of the Tibetan Buddhist faith.
"Synopsis" by ,
The myth of Shangri-la originates in Tibetan Buddhist beliefs in beyul, or hidden lands, sacred sanctuaries that reveal themselves to devout pilgrims and in times of crisis. The more remote and inaccessible the beyul, the vaster its reputed qualities. Ancient Tibetan prophecies declare that the greatest of all hidden lands lies at the heart of the forbidding Tsangpo Gorge, deep in the Himalayas and veiled by a colossal waterfall. Nineteenth-century accounts of this fabled waterfall inspired a series of ill-fated European expeditions that ended prematurely in 1925 when the intrepid British plant collector Frank Kingdon-Ward penetrated all but a five-mile section of the Tsangpoandrsquo;s innermost gorge and declared that the falls were no more than a andldquo;religious mythandrdquo; and a andldquo;romance of geography.andrdquo;

The heart of the Tsangpo Gorge remained a blank spot on the map of world exploration until world-class climber and Buddhist scholar Ian Baker delved into the legends. Whatever cryptic Tibetan scrolls or past explorers had said about the Tsangpoandrsquo;s innermost gorge, Baker determined, could be verified only by exploring the uncharted five-mile gap. After several years of encountering sheer cliffs, maelstroms of impassable white water, and dense leech-infested jungles, on the last of a series of extraordinary expeditions, Baker and his National Geographicandndash;sponsored team reached the depths of the Tsangpo Gorge. They made news worldwide by finding there a 108-foot-high waterfall, the legendary grail of Western explorers and Tibetan seekers alike.

The Heart of the World is one of the most captivating stories of exploration and discovery in recent memoryandmdash;an extraordinary journey to one of the wildest and most inaccessible places on earth and a pilgrimage to the heart of the Tibetan Buddhist faith.

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