Synopses & Reviews
One of the most acclaimed and perceptive observers of globalism and Buddhism now gives us the first serious consideration for Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama's work and ideas as a politician, scientist, and philosopher.
Pico Iyer has been engaged in conversation with the Dalai Lama (a friend of his father's) for the last three decades an ongoing exploration of his message and its effectiveness. Now, in this insightful, impassioned book, Iyer captures the paradoxes of the Dalai Lama's position: though he has brought the ideas of Tibet to world attention, Tibet itself is being remade as a Chinese province; though he was born in one of the remotest, least developed places on earth, he has become a champion of globalism and technology. He is a religious leader who warns against being needlessly distracted by religion; a Tibetan head of state who suggests that exile from Tibet can be an opportunity; an incarnation of a Tibetan god who stresses his everyday humanity.
Moving from Dharamsala, India the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile to Lhasa, Tibet, to venues in the West, where the Dalai Lama's pragmatism, rigor, and scholarship are sometimes lost on an audience yearning for mystical visions, The Open Road illuminates the hidden life, the transforming ideas, and the daily challenges of a global icon.
"Pico Iyer's exceptionally intimate portrait of the Dalai Lama takes us beyond global celebrity image and into a true private audience with a leader of tremendous complexity. Without ever losing compassion or respect for his subject, Iyer (like a good Buddhist, actually) peels away layer after layer of illusion, revealing critical truths about this man at every possible level. In so doing, the author makes an important case namely, that the world doesn't merely need larger-than-life humanitarian idols; the world needs larger-than-life humanitarian idols whom we can also recognize as being real people, whose limitations, doubts and personal struggles reflect our fragile humanity right back upon us." Elizabeth Gilbert, author of "Eat, Pray, Love
"In The Open Road, Pico Iyer transcends his celebrated excellence as a travel writer. In an uncommonly thoughtful and eloquent report on the spiritual reflections and also the complex and demanding political and practical encounters negotiated every day by the Dalai Lama-an old friend of his father whom he has known well since early boyhood, not only on regular sojourns at Dharamsala but as a companionable observer on His Holiness's tireless world travels on behalf of simple sanity and peace Iyer has brought us an invaluable account and precious gift." Peter Matthiessen, author of The Snow Leopard
About the Author
Pico Iyer is the author of six works of nonfiction and two novels. He has covered the Tibetan question for Time, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and many other publications for more than twenty years.