Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review

"The Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama" by Alexander Norma is very engaging historical tale of the succession of Tibet's god-king. This book with a forward by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama revealed previously unknown information regarding the origin of the institution of the Dalai Lama. As a staunch devotee of the Dalai Lama, I felt honored to have read the book. Despite of all the diabolical  secret, bloodshed, scandal, and other controversy surrounding the lives of those previous Dalai Lama, getting to know the historical perspectives on it has further strengthened my conviction in the greatness-and historical legitimacy of this institution. I cannot cease to marvel at the ingenuity of this creation in the anal of Tibetan history and the whole hardheartedness of the Tibetan laity and clergy's acceptance.
 Sometime back during a conversation with a well educated Tibetan friend, he confessed to me to much of my surprise, that he does not believe the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of the Bodhisattva  Cherezig. I heard he is a non-believer or atheist. But he accepts without doubt in the leadership of HH the Dalai Lama. No matter what his believes are , according to me, if there is  really a god, than who can be better manifestation of Him, than the Tibet's God- King, the Dalai Lama.  

Faith based on understanding and logic will remain unwavering. So the book on the Secret Lives of the Dalai Lama has not diminished my respect and faith in the Dalai Lama institution. It rather bolstered my understanding of its historical background, besides  the book  bequeathed on me the essential knowledge for  a more intellectual discourse  on this important topic in anytime in the future. 
Of all the previous successive  Dalai Lama, the lives of the 6th is heart-wrenching tale. In actually there appeared to be three 6th, and the one most believed by the Tibetan met with a mysterious ending, with no particular confirmation of death or alive. But they believe that the high beings have the liberty to choice when to reborn, to whom and where is soothing to my curious mind.
When the present Dalai Lama devolved all his political power to a elected leadership, I am awestruck that this is such a historically turning out in the institution of the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama did what he has done keeping in mind for the best interest of the Tibetan people in the long run. Looking back in history, the rule of regency is rigged with controversy and corruptions , and powerful struggle, that sometimes lead to much bloodbath and to the consternation of the ordinary citizens.

His Holiness the great 14th Dalai Lama is fully aware of the strength of the institution as well as its weakness. And  he is tackling head on to salvage the weakness of the institution by having a legitimate political leadership in the event of the Dalai Lama's demise that create a leadership vacuum.
Another earth - shattering news for Tibetans and Chinese government will be how the present the Dalai Lama decides on his reincarnation.
As a Tibetan reading this book gives me tremendous pride on our rich history and Buddhism culture and how strong and illustrations foundation and canons of literature with a scientific bases of understanding human mentality. Each Dalai Lama has demonstrated different personal characteristic, and the present one is perhaps the most popular within the Tibetan legion and internationally.
 His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in his forwarding for the book stated "While I do not necessarily agree with every opinion the author has expressed, I very much appreciate the frankness he brings to bear in this analysis of these matters". So opinions are without factual basis, which could be true or false. But author has also done substantial research with pages of biographical notes at end of the book.
 This book maybe shelved as Tibet's historical reference, and must be in possession of all educated Tibetan. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama recommends it to all readers in his forward " I commend this book to anyone wishing to deepen their knowledge of Tibetan history and culture. It contains insights which, I am sure, will be illuminating even to experts in the field".  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Field Trip With Kunsal

I havent blogged for a while now. Why I didnt do the thing that I love ?.

The easy answer is , simply no time.

But today, I stole a moment to come to Oakton library, and fortunately, I arrive on time for the book sale. Every one brought big bags to fill in their books and stood in line before the library opens at 1:00pm.  I wasted no time to rush in and scuttered to the piles of books displayed in the hall ways and meeting rooms. As the sales are great, with paperbacks only $1:00, so I have scooped up all the available attractive classic works of fiction and literature, as those are my favourite readings.

  There are many familiar fictions that I have already read once and that had an impact on me, and yet there are other books that I have not read yet. I have also picked up few interesting books for children and besides few DVDs that is on sale for $2.  After about half hours of searching and selecting, I have filled two bags full of books, and only cost me 41$, at a give- away price. I felt at that moment how wonderful and useful it will be that if I could take all these books and donate Tibetan school library in India.

I called TS to come and see if she could find anything interesting  for the kids. But alas, her favourite pastime is go to the malls and be hooked to the sale signs of the clothing stores, rather the treasure of knowledge that is the books . Yes I can not deny that she made good choice most of the time, but many a time, what is bought unused and stacked away somewhere in the closets.

While, this was a moment after I returned from a school field trip, accompanning my five year kunsal.

This morning, I arrived at school half hours prior to depature. I attended the field trip as a chaperon and we are assigned six kids in each group, that we oversee.

The trip to the hidden nature pond in Fairfax county Public park is a well organized trip filled with fun and learning for the kids. The kids behaved so well, largely thanks to Mr. Everage's skillful guidance throughout the trip.  

They are introduced to the life of native American, and it was an eye-opening experience even for an adult. With a sense of humility, I havent thought much about the native American people until then. Today's lesson to the children is a learning for me as well.

Within  the alloted time, so much is done so effectively by these 5 years kids.

This field trip is a great learning opportunity for the kids. it sparked their imagination, creativity, and  piqued their curiosity and showed ways to appreciate the nature.

The quality of education and opportunity for such innovative learning that our  kids are exposed to is  truly amazing.  

I wonder after observing everything at the field trip, what parent can expect other than this kind of experiential learning under a  caring and loving environment.

There wont be anything on the earth that a parent can send kids to, other than the  school to learn self-discipline.