2017 Summer Reading – Lectures d’été

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Here is this summer’s list of Tibet-related books, both fiction and non-fiction, compiled from CTC staff suggestions and including books by Canadian authors.  In addition to new or recent publications, this year’s list includes popular selections from previous years, books for children, and a selection in the French language.  Happy reading!


The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, Penguin Canada, 2017

Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships - or, as they would say, because of them - they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.

In April 2015, Archbishop Tutu traveled to the Dalai Lama's home in Dharamsala, India, to celebrate His Holiness's eightieth birthday and to create what they hoped would be a gift for others. They traded intimate stories, teased each other continually, and shared their spiritual practices. By the end of a week filled with laughter and punctuated with tears, these two global heroes had stared into the abyss and despair of our times, and revealed how to live a life brimming with joy. This book offers us a rare opportunity to experience their astonishing and unprecedented week together, from the first embrace to the final goodbye.

 Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society

The Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, Wisdom Publications, 2017

In June 2017, His Holiness the Karmapa visited Canada for the first time and traveled across the country meeting Buddhists and non-Buddhists from all walks of life. His message of peace is eloquently expressed in his most recent book.

Plucked from a humble nomad family to become the leader of one of Tibet’s oldest Buddhist lineages, the young Seventeenth Karmapa draws on timeless values to create an urgent ethic for today’s global community. He is uniquely positioned to guide us in this process. Drawing on years of intensive Buddhist training and a passionate commitment to social issues, he teaches how we can move from a merely intellectual understanding to a fully lived experience of connection. The Karmapa shows us how gaining emotional awareness of our connectedness can fundamentally reshape the human race. In clear language, the Karmapa draws connections between such seemingly far-flung issues as consumer culture, loneliness, animal protection, and self-reliance. In the process, he helps us move beyond theory to practical and positive social and ethical change.

Approaching the Buddhist Path

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Ven. Thubten Chodron, Wisdom Publications (forthcoming July 2017)

The Buddha wanted his students to investigate and to see for themselves whether what he said was true. As a student of the Buddha, the Dalai Lama promotes the same spirit of investigation as the rich tradition of the Buddha makes its way into new lands and cultures. This first volume also provides a wealth of reflections on Buddhist history and fundamentals, contemporary issues, and the Dalai Lama’s own personal experiences. It stands alone as an introduction to Buddhism, but it also provides a foundation for the systematic illumination of the path in the volumes to come. “Approaching the Buddhist Path” is the first in a multi-volume collection presenting the Dalai Lama’s comprehensive explanation of the Buddhist path.

The Division of Heaven and Earth: On Tibet’s Peaceful Revolution

Shokdung, translated by Matthew Akester, Hurst Publishers, 2017

The Division of Heaven and Earth is one of the most influential and important books from Tibet in the modern era — a passionate indictment of Chinese policies and an eloquent analysis of protests that swept Tibet from March 2008 as a re-awakening of Tibetan national consciousness and solidarity.

Publication of the original Tibetan edition saw Shokdung (a pseudonym), one of Tibet’s leading intellectuals, imprisoned for nearly six months, and the book immediately banned. This English translation is being made available for the first time since copies began to circulate underground in Tibet. Written in response to an unprecedented wave of bold demonstrations and expressions of Tibetan solidarity and national identity, Shokdung’s book is regarded as one of the most daring and wide-ranging critiques of China’s policies in Tibet since the 10th Panchen Lama’s famous ‘70,000-character Petition’ addressed to Mao Zedong in 1962.

Guardians of Nature: Tibetan Pastoralists and the Natural World

By Tsering Bum, Asia Highlands Perspectives, 2016

Guardians of Nature is a clearly written and insightful view of the political economic, environmental, and social-cultural transformations reshaping lives and livelihoods on the Tibetan Plateau. Written as a first-hand narrative account of his work over several years with Yulshul villagers, Tsering Bum’s perceptive book discusses key issues of contemporary Tibetan pastoralism: mining; the importance of the caterpillar fungus economy; resettlement; co-ops; education policy; human-wildlife conflict; and sacred mountains. It also explores new phenomena, such as Tibetan pastoralists hiring Han Chinese as herding laborers while living off of caterpillar fungus income. Bum’s analysis is strongly recommended for anyone interested in Tibetan pastoral areas of Tibet.

A Fearless Heart: How the Courage to Be Compassionate Can Transform Our Lives

By Thupten Jinpa PhD, Hudson Street Press, 2015

Montrealer, Thupten Jinpa looks at how the Buddhist practice of mindfulness caught on in the west when we began to understand the everyday, personal benefits it brought us. Now, in this extraordinary book, the highly acclaimed thought leader and longtime English translator of His Holiness the Dalai Lama shows us that compassion can bring us even more. Based on the landmark course in compassion training Jinpa helped create at Stanford Medical School, A Fearless Heart uses science and insights from both classical Buddhist and western psychology to train our compassion muscle to relieve stress, fight depression, improve our health, achieve our goals, and change our world.

The Search for the Panchen Lama

Isobel Hilton, W. W. Norton & Company, 2001

In May 1995, a seven-year-old Tibetan boy and his family were taken from their home by Chinese security forces. They have not been seen since. The boy's devotees believe him to be the eleventh incarnation of the Panchen Lama, the second most important incarnation in the Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy.  Isabel Hilton tells the gripping inside story of how this child became the pawn in a battle between the Chinese regime and Tibet's exiled religious leader, the Dalai Lama.

In revealing the political intrigue that accompanied the race to choose and enthrone the eleventh Panchen Lama, Hilton "clarifies a great deal about the nature of Tibetan culture and history and the complexities of Tibet's relationship with China" (NYT).

Tibetan Home Cooking

Lobsang Wangdu and Yolanda O’Bannon, Yowandu.com, 2013

Tibetan Home Cooking includes a 130+ page eBook full of well-loved, authentic recipes that are cooked in the great majority of Tibetan homes. The book offers 27 wonderful recipes that have been passed down in Tibetan families for hundreds of years and it includes photos and an instructive video with each recipe. The book contains tips on how to find exotic ingredients or what to substitute for certain things are difficult to find outside of Tibet.  All sections of the book can be printed, and you can use it on your iPad/iPhone, or other mobile device.


‘Skeleton God’: Exorcising Demons in Tibet

Eliot Pattison, Minotaur Books, 2017

Skeleton God, the ninth novel in Eliot Pattison’s lauded Inspector Shan series, brings these headlines out of the realm of abstractions, and into the richly imagined Tibetan town of Yangkar. The latest book by Pattison, an international lawyer who has won the Edgar Award and Art of Freedom award for his fiction, offers an engrossing portrayal of the haunted history and harsh current realities of life in Tibet.  Little ink is spilled before the town’s constable, Shan Tao Yun, is swept into a web of intrigue, involving the reported assault of a nun by ghosts, and the discovery that a gilded Buddhist saint’s centuries-old tomb contains the bodies of a Chinese soldier killed 50 years ago and an American traveler who has just been murdered. Add a good dose of high-level corruption and a moving story about an attempted reunion of Tibetan refugees pulled apart by space and time, and you have the recipe for a gripping read.

White Crane Lend Me Your Wings

Tsewang Y. Pemba, Niyogi Books, 2017

White Crane is set in Nyarong, a valley at the heart of Kham in Eastern Tibet. With soaring mountains, deep valleys, undulating rivers, and open grasslands, Nyarong is something of a highland ‘Wild West’ whose tribes often engaged in blood feuds while at the same time making generous donations to local monasteries and propitiating deities who never answered their prayers.  White Crane is a fast-paced and breathtaking tale of love, friendship and vendetta, and above all it is a story of man’s innate desire for freedom. When the land is lost everything else becomes inconsequential. This loss forms a tight knot at the pith of one’s heart. Life is consequently retuned into a singular goal to reclaim ‘the soil beneath his feet and the sky above his head.’ To be able to accomplish this repossession is one’s ‘true freedom’ and ‘true liberation’.


Excavating Pema Ozer

Yudron Wangmo, Mayum Mountain Resources, 2015

(Young adult) Weslyn Redinger wants one thing: to be normal again. Racked by panic attacks that have ruined her life and driven off her friends in the months since she saw the body of a young boy she loved rolled out to a waiting ambulance, she is now drawn into a circle of seekers who surround a mysterious stranger living in her grandmother’s backyard shed. After reluctantly attending his teachings, a series of dreams is unleashed—as vivid as her waking life. At night she is an attendant to the female teacher Uza Khandro from the Tibetan countryside, during the day she is a flawed sixteen-year-old struggling to get control over her body and her life.  Why does she care so much about this man’s story of a long-lost set of Tibetan books hoarded by a greedy collector?

Shantideva: How to Wake Up a Hero

By Dominique Townsend and Tenzin Norbu, Wisdom Publications, 2015

(age 5-10) This is the retelling of Shantideva’s teachings before a surprised audience, who had thought he was useless and could only eat, sleep, and poop. Leading his listeners into a superhero training of different kind, he reveals the secret to perfect bravery and unbounded compassion and shows how anyone can develop them. You don’t need super-strength or magical powers, he says. You just need practice. Over a dozen illustrations painted in traditional Tibetan style draw in readers to this work that will be treasured not only by Buddhist families but by anyone who aspires to become more kind and wise.


Lectures d'été – 2017

 Voici quelques suggestions de livres en français sur le Tibet. Envoyez-nous vos commentaires, critiques, et d'autres suggestions de livres: nous les ajouterons à la liste!  Bonne lecture!


Cerveau et méditation - Dialogue entre le bouddhisme et les neurosciences

Matthieu Ricard et Wolf Singer, Allary 2017

Moine bouddhiste depuis quarante ans, Matthieu Ricard est un méditant chevronné, régulièrement sollicité par les universités du monde entier pour se prêter à des expériences sur le cerveau. Neurobiologiste, directeur émérite du Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Wolf Singer est l'un des plus grands spécialistes mondiaux du cerveau. Pendant huit ans, ils ont partagé leurs savoirs et se sont interrogés ensemble sur le fonctionnement de l'esprit. Les deux approches sont radicalement différentes, mais elles aboutissent souvent aux mêmes conclusions. Pour développer une véritable « science de l'esprit », leur rapprochement, esquissé depuis quelques années, est indispensable.

 Demain un monde meilleur: dialogue avec le Dalaï-lama

Le Dalai Lama, Salvator, 2016

Dans ces échanges avec de jeunes Allemands, à l'occasion de voyages en 2013 et 2014, le Dalaï-lama explique les fondements du bouddhisme et s'exprime sur le bonheur, les valeurs morales, la paix et la justice, l'équilibre entre la politique et les religions pour éviter les conflits, etc. Les dialogues sont précédés d'une biographie et d'une présentation du bouddhisme tibétain.

Le Tibet est-il chinois?

Anne Marie Blondeau et Katia Buffetrille, Albin Michel, 2013

Pour la première fois, des chercheurs du monde entier se sont réunis pour donner au lecteur une connaissance aussi exacte que possible du Tibet. La forme interrogative du titre est une invitation à la réflexion, à partir de connaissances rassemblées sans passion et dont la divulgation s'imposait dans les circonstances présentes. Le lecteur pourra enfin juger sur pièces de ce que fut le Tibet, de ce qu'il est devenu et de ce qu'il pourra devenir.

Le Feu sous la neige

Palden Gyatso, Actes Sud, 1999

Arrêté à 28 ans lors de l'occupation du Tibet par les Chinois, l'auteur n'a été relâché que trente-deux ans plus tard. Il raconte sa vie et témoigne de la violence du régime chinois à l'égard de sa culture et de sa religion. Soumis à la torture, il fut libéré en 1992 et s'exila en Inde.


 Traque au Tibet

de Matt Dickinson (avec la contribution de), Dominique Vulliamy (traduction), Editions du Mont-Blanc, 2017

Cette fois, Ryan Hart se rend au Tibet, sur le versant nord de l'Everest. A peine arrivé au camp de base, alors qu'il vient de rencontrer Tashi, une jeune Tibétaine conductrice de yaks, un tremblement de terre se déclenche, dévastant la paroi et le camp, tuant des alpinistes. La montagne, jugée trop dangereuse, est alors fermée aux expéditions. Cependant, une lueur est aperçue tout là-haut sur les pentes de l'Everest. Quelqu'un est vivant. Une aventure riche en suspense !


10 contes du Tibet

Jean Muzi (auteur), Fred Sochard (illustrations), Flammarion jeunesse, 2010

Dans les hauteurs et sur les plateaux du Tibet, il est possible de croiser au détour d'un chemin monstres sacrés, crapauds réincarnés et autres princes répudiés... Ces récits légendaires ouvrent les portes d'un imaginaire surprenant et poétique, où la sagesse et la ruse tiennent une place essentielle. Dix contes pour faire entendre la voix de la culture tibétaine. (9 - 11 années)

La jeune fille muette : conte du Tibet

Illustrateur Karine Le Pabic, Lirabelle 2010

Quelque part au Tibet, vivaient autrefois trois amis. Un jour, Ils entendirent parler d'une jeune fille appelée Dikyi Dolma. On disait qu'elle avait la beauté d'une déesse... (7 – 10 années)

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