Title: The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama
Author: Thomas Laird
Year of Publication: 2006
Genre Keywords: Asian history, Buddhism, cultural studies, Dalai Lama, history, politics, religion.
Summary: Throughout a series of interviews, Thomas Laird came to understand the history of Tibet from the perspective of the Dalai Lama, starting with the country’s myths of origin and moving all the way into the twentieth-century controversies over Chinese occupation. Laird interweaves historical and political source material with the Dalai Lama’s own words and ideas, which often combine the spiritual and the political for a unique perspective on Tibet’s place in the world and his own role in moving his nation forward.
Who’ll Love It: A thoughtful reader with an interest in Asian or Buddhist thought, history, and culture. The Story of Tibet is hardly a quick read – actually it took me an unusually long time to finish – but it was well worth the effort for somebody fascinated by the Dalai Lama and his Buddhist outlook on life. Throughout the story, he supplies an unusual take on history that really spoke to me. I’m moved by the challenge of eliciting change without resorting to violence, and the ways our own media and social system makes that difficult.
The Quotable Lama: “I believe truth has its own strength and we must retain our faith in truth. Of course guns have their own unique strength. But the strength or force of a gun is short or temporary. Temporarily it is decisive, but in the long run it is weak. The power of truth stands up. Truth always remains unchangeable.” (The Story of Tibet contains lots of little gems like this one.)