by Jeffery Paine

Signed by the author

Hardback, 278 pages

GT3004-Book $22.00 + Domestic shipping only via Media Mail (& Taxes in California) 

ISBN 0-393-01968-3


From Publishers Weekly
Memorable anecdotes, great storytelling and keen observations mark this cogent exploration of the explosive growth of Tibetan Buddhism in the West. Paine offers chapters on many famous Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama (who, refreshingly, doesn't appear until nearly the end of the book), the pioneering Lama Yeshe, who first taught Westerners, and the controversial rogue playboy Chogyam Trungpa, Yeshe's character foil. Other chapters profile Westerners who discovered Tibetan Buddhism, like Tenzin Palmo (formerly a Cockney London girl named Diane Perry), who meditated alone for 12 years in an Indian cave and American lama Jetsunma (Catherine Burroughs), a much-married "tough bird from Brooklyn" who was the first Western woman to be recognized as a tulku (reincarnated Buddhist figure). Of course, there's a chapter on Hollywood, but Paine eschews a superficial chronicle of Tibetan Buddhism's sudden popularity among the glitterati in favor of a compelling analysis of why a Buddhist concept of reality might make sense to people whose lives revolve around the creation of impermanent "realities" like films. Throughout, Paine explores how Tibetan Buddhism has changed the American religious landscape, but also how it has been changed by America: in Tibet, for example, meditation was traditionally a very advanced practice, but in practical-minded America, practitioners "dive straight into meditation immediately." A final chapter introduces the only Tibetan Buddhist on death row; in a fascinating observation, Paine notes that famed Tibetan saint Milarepa was in fact a reformed criminal.

Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist
Forty years after Chinese Communists attempted to sweep Tibetan Buddhism off the planet, casting much of its monastic community and the Dalai Lama into exile, Paine asserts that Buddhism is enjoying record-breaking popularity, particularly in the West. Its attractiveness stems from principles that appeal to Americans disenchanted with what has turned out to be the myth of materialism and the politicization of organized religion. Tibetan Buddhism, he says, is universal, places accountability squarely in the hands of the individual, and offers the potential for heightened capacity. What's more, it relocates religion from church and Sunday to anywhere, anytime. In this guide-to-the-common-person narrative, Paine provides a brief history of Tibetan Buddhism, constructs an apology of its basic tenets, and relates the personal histories of several converts. His account of Frenchwoman Alexandra David-Neel's obsession with Tibetan Buddhism and the stories of converts, including an Ivy League professor, a death-row inmate, and a Hollywood movie star, illustrate the broad range of those to whom Buddhism has become a personal salvation. Donna Chavez
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.