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February 7, 2011

Book review: In the Shadow of the Buddha (Matteo Pistono)

Part spiritual biography, part history, part human rights discussion, In the Shadow of the Buddha is Matteo Pistono’s eloquent offering documenting not only the history of a Tibetan spiritual master, but also his own spiritual journey during which he came to bear witness to the atrocities committed by the Chinese government against the people and culture of Tibet.

For almost ten years, Pistono travelled Tibet with the purpose of spiritual retreat and study. Before long he found himself documenting and smuggling evidence of human rights abuses out of China then sharing what he learned with anyone who would listen. His often poignant accounts of the horrors regularly visited on the Tibetan people are appropriately juxtaposed with his pilgrimages during which he further explored his commitment to the bodhisattva vow and his quest to learn the phurba ceremony.

Less a diatribe and more a reflective appeal to action, In the Shadow of the Buddha is recommended reading for students of Asian spiritual history, Buddhist practitioners, human rights activists…well, everyone, really. From Dutton Books and available from your local, independent bookseller. (Shop local, shop independent, and tell ‘em you saw it on Elephant Journal!)

NOTE: Matteo Pistono will be at the Boulder Book Store on Thursday, February 10 to speak about and sign In the Shadow of the Buddha.

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