Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Lastest book, latest atrocity

Alexandra David-Neel is such a heroine to me, I wrote a play about her that had a badly cast reading here in NYC and then when a computer crashed I lost the MS. I had thought it was on disk, had thought I had hard copy. No, neither. And I had some scenes that I really liked. Damn!. Anyway, I had read a long bio of her plus Alexandra's books, Magic and Msytery in Tibet and My Journey to Lhasa -- both amazing and still in print, I think. She wrote much else, mostly still only in French. Anyway, this book by Ruth Middleton is relatively short but a masterful job of telling a complex, highly episodic story in a readable and flowing way. There are only a few new details but the refreshing of my memory is done very intelligently.

Aexamdra was a French/Benglian woman who found Buddhism early in life but sort of staggered about trying to find her path until well into middle age. She was an opera singer, a writer, and finally married really brilliantly but almost immediately went off to India "for a year or so" which proved to be 16 years -- during which time her husband kept sending money. Amazing! She became very erudite and highly esteemed as a Buddhist, traveled all over the Orient and finally made her journey to Lhasa with one young lama for companionship, on foot, at the age of 54, in disguise, surviving winter in the mountains and innumerable hardships. That alone is amazing but so was the preceeding life and the life after which extended into her 100th year. What a story!

TIBET -- yes! The problems remains although China pretends they can lock down the country and no one else will know things aren't copasetic. They still plan to take the torch both to Lhasa and to the top of Everest on the nothern, Tibet, route. I am far from an anamist but I wish I were and could believe that Sagarmatha [the Sherpa name for the mountain, which is a goddess] would not allow such hubris and would throw up such terribe storms that the torch cannot be taken to the top. Well ... these mere human ambitions are all maya and meaningless finally ... except most of the world doesn't know that. I hate this whole awful situation.

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