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Taking What Is Not Given--an extract from In the Shadow of the Buddha

With a nod of gratitude to Richard Gere, I thought I would post an extract from “In the Shadow of the Buddha” where I write a bit about how Richard effectively communicates the critical message from Tibetans inside Tibet to those in position of political power around the world. It is people like Richard and other human rights advocates who continue to press governments around the world to call on the Chinese government to stop their repressive policies in Tibet and cease their gross human rights abuses.
March 2002, Year of the Water Horse
Washington, D.C.

Stale air hung in U.S. House of Representatives’ Rayburn Hearing Room. Maybe it was the tie and jacket, perhaps the central heating, or the fact that there was a ceiling where I was used to endless sky. Members of Congress took their seats in an arc that stretched the length of the room. Photographers jockeyed for position as they shot from the floor to accompany the next day’s headlines. Hundreds of foldout chairs were jammed behind three experts testifying. A large group of congressional staff and the public waited impatiently in the hallway, trying to get in for the few standing-room-only positions.

The crowd was not gathered because all the congressmen on the com¬mittee were present at the hearing, an uncommon occurrence. Nor was it because this was a hearing on U.S. policy considerations on Tibet. Rather, the best-known Buddhist associated with Tibet, after the Dalai Lama, was present. Richard Gere had just flown in from a Toronto movie set to testify on religious persecution in Tibet.
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Upcoming dates for 'In the Shadow of the Buddha' in Chicago, Feb 6-8

Monday, February 6, 2012, 4:30-6:00 p.m. Evanston
Northwestern University Harris Hall-Room 108
"Conversation on Tibet, China, Religion, Human Rights, and Friendship"
Hosted by Dept. of Religious Studies, Asian & Middles East Studies, and Asia Studies Cluster
free and open to the public (refreshments will be provided)

February 7, 2012 Chicago, IL
SLIDESHOW & TALK "Tibetan Pilgrimage: In the Shadow of the Buddha"
6:00 p.m. at Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA)
820 N. Michigan Avenue
RSVP to or 312.915.7608 free and open to the public

February 8, 2012 Evanston, IL
SLIDESHOW & TALK "Tibetan Pilgrimage: In the Shadow of the Buddha"
7:00 p.m. at Tibet Alliance of Chicago
2422 Dempster Street
RSVP: free and open to the public
A traditional Tibetan dinner will be offered after the event

for more information, click on the image to the left...see you in Chicago Read More 
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Paperback launch of 'In the Shadow of the Buddha: One Man's Journey of Discovery in Tibet' at Bedford Post in upstate New York

“In the Shadow of the Buddha: One Man’s Journey in Tibet” was launched last night at Richard Gere’s Bedord Post Inn. The Westchester Buddhist Center graciously hosted the event where fifty people attended the slide show and book discussion. I was pleased that Richard Gere, who wrote the foreword to the book, came for the event.

I was able to thank Richard for his support for the book project and for my non-profit organization, NEKORPA, by giving him a framed print of the hand drawn map of Tibet that is in the book.

The drawings in the four corners of this map are of the pilgrimage sites found in "In the Shadow of the Buddha": which are the Jokhang Cathedral in Lhasa, the Enlightenment Stupa of Tertön Sogyal at Nyagar, Kalzang Monastery in Nyarong, and the Cave That Delights the Senses at Tsadra Rinchen Drak near Palpung in Eastern Tibet.

The spiritual geography of the map developed over the years of pilgrimage in Tibet. And the first part of the journey I wrote about in the early part of the “In the Shadow of the Buddha”:
When I came to Kalzang Monastery, One-Eye Wangde held the keys to the iron padlocks on the door to the dusty library on the top floor of the temple. As we walked to the temple library, I held his bony elbow as his curved knuckles gripped a cane.  Read More 
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Video of Matteo Pistono speaking about "In the Shadow of the Buddha"

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