High Peaks Pure Earth Winter 2022 Tibet Reading List

High Peaks Pure Earth presents the Winter 2022 Tibet Reading List! We’ve updated the previous Summer Reading List to include over 24 more titles covering the span of the entire Tibetan Buddhist world.

If you think we’ve missed anything or if you have a particular recommendation please feel free to get in touch with us, it’s impossible for us to keep track of all Tibet-related publications! You’re also welcome as always to write your own short reviews in the comments section or on your social media, just tag us so that we see it or use the hashtag #TibetReadingList.

We’ve continued to add links to Bookshop.org, if you buy books linked from our site, we may earn a small commission and, at the same time, you are supporting independent bookshops!

See below for the new books added to the existing Tibet Reading List. For ease, we have (broadly) categorised them, otherwise there is no particular order. For books not directly about Tibet but may include Tibet or be of general interest, we have placed them in the section at the bottom called Special Mentions. Do look out for the titles which are Open Access and also the special extract of “Digital Dharma” provided for us courtesy of our friends at Buddhist Digital Resource Center!

Happy reading this winter season and see you in the new year!

Contents hide

Biography, Anthropology and History

“The Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy: Memoirs of a Lifetime in Pursuit of a Reunited Tibet” By Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari

Published in November 2022 by Columbia University Press, “The Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy: Memoirs of a Lifetime in Pursuit of a Reunited Tibet” by the late Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari is a revealing memoir in which Gyari chronicles his lifetime of service to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan cause.

From the Columbia University Press website:

Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari spent decades drawing attention to the plight of the Tibetan people and striving for resolution of the Tibetan-Chinese conflict. He was the Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy and chief negotiator with the People’s Republic of China in the formal negotiations over the status of Tibet.

Gyari recounts his work conducting formal dialogue with the Chinese leadership from 2002 to 2012, as well as his efforts during the many years of quiet diplomacy preceding these historic negotiations. He details the fits and starts of the parties’ relationship, addressing successes as well as failures and highlighting misperceptions, missteps, and missed opportunities by both sides. Gyari grounds his recollections of his time as Special Envoy in his life experience, providing a powerful account of the personal side of Tibet’s struggles. He describes the Tibetan resistance to the Chinese invasion and the tumultuous early years of the Tibetan community in exile as well as his family’s history and spiritual lineage. A reincarnated Tibetan Buddhist lama forced to flee Tibet during the Chinese invasion, Gyari illuminates how his political efforts fulfilled his spiritual calling.

Informed by his unparalleled experiences, Gyari offers realizable—but provocative—recommendations for restarting the Tibetan-Chinese dialogue to achieve a mutually beneficial resolution of the issue. For all readers interested in Tibet’s complex modern history, this book offers an incomparable look inside the decades-long effort to achieve the Dalai Lama’s vision of a reunited Tibet.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9780231206488

“Common Ground: Tibetan Buddhist Expansion and Qing China’s Inner Asia” By Lan Wu

Published in August 2022 by Columbia University Press, “Common Ground” by Lan Wu analyzes how Tibetan Buddhists and the Qing imperial rulers interacted and negotiated as both sought strategies to expand their influence in eighteenth-century Inner Asia. In so doing, she recasts the Qing empire, seeing it not as a monolithic project of imperial administration but as a series of encounters among different communities.

From the Columbia University Press website:

The Qing empire and the Dalai Lama-led Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism came into contact in the eighteenth century. Their interconnections would shape regional politics and the geopolitical history of Inner Asia for centuries to come.

Wu examines a series of interconnected sites in the Qing empire where the influence of Tibetan Buddhism played a key role, tracing the movement of objects, flows of peoples, and circulation of ideas in the space between China and Tibet. She identifies a transregional Tibetan Buddhist knowledge network, which provided institutional, pragmatic, and intellectual common ground for both polities. Wu draws out the voices of lesser-known Tibetan Buddhists, whose writings and experiences evince an alternative Buddhist space beyond the state. She highlights interactions between Mongols and Tibetans within the Qing empire, exploring the creation of a Buddhist Inner Asia. Wu argues that Tibetan Buddhism occupied a central—but little understood—role in the Qing vision of empire. Revealing the interdependency of two expanding powers, Common Ground sheds new light on the entangled histories of political, social, and cultural ties between Tibet and China.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9780231206167

“Marching into View: the Tibetan Army in Historic Photographs (1895-1959)” By Alice Travers

Published in July 2022 by edition-tethys, “Marching into View” sheds light on Tibet’s military in the modern era prior to 1959 by utilising archival photographs from various international and private collections.

From the edition-tethys website:

This publication is issued in conjunction with the travelling exhibition „Marching into View: the Tibetan Army in Historic Photographs (1895-1959); first shown from 4-10 July 2022, at the University of Prague (Czech Republic) during the 16th Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies.

Read more about the exhibition and publication on the website of the French Society for Tibetan Studies here.

“Himalaya: Exploring the Roof of the World” By John Keay

Published in November 2022 by Bloomsbury USA, “Himalaya: Exploring the Roof of the World” is a groundbreaking new look at Himalaya and how climate change is re-casting one of the world’s most unique geophysical, historical, environmental, and social regions.

From the Bloomsbury USA website:

More rugged and elevated than any other zone on earth, Himalaya embraces all of Tibet, plus six of the world’s eight major mountain ranges and nearly all its highest peaks. It contains around 50,000 glaciers and the most extensive permafrost outside the polar region. 35% of the global population depends on Himalaya’s freshwater for crop-irrigation, protein, and, increasingly, hydro-power. Over an area nearly as big as Europe, the population is scattered, often nomadic and always sparse. Many languages are spoken, some are written, and few are related. Religious allegiances are equally diverse. The region is also politically fragmented, its borders belonging to multiple nations with no unity in how to address the risks posed by Himalaya’s environment, including a volatile, near-tropical latitude in which temperatures climb from sub-zero at night to 80°F by day.

Himalaya has drawn an illustrious succession of admirers, from explorers, surveyors, and sportsmen, to botanists and zoologists, ethnologists and geologists, missionaries and mountaineers. It now sits seismically unstable, as tectonic plates continue to shift and the region remains gridlocked in a global debate surrounding climate change. Himalaya is historian John Keay’s striking case for this spectacular but endangered corner of the planet as one if its most essential wonders. Without an other-worldly ethos and respect for its confounding, utterly fascinating features, John argues, Himalaya will soon cease to exist.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9781408891155

“The Return of Polyandry: Kinship and Marriage in Central Tibet” By Heidi E. Fjeld

Published in August 2022 by Berghahn Books, “The Return of Polyandry: Kinship and Marriage in Central Tibet” by Heidi E. Fjeld is fieldwork-based monograph of Central Tibetan rural communities.

From the Berghahn Books website:

Tibet is known for its broad range of marriage practices, particularly polyandry, where two or more brothers share one wife. With economic development and massive Chinese social and political reforms, including new marriage laws prohibiting plural marriages, polyandry was expected to disappear from Tibetan social lives. This book takes as its starting point the surprising increase in polyandry in Panam valley from the 1980s. It explores married lives in polyandrous houses and develops a theory of a flexible kinship of potentiality through the lens of a farming village in Tibet Autonomous Region.

Note: This title is available Open Access! Follow this link to read the title: https://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/FjeldReturn

“Routledge Handbook of Highland Asia” Edited by Jelle J.P. Wouters and Michael T. Heneise

Published in August 2022 by Routledge, the “Routledge Handbook of Highland Asia” is the first comprehensive and critical overview of the ethnographic and anthropological work in Highland Asia over the past half a century. Opening up a grand new space for critical engagement, the handbook presents Highland Asia as a world-region that cuts across the traditional divides inherited from colonial and Cold War area divisions – the Indian Subcontinent/South Asia, Southeast Asia, China/East Asia, and Central Asia.

From the Routledge website:

Thirty-two chapters assess the history of research, identify ethnographic trends, and evaluate a range of analytical themes that developed in particular settings of Highland Asia. They cover varied landscapes and communities, from Kyrgyzstan to India, from Bhutan to Vietnam and bring local voices and narratives relating trade and tribute, ritual and resistance, pilgrimage and prophecy, modernity and marginalization, capital and cosmos to the fore. The handbook shows that for millennia, Highland Asians have connected far-flung regions through movements of peoples, goods and ideas, and at all times have been the enactors, repositories, and mediators of world-historical processes. Taken together, the contributors and chapters subvert dominant lowland narratives by privileging primarily highland vantages that reveal Highland Asia as an ecumune and prism that refracts and generates global history, social theory, and human imagination. In the currently unfolding Asian Century, this compels us to reorient and re-envision Highland Asia, in ethnography, in theory, and in the connections between this world-region, made of hills, highlands and mountains, and a planetary context.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9780367358266

Note: 4 Chapters in this book are Open Access! Follow this link to read them.

“Experiencing Tibet from the Heart of Europe. Missionaries, Scholars, Filmmakers and Motorbikes” Edited by Luboš Bělka, Daniel Berounský, Petr Jandáček and Jarmila Ptáčková

Published in June 2022 by editions-tethys, “Experiencing Tibet from the Heart of Europe. Missionaries, Scholars, Filmmakers and Motorbikes” contains seven articles on Czech and Slovak Tibetologists and their work. The book was published in cooperation with Tethys publishing house, Edition Wissenschaft, with financial support of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

From the Oriental Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences, website:

Although for the most Tibetans it is still hard to locate the Czech republic on a map, explorers from this region in the heart of Europe were among the first to travel to and study the land on the roof of the world and contributed, sometimes unintentionally, to the later development of Tibetan studies. Although their names have been cited by Tibetan scholars for over a century now, only few people know where they originate from. This book aims to point out some of the well-known and also some less known pioneers to Tibet and their relation to Bohemia. The book includes unique photographs documenting the life in Tibet in different periods of the 20th century, that have never been published before.

Available from the editions-tethys website, follow the link here.

“Bordering Tibetan Languages: Making and Marking Languages in Transnational High Asia” By Gerald Roche, Gwendolyn Hyslop (eds)

Published by Amsterdam University Press in September 2022, “Bordering Tibetan Languages: Making and Marking Languages in Transnational High Asia” examines the complex interactions between state, ethnic, and linguistic borders in the Himalayas.

From the Amsterdam University Press website:

These case studies from Bhutan, China, India, and Nepal show how people in the Himalayas talk borders into existence, and also how those borders speak to them and their identities. These ‘talking borders’ exist in a world where state borders are contested, and which is being irrevocably transformed by rapid social and economic change. This book offers a new perspective on this dynamic region by centring language, and in doing so, also offers new ways of thinking about how borders and language influence each other.

Available from Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9789463725040

Religion, Literature and Art

“The Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s Stages of the Path, Volume One: Guidance for the Modern Practitioner” By His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Compiled and Edited by H.E. Dagyab Kyabgön Rinpoche, Translated by Gavin Kilty

Published in September 2022 by Wisdom Publications, “The Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s Stages of the Path” shares His Holiness’s teachings on specific topics of vital relevance to contemporary life.

From the Wisdom website:

Discover His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s advice for finding happiness, helping others, and applying insights from Buddhist thought to everyday life—for a life of greater harmony, meaning, and joy, for ourselves, others, and in our world.

His Holiness’s messages on these topics will be of value to all readers, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. These teachings embody the Dalai Lama’s generous warmth and humor, his expertise in presenting important Buddhist ideas, and his ability to inspire us toward greater kindness and happiness.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9781614297932

“Freedom through Correct Knowing: On Khedrup Jé’s Interpretation of Dharmakirti” By Khedrup Jé’, Geshe Tenzin Namdak and Tenzin Legtsok

Published in September 2022 by Wisdom Publications, “Freedom through Correct Knowing” is a clear and accessible translation with commentary on key parts of Khedrup Jé’s “Clearing Mental Darkness”.

From the Wisdom website:

Composed at the request of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and with a foreword by His Holiness, this translation with commentary on key parts of Khedrup Jé’s Clearing Mental Darkness: An Ornament of Dharmakirti’s “Seven Treatises on Valid Cognition” is intended for all levels of understanding. You’ll learn how a mind realizes its object, which types of consciousness realize their objects, and when a consciousness is considered to be valid in the sense of realizing its object. Having explained valid cognizers, or direct perceivers, which are essential to understanding the four noble truths, Khedrup Jé goes on to brilliantly elucidate this essential teaching of the Buddha and offers a lucid presentation of how to progress on the spiritual paths of liberation and enlightenment, including how to generate yogic perception directly realizing selflessness. With this, one develops an unmistaken realization of the fundamental reality of selflessness of persons and phenomena, which eliminates ignorance, the root cause of all mental afflictions and samsaric suffering.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9781614296997

“The Tibetan Nun Mingyur Peldrön. A Woman of Power and Privilege” By Alison Melnick Dyer

Published in September 2022 by University of Washington Press, “The Tibetan Nun Mingyur Peldrön. A Woman of Power and Privilege” is a close look at the nun and teacher Mingyur Peldrön (1699–1769), born to a powerful family and educated at the prominent Mindröling Monastery, who leveraged her privileged status and overcame significant adversity, including exile during a civil war, to play a central role in the reconstruction of her religious community.

From the University of Washington Press website:

Alison Melnick Dyer employs literary and historical analysis, centered on a biography written by the nun’s disciple Gyurmé Ösel, to consider how privilege influences individual authority, how authoritative Buddhist women have negotiated their position in gendered contexts, and how the lives of historical Buddhist women are (and are not) memorialized by their communities. Mingyur Peldrön’s story challenges the dominant paradigms of women in religious life and adds nuance to our ideas about the history of gendered engagement in religious institutions. Her example serves as a means for better understanding of how gender can be both masked and asserted in the search for authority—operations that have wider implications for religious and political developments in eighteenth-century Tibet. In its engagement with Tibetan history, this study also illuminates the relationships between the Geluk and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism from the eighteenth century, to the nonsectarian developments of the nineteenth century.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9780295750361

Note: This title is also available Open Access! Follow this link to read the title.

“The Life of the Sixteenth Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje: Transmitting the Dharma in Exile” By Meng Wang

Published in December 2022 by Lexington Books, “The Life of the Sixteenth Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje” by Meng Wang presents the most in-depth analysis of the Karmapa’s contribution to the preservation and transmission of Tibetan Buddhism in exile.

From the Lexington Books website:

The Sixteenth Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, was the first Tibetan Buddhist leader to make extensive teaching tours to the West. His three tours to Europe and North America from 1974 to 1980 led to the global expansion of Tibetan Buddhist schools. This book is the first study to combine Tibetan life-writing and biographical materials in English with a thorough examination of the transformation of Tibetan Buddhism in the modern era of globalization. Drawing on a wide range of data from written accounts, collections of photographs, recordings of interviews, and documentaries, the author discusses the life and activity of the Karmapa through the lens of cross-cultural interaction between Buddhism and the West with a particular focus on Asian agency. The study shows that the Karmapa’s transmission strategies emphasized continuity with tradition with some openness for adaptation. His traditionalist approach and his success on the global scale challenge the popular assumption that the transmission of Buddhism is primarily a matter of Westernization, which, in turn, calls for a broader view that recognizes its complex and dynamic nature.

Available on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/3jjYjQ8

“Searching for the Body: A Contemporary Perspective on Tibetan Buddhist Tantra” By Rae Erin Dachille

Published in October 2022 by Columbia University Press, “Searching for the Body” by Rae Erin Dachille demonstrates the significance of the body mandala debate for understandings of Tibetan Buddhism as well as conversations on representation and embodiment occurring across the disciplines today.

From the Columbia University Press Website:

In the early fifteenth century, two Tibetan monks debated how to transform the body ritually into a celestial palace inhabited by buddhas. The discussion between Ngorchen Künga Zangpo and Khédrupjé Gélek Pelzangpo concerned the mechanics of this tantric ritual practice, known as body mandala, as well as the most reliable sources to follow in performing it. As representatives of the Sakya and emerging Geluk traditions respectively, these authors spoke for communities of Buddhist practitioners vying for patronage and prestige in an evolving Tibetan scholastic culture. Their debate witnessed clashes between imagination and deception, continuity and rupture, and tradition and innovation.

Rae Erin Dachille explores how Ngorchen and Khédrup used citational practice as a tool for making meaning, arguing that their texts reveal a deep connection between ritual mechanics and interpretive practice. She contends that this debate addresses strikingly contemporary issues surrounding interpretation, intertextuality, creativity, essentialism, and naturalness. Buddhist ideas about the construction of meaning and the body offer new ways of understanding representation, which Dachille illuminates in an epilogue that considers Glenn Ligon’s engagement with Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography. By placing Buddhist thought in dialogue with contemporary artistic practice and cultural critique, Searching for the Body offers vital new perspectives on the transformative potential of representations in defining and transcending the human.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9780231206099

“The Gathering of Intentions: A History of a Tibetan Tantra” By Jacob P. Dalton

Published by Columbia University Press in October 2022, “The Gathering of Intentions” by Jacob P. Dalton reads a single Tibetan Buddhist ritual system through the movements of Tibetan history, revealing the social and material dimensions of an ostensibly timeless tradition.

From the Columbia University Press website:

By subjecting tantric practice to historical analysis, the book offers new insight into the origins of Tibetan Buddhism, the formation of its canons, the emergence of new lineages and ceremonies, and modern efforts to revitalize the religion by returning to its mythic origins.

The ritual system explored in this volume is based on the Gathering of Intentions Sutra, the fundamental “root tantra” of the Anuyoga class of teachings belonging to the Nyingma (“Ancient”) school of Tibetan Buddhism. Proceeding chronologically from the ninth century to the present, each chapter features a Tibetan author negotiating a perceived gap between the original root text—the Gathering of Intentions—and the lived religious or political concerns of his day. These ongoing tensions underscore the significance of Tibet’s elaborate esoteric ritual systems, which have persisted for centuries, evolving in response to historical conditions. Rather than overlook practice in favor of philosophical concerns, this volume prioritizes Tibetan Buddhism’s ritual systems for a richer portrait of the tradition.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9780231176019

“Buddhist Art of Tibet: In Milarepa’s Footsteps” By Etienne Bock, Jean-Marc Falcombello and Magali Jenny

Published in October 2022 by Flammarion, “Buddhist Art of Tibet: In Milarepa’s Footsteps” looks at Tibetan Buddhist art in the collection of the Tibet Museum in Gruyères, Switzerland.

From the Flammarion website:

The Tibet Museum collection in the medieval city of Gruyères, Switzerland, offers a rare opportunity to discover Tibetan Buddhist art—an endangered world heritage—through some six hundred works. Founded in 2009 by Alain Bordier—an ardent collector who is fascinated by Buddhist art and Asian spirituality—the museum presents his unique selection of religious objects from the Himalayas (Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and India), which he has acquired and assembled over more than forty years.
In addition to providing artistic context, this volume also reveals the symbolism and spirituality associated with each work. Detailed analysis of a previously unpublished illuminated manuscript, which retraces the life of the great eleventh century Tibetan yogi Milarepa, provides an excellent introduction to the major Buddhist principles. Through insightful texts and striking art from the Alain Bordier Collection, this book provides an exceptional panorama of Tibetan art, history, and religious thought.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9782080280947

“Buddhist Ethics: A Philosophical Exploration” By Jay L. Garfield

Published in February 2022 by Oxford University Press, “Buddhist Ethics: A Philosophical Exploration” by Jay L. Garfield presents an outline of Buddhist ethical thought.

From the Oxford University Press website:

Buddhist Ethics is not a defense of Buddhist approaches to ethics as opposed to any other, nor is it a critique of the Western tradition. Garfield presents a broad overview of a range of Buddhist approaches to the question of moral philosophy. He draws on a variety of thinkers, reflecting the great diversity of this 2500-year-old tradition in philosophy but also the principles that tie them together. In particular, he engages with the literature that argues that Buddhist ethics is best understood as a species of virtue ethics, and with those who argue that it is best understood as consequentialist. Garfield argues that while there are important points of contact with these Western frameworks, Buddhist ethics is distinctive, and is a kind of moral phenomenology that is concerned with the ways in which we experience ourselves as agents and others as moral fellows. With this framework, Garfield explores the connections between Buddhist ethics and recent work in moral particularism, such as that of Jonathan Dancy, as well as the British and Scottish sentimentalist tradition represented by Hume and Smith.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9780190907648

“Drumze. Metamorphoses of the Tibetan Carpet” By Franz Xaver Erhard and Thomas Wild

Published in October 2022 by edition-tethys, “Drumze. Metamorphoses of the Tibetan Carpet” is the English version of the original German language catalogue for the exhibition „Drumze. Tibetische Teppiche“ at the Teppichmuseum Schloss Voigtsberg, Oelsnitz, Vogtland.

Visit the exhibition website here.

Available from the edition-tethys website here.

མུ་ཏིག – “The Pearl”

Published in December 2022 by Blackneck Books, མུ་ཏིག is the Tibetan translation of John Steinbeck’s “The Pearl”, translated by Kunchok Rabten and featuring cover artwork by Rabkar Wangchuk. The title will soon be officially launched by Blackneck Books in Dharamsala, India. For information on how to order this title, message Blackneck Books via their social media channels.

Photo Books

“Digital Dharma: Recovering Wisdom” By Dafna Zahavi Yachin and Arthur M. Fischman in collaboration with the Buddhist Digital Resource Center

Published in August 2022 by Wisdom Publications, “Digital Dharma: Recovering Wisdom” by Dafna Zahavi Yachin and Arthur M. Fischman in collaboration with the Buddhist Digital Resource Center, is the epic story of an international rescue effort to preserve a culture’s literary history.

From the Wisdom website:

Originally a Mormon from Utah, E. Gene Smith, founder of the Buddhist Digital Resource Center, became the unlikely mastermind behind an international effort to rescue, preserve, digitize, and provide free access to the vast Tibetan Buddhist canon, many volumes of which had been lost or destroyed during China’s Cultural Revolution.

Digital Dharma is a stunning visual experience offering a behind-the-scenes look into this unprecedented mission. Through hundreds of photographs taken during Smith’s trip to deliver drives containing the digitized volumes to remote monasteries in South Asia, you’ll gain extraordinary and intimate access to life inside Buddhist monasteries, to the rituals of Tibetan Buddhism, and to the insights of some of the world’s leading lamas and lineage holders. Throughout the journey, you’ll meet monks, local publishers, scholars, and dignitaries involved in the preservation movement to which Smith dedicated his life. With the accompanying historical and cultural background, you’ll develop a deeper and more personal understanding of Tibetan Buddhism and of the achievement of preserving and disseminating its sacred canon.

Gene Smith’s legacy lives on in the organization he founded in 1999, the Buddhist Digital Resource Center. BDRC’s founding mission was to digitally preserve the entirety of Tibetan Buddhist literature in order to secure it from destruction. In 2015, it expanded its mission to include all Buddhist traditions. More than twenty years later, BDRC has digitized and archived millions of pages of Tibetan, Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, Khmer and Newari literature. BDRC is dedicated to seeking out, preserving, documenting, and disseminating Buddhist literature. With its text preservation programs, free online library, digital tools for researchers, and hard drive distribution programs, BDRC provides lamas, scholars, translators, Buddhist practitioners, and the general public with access to an unparalleled collection of Buddhist texts.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9781614297994

High Peaks Pure Earth readers can access an exclusive extract from “Digital Dharma” here, courtesy Buddhist Digital Resource Center.

“Portraits of Tibet” By Diane Barker

Published in September 2022 by Bird Eye Books, “Portraits of Tibet” is a collection of 108 portrait images, documenting several journeys made by photographer Diane Barker who became immersed in the everyday lives of the ancient nomadic people of Tibet.

From the Bird Eye Books website:

These photographs share the timeless practices and traditions of nomadic life as well as the shifts and changes which have become apparent more recently, offering a unique insight into these natural stewards of the land.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9781912213559

*For international orders, there is worldwide free shipping via The Book Depository website*

“Majnu Ka Tilla Diaries” By Serena Chopra

Self-published in hardcover in August 2022, in “Majnu Ka Tilla Diaries” Serena Chopra shares the stories of New Delhi’s “Little Tibet,” and tells of the resilience with which communities are built in exile.

From the Offset Bookshop website:

From 2007 until 2015 photographer Serena Chopra navigated through Majnu Ka Tilla, a Tibetan refugee neighbourhood in Delhi, conversing and building relationships with its inhabitants, many of who had made this place home since their exodus from Tibet in 1959. While understanding the complexities of identity, nationhood and faith with the people residing there, she always had a diary by her side. Slowly her portraits of the people found themselves on its pages and those she photographed became a part of these diaries by sharing their words and writing on the same pages.

This book is a fragment of the voices that shaped Serena’s own relationship with the community, taken from the diaries she built over the eight years of visiting Majnu Ka Tilla and has been presented as a replica of the three journals that have stayed with her since.

Read a feature of “Majnu Ka Tilla Diaries” published in Vogue India here.

Order the book via Offset Bookshop (India) here: https://www.offsetbookshop.com/products/majnu-ka-tilla-diaries

Younger Audiences

“Little Book of Joy” By His Holiness Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Published in September 2022 by Penguin Random House Children’s UK, “Little Book of Joy” is an uplifting picture book story by His Holiness Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu about their childhoods, showing young readers how to find joy even in uncertain times.

From the Penguin Random House website:

This is a charming story of how every child has joy inside them, even when it sometimes hides, and how we can find it, keep it close, and grow it by sharing it with the world.

This picture book adaptation of the international bestseller, The Book of Joy, is full of the humour, friendship, and deep affection between two spiritual leaders. It is a timely gift for challenging times and a reminder that joy is abundant – no matter what challenges we face – if we only know how to find it.

Vibrantly illustrated by award-winning Rafael Lopez, this is a perceptive, joyful hug of a picture book, perfect to reassure and inspire all young readers.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9780241597385

“Buddhist Stories for Kids: Jataka Tales of Kindness, Friendship, and Forgiveness” By Laura Burges

Published in December 2022 by Shambhala Publications, “Buddhist Stories for Kids: Jataka Tales of Kindness, Friendship, and Forgiveness” by Laura Burges and illustrated by Sonali Zohra, is a wise and colorful collection of ten Buddhist fables. This modern telling of ancient Indian stories, centering around animals and nature, teaches vibrant and timeless life lessons. (Ages 4–8)

From the Shambhala website:

Long ago, the Buddha told his followers Jataka Tales, or “birth stories,” about the many lifetimes he lived before he was born as Prince Siddhartha. In this beautiful retelling of ten such stories, the Buddha is introduced as the Queen of the Dogs, a loyal Parrot, a mischievous Monkey, a wise Lion, a brave Forest Owlet, and more.

Each story conveys important morals that are short, sweet, and to the point, giving children a handful of useful lessons to apply to their lives, like “Always try to do the right thing, even when no one else is watching.” These tales are brought to life with stunning and dreamlike illustrations by Sonali Zohra (illustrator of Ashoka the Fierce), exploring in vivid detail how one’s actions affect others; the importance of kindness; the strength of friendship; the value of thoughtful decisions; and the importance of letting go and learning to forgive. With a beautiful paper-over-board package to tie it all together, this book will serve as a timeless and treasured offering for both children and adults.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9781611809305

Special Mentions

“The Backstreets: A Novel from Xinjiang” By Perhat Tursun (Author) and Darren Byler (Translator)

Published in September 2022 by Columbia University Press, “The Backstreets: A Novel from Xinjiang” is a novel by a preeminent contemporary Uyghur author who was disappeared by the Chinese state. It follows an unnamed Uyghur man who comes to the impenetrable Chinese capital of Xinjiang after finding a temporary job in a government office. Seeking to escape the pain and poverty of the countryside, he finds only cold stares and rejection. He wanders the streets, accompanied by the bitter fog of winter pollution, reciting a monologue of numbers and odors, lust and loathing, memories and madness. A translator’s introduction situates the novel in the political atmosphere that led to the disappearance of both the author and his work.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9780231202916

“The Mongol Storm: Making and Breaking Empires in the Medieval Near East” By Nicholas Morton

Published by Basic Books in October 2022, “The Mongol Storm: Making and Breaking Empires in the Medieval Near East” looks at how the Mongol invasions of the Near East reshaped the balance of world power in the Middle Ages.

From the Basic Books website:

For centuries, the Crusades have been central to the story of the medieval Near East, but these religious wars are only part of the region’s complex history. As The Mongol Storm reveals, during the same era the Near East was utterly remade by another series of wars: the Mongol invasions.

In a single generation, the Mongols conquered vast swaths of the Near East and upended the region’s geopolitics. Amid the chaos of the Mongol onslaught, long-standing powers such as the Byzantines, the Seljuk Turks, and the crusaders struggled to survive, while new players such as the Ottomans arose to fight back. The Mongol conquests forever transformed the region, while forging closer ties among societies spread across Eurasia.

This is the definitive history of the Mongol assault on the Near East and its enduring global consequences.

Available on Bookshop here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/4863/9781399803557


  1. Tricycle had their own list of new books to read earlier this year. I wondered if you have compared your list with theirs. https://tricycle.org/magazine/buddhist-books-fall-2022/

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