One of the most acclaimed and perceptive observers of globalism and Buddhism now gives us the first serious consideration—for Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike—of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama’s work and ideas as a politician, scientist, and philosopher.
Pico Iyer has been engaged in conversation with the Dalai Lama (a friend of his father’s) for the last three decades—an ongoing exploration of his message and its effectiveness. Now, in this insightful, impassioned book, Iyer captures the paradoxes of the Dalai Lama’s position: though he has brought the ideas of Tibet to world attention, Tibet itself is being remade as a Chinese province; though he was born in one of the remotest, least developed places on earth, he has become a champion of globalism and technology. He is a religious leader who warns against being needlessly distracted by religion; a Tibetan head of state who suggests that exile from Tibet can be an opportunity; an incarnation of a Tibetan god who stresses his everyday humanity.
Moving from Dharamsala, India—the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile—to Lhasa, Tibet, to venues in the West, where the Dalai Lama’s pragmatism, rigor, and scholarship are sometimes lost on an audience yearning for mystical visions, The Open Road illuminates the hidden life, the transforming ideas, and the daily challenges of a global icon.
…elegant and intensely personal…Iyer's father began meeting with the Dalai Lama when both men were in their 20s, and the author followed in his paternal footsteps, calling on the Dalai Lama and his followers multiple times over the past three decades. The Open Road is an attempt to record, in Iyer's characteristically limpid prose, some of these conversations…The Dalai Lama, The Open Road acknowledges, doesn't have all the answers; "it's the questions he puts into play that invigorate." One could say the same about Pico Iyer's marvelous little book.