Grains Of Gold: Tales Of A Cosmopolitan Traveler

Hardcover | January 17, 2014

byGendun ChopelTranslated byThupten Jinpa, Donald S. Lopez Jr.

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In 1941, philosopher and poet Gendun Chopel (1903–51) sent a large manuscript by ship, train, and yak across mountains and deserts to his homeland in the northeastern corner of Tibet. He would follow it five years later, returning to his native land after twelve years in India and Sri Lanka. But he did not receive the welcome he imagined: he was arrested by the government of the regent of the young Dalai Lama on trumped-up charges of treason. He emerged from prison three years later a broken man and died soon after.
 
Gendun Chopel was a prolific writer during his short life. Yet he considered that manuscript, which he titled Grains of Gold, to be his life’s work, one to delight his compatriots with tales of an ancient Indian and Tibetan past, while alerting them to the wonders and dangers of the strikingly modern land abutting Tibet’s southern border, the British colony of India. Now available for the first time in English, Grains of Gold is a unique compendium of South Asian and Tibetan culture that combines travelogue, drawings, history, and ethnography. Gendun Chopel describes the world he discovered in South Asia, from the ruins of the sacred sites of Buddhism to the Sanskrit classics he learned to read in the original. He is also sharply, often humorously critical of the Tibetan love of the fantastic, bursting one myth after another and finding fault with the accounts of earlier Tibetan pilgrims. Exploring a wide range of cultures and religions central to the history of the region, Gendun Chopel is eager to describe all the new knowledge he gathered in his travels to his Buddhist audience in Tibet.
 
At once the account of the experiences of a tragic figure in Tibetan history and the work of an extraordinary scholar, Grains of Gold is an accessible, compelling work animated by a sense of discovery of both a distant past and a strange present.

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In 1941, philosopher and poet Gendun Chopel (1903–51) sent a large manuscript by ship, train, and yak across mountains and deserts to his homeland in the northeastern corner of Tibet. He would follow it five years later, returning to his native land after twelve years in India and Sri Lanka. But he did not receive the welcome he imagin...

Thupten Jinpa is adjunct professor at McGill University in Montreal and has translated and edited numerous books and is the author, most recently, of Essential Mind Training. Donald S. Lopez Jr. is the Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan.

other books by Gendun Chopel

In the Forest of Faded Wisdom: 104 Poems by Gendun Chopel, a Bilingual Edition
In the Forest of Faded Wisdom: 104 Poems by Gendun Chop...

Hardcover|Nov 15 2009

$32.96 online$33.95list price
Format:HardcoverDimensions:456 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.3 inPublished:January 17, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022609197X

ISBN - 13:9780226091976

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Table of Contents

Introduction

By Thupten Jinpa and Donald S. Lopez Jr.

1          First, How I Set Out from Lhasa

2          General Formation of the Land of India and How It Acquired Its Name

3          How the Lands Were Given Their Names

4          The Snow Mountains of the North and Analysis of Related Issues

5          What the Famous Places of the Past Are Like

6          On Men, Women, Food, Drink, and Various Apparel

7          Identification of Various Species of Flowers and Trees and How to Recognize Them

8          Writing Systems of Various Regions of Past and Present

9          On the Linguistic Rules of the Tibetan Language

10        The Inscriptions of the Dharma King Aśoka Carved on the Rock Face of Mount Girnar

11        The Gupta Dynasty

12        The Pāla Dynasty

13        From 1,600 Years after the Passing of the Buddha to the Present

14        On the History of Siṅghala

15        On the Conditions and the Customs of the Tibetan People in Ancient Times

16        The Religion of the Tīrthikas

17        Conclusion

Appendix A: Tibetan Transliteration

Appendix B: Glossary of Terms

Acknowledgments

NotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

“This fascinating publication sheds light on some of the innermost thoughts of artist, writer and scholar Gendün Chöphel, one of Tibet's most exceptional intellectuals of the 20th Century. . . . The reader gains an invaluable insight into the perspective of a Tibetan beyond the borders of the Land of Snows; one that is simultaneously critical, humorous, and unique, and ranges from the history of India to observations of Tibetan habits and customs.”