Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category
King of the Empty Plain: The Tibetan Iron-Bridge Builder Tangtong Gyalpo.
By Cyrus Stearns. Snow Lion Publications, 2007. 682 pages. $49.95.
Review by Andrew Quintman:
In King of the Empty Plain: The Tibetan Iron-Bridge Builder Tangtong Gyalpo, Cyrus Stearns pairs for the first time a detailed historical examination of the acclaimed Tibetan adept Tangtong Gyalpo (Thang stong rgyal po, 1361?–1485) with a complete and annotated translation of this best known biography. The life story serves as an important example of classical Tibetan hagiography, but is also significant for the insights it provides into Tibetan social history, patterns of religious patronage, traditions of sacred geography and pilgrimage. The result here is a model of careful scholarship, nuanced interpretation, and cogent analysis, qualities that exemplify the author’s earlier work. The book was long anticipated, concluding a project launched nearly three decades ago as part of a Masters Thesis at the University of Washington.