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Book: From the Heart of Tibet -- The Biography of Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang

July 16, 2010
July 15, 2010

 From the Heart of Tibet
The Biography of Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche, the
Holder of the Drikung Kagyu Lineage

Forewords by H. H. the Dalai Lama, H. H. the
Gyalwang Drukpa, H. E. Garchen Rinpoche

By Elmar R. Gruber
Paperback original
Shambhala Publications
/ 334 pages / 6 x 9
ISBN 978-1-59030-765-6

Available exclusively at until August 10
Order directly from Shambhala

The Biography of His Holiness Drikung Kyabgön
Chetsang, From the Heart of Tibet, is now available.

Elmar R. Gruber recounts the fascinating story of
Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang in an eloquent manner
and in great detail against the backdrop of the
political, religious, and social developments,
thus unfolding a marvelous cultural history.

Gruber describes the search and identification of
the new reincarnation of the Drikung Kyabgön
Chetsang, his early childhood in the Lhasa
mansion of his aristocratic family, his
enthronement at four years of age and his
subsequent life in the main Drikung monasteries.

He paints a vivid tableau of the transition of
traditional Tibetan culture during the troubled
years of Chinese Communist occupation, when his
family members fled the country in the wake of
Chinese oppression together with the Dalai Lama
and many high-ranking Lamas, aristocrats and
common people. The young Chetsang Rinpoche was
compelled to remain behind in Tibet upon orders
of the Drikung officials and thus had to endure
many hardships in the ensuing years. The author’s
account of Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang’s experiences
during the precarious and desperate period of the
Cultural Revolution is brilliant yet
disconcerting, replete with many lesser-known
aspects of the state of civil society.

The book narrates the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang’s
adventurous lonely escape from a forced labor
camp across the Himalayans and proceeds to relate
how His Holiness eventually assumed his position
as the head of the Drikung Kagyu lineage and the
intricate developments through which he lead the
lineage to unprecedented significance in exile
and in Tibet. The author also offers
comprehensive background information on the
“spiritual genealogy” of the Drikung Kyabgön
Chetsang by recounting the history of the
reincarnation lineage of the Chetsang Rinpoches
in particular and of the Drikung throne holders in general.

Gruber’s book, which contains many photos, is an
enthralling account of a courageous life,
spanning the time in the Land of Snows rooted in
Buddhist tradition, through the period of Chinese
occupation and oppression, followed by escape and
exile. It also traces the volatile history of the
Drikung lineage through the ages and its
remarkable restoration and prospering
accomplished by the enlightened activity of the Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang.

The book carries forewords by His Holiness the
Dalai Lama, His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, and
His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche.

Reviews of From the Heart of Tibet

"This is a fascinating, terrifying, moving, and
exalting account of a truly great being’s success
in rising above adversity and making an
outstanding contribution to a part of humanity
under extreme pressure. I warmly recommend it to
anyone who might like to discover a magnificent
chest of treasures." -- Robert Thurman, professor
of Indo-Tibetan Studies at Columbia University

"This life story of an extraordinary Buddhist
spiritual teacher and intellectual is thoroughly
fascinating. This document is probably the most
important biography to appear of a Tibetan in
recent times. Elmar Gruber's sense for dramatic
narration is unparalleled. This is a must read
for Buddhist scholars and practitioners." -- Gene
Smith, co-founder of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center

"Chetsang Rinpoche is one of the biggest
incarnate lamas, head of a tradition, but also,
he experienced the life of an ordinary American.
This is unlike any other biography—one sees how a
neighborhood boy can become a great spiritual
master.”—Gelek Rimpoche, author of Good Life, Good Death

"Gruber’s marvelous narrative excels by enormous
detailed knowledge and an adequate linguistic
rendering. His book stands out by its strikingly
substantial background knowledge. His work should
find its place in the book shelves of every
friend of Tibet right beside the biography of the
Dalai Lama My Home and My People." -- Jan-Ulrich
Sobisch, professor of Tibetology at the University of Copenhagen

"Gruber skillfully narrates this story of
survival and triumph over tragedy without
embellishment or sensationalism.”—Buddhadharma

Excerpts from the forewords to From the Heart of Tibet

It gives me great pleasure to know that with the
publication of this book readers in the wider
world will be able to learn for themselves about
Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche's unusual life, which
covers such a range of experience, from the ways
of life of old Tibet, through the hardships that
followed, and the success of efforts here in
exile to preserve and promote the values that all
Tibetans hold dear. Therefore, while I pray that
Rinpoche may live a long and healthy life, I
trust that others will take hope and inspiration
from what he has achieved so far.
-- The Dalai Lama

I am very happy that Dr. Elmar R. Gruber is
offering the biography of His Holiness as an
inspiration to the present world and beyond. His
life story will definitely encourage countless
spiritual practitioners to take challenges as a
form of spiritual practice so that the strength
of spirituality will grow within their mind as a
positive development for the long run.
-- The Gyalwang Drukpa

Kyabgön Chetsang Rinpoche’s story is one of
wholehearted dedication to the Buddhadharma.
Throughout the turmoil of his youth, he
maintained his monastic vows in a hostile,
anti-religious environment, finally managing a
miraculous escape from Tibet. After all the
hardships he had suffered, he went to India to
take up the heavy responsibility of leading and
revitalizing the Drikung Kagyu lineage, still
finding time for his own practice, study, and
retreat. I am amazed at how much a single person
has accomplished in such a short time.
-- Kyabje Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche
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