The Heart of the World: A Journey to Tibet's Lost Paradise

Front Cover
Penguin, May 2, 2006 - Religion - 544 pages
27 Reviews
The myth of Shangri-la originates in Tibetan Buddhist beliefs in beyul, or hidden lands, sacred sanctuaries that reveal themselves to devout pilgrims and in times of crisis. The more remote and inaccessible the beyul, the vaster its reputed qualities. Ancient Tibetan prophecies declare that the greatest of all hidden lands lies at the heart of the forbidding Tsangpo Gorge, deep in the Himalayas and veiled by a colossal waterfall. Nineteenth-century accounts of this fabled waterfall inspired a series of ill-fated European expeditions that ended prematurely in 1925 when the intrepid British plant collector Frank Kingdon-Ward penetrated all but a five-mile section of the Tsangpo’s innermost gorge and declared that the falls were no more than a “religious myth” and a “romance of geography.”

The heart of the Tsangpo Gorge remained a blank spot on the map of world exploration until world-class climber and Buddhist scholar Ian Baker delved into the legends. Whatever cryptic Tibetan scrolls or past explorers had said about the Tsangpo’s innermost gorge, Baker determined, could be verified only by exploring the uncharted five-mile gap. After several years of encountering sheer cliffs, maelstroms of impassable white water, and dense leech-infested jungles, on the last of a series of extraordinary expeditions, Baker and his National Geographic–sponsored team reached the depths of the Tsangpo Gorge. They made news worldwide by finding there a 108-foot-high waterfall, the legendary grail of Western explorers and Tibetan seekers alike.

The Heart of the World is one of the most captivating stories of exploration and discovery in recent memory—an extraordinary journey to one of the wildest and most inaccessible places on earth and a pilgrimage to the heart of the Tibetan Buddhist faith.
 

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Review: The Heart of the World: A Journey to the Last Secret Place

User Review  - Ben Boocker - Goodreads

This fantastic work is indeed difficult to classify. It could be called a travel narrative, but beyond this it contains a seemingly comprehensive review of Tibetan Buddhist practices in the Pemako ... Read full review

Review: The Heart of the World: A Journey to the Last Secret Place

User Review  - Andrutto - Goodreads

Loved it! Nice one Ian! Read full review

All 24 reviews »

Selected pages

Contents

EPIGRAPH
THE GORGE
THE MOUNTAIN
THE WATERFALL
THE VEILS OF PARADISE
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Jane Thielemann-Downs is a Professor of Education at the University of Houston-Downtown where she teaches courses in educational psychology and language arts. As a mother of two and the grandmother of four, she enjoys spending time with her family. She currently resides in Houston, Texas. thielemannj@uhd.edu

ANI PACHEN lives in Dharamsala, India, where she devotes her time to her spiritual practices. She has chosen Dharamsala as her home in order to be near the Dalai Lama and his Tibetan Government in Exile. She continues to take part in demonstrations for a free Tibet, and speaks to people from around
the world who have conic to hear her story. She has become a heroine in the Tibetan community.
ADELAIDE DONNELLEY lives in Berkeley, California, near her two sons. She has worked as a psychologist, photographer, and write and has recently completed work on Boundary Water, a memoir. She and Ani have spent time together both in India and the United States, collaborating on the book.

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