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Sera: The Way of the Tibetan Monk

PHOTOGRAPHS BY sheila rock
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 144
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Tibet was once home to thousands of thriving Buddhist monasteries. But in 1959, following a Tibetan uprising against China's long occupation, nearly all were destroyed by the Chinese military, the practice of Buddhism was outlawed, and the Dalai Lama was forced into exile. In March of that year, Chinese tanks bombarded the 540-year-old Sera Jey Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet, killing hundreds of monks and destroying ancient texts and invaluable artifacts that had been collected over centuries. Thousands of survivors fled over perilous mountain passes to neighboring India, many with only thin robes and light footwear to shield them from the harsh winter conditions of the Himalayas.

    The Sera Jey Monastery, reestablished near Mysore, India, now houses 5,000 Buddhist monks living in exile-including many who escaped the attack on the Tibetan monastery in 1959, and many more who have never known their ancestral homeland. Providing an intimate glimpse of this rarely seen world, Sera: The Way of the Tibetan Monk evokes the subtle moods and rhythms of this Buddhist community that has steadfastly carried on the legacy of the original Sera Jey. More than 100 duotone photographs capture daily rituals and sacred ceremonies, serious moments and playful gestures, compassionate faces and expressions of inspired serenity. Moving and unforgettable, Sheila Rock's portraits celebrate the tranquility, simple joys, and unadorned beauty of the ascetic life, offering a powerful testament to the strength and resilience of a persecuted people.

    A percentage of the royalties from this book go to the Sera Jhe Health Care Committee in aid of various humanitarian projects

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50295-5
    Subjects: Art & Art History, Religion, Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
    (pp. ix-xviii)
    robert a. f. thurman

    Looking at these beautiful pictures and feeling the pulse of the life of the Tibetan Buddhist monastery, I remember my own years as a young monk in a such a place— though during my time in the early sixties the monastic universities were not yet well reestablished in exile. How peaceful and yet full of life is this world of study, prayer, meditation, and being human with a purpose!

    A Buddhist “monastery” (dGon pa—“sanctuary”) is a secure space of physical simplicity and mental ease. You can be intense in study and practice full throttle, and then feel okay about...

    (pp. xix-xxii)
    sheila rock
  4. Sera: the way of the tibetan monk
    (pp. 1-114)

    Withdrawing completely from things that excite us,

    Our mental disturbances slowly decline

    And ridding our mind of directionless wandering,

    Attention on virtue will surely increase.

    As wisdom shines clearer, the world comes in focus,

    Our confidence grows in the Dharma we’ve learned.

    Live all alone far away in seclusion—

    The Sons of the Buddha all practice this way....