Donal Lopez, Jr., is one of the foremost (and one of my favorite) scholars of Buddhism. His book Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West seeks to detail the different ways in which Tibet has become a construction by analyzing seven areas of particularly important contact. The seven areas are:
"A name (Lamaism),
a book (The Tibetan Book of the Dead),
an impostor (T. Lobsang Rampa),
a mantra (om mani padme hum),
an aesthetic (Tibetan Buddhist art),
and a prison, in which Tibetan Lamas in exile and their students are at once the inmates and the guards."
This book has shown up in several of the bibliographies of articles and books that are forming the bulk of my literature review, so I thought I would pick it up and give it a go. Lopez is a scholar-adept (to use a term I just found today), a person whose scholarly interests have merged with his spiritual practices. I dig that, because I would much rather ask about Fords at a Ford dealership than ask about Chevys at a Ford dealership (to use the over-used analogy). To save room and headaches, I will outline the important parts and their relation to my project in future posts. Inspired by Rachel agreeing with me that my posts are far too long, here begins what will hopefully be a more useful and readable blog.