Tibetan Portrait: The Power of Compassion (Hardcover)
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This is a book about a deeply spiritual culture's struggle to survive and maintain compassion in the face of tremendous aggression. The invasion by the Chinese Communists in 1949 led to massive destruction and repression, and to the occupation of Tibet, which continues to this day. Throughout 1994, photographer Phil Borges traveled to Tibet, as well as parts of Nepal and northern India where thousands of Tibetan refugees now reside, photographing Tibetans in an effort to understand what had happened to them, to their country and their culture. In doing so, he became fascinated by Buddhist philosophy and the Tibetan commitment to nonviolence. Tibetan Buddhists believe that there is no greater vehicle than compassion and forgiveness to counteract the suffering in the world. Their unique Buddhist practices and beliefs provide a framework for the attainment of mental peace and enlightenment, a goal they are encouraged to pursue from an early age. They are taught to value contentment, fulfillment, and mental peace above all else, since one's state of mind is believed to be the only possession that survives from one lifetime to the next. As the Tibetans work to save their unique culture and to regain their country, their internal struggle as human beings is to try to reconcile their nonviolent principles with the rage that can arise when harmed. It is an extreme test of their commitment to compassion, to their religion, and to their culture.