After taking his vows to become a Bon monk and completing a pilgrimage around 22,000-foot Mt. Kailash, the holiest mountain in Tibet, Tenzin Namdak envisions a life of quiet contemplation at Menri, Bon’s mother monastery. Instead, he finds himself fleeing for his life across the highest and most difficult terrain on the planet. After being joined by a CIA-backed warlord, Tenzin’s escape party is ambushed and he is severely wounded. Narrowly escaping execution by Chinese soldiers, the dying Tenzin is taken to a concentration camp, where he is afforded special consideration because of his status as a monk. He overcomes his nearly fatal wound and makes an arduous escape from Tibet over the daunting Himalayas. Two other monks, lifelong friends Samten Karmay and Sangye Tenzin, witness Tibet’s capital explode in a violent insurrection against Chinese rule. Escaping to Nepal, they worry about the survival of the Bon religion and begin collecting scattered works of Bon scripture. A chance meeting with British scholar David Snellgrove brings the three monks together again and dramatically changes their lives. Snellgrove invites Sangye, Samten, and Tenzin to spend three years in London on a Rockefeller Foundation grant. There, they hone their English and forge influential relationships, enabling Tenzin to answer the pleas for help from the Bon community by founding a settlement in exile in India. Sangye is chosen as the 33rd Menri Trizen, Bon’s highest office, and together the three monks help rebuild the nearly extinct Bon religion. February publication. Pre-Order Now!
FLIGHT OF THE BON MONKS: War, Persecution, and the Salvation of Tibet’s Oldest Religion By Harvey Rice and Jackie Cole. 290 Pages. 6x9 Paperback. Illustrated. Bibliography.