Described as “a case study in the mystique of Lamaism”, this book analyses the central mysteries manifested in the lives of the two best known Buddhist saints from the eastern Himalayas—figures tied to each other by a shared reputation for enigma and by a close genealogical link. While Pemalingpa was a professional treasure-hunter (a rediscover of hidden texts”), the much loved Sixth Dalai Lama was for his part a rebel whom posterity remembers as the authors of a celebrated collection of lyrical love poetry. Less well known are the sources disclosing the extraordinary secrets that are claimed to have surrounded both the birth and death of this Dalai Lama. By a close reading of the Tibetan texts where the human motivation behind these various traditions is revealed, the book attempts to introduce a new and rational perspective to the historical study of Buddhist saints.
The book will be of interest not only to specialists in the field of Tibetan and Himalayan cultures, but also to a general readership concerned with Asian history and religion.