Eat the Buddha

Eat the Buddha

Life and Death in A Tibetan Town

Book - 2020
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"Set in Aba, a town perched at 12,000 feet on the Tibetan plateau in the far western reaches of China that has been the engine of Tibetan resistance for decades, Eat the Buddha tells the story of a nation through the lives of ordinary people living in the throes of this conflict. Award-winning journalist Barbara Demick illuminates a part of China and the aggressions of this superpower that have been largely off limits to Westerners who have long romanticized Tibetans as a deeply spiritual, peaceful people. She tells a sweeping story that spans decades through the lives of her subjects, among them a princess whose family lost everything in the Cultural Revolution; a young student from a nomadic family who becomes radicalized in the storied monastery of Kirta; an upwardly mobile shopkeeper who falls in love with a Chinese woman; a poet and intellectual who risks everything to voice his resistance. Demick paints a broad canvas through an intimate view of these lives, depicting the tradition of resistance that results in the shocking acts of self-immolation, the vibrant, enduring power of Tibetan Buddhism, and the clash of modernity with ancient ways of life. Her depiction is nuanced, unvarnished, and at times shocking"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. :, Random House,, [2020]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780812998757
Characteristics: xvii, 325 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm


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Dec 21, 2020

From The Economist's Books of the Year (2020): "This is the grippingly told story of Ngaba, a county seat near the edge of the Tibetan plateau, and of the sufferings of its people under the Chinese Communist Party’s rule. Exploring an area rarely visited by foreigners, the author paints striking portraits of people living there, with a fine eye for detail and a keen grasp of Tibet’s history."

Nov 04, 2020

I really liked this story about the people who care so much about their right to practice their religion and live their lives as they choose that they self-immolate as a means of protesting against the Chinese government. The reporter talks with many of the people living in Tibet, and tells her tale through the lives of people who lived there. Many have fled to India. I learned a lot about the history of Tibet and China.

Oct 04, 2020

Insightful history with current conditions in Tibet. Tragic what the Chinese have done to the dalai lama and the tibetan people.

LPL_IanS Sep 17, 2020

A fascinating and compelling history of Ngaba, a Tibetan town known for its high volume of self immolating monks. Focusing on a handful of Tibetans who lived through the CCP’s takeover, Eat the Buddha grounds Tibet’s tragedy in the personal. One of the best books I’ve read all year.

Aug 06, 2020

The title got me into the book, and the interesting history lesson kept me going. Focusing on a group of Tibetans who live in Sichuan, an area where many Tibetans have set themselves on fire protesting China’s rule. Demick sets out to find out why 156 Buddhists have set themselves on fire, even swallowing gasoline to make sure they burn from the inside. By looking back at the history of the Tibetan uprising and the humiliating way the Chinese stripped these Tibetans of everything, even killing their yaks, Demick has a very pessimistic outlook for the future. It’s a challenging book to read, but well worth it if you are interested in the future of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism.


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