"Terma," a Tibetan word meaning "revealed treasures," applies to teachings hidden by ancient masters under rocks or in the earth to be found by future generations; it also applies to this massive volume of photographs and text. The Föllmis have spent 25 years living, working and travelling in the Himalayas with peasants, nomads, monks and spiritual masters; Ricard, a monk himself, has photographed life in Tibet and Nepal for 30 years and is the French translator for the Dalai Lama. Their giant, glossy photographs (often in two-page spreads) capture the vividness of Tibet's landscape and people in beautiful detail. The accompanying essays cover basic Buddhist concepts, schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan astrology and medicine as well as profiles of village, monastic and nomadic life. (The topic of meditation, however-a core practice of Buddhism-strangely warrants only a brief description in the glossary.) Chilling accounts of the Chinese invasion and occupation and its results (1,200,000 slaughtered, over 6,000 temples destroyed) convey the bleakness of the situation: this is a culture on the verge of extinction. Captions to the 185 color photographs come at the end of the book, and although going back and forth from photo to explanatory text can be bothersome, the stunningly rich images make the effort worthwhile. For anyone interested in Buddhism and the history and culture of Tibet, this book is a worthy object of meditation.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Danielle and Olivier Föllmi divide their time between the Alps and traveling the world. Together they founded HOPE, an association dedicated to promoting education. They are the authors of many books, including Offerings: Buddhist Wisdom for Every Day. Matthieu Ricard lives in the Himalayas as a Buddhist monk and spent the past thirty years photographing spiritual masters and monastic life.