Arjia Rinpoche, an esteemed Tibetan religious leader and director of the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, returned to Bloomington on Sunday to promote his new book.
The pages of Surviving the Dragon detail an amazing journey; a child once revered as the reincarnation of a prominent Buddhist monk, stripped of his religious freedom during the Cultural Revolution, then forced to attend Chinese schools and work in a labor camp. Now a political exile living in the United States, Rinpoche can finally share his story.
Rinpoche gave an hour-long talk before signing books for the group gathered at the cultural center. The author hopes his memoir will spark dialogue between the Tibetan and Chinese people.
“This book is 50 years of history,” said Sudhaka Koneru, Treasurer of the T.M.B.C.C. “This is very important, because as [Rinpoche] said, there are two levels, the Chinese government and the Chinese people.
“The confrontation and the conflicts can’t solve the problem,” said Rinpoche referring to Tibetan-Chinese relations. “We have to come and sit down and have a conversation and compromise to understanding.”
Rinpoche is optimistic about the future of Tibet, but he urges young people to remember and learn from the past.
“Young people,” he said, ” should remember our history and, you know, preserve our culture and religion and [our] cultural heritage.”
Rinpoche continues his book tour this weekend at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum.