The unofficial biography of the Sixth Dalai Lama written in Tibetan by a Mongol scholar in 1757 is among the most remarkable and puzzling works of its genre. There are some who claim its authenticity; others are inclined to hold that it is an apocryphon. Whatever side one takes, there is one thing to be grateful for and that is that we now have Mr. Wickham-Smith's splendidly readable translation of this fascinating work, which till now was only available in a Mongol and a Chinese translation. This is a work of literature, if not history, that in the first instance ought to be of great interest to the social historian of the Tibetan cultural area and Inner Asia. Indeed, Mr. Wickham-Smith has done us all a great service with this wonderful and highly recommendable book. (Leonard W.J. van der Kuijp, Harvard University)This intriguing biography written by an eighteenth-century Mongol scholar presents the Sixth Dalai Lama not as a drinker and poet, but as a solemn and sober Buddhist monk who lived the life of a wandering mendicant and spiritual teacher. Considered by some to be a fictitious account while others read it as authentic, this life story challenges common preconceptions of one of the most caricatured figures in Tibetan history.
About the Author
Ngawang Lhundrup Dargye was born in 1714 in Alashan, Mongolia, and spent his life as a Buddhist monk in that area. The Hidden Life of the Sixth Dalai Lama is believed to have been his only book. Simon Wickham-Smith is currently teaching and developing curricula in Mongolian and Tibetan Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle.