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The Warrior Song of King Gesar Paperback – July 26, 2013
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About the Author
Douglas Penick was a research associate at the Museum of Modern Art, NY, and studied and practiced with Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche and other Tibetan teachers for more than 40 years. He wrote the Canadian NFB’s series on the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Leonard Cohen, narrator) and libretti for two operas: King Gesar (Sony CD w/ Ma, Serkin, Ax, etc.) and Ashoka’s Dream (Santa Fe Opera) with Peter Lieberson. He received grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry and from the Graham Foundation, . In addition to three book-length episodes from the Gesar Epic, many of his short pieces have been published in the US, Canada, Malaysia, the UK, France, the Czech Republic, Germany and Australia. His novel about the 3rd Ming Emperor, A JOURNEY OF THE NORTH STAR was brought out by Publerati in 2012. DREAMERS AND THEIR SHADOWS, his new novel about spiritual seekers, teachers and the labyrinth of their longings has just become available. He is married to the renowned clarinetist, Deborah Marshall.
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The impact of Penick's gorgeous line and verse is not just a satisfying romp back to the shamanistic wisdom of the ancient past, though you could read it that way. The Warrior Song of King Gesar is an energizing call to rise from current depression and hopelessness, to engage the obstacles we face. Like King Gesar, we must get intimate and give birth to genuine culture with depth for dreaming, passion for creating, faith to start, and compassion to persevere.
Those of us living in the "anti culture," --the Big-Box materialism that has lead us to global warming and the Shopping Channel ( to mention a few house hold examples of material and spiritual degredation) will find much in this rendition of a fifteenth century epic that is spooky in its relevance: "Our earth is wounded/Her rivers are like running sores...)" To respond takes not just strategy and grim determination, but fundamentally, heart.
The Warrior Song of King Gesar is bone fide, life sustaining human culture: It's called a SONG, not SELF HELP. "Gesar comes like an iron wheel rolling across the sky..." Maybe it is time to start singing.
Gesar is an ancient tale from the Himalayan region, and its hero based on a real king. The author has done his best to abridge the major story into a form that is approachable to those of us without extensive background to Tibetan or Mongolian Buddhism, or knowledge of the extensive pantheon of Buddhist deities. However, I fear he has shortened the tale too much; some of his actions seemed like they needed more context. Doing a book search through a university library led me to another translation of the epic of Gesar - *The Superhuman life of Gesar of Ling* by Alexandra David-Neel & the lama Yongden. This version is nearly 400 pages long, compared to 150 pages. Obviously Douglas J. Penick took some liberties with the translation.
This is an exciting tale, filled with magic, demons, and adventure. It is a good, "off-the-beaten-path" story that will give you another perspective on Buddhism and an insight into the cultures of the Himalayan region.