Pico Iyer has been engaged in conversation with the Dalai Lama (a friend of his father's) for the last three decades-a continuing exploration of his message and its effectiveness. Now, in this insightful, impassioned book, Iyer captures the paradoxes of the Dalai Lama's position: though he has brought the ideas of Tibet to world attention, Tibet itself is being remade as a Chinese province; though he was born in one of the most remote, least developed places on earth, he has become a champion of globalism and technology. He is a religious leader who warns against being needlessly distracted by religion; a Tibetan head of state who suggests that exile from Tibet can be an opportunity; an incarnation of a Tibetan god who stresses his everyday humanity.
Moving from Dharamsala, India-the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile-to Lhasa, Tibet, to venues in the West where the Dalai Lama's pragmatism, rigour, and scholarship are sometimes lost on an audience yearning for mystical visions, The Open Road illuminates the hidden life, the transforming ideas, and the daily challenges of a global icon.
Pico Iyer is the author of six works of nonfiction and two novels. He has covered the Tibetan question for Time, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and many other publications for more than twenty years. He has been traveling in and around Tibetan communities and the Himalayas for more than thirty years.