NON-FICTION

Ogyen Choling: A Manor in Central Bhutan

Edited by: Kunzang Choden and Dolma C. Roder
Designed by: Riyang Books
Synposis: Perched on the outcrop of a mountain, the Ogyen Choling manor overlooks the picturesque and secluded Tang valley in Bumthang, Central Bhutan. The same family, now in its 20th generation, has had possession of the manor since the 15th Century. Once the home of the religious nobility of the region, the manor has stood witness to a changing nation. Most significantly the social reforms of the 1950s saw the family yield considerable political and economic power. Ogyen Choling has not only survived these changes but has adapted to these  new realities to create a niche for itself as an important site of cultural heritage. Ogyen Choling’s architectural significance, its connection to a fading pre-democratic past and its continued religious relevance makes it the ideal site for the museum which opened to the public in 2001. In this book Françoise Pommaret locates Ogyen Choling in the regional  historical context, while Pierre Pichard, provides rich details about  the manor’s traditional architecture and the members of the Ogyen Choling family share their memories of growing up and living here.

The Successors of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel: Hereditary Heirs and Reincarnation

Written by: Yoshiro Imaeda
Designed by: Riyang Books
Synposis:  Most Bhutanese know Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel as a religious leader and the founder of the Bhutanese nation. Yoshiro Imaeda’s  compelling and holistic por-trayal of this highly accomplished religious master and shrewd  political leader offers a rarely explored aspect of the most important historical figure in Bhutan. The book’s emphasis is on the battles over succession and the political machinations that followed his death and ultimately set the course for the next two centuries of Bhutanese history. Imaeda carefully traces how these political complexities lead to the legitimization of suc-cession through reincarnation.  This book is based on research Yoshiro Imaeda car-ried out for his PhD thesis published in French in 1987. The author,  wishing to share his personal views of Zhabdrung’s legacy, decided to translate and  reor-ganize his dissertation for a more general audience.

Mipham’s Dialectics and the Debates on Emptiness                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Written by: Karma Phuntsho
Designed by: Riyang Books
Synposis:  This book is a comprehensive introduction to the concept of Emptiness, a highly technical but very central topic in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. It examines the critique of the Gelukpa interpretation of Emptiness by the leading Nying-ma philosopher Mipham (1846–1912), one of Tibet’s brightest and most versa-tile minds. While synthesizing the numerous theories and arguments formulat-ed by Mipham on Emptiness in his diverse writings, the book takes as its main focus issues such as what is negated by the doctrine of Emptiness, the nature of ultimate reality and scholastic and meditation approaches to Emptiness. These issues continue to be the subject of lively debate among contemporary exponents of Tibetan Buddhist thought. Karma Phuntsho’s book aptly under-takes a thematic and selective discussion of these debates and Mipham’s qualms about the Gelukpa understanding of Emptiness in a mixture of narra-tive and analytic styles. For the first time, a major understanding of Emptiness, variant to the Gelukpa interpretation that has become dominant in both Tibet and the West, is revealed in English.

Enchanted by Bhutan 

Written by: Yoshiro Imaeda
Designed by: Riyang Books
Synposis: In the recent years there has been a surge in publications on Bhutan. Yoshiro Imaeda’s Enchanted by Bhutan is a refreshingly different take on a country he understands and loves deeply. This book is the  personal account of his expe-riences spanning a period of 30 years beginning from 1978. It was his resolute determination that made it possible for him to come to Bhutan when entry to the country was still restricted. He then stayed in Bhutan for ten years working as advisor to the National Library of Bhutan.Imaeda, a well reputed scholar on Buddhism, combines his scholastic knowledge and candid insights with great sensi-tivity as he discusses Bhutan’s transition from a medieval country into the 21st century. The book was originally writ-ten in Japanese for a Japanese audience. Throughout the book Imaeda compares Bhutan to his own country Japan. The two most important people in his book are the Fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck to whom he dedicates the book and his teacher, Lam Pema-la, one of the most respect-ed and knowledgeable monk-historians in the country. Imaeda had the rare privilege of receiving  private audiences with both the Fourth and Fifth Kings during his stay in Bhutan. His private meetings with the two Kings enhanced and heightened his understanding of Bhutan’s development. Through his interactions with Lam Pema-la, about whom he writes with affection and admiration, he gained insights into the Bhutanese spiritual philosophy.

Dawa: The Story of a Stray Dog in Bhutan (10 year Anniversary Edition)

Written by: Kunzang Choden
Designed by: Riyang Books
Synposis: Dawa looks like just another scruffy Thimphu street dog, but don’t be fooled: he understands Dzongkha, he has an urge to see the world and his bigger-than-normal brain is matched only by his compassionate heart. His is an extraordinary life; follow its tragic beginnings to his ascensions as the Legendary Leader of Howling in Thimphu, to the miracle that saves him. Dawa’s story will appeal to all who have experienced life’s rigors – but have never given up hope on the possibilities.

 

Tiger & Monk

Written by: Erik Allgoewer
Designed by: Riyang Books
Synposis: The Silk Letter of the Ming Empress had laid buried deep in the archives of the Vatican for centuries. The exclusive knowledge of its existence and its potential global significance was known to but a few. In the 1980′s it is a group of Tibetan monks who rekindle knowledge of this letter.