A realistic view on Tibetan Buddhism – Ian Johnson

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Ian Johnson

Journalist Ian Johnson, author of¬†The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao¬†reviews a show at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City on Tibetan Buddhism for the NY Review of Books, a must read even when you do not make it to New York. Ian Johnson adds on Facebook: “Probably no faith is more stereotyped than Tibetan Buddhism, which has morphed in the West to a sort of feel-good faith led by a nice guy with a Nobel Peace Prize.”

Ian Johnson:

Probably no faith is more stereotyped than Tibetan Buddhism, which has morphed in the West to a sort of feel-good faith led by a nice guy with a Nobel Peace Prize.

While that isn’t necessarily wrong, its infantilizes (or Orientalizes; pick your stereotyping verb) a complex religion that–like others in the world–has always been closely linked to power and even violence.

That’s why I was really excited to see a show at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City on exactly this topic–how religion and politics are tightly intertwined in Tibetan Buddhism. I review the show for the New York Review of Books Daily (click on the link below for the review) and think you’ll find the piece interesting even if you don’t have a chance to see the show. And if the article isn’t enough, buy the outstanding catalogue that accompanies the show.

You can find Ian’s article in the NY Review of Books here.

Ian Johnson is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

Are you looking for more cultural experts at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out this list.