Staff Review: In the Shadow of the Buddha by Matteo Pistono

In the Shadow of the Buddha by Matteo Pistono is a three-pronged cultural odyssey. Mr. Pistono, an American who grew up in Wyoming, is on a personal pilgrimage to sites in the Himalayas, relating to his Buddhist mentors. He interweaves this tale with the saga of Terton Sogyal, a previous incarnation of Pistono’s famous teacher (who reincarnated into two people at the same time). The third aspect of his story is the evidence of human rights violations and abuses that he smuggles out of Tibet after these journeys. The narrative is highly readable, exciting at times, reflective at others. It contains an excellent bibliography and footnotes. While cataloged under religion, it is a great travel story as well. The author handles the mystical elements of his stories in a non-judgmental way. I would describe his attitude as, “This is the story as it was presented to me by someone who does not question that it happened in this way.” I expected more photographs, but turned to the author’s website for more visual images. Highly recommended for anyone interested in Tibet or Tibetan Buddhism.

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