Charles Ramble was born in Calcutta and received his doctorate from Oxford. He is fluent in numerous Tibetan dialects and is currently a lecturer in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies at Oxford.
In Search of the Lost Kingdom of Bon
Before Buddhism, there was Bön. This book is a fascinating journey, visually and spiritually, through western Tibet by a monk of the little-known Bön faith, who is searching for the lost, sacred Bön homeland of Zhangzhung.
Including a DVD of the Pilgrimage.
This spiritual adventure is the first book to document the living tradition of Bön. What makes this narrative so compelling is that the voice and perspective of Gelek, a young Bön monk, lends an intimacy and knowledge of Bön not found in religious texts.
According to the Tibetan calendar, 2002 was a holy year for pilgrimages, and in the holiest month of that year, Gelek set out from his monastery in Nepal with some hardy companions and photographer Thomas Kelly to travel to Kailash, a sacred mountain in western Tibet. He was also on a quest to seek out the long-vanished kingdom of Zhangzhung. At the end of the journey, Gelek finds little that resembles the Bön kingdom. He comes upon crumbling ruins that have all but reverted to their native dust and earth. From this experience Gelek understands that the essence of his faith is built not on these shifting sands but on the bedrock of the changeless Bön teachings.
This extraordinary trek is illustrated by 160 stunningly beautiful color photographs of the unknown landscapes, as well as travelers and local people. Accompanying the images is the authors’ vivid description of their journey, which is especially evocative as it includes translated excerpts from Gelek’s personal diary.