A Buddhist Monk's Search for the Lost Heart of China.
This is a spiritual adventure story played out against the epic sweep of Chinese history that gives a rare and privileged glimpse into a lost mystical tradition. It charts two parallel journeys - two searches, two eras. The story begins in Inner Mongolia in 1959, it recounts a young monk's near-miraculous escape from the Red Guards who destroyed his monastery and murdered his fellow monks. He fled over three thousand miles to Hong Kong carrying with him only five books of poetry and his monk's certificate, both of which would have meant certain death had they been discovered. His mission was to escape the Cultural Revolution and carry on the teachings of his Ch'an Buddhist master, Shiuh Deng, who was too old to leave with his disciples.
The second journey takes place more than thirty-five years later, as Tsung Tsai, now an old master himself, leaves his cabin in Woodstock, New York, to travel with his friend George Crane back to Mongolia in search of the bones of his master - to rebury Shiuh Deng with the proper Buddhist ceremonies - and to lay the foundation of a new monastery in a China that is rediscovering its spiritual roots.
Laced with passion and humour, Crane's vivid prose captures the journey: foxy town girls and outback shamans, ice-cold morning meditations and drunken feasts, sand-scoured wilderness and gold-clad Buddhas. 'Bones Of The Master' is Crane's unique story of Tsung Tsai, one of those rare individuals whose life straddles two worlds: the past and the present, the East and the West, the old China and the new. He is a living link to a millennia-old tradition that forty years of Maoist repression almost extinguished. Through the journey, as past and present come together, we glimpse the power of a timeless faith to endure in the heart of suffering.
- Publication Date:
- 20 / 11 / 2001