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The Open Road by Pico Iyer

Posted on Mar 7, 2012 by



I am rereading The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama.  Pico Iyer, a journalist and novelist, has known the Dalai Lama for decades, first meeting him with his father when he was an adolescent.  In this impressionistic biography he peels back layers of the Dalai Lama to present him in nine different facets.  The first chapter—the first facet—is The Conundrum.

In it I found this, a kind of poem:

We are not talking about God

We are not talking about Nirvana

We are only talking about how to become

a more compassionate human being.


At times he pulls out a piece of tissue

and polishes his glasses

A metaphor


He has taken off his watch

with its sturdy stainless-steel band.

Know exactly how much time you have

he might be saying

and use that time for some good.


More about The Open Road:

A televised conversation with Pico Iyer at Foratv

A book review at the New York Times

The book at Amazon