Dalai Lama, My Son by Diki Tsering (ed. Khedroob Thondup)

a nutshell: this fascinating memoir of the 14th Dalai Lama’s mother was compiled by her grandson, who took up the mantle of his late sister Yangzom Doma’s work in recording their grandmother’s life history – born in 1901 to a peasant family, Tsering reminisced orally in Tibetan while her granddaughter wrote and translated her words into English

a line: “once I began to tell myself I was Diki Tsering, the name that was given to me on my wedding day and means ‘ocean of luck’, a kind of rebirth kindled all the forces of determination within me. I was no longer afraid, and I willingly challenged fate, determined not to be submerged by the tide”

an image: Tsering’s portrayals of the kyirong (ghost) that caused havoc in households across Tibet were unwaveringly spooky, from episodes of upturning sacks of peas to incidents of killing horses

a thought: to me, this book’s strongest elements were the intricate passages about traditional Tibetan customs – particularly around weddings, though unsurprisingly the status of women’s rights were abysmal in the early 20th century and Tsering describes toiling up to 21 hours a day for her in-laws’ household

a fact: I was shocked to read the author’s note that Tsering gave birth to 16 children yet only seven of them survived beyond infancy – at one point she notes that she always controlled herself when her children died since tears were “hail on a dead child’s face”

want to read Dalai Lama, My Son? visit here

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