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The Wheel of Life
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The Wheel of Life

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The Wheel of Life

John Blofeld

"My deepest inspiration came from the simple Mongol pilgrims who inspired me with the belief that learning and scholarship are by no means essential to the truly religious life or to gaining freedom from the Wheel.  On the mountain dedicated to Divine Wisdom (Wu T'ai Shan in Northern China), I learnt that such Wisdom must be sought for in silence and not at all by discursive thought." 

John Blofeld is already well known for his rendering of several important Zen masters, a translation of the I Ching, and his clear introduction to Vajrayana Buddhism, The Tantric Buddhism in Tibet.  The Wheel of Life is his spiritual autobiography -- from his early years in England, to his life in Peking, and travels in Mongolia, Burma, and India.  This book is a joy to read because of his wit, his humility and honesty about his ups and downs on the spiritual path.  He unashamedly admits to being put in his place: "You see, you are too fond of yourself.  You acquire knowledge from people, books, travel, experiences & observation.  You pile up scholarly knowledge, knowledge of the new and strange, novelties in fact.  All this gives you pleasure and your friends admire you for your scholarship, your appreciation of Chinese life, all sorts of things.  And this, so you think, is all very worth while.  And in a way, you are right -- in several ways.  But . . . . . . . "

The Wheel of Life is also a special book because it gives us a sensitive picture of a world that no longer exists -- China before Mao.  "The real marvels are marvels of the human spirit, and of these the book contains more than a few."