This book is a collection of short stories woven from the many accounts which exist in Buddhism and of the things the author personally experienced, particularly on his many trips to Ladakh, Nepal and different places in India. The stories are like the Jataka tales where most of the characters are animals. The author, Japanese by birth, left his country of the Rising Sun to reach India and travelled to holy Buddhist sites before settling down in Ladakh where he built a Buddhist monument.
In the first story, Amchi is a doctor of Tibetan medicine while his son Dorje specialises in the Western system. Amchi finds that his son derides the Tibetan system but one day when Amchi dies peacefully after talking to a team of visiting doctors from the West, Dorje realises the importance of what his father was doing. Amchi’s way of healing was to discuss general things with his patient and listen to the latter’s pulse — to find the nature of the streams of energy flowing in the patient’s body. He could perceive the melody of each stream and prescribe medicine which the modern medicine cannot. He and the patient would then pray to Lord Buddha for recovery of the patient. So the treatment was essentially due to Amchi’s prayers and the faith and devotion of the patient. The Tibetan medical philosophy is based on the psychological and spiritual processes to heal the body and mind.
In another story titled ‘Big Tree’, a very large and old tree stands in the village under which people take shelter in its shade and rest when it is hot or during the monsoon. Once a couple comes to meet under its foliage and the tree notices the boy an girl crying as they are soon to be parted from each other. The tree feels sorry for them and lowers its branches to hide the couple from prying eyes of others. The old tree is like an old man trying to protect and shelter the young ones.
In a very touching story about a little bird caught in a dilemma of whether to fly or remain with her master out of her sense of obligation, the author tries to provide the solution. A tiny bird learns to fly when staying with her parents in a group of migratory birds but one day she falls to the ground. A man walking past the area rescues her and takes her home. He places her in a cage. The bird forgets to fly and lives peacefully. But one day she gets an overpowering urge to fly with her white feathers but is not sure if she can do so. As she grows big, she is shifted to a bigger cage. While being transferred, she feels a strange sensation and escapes.
Many such stories of the soul elucidate the philosophy of reincarnation, which is the spiritual entrance to salvation. The book dispels superstitious beliefs about the Tibetan philosophy and system of medicine. Presented in an unusual style, the stories provide a perfect blend of various rituals of Buddhism and its history.
(Sterling Publishers Pvt Ltd, A-59 Okhla Industrial Area, Phase-II, New Delhi-110020.)