These two new books from Shambhala’s excellent series Lives of the Masters introduce readers to the life and teachings of two great Buddhist innovators who lived many centuries apart, but who both contributed to the way future generations came to understand Buddhism.
Throughout history, expansionist powers have attempted to integrate newly conquered territories through the imposition of their own language, laws, and moral codes. These “civilizing missions” have been a defining feature of most imperial projects, whether motivated by religious fervor, to facilitate trade or simply an honest belief in the cultural superiority of one’s own culture.
The nature of obsession is just one of the questions Ed Caesar addresses in his new biography of Maurice Wilson, a First World War veteran determined to climb Everest alone and without oxygen.
“I’d kill a Chinaman as quick as I would an Indian and I’d kill an Indian as quick as I would a dog.” This chilling remark, recorded in a police report, was made in 1884 by a man who had taken part in the lynching of Louie Sam, a fourteen-year old indigenous boy from the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Canada. He had been waiting to be tried for murder in New Westminster when he was kidnapped by an American mob, taken across the border and lynched, presumably because the alleged murder had taken place in Nooksack, Washington. It later transpired that two members of the lynch mob were likely responsible for the murder.
It began in January as a trip to see his ailing grandfather. But while Canadian journalist Ethan Lou was in the air between Toronto and Beijing, China quarantined the entire city of Wuhan due to a new virus raging out of control. Lou landed to a new world. The COVID-19 name hadn’t yet been coined, but everything had nonetheless already changed. Like most of the world back then, Lou did not foresee how the coronavirus would spiral forth to every corner of the world. But he quickly comes to terms with how nothing will ever be the same.
Once a relatively obscure topic, the Manila Galleon—in essence a commercial shipping line that connected Asia to the Americas from the 16th to early 19th centuries and arguably the key building block in the development of what we have since recognized as “globalization”—is now the subject of an increasing number of studies. In the latest, Portuguese Merchants in the Manila Galleon System, 1565-1600, former Mexican diplomat Cuauhtémoc Villamar looks at the involvement of Portuguese merchants—and by extension Macau—in the Galleon’s first few decades.
To read Türkiye Diary (The Bridge) is to lounge on wicker deck furniture, with comfortable pillows, ensconced on a terrace overlooking the Sea of Marmara in the warm summer night, drinking raki, eating mezze—those fatal Levantine hors d’oeuvres—and listening as a raconteur cagily lets slip indiscretions, eased by raki, night sea air, and a life spent doing things the raconteur is now not sure he should have done.