Khenpo Sodargye was born in Tibet in 1962 in the Sichuan province of China. He is known as the preeminent scholar of Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in Serthar and regularity speaks at universities all across the globe.
In his book Tales for Transforming Adversity Sodargye muses upon a range of human conflicts, experiences, trials, and tests of fortitude. In doing so he draws upon the wisdom of such diverse characters as Buddha, Confucius and even Mark Twain.
Throughout this work Sodargye interweaves commentary and reflection upon the most challenging aspects of life with light-hearted allegorical tales and personal reflections.
These are subdivided into various sections and cover such topics as
- Optimism and Pessimism
- Suffering and Happiness
- Mantra Recitations
- Understanding Karma
- Negative Speech
- Accepting Change
- Wealth and Morality
The final section of the book features conversations with the author. These take the form of questions and answers sessions regarding a variety of subjects including relationships, ‘following the conditions’, Buddhist theory, adversity and renouncing worldly concerns.
Tales for Transforming Adversity is one of those publications that is so structured that it does not require being read linearly, meaning that it is possible to dip in and out of its pages, to digest a concise commentary and ponder on the text in greater depth at ones leisure.
For this reason it is rather more easily digestible than might ordinarily be the case. Whilst I was not always comfortable or appreciative of the advice dealt out in this publication there is no doubting the fact that the author is prepared to tackle some very real and challenging issues for which he should be applauded.
As an exposition on Buddhist teachings it does not offer a great deal of fresh insight, or much that has not been expressed many times before. However the narrative is sympathetic and warm which makes for an interesting and rewarding read.