Windhorse Warrior, a novel

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Windhorse Warrior offers an inside look at the struggles and aspirations of the Tibetan people during the 1950s. It is a tale that weaves together the politics of occupation and resistance, a romance between a Chinese communist and an educated Tibetan woman, and the soaring vision of the Tibetan spiritual heart.

Chuang Wei Ming, a young zealot from Shanghai arrives in Lithang on the eastern Tibetan plateau with a mission to prepare the people for Maoism but soon outgrows its limiting worldview. Chuang falls in love with the beautiful and intelligent Dechen who introduces him to the richness of Tibetan Buddhism. Palden Rinpoche, Dechen’s spiritual teacher, includes Chuang in their plan for a general spiritual awakening based on the Legend of King Gesar of Ling. Together, they pursue a pure communalism infused with Buddhist teachings to create an ‘enlightened society’.

This is a story that extends beyond the decade in which it is set. Its message is true today in the global context of oppression and disparity, fake news, and injustice. Those who believe in a just and beautiful world will find themselves longing for an ‘enlightened society’ filled with spiritually awakened women and men, free to pursue their true potential and eager to enrich the lives of others.

Endorsement:

Windhorse Warrior is a remarkable combination of romance, adventure, politics, suspense and spirituality, all of which converge and collide in the rarified atmosphere of Tibet during the 1950s. While this is an historical novel, the themes and message of the book convey a contemporary resonance, even as it recounts the ancient legends and lore of King Gesar. R C Friedericks spins a mesmerizing tale that is as expansive as the trans-Himalayan plateau and as intriguingly subtle as the symbols printed on a Buddhist prayer flag.                                        Stephen Alter, author of Wild Himalaya

Reviews:

Windhorse Warrior elegantly combines the elements of a Himalayan adventure story, the history of Chinese Communism in Tibet, metaphysical and cultural Buddhism, and a highly unusual romance. It is set during the forced transition of Tibetan society from a traditional theocratic state ruled by powerful families to collectivization by the Chinese Communist Party and occupation by the People’s Liberation Army. Beginning in 1947, the dramatic historical events are told by the narrator, Chuang Wei Ming, as he is transformed from an idealistic Party devotee into a Buddhist and hailed as the manifestation of the legendary 11th century King Gesar, who brough justice and happiness to the Tibetan people.

Friedericks does a masterful job of portraying Wei Ming’s gradual change of mind and heart. Ming understand the Party’s thinking and objectives. He also develops a deep understanding of traditional Tibetan ways and respect for his Tibetan friends and associates. They, in turn, awaken to the need for some of those traditional ways to change. As a result, together, they achieve great success in creating a new collective society.

One of the most compelling elements in this story is the role of two young Tibetan women who bridge the old and new with intelligence and passion and are the catalysts for Wei Ming’s transformation. Yangchen and Dechen also play essential roles in bringing about the transformation of the Tibetan way of life.

I cam away not only entertained bu also educated and inspire about a part of the world I’ve long been fascinated by. Friedericks’ deep knowledge of and affinity with the Tibetan people and Buddhism is evident throughout.

Although I looked for a deeper treatment of the flaws in traditional Tibetan society and had to suspend disbelief during some of the more metaphysical passages, it is impossible not to be swept up in the dramatic and uplifting message of the story. The Golden Way is a lesson for all times, especially our own.                        Claire Beery

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This is an important book. I am not aware of other books that offer this kind of inside look at the vigor of communist ideals, and more importantly, the clear-eyed searching of the Buddhist heart. Friedericks has spun a tale that gripped me firmly in the magic of the oral tradition.

I am amazed at this glimpse of a world so exotic to us. I enjoyed the rugged dirt and rock hard outcroppings of reality as contrasted by the etherial traditions and mysteries of an ancient yet ongoing civilization.

The message of mindfulness is so timely for us right now. Especially important in this perilous time of demonic confusion and contamination was the idea of loving your enemy and visualizing them a vulnerable humans often in the throes of struggle and compromise, needing our understanding and compassion.     Richard Jesse Watson, author and illustrator.

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I much enjoyed the story which actually has three parallel storylines: one that is political — the introduction of Chinese communism to Tibet and the Tibetan resistance to communism’s perversions; another that is religious — developing a spiritual, Buddhist dimension to the communist ideology; and thirdly, the love story of Dechen and Chuang or Chodak-la.

All three stories are compelling, but I am particularly impressed by the way Friedericks has used the Gesar legend to make it the centre piece that hold all three storylines together. He uses the legend to make a number of political points (one is that revolution must be rooted in tradition and proceed to freedom; another, more important one is that Buddhism, rather than complementing communism, is a more developed form of communism in that it provided the spiritual dimension that communism misses). Also, the Gesar legend propels the love story as when on several occasions Dechen and Chuang act out a modern version of it and in doing so, develop their attraction to one another. But the author’s most interesting use of the legend is in filling out the spiritual side of life in Tibet. Generally, I am not very receptive to expositions of mysticism, but Friedericks managed to hold my attention, and occasionally made me pause and think. The tone of the Buddha dharma sections remind me of Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, one of my all-time favorite books!

The pacing of the story is excellent, and I like his sense of humor that is based on contrasts of rationality and spirituality, and more often, on contrasts within a character (in particular of Dechen in the beginning of the story, and of Rinpoche when his behavior becomes not unlike that of the druid in the Asterix and Obelisk stories).

Congratulations for writing a story that is captivating, interesting, and educational! Windhorse Warrior deserves a large audience of readers who are interested in Tibet and the intersections of politics and spirituality.   Hendrick Taatgen, social anthropologist

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See Goodreads for more reviews of Windhorse Warrior.

Windhorse Warrior by R C Friedericks is published by Niyogi Books India.  Hardcover and ebook versions are available on Amazon and most other online sources. Your local bookstore can order a copy for you or you can contact the author directly for signed copies. Please contact by email: rfriedericks@mac.com. Cost for signed hardcover copy -US $25.00 includes shipping.

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