Chronicles of Love and Death
My Years with the Lost Spiritual King of Bhutan
This is the true story of a personal spiritual journey and the incredible but all too human and tempestuous love affair between a Western woman and a high reincarnate lama, the spiritual king of the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.
"A wonderful synthesis of spiritual journey and profound human drama; a gripping portrait of a unique historical figure - part guru, part madman; a fascinating insight into the tantric practices of Tibetan Buddhism; an account of a love affair written with the page-turning pace of a thriller. I found myself being rapidly drawn into a story in which spiritual aspiration and sexual love, "crazy wisdom" teachings and black magic, the sacred and the profane are woven together into an utterly compelling tale. This is a story unlike any you will have read before, a story which defies belief, all the more extraordinary because it is true." Mick Brown.
"Norma Levine has an extraordinary story to tell, a story that spans continents, cultures and even centuries. She had the great destiny to meet, fall in love with, and be loved by the ninth incarnation of Shabdrung Ngawang Namygal, the reincarnate "lama king" of Bhutan, whose position in Bhutan was somewhat equivalent to that of the Dalai Lamas of Tibet...the shabdrungs were pushed out in 1907 by an ambitious and cruel warlord who was backed by the British Raj. The lineage descending from that warlord has ruled Bhutan since that time...Norma's saga is not just a personal memoir of the five years that she spent with the Shabdrung. It looks at the human side of the reincarnate lamas of Tibetan Buddhism, at their emotional vulnerability when uprooted from homeland and cultural environment, and displaced from their traditional roles as temporal and spiritual leaders. It is a good read for any armchair traveler, and an insightful one for anyone who has ever met a reincarnate lama." Glenn Mullin.
"In this intimate memoir, Norma Levine describes her love relationship with a Tibetan tulku, the incarnation of the Shabdrung - spiritual leader of Bhutan. Vividly evoking the alternative cultural scene in the Western Himalayas when transmission of the Tibetan Dharma to the West was still in its fresh, vital phase, she takes us into the heart of Tibetan culture and offers a slice of its politics with Bhutan...Chronicles of Love and Death takes us into a meditative reality, and furthermore, it is a compelling read from beginning to end." Keith Dowman.