Navajo and Tibetan Sacred Wisdom: The Circle of the Spirit

Excerpts & Samples

By Peter Gold

Publisher : Inner Traditions/Bear & Company

ABOUT Peter Gold

Peter Gold
Formerly a research assistant to Dr. Margaret Mead and curator at Indiana University's anthropology and folklore museum, Gold is currently on the anthropology faculty of the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He is also the author of Tibetan Reflections: Life in a T More...



The similarity between the Navajo and Tibetan spiritual traditions has often been remarked upon by scholars chiefly because of the mandala sand paintings common to both cultures, their ideas about matter and spirit, and their uncanny physical resemblance to one another. Author Peter Gold substantiates the shared knowledge of these seemingly disparate people by drawing extensive parallels among many aspects of both cultures: creation myths, cosmology, geomancy, psychology, visionary arts, and healing and initiation rituals. Through his sensitive comparison of Navajo and Tibetan sacred ways, the author encourages us to reconsider our own cultural paradigms and shows us how we might begin to recover a sense of the sacred.
"A bold and exciting exploration, showing many astonishing parallels between these precious and imperiled traditions, from which we have so much to learn."

Peter Matthiessen, author of The Snow Leopard and Indian Country

"Peter Gold has described our ways and philosophy of life in this book and I hope that it will help you to better understand us. This book also helps us to understand others better. It shows that we are not alone in living according to the teachings coming from the center of life to the four directions, and from the lower and upper lives of Mother Earth and Father Sky.

Not long ago I had the opportunity to meet with one of the holy men of the people of Tibet, Lama Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche. In our long talk, we found many similarities between Navajo and Tibetan philosophy and sacred ways. It is good and enlightening to know that there are others around the world who still abide by the teachings of their ancestors, and know the peace and value of maintaining beauty ahead, behind, below, above, all around and from within themselves."
Alfred W. Yazzie, Chanter Navajo Nation

"This remarkable book coalesces the fruits of a personal odyssey that ranged back and forth between two continents over a period of many years. As an anthropologist, I am impressed by Peter Goldís sustained fieldwork among two peoples, so far apart in space, language, history. This is not a work of conventional social science or of comparative mythology; rather, it invites the reader to search beyond his or her cultural framework and enter onto a quest of spiritual anthropology."
Philip Snyder, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Religion, Ethics, and Social Policy Cornell University

"Peter Gold describes and compares many aspects of Navajo and Tibetan Buddhist practice, highlighting the humanitarian principles on which they are based, reflecting the fundamental goodness of the human heart."
H.H. The Dalai Lama

"At long last the mighty indigenous traditions of Navajo and Tibetan are juxtaposed, to let their powerful teachings reinforce each other and resound together. A beautiful, wise book."
Joanna Macy, author of World as Lover, World as Self