The Epic of Gesar of Ling: Gesar's Magical Birth, Early Years, and Coronation as King

Robin Kornman (Translator) Lama Chonam (Translator)
& 3 more


The first and only English translation of the centuries-old Tibetan spiritual allegory of King Gesar, a tale on a par with The Arabian Nights or the King Arthur stories.

For hundreds of years, versions of the Gesar of Ling epic have been sung by bards in Tibet, China, Central Asia, and across the eastern Silk Route. King Gesar, renowned throughout these areas, represents the ideal warrior. As a leader with his people's loyalty and trust, he conquers all their enemies and protects the peace.

The example of King Gesar is also understood as a spiritual teaching. The "enemies" in the stories represent the emotional and psychological challenges that turn people toward greed, aggression, and envy and away from the true teachings of Buddhism.

The epic of Gesar is the longest single piece of literature in the world canon, encompassing some 120 volumes; here the first three volumes are translated, telling of Gesar's birth, his mischievous childhood and his youth spent in exile, and his rivalry for the throne with his treacherous uncle.

Product Details

Publish Date
May 05, 2015
6.9 X 2.0 X 10.1 inches | 3.2 pounds

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About the Author

ROBIN KORNMAN (1947-2007) is best known for his work as a Tibetan Buddhist scholar, as well as for being a founding member of the Nalanda Translation Committee. Up until his death, he spent many years working on this translation of the epic of Gesar. A longtime student of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, he earned his PhD from Princeton University and was a professor of comparative literature at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. SANGYE KHANDRO has translated many important Tibetan Buddhist texts. She is a cofounder of Light of Berotsana, a nonprofit organization for translators of Tibetan texts. LAMA CHÖNAM is a Tibetan teacher who received twenty years of traditional training as a monk in Tibet. He is a translator and adviser to the Nalanda Translation Committee and a cofounder of Light of Berotsana.


"The Gesar story is one of the Tibetan people's most popular epics, its stories being enacted and sung at festivals and on important ceremonial occasions. By making the epic of Gesar available in English, the translators are offering the modern reader a chance to experience the particular character of this Tibetan tradition that has brought hope and fortitude to many generations across the Tibetan-speaking world."--from the foreword by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

"The timing [of this book] could not be better. As our modern world experiences a loss of heart and humanity, and climactic changes and disasters occur, we need the compassionate, wise, and potent energy of Gesar more than ever."--from the foreword by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche