In the Buddhist religion, the Dharma concept of the
Buddha is not confined to men, but is taught to all kinds of beings, including
ghosts and animals. According to a legend Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of
Mercy, had taken among the birds the form of a cuckoo - an animal which
recommends itself to the Buddhist mind by its attitude to family life.
Probable, no more than three centuries ago, an unknown
Lama wrote a charming book describing how the birds of the Himalayas met under
the leadership of the cuckoo on a holy mountain and how they were instructed in
the Buddhist way of living and thinking. Though a popular book, simple and
unsophisticated, it brings home the overtones of the faith which has ruled Tibet
for so many centuries.
The present book constitutes an English translation of
the Tibetan original. In this introduction, Dr. Conze not only sketches the
background of the story, but gives extracts form another Tibetan work,
originating from the Kagyudpa school of Milarepa, which describes the spiritual
antecedents of the cuckoo.
In spite of its deep content The Buddha's Law Among the
Birds is pleasant and easy reading. As a work of popular interest, it should be
welcomed by scholars as well as by general readers interested in Buddhist