Writings & Photography
A Step Away from Paradise: 
The True Story of a Tibetan Lama's
Journey to a Land of Immortality

 Penguin, 2011
City Lion Press, 2017

Purchase City Lion Press paperback from Amazon,
or ask your local bookstore to order it.
City Lion Press ISBN:  978-0999291894
Buy the eBook version from Amazon.com
And for those of you in India, buy the PENGUIN paperback edition:
 Opening Quote 
DON'T LISTEN to anybody. Decide by yourself and practice madness. Develop courage for the benefit of all sentient beings. Then you will automatically be free from the knot of attachment. Then you will continually have the confidence of fearlessness and you can then try to open the Great Door of the Hidden Place. 
                                                                      Tulshuk Lingpa

Book trailer 
a 4-minute invitation to adventure: 
IN THE EARLY 1960s, a Tibetan lama, a charismatic and learned visionary mystic named Tulshuk Lingpa, declared a crack in the world. He came to the then independent Kingdom of Sikkim in the Eastern Himalayas—sandwiched between Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and Indian Bengal—in order to ‘open the way’ to a hidden valley of immortality fabled in Tibetan tradition. 
    He risked what we all would undoubtedly risk if we were to proclaim a crack not only in the tightly drawn mesh in the map of the world of latitude and longitude but in the very fabric of the world and then attempt to pass through it: while revered by some, he was labeled mad by others and risked confinement, first by the king of Sikkim and then by the king of Nepal, both of whom had plans to throw him in jail. And not only did Tulshuk Lingpa propose to pass through the crack he proclaimed in the world; he proposed to lead over three hundred followers through it as well, each of whom had left everything behind for a one-way journey to the Hidden Land, wholly believing that once they left this world, they could never return. Willing to bid goodbye forever not only to their families, but to the entire world to which we all cling, risking all by following this lama into the high snow mountains rising to Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain on the planet, they expected a crack to form in the fabric of what we call reality and a ‘way’ to open to a land we would all wish to inhabit if it were only there—a land of peace and concord. 
    This book tells the story of Lama Tulshuk Lingpa’s life and his unlikely expedition to a land beyond cares while reflecting on what this means for the rest of us. It draws on both research and extensive interviews with his surviving disciples and family members. The book is richly illustrated with portraits of those who went with Tulshuk Lingpa and the places he traveled to. The book also delves into the tradition within Tibetan Buddhism of Shambhala and the hidden valleys, which mirror traditions around the world of utopias and lands of milk and honey, thus showing the quest for the hidden land is a universal urge of humanity. 

TO OPEN THE WAY to a hidden land of immortality would be no small feat. It would take an act of the imagination if not on par with Alice’s when she peered down the rabbit hole, at least with Lewis Carroll’s when he peered into the well next to Binsey Church outside Oxford and received the flash of inspiration that would lead him to write of Alice and her adventures in a place called Wonderland. 
    We have been taught from the earliest age to separate fact from fiction. We can read Alice in Wonderland and get transported to a land of marvels. Yet while we are there, we know Wonderland doesn’t really exist. By imagining it, we can partake in the hidden realm of wonders the author imagined but we retain our sense of propriety. We don’t redraw the line between fact and fiction; we suspend it, and we are entertained. That is certainly the sensible thing to do. We can assume it is what Lewis Carroll himself did. He could write his books about Wonderland and still maintain his position as a respected Oxford Don. 
    Imagine what would have happened if Lewis Carroll had proclaimed the reality of Wonderland. What if he had gathered a following and launched an expedition? Surely he would have been thought mad as a hatter in the Oxford of his day as he would be today. The line separating fact from fiction is certainly tightly drawn and enduring—as tightly drawn as that which separates sane from insane. Cross one, and you cross the other.
Mount Kanchenjunga
by Nicholas Roerich

It was on the slopes of this mountain straddling border between Sikkim and Nepal that Tulshuk Lingpa went to find the hidden valley of Beyul Demoshong. 
The southwest slope
of Mount Kanchenjunga
from Round Kangchenjunga
by Douglas W. Freshfield
London, 1903

 The young Tulshuk Lingpa 
Table of Contents 


CHAPTER 1 A Crack in the World 
CHAPTER 2 Into the Rabbit Hole 
CHAPTER 3 Eloping over Mountain Passes 
CHAPTER 4 Behind the Heart of the Buddha of Compassion 
CHAPTER 5 Invasions and Incarnations 
CHAPTER 6 The Place of the Female Cannibal 
CHAPTER 7 Sacrifices, Sponsors and Caves 
CHAPTER 8 The Call 
CHAPTER 9 The Discovery 
CHAPTER 10 The Reconnaissance 
CHAPTER 11 Géshipa 
CHAPTER 12 The Auspicious Centre 
CHAPTER 13 The Return 
CHAPTER 14 Lepcha Tales 
CHAPTER 15 Monarchical Machinations 
CHAPTER 16 A Historical Digression 
CHAPTER 17 Royal Inquiries 
CHAPTER 18 The Miracle 
CHAPTER 19 The Flight 
CHAPTER 20 Opening the Gate 
CHAPTER 21 The Aftermath 
Dramatis Personæ 
Photo Credits 

 Geshipa, former rainmaker
for the King of Bhutan 
Watch excerpts of an interview with the author by an Australian film crew shooting a film on crazy yogis, in which he discusses his book A Step Away from Paradise.