To Tibetan Buddhists, Mount Kailash is the most magical place on earth, a place where one's prayers are answered instantly. The journey to the diamond-shaped peak is arduous, as it is located in the heart of the world's tallest mountains; yet it is well worth the effort. For according to tradition, one trip around the sacred mountain at 17,500 feet can wipe away the sins of a lifetime. It was this promise of transformation that inspired Robert Thurman, preeminent Buddhist scholar and teacher, to lead a group of eager pilgrims on the spiritual trek of a lifetime. Among the group was a former student and longtime friend, Tad Wise. Together, Thurman and Wise recount their experience circling the mountain, in chapters that counterpoint the most profound inner teachings of Tibetan Buddhism with a magnificent description of a land of awesome beauty and unexpected hardships. Thurman serves as the group's spiritual leader. Through the wisdom and insight gained from years of study in India with the Dalai Lama and other gurus, he offers his fellow companions a rich understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, including techniques of meditation, visualization, compassion, and selflessness. Meanwhile, Wise describes in vivid detail the soaring mountains and breathtaking vistas of this hidden land of snows. He also chronicles the difficulties he faces as he tries to incorporate Thurman's accelerated Buddhist teachings into his own life. Together they take us deep into Chinese-occupied Tibet to visit sites few Westerners have ever seen: sacred graveyards, meditation caves of ancient masters, and majestic monasteries. As they navigate perilous mountain passages, Thurman guides the travelers past the pitfalls of spiritual life to the realization of the Buddha's promise of liberation from human suffering. Chronicling the inner as well as the outer journey, confrontations both physical and metaphysical,Circling the Sacred Mountainserves as an inspiring metaphor for the challenging passage to enlightenment open to each of us.