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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


Now Available

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in Amazon Tibet Books!

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Penguin Books, 2011

City Lion Press, 2017

AudioBook Sample
00:00 / 04:59

This book tells the true story from a far-off corner of the Himalayas, long fabled in Tibetan tradition to be hiding among its peaks and glaciers a valley of immortality —a real-life Shangri-La.

They had been waiting generations for the prophesied lama to come, the one with the secret visionary knowledge of how to ‘open’ the Hidden Land.


Then, one day, he came. It was the early 1960s. His name was Tulshuk Lingpa. This book tells the story of this charismatic visionary lama and his remarkable expedition.

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A Step Away from Paradise
Penguin Books, 2011

City Lion Press, 2017
320 Pages / 6" X 9" (15.2 X 22.9 cm)

65 Black & White Photographs & Maps
ISBN: 978-0999291894


Oak Tree Publishing,

Taiwan, 2020


What would have happened if Lewis Carroll had proclaimed the reality of Alice’s Wonderland?

What if he had gathered a following & launched an expedition?

“Like no other book I have ever read, a riveting tale of adventure, intrigue, and devotion that will challenge even the most skeptical mind and provide a fresh perspective on what we normally regard as ‘reality.’ ”

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

from the Foreword

Against the wishes of the kings of both Sikkim and Nepal, he and over three hundred followers ventured up the snowy slopes of the planet's third highest mountain.

Their aim: to follow the lama through a crack in the very fabric of reality and enter a land we would all wish to inhabit if it were only there—a land of peace and concord.

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Lama Tulshuk Lingpa, shortly before

setting off on his expedition, early 1960s

I spent 7 years in the Himalayas tracking down the surviving members of Tulshuk Lingpa’s expedition in order to hear what for most was the seminal experience of their lives.

Now mostly in their 70s and 80s, I found them in their monasteries and mountain retreat huts and in their villages and towns across the Himalayas.

A Step Away from Paradise weaves their stories together with a bit of my own, while placing it all in the context of Tibetan Buddhism and the legends of the hidden valleys of immortality reputed to lie waiting to be discovered.

My aim has been to tell the story with a touch of humor, grounded in scholarly research into the Tibetan tradition of the Hidden Lands, all the while reflecting on what this means for the rest of us.

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It was here, straddling the border between Sikkim and Nepal, that Tulshuk Lingpa went to find the hidden valley of Beyul Demoshong

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The young Tulshuk Lingpa



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    Hishey was 18 at the time. She had the special ability to look into the melong, the magic mirror, a disk of polished metal, and see in its distorted forms images like visions of the way ahead.

    She was also Tulshuk Lingpa's consort and was with him during the ascent.

    Lama Tashi, in his thirties at that time;  he was the one to break the trail through the snow. He still lives at Tulshuk Lingpa's monastery high in Lahaul.

    "I am very happy that you have come," he said. "May we meet again!"

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Kunsang, Tulshuk Lingpa's son (R) with Geshipa, former rainmaker for the King of Bhutan.

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Wangyal Bodh, one of Tulshuk Lingpa's close disciples; he smelt the wild flowers in the snow.

A Message from Tulshuk Lingpa's

Guidebook to the Hidden Land 

(translated from the Tibetan)

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.

Book Trailer - A Step Away from Paradise
City Lion Press

Book Trailer - A Step Away from Paradise

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