I accidentally ran across this book in the "new arrivals" section of a university library last night, and stayed up until 2 A.M. reading it. It contains the life story of the neglected Tibetan master Dolpopa, a subsequent account of the ill-fated legacy of his teachings, and two brief treatises by The Omniscient himself. I am not a specialist in Buddhism, and in fact had never even heard of Dolpopa 24 hours ago, but now I will never forget him.
Cyrus Stearns has obviously put an impressive amount of research into this volume without ever sliding over into pedantry. His concern is to tell the story of a simple and profound idea as it unveils itself in the spirtual and geographic vastness of 14th century Tibet. The central issue of Zhentong is explained clearly and memorably, and in such a way as to make it relevant for Western philosophers as well. Lucid works of this kind do far more for a true East-West dialogue than any amount of "multicultural" preaching. All who read this book with an open mind will be moved to cure their ignorance of the history of Buddhism.
I feel as though a new portion of the human past has been opened up for me by Stearns' work. It deserves to be read by anyone with even a trace of interest in world religions, world history, or the past and future of metaphysics in all traditions.