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Mission to Tibet
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About the Author

Michael Sweet received a PhD in Buddhist Studies in 1977 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the direction of Geshe Lhundub Sopa. From 1977-78 he taught and did research at the American Institute of Buddhist Studies. After later graduate studies, he was a psychotherapist in public and private practice (1980-2004) and a sometime lecturer at UW Madison, where he has been an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry. He has written extensively on the history of sexuality in South Asia and on Buddhist Studies. Since 2001 his research has focused on Ippolito Desideri and the Catholic missions in Tibet. Current research focuses on the first mission to Tibet, led by the Portuguese Jesuit Antonio de Andrade.

Leonard Zwilling studied with Geshe Wangyal from 1967 to 1978 and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in 1970, going on to receive an MA in Hindu studies (1972) and a PhD in Buddhist studies (1976) also at UW-Madison. His dissertation, on apoha in Buddhist logic, was directed by Geshe Lhundub Sopa. He did predoctoral research in Sri Lanka (1973-74) and Nepal (1974-75) under Ford Foundation and Fulbright-Hays scholarships. From 1977 to 1983 Dr. Zwilling taught Asian religions, Sanskrit, and Tibetan at UW-Madison and elsewhere. He received an MLS from UW-Madison in 1985 and from 1986 to 2009 was the general editor and bibliographer of the Dictionary of American Regional English in the department of English at UW-Madison, where he is presently senior scientist emeritus. Dr. Zwilling has published in a number of fields, and since 2005 his work has centered on Ippolito Desideri and missions in Tibet.

Reviews

"Of all the Roman Catholic missionaries to Asia, the Italian Jesuit Ippolito Desideri (1684-1733) was perhaps the most remarkable. Despite his fervent hope of converting Tibet to the Christian faith, he was in important ways the first Western scholar of Tibetan Buddhism, translating Buddhist texts into Italian and writing scholarly tomes in Tibetan, complete with quotations from Nagarjuna. Mission to Tibet offers the first complete English translation of Desideri's captivating account of his sojourn in Tibet."--Donald Lopez, Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor and Chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Michigan
"As this accomplished translation by Michael J. Sweet, edited by Leonard Zwilling, demonstrates, Desideri was more than merely a determined and subtle opponent of a religion not his own; he was also a perceptive scholar of Tibetan doctrine, an amazing linguist, and a fascinating travel writer. Sweet has captured his essence in this commanding work. Everyone with an interest in Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism, world history, and world religion will enjoy this wonder-filled account of Desideri's pioneering adventure, intimately detailed from Rome to Lhasa and back."--Jeffrey Hopkins, author of Meditation on Emptiness
"Mission to Tibet is the most important work to appear in the field of Desideri studies since Luciano Petech's critical edition of the Jesuit's writings over fifty years ago. That Mission to Tibet provides a rip-roaring adventure, political intrigue, and a window onto a long-lost Tibet only adds to the pleasure of reading this new translation."--Trent Pomplun, Dept. of Theology, Loyola University Maryland, and author of Jesuit on the Roof of the World
"Sweet's and Zwilling's thorough historical work and beautiful translation make this book an instant classic and essential resource for anyone interested in the history of intercultural learning, comparative theology, and missiology."--John Makransky, Associate Professor of Buddhism and Comparative Theology, Boston College

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