In 1959 a young monk named Tsung Tsai (Ancestor Wisdom) escaped the Red Army troops that destroyed his monastery, and fled alone three thousand miles across a China swept by chaos and famine. Knowing his fellow monks are dead, himself starving and hunted, he was sustained by his mission: to carry on the teachings of his Buddhist meditation master, who was too old to leave with his disciple.

Nearly forty years later Tsung Tsai — now an old master himself — persuaded his American neighbor, maverick poet George Crane, to travel with him back to his birthplace at the edge of the Gobi Desert.

They are unlikely companions. Crane seeks freedom, adventure, sensation. Tsung Tsai is determined to find his master’s grave and plant the seeds of a spiritual renewal in China. As their search culminates in a torturous climb to a remote mountain cave, it becomes clear that this seemingly quixotic quest may cost both men’s lives.

Tonight, Mike and Mark speak with George about this amazing life adventure.

About the guest:

George Crane is the author of the internationally acclaimed Bones of the Master, and the followup Beyond the House of the False Lama. He is an occasional poet and translator of Chinese poems. With Tsung Tsai, Crane translated A Thousand Pieces of Snow. His writings has been published in eleven languages. He lives mostly on the road.