Friday, March 28, 2008

Sorrow Mountain - Book Review

Sorrow Mountain
The Remarkable Story of a Tibetan Warrior Nun
by Ani Pachen & Adelaide Donnelly
Bantam Books 2001
Forward by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Preface by Richard Gere
This is the story of Pachen Dolma "Ani", a Tibetan woman born in the region of Gonjo in 1933. The only daughter of the local chieftain, Ani grew up learning the things a chieftain must know. When she over heard her parents arranging a marriage for her, she fled to a monastery and became a buddhist nun.

In 1949 the Chinese invaded Eastern Tibet (the Province now called Qinghai - but in Tibetan it is called Amdo). As the years passed, the Chinese slowly moved southwards. By 1958 the Chinese had invaded the region called Kham in Eastern Tibet where Ani lived. That same year when her father died, Ani came home and became the village chieftain. The Chinese were getting closer every day, and she called for the village people to evacuate. The plan was to walk south to the Himalayas, ahead of the Chinese, and hopefully to cross the border into India, where the Dalai Lama was living. They never made it.

Ani was captured by the Chinese and spent the next 21 years [1960 to 1981] in prisons. She was finally released in 1981, and then spent several years following her childhood dream and learning the Buddhist way, under a teacher. She was in Lhasa during the 1987 & 1988 riots, and shortly after, she was told that the Chinese were following her. So Ani decided that it was a good time to leave. Ani took a long and perilous journey via Mt Kailash over the mountains into Nepal, and then into Northern India. In 1989 Ani arrived in Dharamsala and got to meet the Dalai Lama. Only then did she finally feel truely free.

Ani Pachen died in 2002.

In light of the current uprising in Tibet - on the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's being forced into exile, I feel that this book is an excellent book for learning about the Tibetan culture, and how proud they are of their independence. They are a peaceful people, they love freedom, and all they ask of China - is to let them be a free nation.

For those of you reading about China claiming that the Tibetan monks were rioting and causing the Chinese to shoot - well here is proof that the chinese LIED. Photo of Chinese soldiers wearing monks clothing. It's not the first time they have done this.

Friends of Tibet - News and History
Ani Pachen Obituary
Wikipedia biography

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