Through a lyrical narrative of her journey to Tibet in 2007, Tibet activist Canyon Sam contemplates modern history from the perspective of Tibetan women. Traveling on China's new "Sky Train," she celebrates Tibetan New Year with the Lhasa family whom she'd befriended decades earlier and concludes an oral-history project with women elders.
As she uncovers stories of Tibetan women's courage, resourcefulness, and spiritual strength in the face of the loss and hardship since the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950, and observes the changes wrought by the controversial new rail line in the futuristic 'new Lhasa,' Sam comes to embrace her own capacity for letting go, for faith, and for acceptance. Her glimpse of Tibet's past through the lens of the women - a visionary educator, a freedom fighter, a gulag survivor, and a child bride - affords her a unique perspective on the state of Tibetan culture today - in Tibet, in exile, and in the widening Tibetan diaspora.
Gracefully connecting the women's poignant histories to larger cultural, political, and spiritual themes, the author comes full circle, finding wisdom and wholeness even as she acknowledges Tibet's irreversible changes.
Canyon Sam is a San Francisco writer, performance artist, and Tibet activist. Her one-woman show The Dissident was critically acclaimed in the Village Voice and the Boston Globe. This is her first book.
Canyon Sam, Foreword by His Holiness ` the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet
[Pays] tribute to the courage and resilience of Tibetan women. . . . Many readers will be moved by these powerful tales. From the Foreword by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet
A book that is sure to illuminate a Tibet so many of us have been longing to know. Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple
What I learned from this wonderfully written book that compels with page-turning intensity is so much more than the history of how China swallowed Tibet, how change looks and feels different depending on the eyes that view it. The inspiring lesson that stays with me as the books afterglow is that of the ability of the mind that is filled with faith to emerge from the most dreadful privation unscathed, resilient. This book about the Dharma of connection, of companioning, of compassion, has strengthened my own devotion. Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life
The reader feels as if she were right there on this journey. Canyon Sam weaves the stories of these women seamlessly together with her own personal experience of Tibet. It is her love for the country--its culture and its people-- which makes this book so special. An important work. . . . Poignant and inspiring. Sharon Salzberg, spiritual teacher and author
Canyon Sam has made a miracle of a journey, and written a miracle of a book. Following her roots to China many years ago, she found instead Tibet as her spiritual home. She committed herself to a life of engaged Buddhism, working for human rights. Now in Sky Train, she guides the reader on a life-changing adventure back to Tibet and an epoch of cataclysmic change. Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Woman Warrior
Through the experiences of older Tibetan women, the author offers a captivating journey spanning half a century and several countries. Sky Train conveys womens lessons of community-building, generosity, faith, and determination. A beautiful, moving, riveting book. Valerie Masumoto, UCLA
"Canyon Sam's Sky Train powerfully moves the heart, as it brings to life deep truths about our world today, about Tibet, the land and people and especially its outstanding women. Just as important is the author's own revelatory discovery of 'Tibet' as a compassionate, wise, and down to earth state-of-mind essential to the survival of the whole world. Words cannot express how wonderful is this honest, generous, and perceptive book." -Robert Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Buddhist Studies at Columbia University
"Through the experiences of older Tibetan women, the author offers a captivating journey spanning half a century and several countries. Sky Train conveys women's lessons of community-building, generosity, faith, and determination. A beautiful, moving, riveting book." -Valerie Matsumoto, UCLA
"This book about the Dharma of connection, of companioning, of compassion, has strengthened my own devotion." -Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness Is an Inside Job: Practicing for a Joyful Life
"It is Canyon Sam's love for Tibet -- its culture and its people -- that makes this book so special. An important work . . . Poignant and inspiring." -Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
Introduction; 1 Sky Train; 2 Morning on the Changtang; 3 Lhasa; 4 Crossing the Himalayas; 5 Dharamsala; Epilogue
Notes; Glossary; Acknowledgments; About the Author