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
"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