Every so often a story comes along that takes your breath away, that haunts you long after you’ve read it, and that inspires and enlightens you. Across Many Mountains by Yangzom Brauen is one such story.
Kunsang thought she would never leave Tibet. One of the country’s youngest Buddhist nuns, she grew up in a remote mountain village where, as a teenager, she entered the local nunnery. Though simple, Kunsang’s life gave her all she needed: a oneness with nature and a sense of the spiritual in all things. She married a monk, had two children, and lived in peace and prayer. But not for long.
There was a saying in Tibet: “When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the face of the earth.” The Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 and the subsequent systematic obliteration of all things religious and cultural changed everything. When soldiers arrive at her mountain monastery, destroying everything in their path, Kunsang and her family flee across the Himalayas, with the vague plan of joining His Holiness the Dalai Lama in exile in India.On that harrowing journey, her six-year old daughter, Sonam, almost loses her life when she falls into an icy crevasse, but all of them eventually make it across the border into the Indian state of Assam. There, the family spends years in refugee and work camps, living in abject poverty, with no access to clean water, education, or cultural stimulation. Kunsang loses both her husband and her youngest child yet manages to make a life for herself and Sonam.
But the future holds an extraordinary turn of events that will forever change both of their lives- the arrival of a cultured young Swiss man long fascinated with Tibet. Martin Brauen falls instantly in love with Sonam eventually winning her heart and hand, and taking mother and daughter to Switzerland, where Yangzom, the author, is born. Sonam grows into an entrepreneur and a gifted abstract artist. Yangzom carries the indomitable spirit of her mother and grandmother forward as a Tibetan rights activist, while also juggling a career as a model and actress.
To see these three women together is a revelation- there is a strong bond linking them to one another and together they represent the most recent history of Tibet.Many important stories lie hidden until the right person arrives to tell them. In rescuing the story of her inspiration grandmother and mother, Yangzom Brauen has given us a book full of love, courage and triumph…and a story not to forget.
Born in 1980 to a Swiss father and Tibetan mother, Yangzom Brauen is an actress, model and political activist. She lives in both Los Angeles and Berlin and has appeared in a number of German and American films. She is active in the Free Tibet movement, making regular radio broadcasts about Tibet and organizing public demonstrations against the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
“Thank you very much for contacting me. it was great talking to you and it was my pleasure to giving this interview about my book.” Yangzom Brauen
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