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Princess in the Land of Snows: The Life of Jamyang Sakya in Tibet
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This is the story of a determined woman who overcame great obstacles in order to achieve religious freedom. Born in eastern Tibet, Jamyang Sakya married into the powerful Sakya family, spiritual advisers of Kublai Khan and for years rulers of much of Central Asia. Her engaging personal story evokes a rich vision of Tibet’s traditional culture, customs, and religious practices.
Jamyang Sakya tells of being the only girl in a monastic private school, of dreams and divinations interpreted by high lamas, of long pilgrimages to sacred Buddhist sites, and of her life as a high lady of Sakya. Her narrative reveals a multifaceted picture, from the intricacies of managing a palace household to the political takeover by the Chinese Communists, who destroyed much of Tibet’s religious heritage. It climaxes with the Sakya family’s harrowing walk through the Himalayas to freedom, during which they were hotly pursued by the Chinese. After a year in India, they emigrated to the United States, one of the first Tibetan families to do so.
Today Jamyang Sakya lives in Seattle, Washington.
Julie Emery is a reporter for the Seattle Times.