15 years-old Buddhist nuns who dare to challenge the Chinese invaders, children who are reincarnated deities, heroic teenagers and elders that come from another time, torturers and wise hermits, corrupt policemen and nomadic warriors
The Mountains of Buddha is a tale of what refuses to vanish on the other side of the Himalayas: the spirit of resistance, the faith, the soul of Tibet. It is the true story of two young women who join a group of refugees to cross, at night and by foot, the highest mountains of the world.
It is the true story of the Dalai Lama, who dedicates his life to keep the flame of hope alive for his people. It is the recent history of Tibet. It is, above all, the proof that crude force cannot destroy the human spirit.
A great many people have helped in the researching and writing of this book. I would like to express my profound gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who took time out of his busy schedule to patiently answer my queries. I would particularly like to thank Kinsom and Yandol. No matter how painful it was for them, they spoke spontaneously and without reserve of the hell they had been through in prison. To the children of the Tibetan Children's Village, who told me of their flight, my sincere thanks and apologies for having brought tears to their eyes.
I am particularly indebted to Dominique Lapierre; without his constant support and encouragement, this book would not have been possible. I am also grateful to my publishers, Mario Lacruz, Leonello Brandolini, Marco Vigevani and Shekhar Malhotra.
My warm thanks to Michelle Parfait, who accompanied me on several trips to India, Nepal and Tibet. These journeys will always remain in my mind because of the extraordinary hospitality shown to me by Vicki and Ang Kami Sherpa in Kathmandu. I would like to express my gratitude to them as also to Lama Osel, his brother Kunkyen and his father Paco Hita who met us with affection and kindness in the Sera Monastery in southern India. I would like to thank all the Tibetans in Tibet who trusted me enough to answer my questions.
I am grateful to Mr. Atuk, the Indian Ambassador in Spain, who helped me get an interview with the Dalai Lama. I am also indebted to the following: Kelsang Gyaltsen, the political secretary of His Holiness, for his patience and efficiency; Tsering Tashi, press advisor; Rinchen Khando Choegyal, the Dalai Lama's sister-in-law and Minister of Education of the Government-in-exile. In charge of twenty-seven thousand pupils, living all over India, she gave freely of her time to me and provided invaluable assistance in procuring the necessary documentation. My heartfelt thanks to Philippa Russel, the representative of the NGO looking after nun refugees, for her kindness and the assistance she provided in facilitating the interviews. And of course, I wish to express my gratitude to the interpreter Lhamo Choeden.
I would like to thank the staff of the Information Department of the Government of His Holiness for allowing me to consult their archives. I am very grateful to John Ackerly, the Director of the International Campaign for Tibet in Washington for having allowed me to reproduce, free of cost, the photographs he had taken at the time of the Lhasa demonstrations.
I am also very grateful for the help given to me in Dharamsala by Stephanie Faber, Bo, Reverend Pema Dorjee and Yonten Chodon in finding the people I was looking for. My thanks to Laura Allen for her hospitality in New Delhi.
I would like to express my gratitude to: Jose Juan Ortiz for his collabouration; Gloria Rognoni; Jordi Risa who told me the fascinating story of his love for Nepal and the mountains; Alan Cantos, whose advice lead me to discover unknown stories and whose corrections of the manuscript proved invaluable; Maria Torres and Francois Camus for the long interviews they granted in Budbion; Kia Abitbol for her encouragement and enthusiasm at the time of reading the book; Joan Carol for her invaluable advice; Eugenio Suarez, who spent many hours correcting the manuscript and without whose generous assistance it would not have been completed.
For all the trips I have made in India. I would like to thank the Taj Group of Hotels and Air India for their cooperation.
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