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Music in the Sky: The Life, Art and Teachings of the Seventeenth Karmapa Orgyen Trinley Dorje by Michele Martin (Snow Lion) offers the biography and the teachings of the 17th Karmapa, who escaped from Chinese-occupied Tibet three years ago and is now living in exile in northern India. The biography offers numerous miracle stories, tales of wisdom beyond the boy's years and other extraordinary accomplishments. It also presents a dramatic account of the Karmapa's flight from Tibet at the tender age of 14. Other sections contain some of his public addresses and poetry. If the teachings seem precocious for a boy who is still just 17 years old, remember that according to Tibetan tradition, he embodies the knowledge of all of the Buddhas of the past, present and future. As the second millennium drew to a close, the Seventeenth Karmapa leapt from a roof of his monastery in Tibet. Evading his Chinese guards, the 14-year­old spiritual leader began a grueling, dangerous journey to India. The Karmapa's picture has appeared all over the world since then - yet his own words are hard to find. Now, for the first time in print, Music in the Sky offers a series of the Karmapa's profound teachings, an extensive selection of his poetry, and a detailed account of his life and flight from his homeland. The amazing teaching and writing skills evident in this work - particularly in light of the fact that the Karmapa is still only 17 years old - will captivate readers.

The focus of Music in the Sky is on the Karmapa as a religious figure and on the Bud­dhism of Tibet, assuming that it is the subtle explanations of mind and the prac­tices leading to realization that draw us to the Buddhist teachings and not the politics, which are endemic to any institution. The book is divided into four parts. His life story covers the years from his birth and the unusual events of his young life, through his miraculous escape and years in India. The second section incorporates his teachings, given in northern India from 2000 to 2002 and pre­sented in chronologically ordered sets. It is interesting to note how the subjects of his talks and his concerns as a newly-arrived fourteen-year-old shift as his stud­ies evolve and as he gains more experience. A selection of his poems, each fol­lowed by a brief commentary, fills the third section, and the fourth contains historical background: a traditional narrative of the Karmapa's lineage, histories of the Karmapas sixteen previous incarnations, and the prophetic songs of the six­teenth Karmapa. The Karmapa has a natural gift for brushwork and enjoys mak­ing drawings, several of which are reproduced in the color sections. The photographs chronicle significant events in his life or capture an engaging por­trait of him; they also include images of people important to him. Finally, an appendix lists and identifies the Tibetan names, and a glossary provides brief def­initions of Buddhist and Tibetan terms.

Music in the Sky concludes with brief biographies of all sixteen previous Karmapas, specially composed for this collection by the highly respected Seventh Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. Here, the reader will discover the compelling histories of the first Tibetan masters to be recognized as reincarnate lamas. Music in the Sky presents a definitive portrait of the Seventeenth Karmapa, strengthened and illuminated by an authoritative depiction of his place in one of the world's most revered lines of spiritual teachers.

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