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Sorrow Mountain: The Journey of a Tibetan Warrior Nun

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  247 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Since the publication of Sorrow Mountain in 2000, I have received letters from people throughout the world who felt inspired by Ani Pachen's example. Her courage in the face of devastation, as well as the Buddhist teachings that helped her endure, brought comfort to people experiencing illness, depression, and loss. I heard from others who said they received solace from th ...more
Paperback, 293 pages
Published August 23rd 2002 by Kodansha (first published January 1st 2000)
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 ·  247 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book tells the remarkable story of Ani Panchen, a Tibetan nun, who led the resistance to the ruthless Red Chinese occupation of Tibet, after her father's death in 1958.
For 21 years she was imprisoned in hellish Chinese prison camps, only surviving because of her strong will and faith.
After her release she continued to lead the struggle against the Red Chinese occupation and genocide of Tibet's people. In 1988 she was forced into exile in India, where she has continued to devote her life to
Anne-Marie Hodge
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book opened my eyes to the atrocities that the Tibetan people went through at the hands of the Chinese in the latter half of the 20th century. I have to admit that I was a bit turned off by the spiritual zealotry that pervades the narrative...but on the other hand, if that's the lens through which many people experienced those events, it's interesting to see it from that point of view. The narrative still feels stilted, despite the fact that Pachen used a co-author to help write the book, b ...more
Jo-Ann Murphy
This book is both hard to read and hard to put down. The story of Ani Pachen is both horrifying and awe-inspiring. That someone could live through such torture while holding onto their spiritual beliefs and exhibiting courage is amazing. It is something many of us may aspire to but never hope to achieve.

This book shows how long China has been practicing Tibetan genocide. It is heart-breaking. I hope Ani's story inspires more understanding and compassion.
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Our Taekwondo teacher nicknamed my daughter, “Ani Pachen” recently in honor of the Tibetan chieftaness warrior who fought to free her people and their land from Chinese imperialism. I had to read her story to learn more. This story was beautifully written, although there was narrative license used to embellish Ani’s story with those of other Tibetans as well as Tibetan lama teachings from multiple sources ascribed to Ani’s teachers. I really appreciated and honored the author’s ability to weave ...more
Caitlin Bautista
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the most remarkable memoirs that I have read; Ani Pachen’s story will definitely stay with me for a long time. This book also shows the tragedy of implementing forced ideology over compassion. Hoping to see a free Tibet in the near future.
Rupert Grech
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating yet disturbing story, beautifully written. Much of the writing is lyrical and sometimes borders on the poetic. Apart from all that, it is a story the world needs to know.
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: around-the-world

Breathing is not easy...
Emmi Linnavuori
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sad but important story.
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
This is the heart wrenching story of Ani Pachen. It begins with her life as a young girl and as a young woman along with her hopes and dreams for the future. She is the pampered only child of a wealthy area leader. However, when her father dies she is obligated to take his place as leader, a role she feels little prepared to fill. Her hope had been for a quiet reflective life as a nun but instead she must replace her father as a leader to fight an invading Chinese army set upon capturing Tibet. ...more
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Many years ago I visited a Tibetan Refugee Camp in Pokhara, but never really appreciated Tibet’s story until reading, “Sorrow Mountain”; a book written by a Tibetan nun documenting the injustices and cruelty afflicted on her nation from the 1950s to present. In my mind, Tibet has many parallels to Cambodia and the effects of Year Zero (experienced while working in Phnom Penh in the late 1990s) – the orphans, the lost generations, the physical (and internal) scars.

Communism has a lot to answer f
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sorrow Mountain, Ani Pachen's story as told to Adelaide Donnelley, is a compelling story of a privileged Tibetan girl who, after the Chinese invasion of Tibet, took her father's place as a tribal leader, was captured and spent many years in prison, then finally escaped to McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala India, where she lived out her last years as a nun. I read it while in McLeod Ganj last fall and I wanted to visit her, but discovered she had passed away about ten years before.
Ellen Besso, Author of "S
Dec 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book was one of the few I have been assigned for class where I stayed up late reading it, not because of a deadline, but because I just couldn't stop reading. Ani Pachen does a great job depicting the juxtaposition between the climate of Tibet before and after China's invasion. One thing to note is that Ani Pachen clearly comes from a privileged Tibetan family, which means her story may vary markedly from a servant family within Tibet. ...more
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This moving story of the life of a strong Tibetan, who believes in the importance of her faith, culture, heritage and the people of Tibet. Her strength and courage to survive 25 years imprisonment, then to continue the journey to "Free Tibet", make this read a must for all. This remarkable story of courage and survival will create in you an awareness of the injustices dealt to the people of Tibet over a long period of time, with little support from the outside world. ...more
Sep 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Insight into life in Tibet before and after China's land grab. The main character tells her life as it happened. Fascinating, and the timeframe got to me. I couldn't help comparing what I was doing during the times of her trials and triumphs. I appreciate the exposure to another culture and spiritual growth at such a basic, revealing level. ...more
Jun 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Melissa and Leah G
Recommended to Mary by: Micki Caro
Excellent reading. Lots to learn about a country that we seldom hear about. The 20 years she was a prisoner of the Chinese was amazing that she survived. Her belief held her together through torture that we in the U.S probably could not stand up to.
Sep 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful story of a woman warrior (literally), imprisoned and tortured for her Buddhist beliefs. She becomes (at long last) a nun. She survives and prevails, and the language of the woman who wrote the book with her is searing. A great read.
Feb 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
An inspiring and true account of one woman's life during the Chinese communist invasion into Tibet in the 1950s. It simultaneously incites anger and tenderness within the reader....couldn't put it down once I began the story. ...more
Dec 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly moving story of a Tibetan Nun who endured 25 of torture in the Chinese Jails fighting for Tibet and her rights to practice Buddhism. I have read this books 3 times and each time I walk away feeling inspired. It is a must read!
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing story of strength and faith against unimaginable suffering. A window into Tibetan life before and the changes due to the Chinese occupation.

My Tibet book for 2012 Around the World in 52 Books Challenge.
Nov 30, 2012 rated it liked it
A pretty easy read but very interesting.
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very powerful story, beautifully written. It brought tears to my eyes all the time. May the pains and sufferings be lifted from her nation and may her achieve the ultimate freedom.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A very moving story of an incredible Tibetan Nun - amazing story!
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book, very inspiring!
Jenn Barry
Mary Follis
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look at Tibet before and during China's takeover of it. Imagine growing up trained in mindfulness and meditation! ...more
Frank Cardenas
Sep 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read!
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Judith Allen
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Oct 12, 2017
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