Sky Burial
Xinran
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Buy *Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet* online

Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet
Xinran
Anchor
Paperback
224 pages
August 2006
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet is a story of heroism that transcends the centuries, a tale to be passed along from one generation to another of one woman's devotion to her husband. A young Chinese wife, Shu Wen, a physician, joins the army in search of her husband, Kejun, is reportedly killed in Tibet. Shu Wen has no idea at the start of the journey that she will spend the next thirty years looking for traces of her love.

Kejun, a doctor, volunteered to offer his services in Tibet, where the fighting was the cause of much death and serious injuries. Unlike the other soldiers killed in action, there is no information as to cause of death, no acclaim for the fallen man as a hero. His bride refuses to believe Kejun has perished, traveling the same route her husband took.

The Communists have had control of the country since 1949, nurturing patriotic extremism; loved ones are often separated in service of the country. It is expected. When Shu Wen joins the army to follow Kejun in 1958, China is recovering from decades of civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists, Mao rebuilding the motherland.

Shu Wen starts out with a contingent of soldiers and eventually they come across a stranded woman: Zhuoma, a Tibetan who will prove a trusted friend and guide for a young bride far from home and family who does not speak the language. Zhuoma has her own fascinating familial tale, which she relates to her new friend, as the two set out in the direction Kejun traveled.

Along the way, the two women are beset by a number of trials, separated from the soldiers during a skirmish, and finally rescued by a nomadic Tibetan family who take them in, caring for Shu Wen as she recovers her strength. Through this family, Shu Wen learns the patterns of Tibetan life, the spiritual nature of their days and the rituals that have accommodated their needs for generations. The Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet "manifests the harmony between heaven and earth, nature and man", one of Tibet's most profound religious ceremonies. The ritual burial reflects the Tibetan philosophy of the connectedness of all things, the great design of the spiritual universe.

Shu Wen's odyssey is related by a journalist who learns the story firsthand in an interview; soon after, the woman disappears once again into the past. In thirty years of wandering, dear friends are lost and found and a human spirit awakened as Shu Wen continues her quest with incredible tenacity, the love of her mate filling the pages of this book with transcendent moments and indelible images.

Far from the world she has known, it is possible to exist in this rarified state of prayerful existence, lost in the centuries-old daily routines. While Shu Wen absorbs time-honored traditions, her country is changing from one decade to another, rendering the China of her memory virtually unrecognizable. As time falls away, days are reduced to the most essential elements, families immersed in Tibetan culture and religious ceremony, spending their every waking moment in prayer. Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet is a poignant testimony to the power of love, commitment and spiritual awareness.



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Luan Gaines, 2005

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