The Dance of 17 Lives

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The Dance of 17 Lives is a 2004 book by UK journalist and author Mick Brown. It is the story of an exiled Tibetan teenager, the Karmapa, who has been hailed as one of the greatest spiritual leaders of modern times.[1]

Karmapa controversy[edit]

Considerable controversy surrounded the enthronement of the 17th Karmapa, as there was not just one contender for the vacated throne, but two. Both contenders were represented by rival factions who wanted to get their candidate recognised as the true incarnation of the 16th Karmapa. The alternative to Urgyen Trinley Dorje was Thaye Dorje, who enjoyed the authoritative backing of Shamar Rinpoche.[2]

While this book may not appeal to scholars of Tibetan culture, it does demystify this culture for a general readership. Brown shows how spiritual and secular power are closely related in the world of Tibetan Buddhism, with many monks and lamas vying for the power that comes from spiritual authority.[2]

See also[edit]


  • "Book Review: Brown, Mick. The Dance of 17 Lives: the Incredible True Story of Tibet's 17th Karmapa. Goldstein, Melvyn C. and others. A Tibetan Revolutionary: The Political Life and Times of Bapa Phuntso Wangye". Booklist. June 1, 2004. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  • Scobie, Claire (August 1, 2004). "Review of The Dance of 17 Lives: the Incredible True Story of Tibet's 17th Karmapa". The Age. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  • Hilton, Isabel (17 May 2004). "Spiritual struggle. Review of The Dance of 17 Lives: the incredible true story of Tibet's 17th Karmapa". New Statesman. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  • Paine, Jeffery (June 27, 2004). "The Born-Again Buddha of Tibet". The Washington Post. pp. BW08. Retrieved 2008-11-11.


  • Brown, Mick. (2004). The Dance of 17 Lives: The Incredible True Story of Tibet's 17th Karmapa, Bloomsbury Press, ISBN 0-7475-7161-9