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

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

While this book may not appeal to scholars of Tibetan Buddhism or Tibetan culture, its value lies in demystifying this culture for a general readership. Brown demonstrates how spiritual and secular power are intimately related in the world of Tibetan Buddhism, with many monks and lamas jostling for the power that comes with spiritual authority.[2]

See also


  1. The Dance of 17 Lives Page at Bloomsbury USA.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Dance of 17 Lives --The Incredible True Story of Tibet's 17th Karmapa. Dharma Life, Issue 24.


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

External links

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