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International Launch

From Lion's Jaws:
Chögyam Trungpa's Epic Escape to the West

— A Shining Story for Daunting Times —

Listen to Grant MacLean read from Chapter 12 - "The Crossing"

Purchase the book here


Join us at the Library

Join us at the Halifax Central Library for a presentation and reading by Grant MacLean on Thursday, 24 November at 7:00 PM. We'll be in the BMO Community Room on the 2nd floor. See you there. Bring your friends

Visit the website

Visit From Lion's Jaws for images of people and scenery — maps and Google Earth paths to follow the journey — reviews and readers' comments — background essays — purchase details. Available in printed and Kindle formats, it can be found on Amazon in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France and Germany.

On the Full Moon night of April 1959, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche set out to escape from his homeland. It became one of history's most dramatic and extraordinary journeys, a towering story of adventure, courage and endurance in the face of the most appalling challenges. Over half a century later it can be seen to have been one of history's greatest journeys.

It is also a spiritual saga — a luminous epic of vision, compassion, and good humour — an epic often lit by gleams of magic. It is a piercing story that comes close to the heart — an inspiration for difficult times in our own life journeys.

In the 50th anniversary year of Born in Tibet's publication, From Lion's Jaws retells the story of the escape, incorporating the accounts of survivors, illuminating details and revealing previously untold aspects of the journey.

Written for a general audience, warmly received by the Sakyong and by Lady Diana Mukpo — who called it "wonderful" — and by a broad variety of reviewers and readers, From Lion's Jaws is an excellent read for sangha, or for friends and family with no special interest in Buddhism or Tibet.

Early Reviews

"... an evocative, breathless, compellingly written view of this epic journey, among the greatest escape sagas of them all." –William Gilkerson, award-winning author of Pirate's Passage.


"A powerful, impressive book ... a breath-taking account of a haunting and inspiring journey of spiritual and physical courage ..." –Rudy Wurlitzer, screenwriter and novelist: Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Little Buddha, and The Drop Edge of Yonder, among many other works.



"A wonderful read, a book to be treasured and re-read ... hugely beneficial ... a moving and beautiful tour de force." –Jane Rosenthal, award-winning literary critic, Mail & Guardian.


MacLean skillfully sets the stage for one of the great escape adventures of our time as the early chapters vividly show us Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's training and development as a young lama and abbot of a major monastery. As the invading Chinese close in, determined to imprison or kill him, we follow Trungpa as he wanders eastern Tibet to evade capture, until he reluctantly concludes he would best serve his people by escaping to India.

Only eighteen at the time, he leads a ragtag group of ill-prepared refugees for many months through and over the seemingly endless ranges of the high Himalayas, in winter, without adequate provisions. The Chinese army is searching for him, so they take the hardest and therefore least travelled paths, on foot, often travelling at night, sometimes unsure of the way, but unable to seek help or food from nearby villagers. The story builds to a powerful climax as, exhausted and emaciated, they attempt a harrowing night crossing of the Brahmaputra River, practically in the gunsights of the Chinese army. Even after this, the mountains and hardships are not yet over.

Trungpa Rinpoche eventually went on to become one of the most compelling and effective teachers of Buddhism in the West – Tibet's loss was our gain – and a magnetic figure of manifold energies and endless fascination.

For the general reader this is a gripping and exotic adventure story, an amazing epic of courage and determination, and an introduction to a Tibet that is now lost to us. For those with an interest in Buddhism, and in particular for students of Trungpa Rinpoche, MacLean takes us along as this extraordinary young Tibetan lama passes through an icy Himalayan crucible, emerging as the Shambhala warrior that his Western students would later come to know and follow on their own journeys of transformation. -Andrew Rock


In this remarkable story, using little more than intuition, spiritual insight, and the occasional mirror divination, Chögyam Trungpa and company traverse some of the most hostile and inhospitable terrain on the planet. Not to mention the Chinese army, starvation, and frostbite. Against insurmountable odds, these daring Tibetans defy logic and the elements to escape the annihilation of their culture and bring the Dharma to the west. Good stuff! -Ikkyu Jones


In this time when "the ends justify the means" seems to infuse much of our literature, entertainment and presidential politics, here is a true account of a highly principled escape from the Communist Chinese in 1959 and 1960. Very few people would keep to a larger view when your life -- and the lives of those close to you -- are on the line. That uniqueness together with excellent writing and the extraordinary landscape of the Himalayas and Tibetan plateau make this a gripping story, hard to put down.

This book illuminates a heretofore cloudy chapter of Trungpa Rinpoche's life. We now know that Rinpoche's early autobiography, "Born in Tibet" told an incomplete story for many reasons. For his students, this is a must-read. For others, you will not be disappointed -- this is true drama, not a Hollywood-ized one. -Robert Ziegler


A well told story with the natural tension of the actual events described eloquently. I was unable to put it down until I finished reading it in the early hours of the morning. The book chronicles the daring and dangerous escape from Tibet in 1959 of Chogyam Trungpa and a large group of refugees, who must avoid armed Chinese Communists through the rugged and ruthless landscape of the Himalayas. Trungpa went on to become one of the pivotal figures to bring Buddhism to the West and inspire and teach countless students. A story of courage, fortitude and compassion that will leave you in awe of the exertion and bravery of the human spirit. -Barbara Berry