Wednesday, June 17, 2020

UK woman becomes Buddhist monk (video)

Tracks, Nov. 21, 2019; Amber Larson, Ashley Wells, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
Author Vicki Mackenzie (Cave in the Snow) relates that what inspired her book was reading Tenzin Palmo's statement in a Buddhist magazine: "I have made a vow to attain enlightenment in the female form -- no matter how many lifetimes it takes."

British woman becomes a Buddhist monk
Cave in the Snow (Mackenzie)
This is the story of British Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, the daughter of a working class man from London's East End, who traveled to the Himalayas, found a teacher, and spent 12 years alone in a cave.

She became a world-renowned spiritual leader and a champion of the innate capacity of females to achieve spiritual enlightenment.

At the age of 18, she read a book on Buddhism and realized that this might fill a long-sensed void in her life. In 1963, at the age of 20, she traveled to India, where she eventually entered a Buddhist monastery.

O, Master, it's just, I thought you'd be a man.
Being the only woman among hundreds of monks, she began her battle against the sexist prejudice that has excluded women from full ordination for thousands of years.

In 1976 she secluded herself in a remote Himalayan cave at 13,000 feet, where she stayed for 12 years between the ages of 33 and 45.

In this mountain hideaway she faced unimaginable cold, wild animals, floods, snow, and rockfalls, grew her own food, and slept in a traditional wooden meditation box, three feet square. She never reclined to lay down, an ascetic practice.

In 1988 she emerged from the cave with a determination to build a convent (nunnery) in northern India to revive the Togdenma lineage, a long-forgotten, elite female spiritual school.

Tracks (Facebook) publishes unique, unexpected, and untold stories from across the world every week. From Cave in the Snow. Content licensed from TVF International to Little Dot Studios. For queries, contact:

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