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Awakening Our Compassion: Books by the Venerable Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo (vegetarian), Part 1 of 2

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Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo is a Buddhist nun of the Drukpa Lineage, a branch of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. After spending 12 years in retreat, meditating in a remote Himalayan cave, she founded the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery in Himachal Pradesh, India. Her spiritual research has been published in several books, and she is one of a select number of Western women who have been fully ordained and trained in the East.

“And then I met my lama, Khamtrul Rinpoche, on my 21st birthday actually, and became a nun about three weeks after that. And so he told me to go to this remote Himalayan region called Lahaul Spiti. And later, I moved up further on the mountain to a small cave, and I stayed there for the next 12 years. And so during that time, when I was living in the cave, one was completely cut off from everybody. When you think you’re going to die, you really focus your life on what’s important. And at that time, I realized the only real refuge was the lama, the teacher.”

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo now tells us how she came to found the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery in Himachal Pradesh, India. Vicki MacKenzie wished to write the venerable nun’s biography. Thus, “Cave in the Snow: Tenzin Palmo’s Quest for Enlightenment” was published in 1998, and subsequently, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo began to receive requests to teach internationally. “Unlike traditionally, when most of the audience for Dharma talks would be monks, nowadays, most of the audience are laypeople and mostly women.”

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo has published several books of her teachings, the first being “Three Teachings” which includes excerpts from talks given in Singapore, in 1999. Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo’s book entitled “Into the Heart of Life,” published in 2011, addresses the need for Buddhist practices to meet the needs of modern-day life. “The basic problems of our human life are much the same, and the Dharma is, the Buddha Dharma is, relevant wherever we are. It’s dealing with the mind, very practical. The problem is within ourselves and our response to other people.”
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