Cave in the Snow: Tenzim Palmo’s Quest for EnlightenmentVicki Mackenzie
The story of Tenzin Palmo, an Englishwoman, the daughter of a fishmonger from London’s East End, who spent 12 years alone in a cave 13,000 feet up in the Himalayas and became a world-renowned spiritual leader and champion of the right of women to achieve spiritual enlightenment. Diane Perry grew up in London’s East End. At the age of 18 however, she read a book on Buddhism and realised that this might fill a long-sensed void in her life. In 1963, at the age of 20, she went to India, where she eventually entered a monastery. Being the only woman amongst hundreds of monks, she began her battle against the prejudice that has excluded women from enlightenment for thousands of years. In 1976 she secluded herself in a remote cave 13,000 feet up in the Himalayas, 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 lay down. In 1988 she emerged from the cave with a determination to build a convent in northern India to revive the Togdenma lineage, a long-forgotten female spiritual elite.
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