Tenzin Palmo was twenty years old and working in a library in London when she decided to head off to India and become a Buddhist Nun. Cave in the Snow details her heroic story, including the twelve years which she lived in solitude in a cave in the Himalayas. Even more heroic was her pioneering spirit that encouraged women on their spiritual path.
Tenzin’s goal is to reach enlightenment in female form to demonstrate that it can be done. As a Bodhisattva, she compassionately wants to help men and woman do the same, thereby escaping the inevitable suffering we encounter on the wheel of Saṃsāra. This means she will take human form time and time again so that others might reach enlightenment with her help.
There are many memorable parts in this wonderful book. Here’s one of my favorites, the one I would like to remember the most:
Also when I was in retreat everything became dreamlike, just as the Buddha described. One could see the illusory nature of everything going on around one because one was not in the middle of it. And then when you come out, you see that people are so caught up in their life – we identify so totally with what we’ve created. We believe in it so completely. That’s why we suffer – because there is no space for us.
Now I notice that there is an inner distance towards whatever occurs, whether what’s occurring is outwards or inwards. Sometimes, it feels like being in an empty house with all the doors and windows wide open and the wind just blowing through without anything obstructing it.