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Cave in the Snow

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  1,197 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
This is the incredible story of Tenzin Palmo, a remarkable woman who spent 12 years alone in a cave 13,000 feet up in the Himalayas.
At the age of 20, Diane Perry, looking to fill a void in her life, entered a monastery in India--the only woman amongst hundreds of monks---and began her battle against the prejudice that had excluded women from enlightenment for thousands of
ebook, 256 pages
Published December 26th 2008 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published September 15th 1998)
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Mar 03, 2009 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ever since reading this as a teenager, I've thought I could be a Buddhist Monk.
I still wish for that sometimes.
Jan 04, 2009 Mina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Cave in the Snow" is the biography of Tenzin Palmo, a British woman, who became a Tibetan Buddhist nun at an early age. In her attempt to seek enlightenment, she endured 12 years in solitary isolation in a barren cave in the Karakoram mountains. For 12 years, she slept upright in a 2' X 3' "meditation box", endured cold, wild animals, and near starvation.

Surprisingly, I found this book to be a real page turner. It was an uplifting book, and accessibly written by Vicki Mackenzie. I got a real se
Karan Bajaj
Apr 06, 2015 Karan Bajaj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a brilliant book! An incredibly inspiring story of a female monk seeking enlightenment in its truest, most undiluted sense. I admire the remarkable level of detail with which the biographer captured Tenzin Palmo's time in the cave. My wife and I ran into this book at a guest house in the high Himalayas - it was the perfect setting to read it and we both lapped up the story. The idea of meditating in a cave in the Himalayas sounds like a nice escape fantasy, but the reality is quite harsh, g ...more
Feb 01, 2009 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vickie Mackenzie's tone in this book is a little too breathless and reverential for my taste, but the story she has to tell is quite amazing. What struck me about Tenzin Palmo, aside from her ability to live in a cave/hut on a mountain in the Himalayas by herself, is how she seems to have been totally self-assured about her priorities and choices in life the whole way through. How many people get to be this sure about anything, let alone devotion to a sexist, byzantine religious order belonging ...more
I’ve always been fascinated by Ani Tenzin Palmo. Twelve years meditating in a Himalayan cave!! And during the “prime” of her life too!! Who does that, you wonder? This engrossing biography answers that it’s a woman so dedicated to spiritual attainment that, despite the considerable obstacles of being a woman and a Westerner in the 1960s, she’s willing to commit and give her life to attaining enlightenment in female form. Her purpose in allowing the author access to her life was to inspire others ...more
Sian Lile-Pastore
A really interesting story let down by some clunky ol' writing. This is about a buddhist nun who lived in a cave for twelve years, although it isn't written by the nun (which would have been better) but by a journalist who met up with her. The nun's story is fascinating, but I could have done with more cave and less talking about a whole pile of other seemingly unrelated stuff in the last few chapters. Onwards!
Supriya Dhaliwal
Jan 18, 2015 Supriya Dhaliwal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book unveils a tale of a revolutionary Western Tibetan nun whose eye is focused on a horizon too distant for most of us to see. Mackenzie has done an amazing job. She has crafted the different chapters in such a reader friendly manner that they not only act as the blackboard of the biographic tales of Tenzin Palmo but also introduce us to the diverse realms of Tibetan Buddhism.
Nancy Loe
Oct 24, 2009 Nancy Loe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
I agree with the prior reviewer who said that the author's tone is more than a bit breathless and awestruck. This is not to say that Palmo didn't accomplish an amazing feat. What I appreciated the most was Palmo's certitude.
Mark Robison
Jun 11, 2017 Mark Robison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m not sure I would've read this book so fast if not for the audio version. The writing is very plain and contains lots of attributions such as “she stated” and “she commented,” like a newspaper article. Also, for those who are unable to read books that take the supernatural seriously (and I’m one such person), it can be difficult to accept all of the Tibetan Buddhism mysticism. All that said, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and learning about Tenzin Palmo’s journey from young woman in England to ...more
James Allen
Apr 19, 2017 James Allen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, buddhism
Tenzin Palmo's life story is inspirational.
Yoshay L.L
Nov 01, 2013 Yoshay L.L rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible, mind-blowing n awe inspiring story of one of the first western Buddhist nuns who found a way to question the patriarchal tradition of Tibetan Buddhism where mostly all the high lamas and incarnates are male. Yet in doing so she is not assuming the role of a feminist. According to her Equanimity is the key and to bring balance in the Buddha dharma, female practitioners & realised female lamas are necessary to show that the female body is as good a vehicle as the male body to attai ...more
Apr 28, 2008 Katrin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating account of one of the first Western women to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun. She was also one of the few women, ever, to vow to reach enlightenment in a female form. Historically nuns have had to be satisfied with learning as much as possible then hoping to be reborn into a male form, whereby they might be given the higher teachings. Tenzin Palmo basically demanded the teachings. She was a recognized reincarnation of a close friend of one of the high lamas. She event ...more
Rosemary Allix
Jan 22, 2012 Rosemary Allix rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
I love this book. It is a real inspiration for anyone who wants to lead a spiritual life, it shows just what it takes to achieve a state of real awareness. Vicki does all the writing, Tenzin Palmo comes over as a gentle soul modestly allowing us to hear her incredible story. I frequently re-read the passage where she spent years isolated in a cave in the Himalayas and at one point was completely buried alive by snow, but calmly found a way to dig herself out. Great stuff.
Jul 25, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
i skipped the chapters on feminist wrangling. mostly it was a trip down memory lane for me as i had lived in dalhousie for a summer (the summer tenzin palmo was in loudhi) and visited dharamsala and sat with lamas. i enjoyed 'being' in india. there were also a few very nice quotes that make for meditation material. i had to remind myself it was a biography, and as such really portrayed the outer world much more that the inner.
Jan 19, 2009 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting to me...this woman, born in the east end of London, paved the way for others in the spiritual realm of Tibetan Buddhism, and spent 12 years of her life high in a mountain cave in the Himalayas.

It was good for me to read about others who are just as (or more, actually) passionate in their beliefs. Reincarnation and all that...there seems to be quite a mystical array of things that accompany Buddhism.

This was mind opening...
Sep 10, 2008 Nadia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
what can I say? Tenzin Palmo is definitely my new hero!
Each and every sentences came out of her & written in this book contain depth; yet they are all delivered simply, so simple you can understand each and every message right away.
As for Vicky MacKenzie, the author, i admire the way she put together Tenzin's story.
I will definitely buy some more of Tenzin's books, if any.
Raven Sky
Nov 26, 2012 Raven Sky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another amazing non fiction tell all of an incredible woman. Who became the first ever Western world Buddhist Nun. Her desire to seek enlightenment amidst adversity in a world of Male dominance, she manged to overcome this. Another fantastic read especially for those on a spiritual path.
Feb 21, 2009 desertmolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing story and written quite well. Not as involving as I had hoped, a bit dry. Gives a bit of background info on Tenzin, skims some Buddhist history and philosophy but research for this books seems to have been extensive and time consuming.
Aug 27, 2011 Shephali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
Tenzin Palmo is an amazing woman. Her life and journey are fascinating. Though this is not an autobiography and the tone can get a dry at times, you get enough insight into her incredibly self-assured and courageous nature.
Jan 08, 2012 Kat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A yogi I truly admire.
Marjorie Elwood
An interesting look at one of the first Westerners to be ordained as a Buddhist nun and the discrimination she faced. Part of her fame is that, as part of her vow to gain Full Awakening in female form, she lived in a cave at 13,000' for 12 years.

I did find it difficult when reading about how blasé she was about her mother's death (because she was 'detached'), but then how shaken she was by her guru's - it seemed hypocritical.
Subodh Sah
Oct 14, 2016 Subodh Sah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very inspiring
Mar 05, 2017 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mar 18, 2016 Gwen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Cave in the Snow several years ago, and only remember being so amazed and impressed at Tenzin Palmo's accomplishments - this time was no different. It is so inspiring to read about determination and devotion like hers, and her calm conviction. Cave in the Snow is full of direct quotes from Tenzin Palmo, from what must have been dozens of interviews over the years (I think this book took about nine years to write and produce), and these are really wonderful - clear and concise for those re ...more
Sep 08, 2014 Lucy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tenzim Palmo is my age, my ethnicity & I understand her confusion in the era before Women's Lib. First half of the book shows her decisions leading toward life in The Cave & her pleasant adjustment in it; however it is not revealed until the second half of the book that she had been a victim of male chauvinism. How she adjusted to sleeping for 12 years in a 3-foot box I do not understand! This sounds like abuse but for many years she was able to rationalize it. If her goal was enlightenm ...more
Though interested in Buddhism, I was unable to work up much enthusiasm for this book. Tenzin Palmo, an Englishwoman who was drawn to the religion and wound up in a Tibetan cave for 14 years, is an interesting case to say the least. I enjoyed reading about her quest for enlightenment, her opinions on all matters religious (not just Buddhism), and her story of survival in a cave 13,200 feet above sea level in the Himalayas.

Less fun was the feminist angle -- ironic, because Palmo does not consider
Ulf Wolf
Jun 17, 2015 Ulf Wolf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story of Tenzin Palmo, the Englishwoman who spent twelve years meditating in a cave at 13,000 feet up in the Himalayas, is a story of the strength of spirit incarnate.

Mackenzie is an accomplished writer and she approaches and treats the subject with utmost skill and respect. The book, as narrative, is a pleasure to read, the wonderful theme and message aside.

But it is the theme and message that truly matters. The amazing journey of Diane Perry from a cold post-war England to the East and the
This book is the true story of Tenzin Palmo, a British woman, who became a Tibetan nun, and spent 12 years meditating in a small cave high in the Himalayas, in Northern India. It was an interesting book because of the topic, but not well written nor well edited. The writing lacked detail. Though it is obvious that Palmo did not wish to talk about herself, the author, who visited her cave, could have provided more description from her own interactions with Palmo. Also, more clarity on the nature ...more
The story of a white, English woman who was called to Buddhism at an early age. She travelled to India to join a monastery and became a Buddhist nun at the age of 21. While there, she was given the name Tenzin Palmo and chose to focus her efforts on achieving enlightenment as a woman. To this end, she chose to spend 12 years alone in a cave high in the Himalayas meditating.

When she emerged, she began a campaign to champion the role of women in Buddhism and provide a place for nuns to practice a
Jan 16, 2015 Yang rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, buddhism
"I believe the West is going to make some really important contributions to Buddhism...The dharma took hundreds of years to get rooted in Tibet. There's no Western Buddhism yet. Buddhism will not be rooted in the West until some Western people have gone and taken the dharma and eaten it and digested it and then given it back in a form which is right for Westerners. At this moment it is like that period in Tibet when they went to India to bring scriptures back and Indian masters visited Tibet. On ...more
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