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Cave in the Snow

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  805 ratings  ·  75 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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"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
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
ever since reading this as a teenager, I've thought I could be a Buddhist Monk.
I still wish for that sometimes.
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
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
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!
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
Supriya Dhaliwal
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.
"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
Rosemary Allix
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.
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
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...
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.
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.
Quite a compelling story. I've never studied Buddhism in depth, but this provided a good amount of background information on Tibetan schools (too much for my taste in the later, "women in Buddhism" section). It unexpectedly complemented my reading of "The Dharma Bums" a few months ago.

I would give it four stars if not for the relentlessly reverential style. Tenzin Palmo, the subject, comes across as having British self-effacing humour as well as the equanimity one would expect of a yogini - sur
Raven Sky
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.
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.
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.
Nancy L.
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.
A yogi I truly admire.
Yoshay L. Lindblom
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
I found the book interesting to read.
Tenzin Palmo's path is certainly not for everyone, especially those who
are of the so-called "western origins".

My experience of following on the "Buddha's path" has shown me that it takes much
effort to advance even a small way. I suspect for everyone who takes up the effort the
greatest obstacle to overcome is one's own resistance.

Tenzin Palmo tells her story and reveals something of her engagement and struggle in her
effort to realize her own "Buddha nature".
A truly engaging biography about a very unique woman who spent 12 years living in a cave in India, the last three of it in complete solitude (until her solitude is shattered by the police dragging her out of her cave and demanding she leave the country). From there she enters back into the world - no the bizarre hermit some people expected, but an inspired teacher.
Mark Walker
I thought it was a quick read, and an interesting bio on her path towards dharma and the Tibetan teachings. Not terribly deep, but a good overview with some subtle teachings mashed in there. Fascinating woman, and someone who has challenged the role of the singular male in the Tibetan buddist conversation.
Donna Maroulis
I am really drawn to the Buddhist path but I can't embrace it fully. This book gave me a lot more insight into the path and its followers though-- more than if I had read dry descriptions of the beliefs. Tenzin Palmo is a very strong light in the world and I am glad to have met her through this book.
Having gravitated to Vipassana in my early teens, I do have a soft corner for Buddhist memoirs. Today, while I find myself resisting the "spiritual heroism" such books inevitably project, I did enjoy Tenzin Palmo's sincerity and her current purpose. I intend to contribute to her nunnery after reading the book.

Tenzin Palmo's story is truly extraordinary from a western point of view and deserves to be read. I personally found too much emphasis on her being a woman a distortion beyond a point, may
I read this years ago.
I loved it because it opened my eyes to Buddhism and the spiritual life.
Really, I barely remember anything more except it is one of the few titles I would like to read again.
this is an amazing, almost unbelievable story of one women's quest to find Enlightenment as a woman. I learned quite a bit about Buddhism and admire her willingness to give up everything for her god. We could all learn something from her devotion.
Well written book that holds your interest throughout. Combines the fascinating story of a sincerely practicing Buddhist nun, who achieves great things, with feminist issues in spiritual practice. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Buddhism, meditation, or spiritual practice in general.
Katherine Bright
I read this book some years ago and loved it. What a life journey full of descriptive feelings and insights.
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