Ken's Reviews > Cave in the Snow

Cave in the Snow by Vicki Mackenzie
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May 29, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: finished-in-2011, contemporary, nonfiction
Read from May 29 to June 04, 2011

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 herself a feminist, as such (she thinks too many of them are "angry" -- and amen, or "awomen," as the feminists would insist, to that). I admit, however, that it's part of the story because Buddhism is a bit of a male chauvinist pig as religions go (but then again, aren't they all?).

Writing-wise, Mackenzie's book read like a 208-page feature article. By that I mean you run into these long paragraphs that are straight-up quotes from Tenzin Palmo. It happened so often that I began to become conscious of the author's tape recorder (never mentioned... I just could imagine it on pause as she typed in copy, is all). A little more judicious use of paraphrasing may have helped.

Nevertheless, if you are both into Buddhism and into women pioneering in a religion that is surprisingly (to me, anyway) bad at treating the fairer sex equally, you'll probably like this book. If no on a. or b., however, then c. no way, Jose.
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08/15/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Jessica Powell Vicki mentioned in the very beginning Tenzin Palmo only agreed to be the subject of a book if it could help inspire women and help w her project of facilitating enlightenment for women. considering the hardships she faced just because of her gender, I'm surprised that you're surprised it was such a strong focus. I've seen her speak a few times and she definitely focuses on the difficulties women face and blatantly calls men out, even the Dalai Lama, on the unfair treatment of women in Buddhist traditions.


Khrystene I found your comment surprising as well Newengland.

I'd have to agree with Jessica's comments. Jetsunma may not call herself feminist, but she is definitely a strong rolemodel for women. One only has to go to her nunnery and see how she's changing the lives of the Tibetan/Himachali women who are nuns there. Empowering women from the ground up I'd say. And she's been quite harsh with the men in her field.


message 3: by Ken (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ken I commend Tenzin for her work. Although I give the book two stars, I give her dedication a five.


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