Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Cave in the Snow” as Want to Read:
Cave in the Snow
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Cave in the Snow

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  1,494 ratings  ·  124 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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 26th 2003 by Bloomsbury USA (first published September 15th 1998)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Cave in the Snow, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,494 ratings  ·  124 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Mar 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
ever since reading this as a teenager, I've thought I could be a Buddhist Monk.
I still wish for that sometimes.
Sandra Bašić
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
„Uvijek se možete moliti buddhama, ali nemojte ih moliti da vam donesu bicikl za Božić. Umjesto toga, molite se za duhovni razvoj koji može procvjetati u umu. Molite se nižim bićima za taj bicikl. Pismo u kojem tražite povrat poreza ne biste slali premijeru, već nekom nižem službeniku. Želite li zaustaviti rat, poslat ćete pismo premijeru.“

Ovo je jedan od brojnih divnih citata kojima obiluje ova knjiga. Autorica Vicki Mackenzie je, upoznavši Tenzin Palmo, odlučila napisati priču o ovoj samozataj
Helena (Renchi King)
Ova knjiga mogla bi oduševiti praktikante i simpatizere budizma,mene je na trenutke davila tim tumačenjima o transcedentalnom...
Zanimalo me kako se jedna žena može povući na dvanaest godina osame,u špilju na 4000m u potpuno nemogućim uvjetima...
A,ipak nije tako...špilju su joj prethodno malo "pripremili":uzidali je,postavili vrata i prozor. Sasvim solidna,iako,vrlo malo sobica koja ima čak i malu peć! Hranu su joj dostavljali (doduše s nekim prekidima)...znači...nije bila gola špilja kakvu si sv
Jan 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
"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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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
Sian Lile-Pastore
Dec 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
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!
Mark Robison
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism, favorites
Tenzin Palmo's life story is inspirational.
Apr 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
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
Supriya Dhaliwal
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 rated it liked it
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.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhism
What I expected from this book was essentially a biography of British woman who came a Tibetan Buddhist nun and contemplative long before it was fashionable to do so, but there's a lot more to it.

What I enjoyed most were the later sections of the book where it delved more into the role of women in Buddhism (and particularly Tibetan Buddhism), the relationship between Buddhism and feminism, and the idea of Western Buddhism as a form that is coming-int0-being, and one of its greatest contributions
Jim Lavis
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic! This book or story is a true treasure. It’s one of the most moving books I’ve read in a long time. It’s one that I’ll read again and again.

This story is about a woman, Tenzin Palmo, who grew up in England and discovered the Buddhist faith through reading. She became so inspired by it, she dedicated her whole life to the practice. At a young age, she left home and traveled to India to study the Tibetan tradition of the Buddhist faith. From there, she met and convinced a lama to accept
Sep 22, 2017 added it
Not just the biography of one of the first Western Buddhist nuns but a surprisingly accessible and readable survey of the role of women in Tibetan Buddhism over the last 100 years.

Mackenzie's prose is at times choppy, her tone sometimes too "gushing" but deservedly so, I feel. This is after all the story of a woman who has done remarkable things by any standard. Do not let such minor niggles put you off this slim volume for it contains several passages of insight and some of dazzling clarity and
Young girls are generally discouraged from extreme forms of expression, and this applies to forms of devotion. This biography of Tenzin Palmo by Vicki Mackenzie documents the transformation a young, fun- loving English girl into a Tibetan Buddhist nun, in defiance of tradition and with the full support of her mother who encouraged her spiritual quest.

In fact, reading this intimate account, even with all of the austere practices TP took on, she never lost her sense of fun nor her light-hearted po
Neil Mattey
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Immensely interesting story of Tenzin Palmo, with her quest for enlightenment. Full life story nicely written by Vicki making it very accessible and inspirational. After reading this book my mind was much clearer than when I began. Essential reading.
Elles Lohuis
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved reading this story and appreciate it even more now I've had the honor to meet Ven. Tenzin Palmo in life - the tone of the book is spot on!
Yoshay Lama 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
Rosemary Allix
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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 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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
A yogi I truly admire.
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Incredible, inspirational story of a woman's journey into Buddhism.
Originally from 1960's London she turns to Buddhism long before Buddhism became fashionable! Her response to an inward pull towards the East and her desire to be a Buddhist nun is the key model to the tale. The book describes her journey from childhood, her ambitions, her encounters and her struggle to be a woman in a very 'male' world. The cave in which she retreats for a large chunk of her life...high up in the Himalayan mount
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Inspirational story of the life of an extraordinary London woman who travelled to India at the age of 20 to become a Buddhist nun and, after spending 12 years meditating in a cave high in the Himalayas, assumed responsibility for building a nunnery for Buddhist nuns in north India. This responsibility proved of huge value to the rest of the world as Tenzin Palmo became a travelling teacher, raising funds for the nunnery as she criss-crossed the globe spreading Buddhist knowledge and wisdom. Gems ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Reflections On A Mountain Lake: Teachings On Practical Buddhism
  • Bones of the Master: A Journey to Secret Mongolia
  • The Autobiography of a Tibetan Monk
  • Dakini Power: Twelve Extraordinary Women Shaping the Transmission of Tibetan Buddhism in the West
  • The Life of Milarepa
  • Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind: the Zen journal & letters of Maura "Soshin" O'Halloran
  • A Flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night: A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life
  • Awakening the Buddhist Heart: Integrating Love, Meaning, and Connection into Every Part of Your Life
  • Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits
  • Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism
  • The Way of the White Clouds
  • No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva
  • The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
  • Great Disciples of the Buddha: Their Lives, Their Works, Their Legacy
  • The Words of My Perfect Teacher
  • Returning to Silence
  • The Path Is the Goal: A Basic Handbook of Buddhist Meditation
  • The Crystal and the Way of Light: Sutra, Tantra, and Dzogchen
See similar books…
“Normally we are so identified with our thoughts and emotions, that we are them. We are the happiness, we are the anger, we are the fear. We have to learn to step back and know our thoughts and emotions are just thoughts and emotions. They're just mental states.” 3 likes
“people cause so much of their own suffering just because they think that without having these strong emotions they're not real people.” 3 likes
More quotes…