Tenzin Palmo
Biography & Resources


Venerable Tenzin Palmo was raised in London and became a Buddhist while in her teens. In 1964, at the age of twenty, she decided to go to India to pursue her spiritual path.

There she met her Guru, His Eminence the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, a great Drukpa Kagyu lama, and became one of the first Westerners to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun. She remained with Khamtrul Rinpoche and his community in Himachal Pradesh, northern India, for six years and then he directed her to the Himalayan valley of Lahaul in order to undertake more intensive practice. Tenzin Palmo stayed in a small monastery there for several years, remaining in retreat during the long winter months. Then, seeking more seclusion and better conditions for practice, she found a nearby cave where she remained for another 12 years, the last 3 years in strict retreat. She left India in 1988 and went to stay in Italy where she taught at various Dharma centres.

Before H.E. Khamtrul Rinpoche passed away in 1980, he had on several occasions requested Tenzin Palmo to start a nunnery. She understood the importance of this and remembers:

'When I was staying at a small monastery in Lahaul I saw for myself that nuns, however intelligent and devoted, had no opportunity to study and no access to higher teachings. It made me so sad because the monks were given all the teachings and put into retreats while the nuns were overlooked and treated as servants.'

In 1993, the Lamas of the Khampagar monastery in Himachal Pradesh India again made this request. This time Tenzin Palmo was ready to take on the formidable task and she began slowly raising interest worldwide.

selected books

Cave in the Snow: Tenzin Palmo's Quest for Enlightenment
(Bloomsbury USA, 1999)
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