Sixteen years ago, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo was thrust into the international spotlight after the publication of her biography, Cave in the Snow. The book chronicled how British teenager Diane Perry (as she was originally named) experienced an immediate feeling of “coming home” when she came across the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism in the 1960s, and resolved to dedicate her life to them. She set off to India at the age of 20, at least a decade before an extended spiritual quest in Asia became an established rite-of-passage for many young Western adults.
The young Perry fulfilled her dream when the great Tibetan lama Khamtrul Rinpoche took her on as his disciple, and she entered into his monastery in India under the name he bestowed on her at her ordination – Tenzin Palmo. (She was given the rarely bestowed title of Jetsunma, Venerable Master, in 2008.) She was only the second Western woman ever to become a Buddhist nun.
by Lesley Branagan