“Each of us has something to do in this lifetime. We all have negative emotions to be purified and positive emotions to be cultivated. All of us need to reconnect to our source and drop our personal stories, don’t we? Men, women, old, young, from here, from there – it is the same. All you can do is your practice. There is nothing else. Don’t get caught up. Don’t stop. We have to learn how to get out or our own way. Because ultimately, the only thing standing in our way is ourselves.”
--Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, the second Westerner to ever be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun. From an article by Lucy Powell in the Sept/Oct 2009 edition of Spirituality & Health. A native of England, at the age of 21, Tenzin Palmo began a determined, one-pointed spiritual quest that led to her tutelage under a Tibetan Buddhist master. Early on, she encountered the second-class treatment afforded to the nuns as females, relegating them to cooking in the kitchen while the men studied and meditated, as has been the case in many traditional religious and spiritual cultures. Determined to advance spiritually, she sought out individual instruction from various lamas. In addition to other training, she lived for 12 years in a six-by-six-foot cave at 13,200 feet in the Himalayas, engaging in four three-hour sessions of meditation per day, and “dream yoga” at night in a two and a half-foot square meditation box. During this period, she never lay down, and for the last three years, she did not speak or interact with anyone. After emerging from her cave time, she continued to experience the second-class treatment afforded females, with few opportunities open to her in Tibetan Buddhist circles other than the kitchen. So she resolved to establish a nunnery in India specifically for the spiritual training of Tibetan Buddhist nuns, which she accomplished.