Tenzin Palmo among the 100 most influential women of 2023
Her retirement in 2022 was met with congratulations from her fans around the world.
Palmo was born Diane Perry in England in 1943 and was inspired by her mother’s spiritualist practices to pursue truth and spiritual meaning.
Eventually, in 1964, she became the second Western woman to be ordained in the Vajrayana tradition, taking on the name Drubgyu Tenzin Palmo, which means “Glorious Lady who Upholds the Doctrine of the Practice Succession”.
She was only ordained as a novice nun (sramaneri) as the full ordination for nuns (bhikshuni) had not yet been established in the Tibetan tradition.
Palmo’s commitment to achieving enlightenment, which included spending 12 years in a secluded Himalayan cave, was the subject of Vicki Mackenzie’s book Cave in the Snow: A Western Woman’s Quest for Enlightenment (Bloomsbury 1998).
As part of this effort, she founded the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery in Himachal Pradesh, India, which provides a safe haven and educational opportunities for more than 120 nuns.