Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo letter

Wangdrak Rinpoche with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo. Photos: Karen Harris.

In 2007 at the invitation of Khenpo Wangdrak Rinpoche, I visited Gebchak Gonpa, a Nunnery situated in a remote region of Nangchen, East Tibet, and renowned for its yogini nuns.

These women have devoted their entire lives to practicing the Dharma, and in particular the yogic disciplines of tummo (psychic heat) and deity practices. The 400 nuns sit in small meditation boxes lining the walls of their dormitories and they do not lie down to sleep. Their dedication to meditation practice is a deep inspiration because they are both highly accomplished and at the same time friendly, unassuming and happy.

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo with a Gebchak nun.

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo with a Gebchak nun.

It is rare in this world to come across such committed women whose renunciation is heartfelt and at the centre of their lives. They are very fortunate that their Lamas are devoted to instructing and supporting these nuns in every way.  The Lamas appreciate that these women are upholding their tradition in an exemplary way which is an encouragement for us all. It is of vital importance – especially in this day and age – to have realised women who can hand on their direct experience into the future.

It is easy to read about the Dharma and attend some courses and retreats embedded in the midst of our daily round, but to dedicate one’s whole life to disciplined practice is not common.  Therefore these courageous nuns deserve our respect and support for enabling them to continue their profound path of practice.

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo
Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery, India
April 15, 2011