Effort and Freedom

A Conversation with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

January 30, 2024

In Effort & Freedom, Sam speaks with Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo. They discuss Tenzin’s years-long retreat in a remote Indian cave; her studies with the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche; the role of pointing-out instructions in spiritual development; the significance of one’s first glimpse into emptiness; pursuing realization without grasping for it; effortlessness in practice; Douglas Harding; stabilizing experiences of awakening; the advantage of eyes-open meditation; the ineffability of non-dual insight; the unethical behavior of certain great teachers; the improving status of monastic women; differences between Western-born and Himalayan nuns; and other topics.

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo (born 1943) is a bhikṣuṇī in the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. She is an author, teacher and founder of the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery in Himachal Pradesh, India. She is best known for having spent twelve years living in a remote cave in the Himalayas, three of those years in strict meditation retreat. In addition to her role as Founding Director of DGL Nunnery, Jetsunma is a Founding Member of the Alliance of Non-Himalayan Nuns, former President of Sakyadhita International Association of Buddhist Women, and Founding Member of the Committee for Bhiksuni Ordination. Her website is www.tenzinpalmo.com