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Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo (1943 -)

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo keeps a vegetarian diet since 40 years. She was raised in London and whilst in her teens she became a Buddhist. In 1964, at the age of twenty, she decided to go to India to pursue her spiritual path. There she met her Guru, HE the 8th Khamtrul Rinpoche, a great Drukpa Kagyu lama, and became one of the first Westerners to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun.

In February 2008 Tenzin Palmo was given the rare title of Jetsunma, which means Venerable Master, by HH the 12th Gualwang Drukpa, Head of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage in recognition of her spiritual achievements as a nun and her efforts in promoting the status of female practitioners in Tibetan Buddhism.

Tenzin Palmo spends most of the year at Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery and occasionaly tours to give teachings and raise funds for the ongoing needs of the DGL nuns and Nunnery. In 2009 she visited the Netherlands and had an interview with Shabkar.Org on Buddhism and vegetarianism. Several subjects were addressed:

  • The attitude of meat eating Tibetan Lamas regarding their non-vegetarian diet (watch here).
  • The excuse of non-veg Buddhists that Buddha did not forbid his begging monks to eat meat (watch here).
  • The increased awareness amongst Tibetan Buddhists that meat eating is wrong (watch here).
  • The (absence of a) relationship between keeping a veg diet and enlightenment (watch here) .

To find out more about Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo's life, read Vicki Mackenzie's biography Cave in the Snow published by Bloomsbury, and see the 'Cave in the Snow' DVD directed by Liz Thompson.


  Jetsunna Tenzin Palmo