Buddhist Women: One Nun’s Hardship & Beauty

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Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

February 27, 2019
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

Abiding in Unceasing Clarity; The Kunzang Monlam

With Pema Khandro

March 10, 2019
San Diego, Ca ~ Learn the prayer that guides all who hear it to liberation [...]
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Carrying Joy & Sorrow Onto the Path

With Pema Khandro

March 12, 2019
Study and recite the inspiring Tibetan prayer Carrying Joy and Sorrow onto the Path, an anthem for courage, stability, knowing your purpose and finding inner peace. [...]
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Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

March 13, 2019
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
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Natural Nirvana

With Pema Khandro

March 15, 2019
Nevada City, Ca ~ Join us for this free public lecture on Tibet’s Buddhist Yogis, their lifestyle, their philosophy, their history and practice. Led by Pema Khandro Rinpoche. The evening will include meditation and Q&A [...]
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Resting in Natural Freedom

With Pema Khandro

March 16, 2019
Nevada City, Ca ~ This one day meditation retreat explores the heart of the Great Perfection, (Dzogchen) Tibetan Buddhist meditation.
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Vajra Sangha Retreat

With Pema Khandro

March 17, 2019
Nevada City, Ca ~ Closed Retreat. Vajra Sangha Participants must be able to attend from beginning to end. Vajra Sangha are the long-term personal students of Pema Khandro who are eligible for private teachings and advanced training. The Vajra Sangha functions in a warm, closely connected community, based on long-term friendships, mutual respect, and appreciation. It is an association of serious practitioners who do in-depth study and service, who are also able to be light-hearted and celebrate life. It is a community of leaders rather than a community of followers since advanced Buddhist study requires a willingness to take responsibility for one’s life…
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Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

March 27, 2019
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

Skillful Means

With Pema Khandro

April 8 - May 6, 2019
Closed Retreat, for Vajra Sangha Members. Free for Sustainer Members and Above, or $90 Love offering [...]
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Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

April 10, 2019
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
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Buddhist Practice on Western Ground: Reconciling Eastern Ideals and Western Psychology

With Pema Khandro

April 17, 2019
Open Teaching, Pema Khandro interviews Dr. Harvey B. Aaronson Isn’t Anger sometimes appropriate? What is the difference between attachment and non-attachment in Psychology and Buddhism?  Is there self-esteem in a system that teaches no-self? What is Ego afterall? How do we find our voices in the context of the Eastern paradigms of the student-teacher relationship? These questions and more will be discussed with Dr. Harvey B. Aaronson, Lama, co-founder of Dawn Mountain, psychotherapist and author of Buddhist Practice on Western Ground: Reconciling Eastern Ideals and Western Psychology.
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Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

April 24, 2019
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

May 8, 2019
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
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Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

May 22, 2019
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

Invoking the 100,000 Dakinis

With Pema Khandro

June 7 - 9, 2019
Dakini Mountain ~ This meditation retreat will offer the extraordinary opportunity to chant and study Invoking the 100,000 Dakinis, an inspiring Tibetan Buddhist prayer from the Dakini’s Heart Essence.
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Dakini Mountain, Grand Opening Celebration

With Pema Khandro

June 9, 2019
Join Pema Khandro and the Community of Buddhist Yogis at Dakini Mountain for this auspicious occasion! Sunday June 9th, Grand Opening Celebration    
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Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

June 12, 2019
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
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Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

June 26, 2019
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

July 10, 2019
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
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Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

July 24, 2019
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

The Radiance Retreat – Detox and Rejuvenate

With Aruna Rig'dzin and Satya Shiva

July 25 - 28, 2019
Free your body of deep-seated toxins and undigested material. Far deeper than fasting can go, this weekend retreat will guide you in how to safely uproot the toxins that are buried in your system. You will be guided through a traditional cleanse based on the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese and Himalayan Medicine. The retreat also includes bliss yoga, meditation, organic vegetarian meals, and communion with nature for a holistic mind-body renewal. The retreat will be led by Aruna Rigdzin and Satya Shiva, directors of the Yogic Medicine Institute. They have offered private treatments, group cleanses and panchakarma retreats each…
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Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

August 14, 2019
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
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The Innermost Heart of Freedom: Dzogchen Meditation Retreat

With Pema Khandro

August 21 - 25, 2019
Dakini Mountain ~ This is a meditation retreat for the wired and weary to settle into focused calm, to rest into the nature of mind and tap into profound depths. This is the fourth Annual Dzogchen Retreat, five days of Buddhist meditation practices that will surprise you with the wonderful power and expansiveness of mind [...]
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Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

August 28, 2019
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

September 11, 2019
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
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Meditation Instructor Training

With Pema Khandro, Aruna Rig'dzin and Satya Shiva

September 14 - October 4, 2019
The Meditation Instructor Training supplies the fundamental knowledge and experience necessary to lead meditation classes and one-day meditation intensives [...]
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Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

September 25, 2019
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

Laughter of the Dakinis – Chod Retreat

With Chodpa Kunzang Dorje and Pema Khandro

October 4 - 6, 2019
This meditation retreat focuses on Buddhism’s esoteric practice for transforming the most difficult experiences into opportunities for awakening. It is a method which harnesses the heroic energy of enlightened intent to change neurotic mind patterns and heal from traumas.….[…]
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Chod & Chod Dances

With Chodpa Kunzang Dorje

October 7 - 10, 2019
Vajra Sangha Only ~ Closed Retreat. This meditation intensive focuses on Buddhism’s esoteric practice for transforming the most difficult experiences into opportunities for awakening. It is a method which harnesses the heroic energy of enlightened intent to change neurotic mind patterns and heal from traumas. It is a practice for opening to intrinsic wholeness, loving compassion, and natural resilience [...]
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Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

October 9, 2019
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
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Vajra Sangha Retreat

With Pema Khandro

October 10 - 13, 2019
Closed Retreat ~ The annual Vajra Sangha retreat is a private weekend retreat full of deep practice of meditation and study of Dzogchen, Buddhism’s esoteric philosophy. It is a celebratory reunion of the Vajra Sangha from all over the world. The retreat is led by Pema Khandro Rinpoche at her headquarters in Virginia, Khandro Ling.
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Group Leader Training

With Pema Khandro

October 15 - 17, 2019
The Group Leader Training Program serves the need for training leaders who will serve their local communities, to connect them with the tools for meditation practices and for studying fundamental Buddhist views. Click Here For More Details and Pre-Requisites [...]
Contact Register@BuddhistYogis.org for More Information

Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

October 23, 2019
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

November 13, 2019
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
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Public Program

With Pema Khandro

November 21, 2019
San Diego, Ca ~ Public Program
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Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

November 27, 2019
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

December 11, 2019
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
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New Years Retreat ~ Vajrasattva

January 20, 2020
Begin the New Year with a Day-long meditation retreat. You will practice Vajrasattva meditation, the practice cherished by Tibetan Buddhists for clearing past karma and restoring confidence and awakening compassion wisdom of your innermost mind. This retreat will be held in Los Angeles, Seattle, Santa Cruz, Grass Valley and Berkeley led by the Buddhist Yogi’s Sangha’s Meditation Instructors and Group Leaders [...]
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The Story of Gelongma Palmo (Tib. dGe slong ma dPal mo)

The historical stories of Tibetan Buddhist women often contain shocking elements which blatantly address the difficulties of life and how Buddhist teachings can be integrated into real life circumstances. Such dramatic narratives can make philosophical points in a way that an intellectual argument never could, by evoking unforgettable imagery, eliciting emotion and through their vivid portrayal of shocking elements, which demand a reaction on the part of the reader.

One of the key themes of Buddhist life stories is that our experiences are not only made up of circumstances, but also of our reaction to those circumstances. Whatever happens externally may not be in our control, but we have a choice about the meanings we take from them and where we go from here. This is a Buddhist viewpoint made apparent by the radical story of Gelongma Palmo, who faced extreme hardship, yet is subsequently transformed and liberated through the experience.

Long ago, in tenth or eleventh century, legends tell of a Buddhist nun who came to be known as Gelongma Palmo. She was a princess from Kashmir who, due to her great beauty, could have been married to kings from neighboring countries but decided instead to become a Buddhist nun. Because of her aptitude for study, her teacher appointed her as a head of the monastic community. But the boons of her early life could not have foreshadowed the horrors she would have to endure.

Buddhists meditate on impermanence as a primary feature of their practice, but it was a surprise when at the young age of twenty five, Gelongma Palmo discovered a small boil on her foot. She continued her work in the temple, ignoring it. But, as her boil grew into a blister, she began to witness her body succumbing to a nightmarish affliction. The blister spread and gradually consumed more and more of her body, which was increasingly filled with unbearable pain. After her feet fell off, it was clear that she her body was decomposing due to leprosy. Initially, through the help of her attendant, she hid her condition. But then, when her fingers fell off, gradually it became apparent to everyone around her what was happening.

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She and her attendant were promptly thrown out of the community. As is the case with many serious illnesses, she suffered not only the deterioration of her body, but the sadness and isolation left by the loss of social connections. Illness does not necessarily discriminate between young and old, religious or not, good or bad person. Gelongma Palmo had been a very noble person. She lost her beauty, she lost her toes, lost her fingers and could only move by crawling.

However, Tibetan Buddhist stories emphasize that our experiences are not only made up of circumstances but also of our reaction to those circumstance. Gelongma Palmo, facing what would be anyone’s worst nightmare, did not let herself fall into resentment, but instead generated bodhichita, enlightened intent. As a result, she had a vision of Avalokiteshava, the Buddha of compassion. She then made a vow to the Buddha of compassion, that she would remain in one place meditating until she attain the highest realization. And so she remained. She fasted without food or drink. She remained completely silent. Whatever inner demons hounded her during that period, she sent them compassion and therefore they were subdued. One year later, like a snake shedding a skin, her leprosy was cured. Her biography says that she became, “even more beautiful than before.” She discovered the true source of beauty, a compassionate, altruistic heart an enlightened intention, with the wish for the benefit of all beings. It is said that after that many people saw that she was a dakini, a highly realized woman. After her life, the practices she engaged with became her legacy. That fasting and meditation practice was carried on by both male and female practitioners alike, monastics and lay practitioners, making Gelongma Palmo one of the few Tibetan Buddhist women who was the founder of a major Tibetan Buddhist practice.

The fasting ritual (Tib. smyung gnas) and meditation practice of Gelongma Palmo is practiced widely still today as a popular fasting system for purification of karma. It features the visualization of the Buddha of Compassion, Avalokitesvara, along with a ritual of renunciation, prostrations and recitation.

Apparently Gelongma Palmo’s earliest biography dates back to the fourteenth century by jo gdan bsod nams bzangpo – the smyug gnas bla ma brgyud pa’i rnam thar. An overview of the various versions of her life can be found in a fascinating article in the Journal of International Association of Buddhist Studies, Volume 24, Number 2, 2001, by Vargas-O’Brian.

Footnotes

(1) Vargas-O’Brian 162

References

Havnevik, Hanna, Tibetan Buddhist Nuns: History, Cultural Norms and Social Reality (Oslo: Norwegian University Press, 1989).

Karma Lekshe Tsomo, “Tibetan Nuns and Nunneries,” Feminine Ground: Essays on Women and Tibet, ed. Janice D Willis (New York: Snow Lion Publications, 1987), pp.120-121

Price-Wallace, Darcie. “Gendering Nyungne: The Tibetan Buddhist Fasting Ritual,” Sakyadhita 14th International Conference on Buddhist Women; Compassion and Social Justice (Sakyadhita, 2015)

Vargas-O’Brian, Ivette M. “The Life of dGe slong ma dPal mo: The Experience of a Leper, Founder of a Fasting Ritual, a Transmitter of Buddhist Teachings on Suffering and Renunciation in Tibetan Religious History.” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 24.2 (2001): 157-185.

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Pema Khandro
Pema Khandro is a Tibetan Buddhist scholar, humanitarian, and teacher in the rare lineage of Tibet’s Buddhist Yogis. Raised in the west, ordained in the Nyingma lineage, enthroned as a tulku and trained as an academic, Pema Khandro presents both a traditional perspective and a modern voice. Read more at: https://www.pemakhandro.org/pema-khandro-extended-biography/