Cave in the Snow tells the story of Tenzin Palmo, an Englishwoman who spent 12 years on retreat in a Himalayan cave before turning her efforts towards establishing a nunnery in northern India. Her story is unique and inspiring. As a westerner, Tenzin Palmo brought a different, and at times critical, perspective to her serious study of Tibetan Buddhism. During her first years in India, she became frustrated at how difficult it was, as a woman, to receive teachings. She noticed that when men came to visit the monasteries, they were offered teachings whether they were Buddhists or not. After she had received enough teachings to go on retreat she did so in a serious way. Cave in the Snow shows us where and how she lived during her years of retreat. The film also shows us how, once she came down from the mountain, she set about her mission of making Buddhist teachings accessible to the women who are drawn to them.
As you might imagine, Tenzin Palmo is a tough human being. In an especially telling scene, she challenges the Dalai Lama to make a stand against sexism in Tibetan Buddhist practice. After the Dalai Lama tells her that he’s a simple Buddhist monk who follows the teachings of the Buddha and of Nagarjuna, she says, “Nargarjuna was pretty down on women.” The Dalai Lama, though uncomfortable, agrees, and adds, “Shantideva, too!”
Watch the trailer below.
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