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Woman's Way

by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo


Tenzin Palmo at the entrance to her cave, which was home for 12 years.

To me the special female quality (which of course many men have as well) is first of all a sharpness, a clarity. It cuts through—especially intellectual ossification. It's very sharp and gets to the point. To me the Dakini principle stands for the intuitive force. Women get it in a flash—they're not interested in intellectual discussion which they normally find dry and cold with minimum appeal. To women that's the long way of going about it. They go through the back door! This reveals itself as women being more practical in their approach, less abstract and idealistic than men. They want to know, "What can we do?" They're not entranced by theories and ideas—they want to be able to crunch it between their teeth. Of course, Prajnaparamita [personification of unconditional space, often referred to as the Mother of all the Buddhas] is female. She's the Perfection of Wisdom which cuts away all our concepts and desires to make something very stable and settled. We build up our ideas. We try to make them concrete. She cuts away, cutting, cutting, cutting. She cuts things back to the bare essential.


At the same time women have a nurturing, a softness, a gentleness. Women tend to be more into feeling than men, which makes it easier to develop Bodhicitta. Loving-kindness is innate in women, because of the mothering factor. A mother is prepared to die for her child. That impulse can be developed towards all beings. Again it's a matter of feeling, not intellect. These are not just useful qualities—they're essential.


Excerpted from Cave in the Snow by Vick Mackenzie (pp. 133-36)



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