How 12 Tibetan Buddhist teachers succeed in merging East and West - including Pema Chodron, Joan Halifax, and Thubten Chodron, among others.
Personal reflections and life stories from 12 contemporary female Tibetan Buddhist teachers, both Westerners and Tibetans, who share insights into how they discovered their true calling, overcame barriers, and developed the courage, determination, and wisdom to progress on the spiritual path.
What drives a young London librarian to board a ship to India, meditate in a remote cave by herself for twelve years, and then build a flourishing nunnery in the Himalayas? How does a surfer girl from Malibu become the head of the main international organization for Buddhist women? Why does the daughter of a music executive in Santa Monica dream so vividly of peacocks one night that she chases these images to Nepal, where she finds the love of her life in an unconventional young Tibetan master?
The women featured in Dakini Power - contemporary teachers of Tibetan Buddhism, both Asians and Westerners, who teach in the West - have been universally recognized as accomplished practitioners and brilliant teachers whose life stories demonstrate their immense determination and bravery. Meeting them in this audiobook, listeners will be inspired to let go of old fears, explore new paths, and lead the lives they envision.
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Fascinating and inspiring
Each life story was so unique and so inspiring. I felt that every biography was a gem waiting to be discovered, and I found myself listening longer than I had intended, each time, simply so that I could continue to hear more.
The book is far too long to listen to in one sitting, but I sometimes found myself listening to a whole biographical portrait/chapter at once (which was longer than I'd planned, on more than one occasion) simply because the narratives were too fascinating to stop.
The book does suffer from some significant drawbacks. One, there are no portraits of women of color and no mention of this oversight. Additionally, there is no insightful discussion of the Tibetan traditional practice of the lama and his wife -- the female partner gaining status and insight through marriage, which would have been very helpful since many of the women in this book are in such traditional Tibetan Buddhist arrangements. It would have been very helpful to have had a deeper context spiritually, historically, and culturally -- and also to have had some background on the struggles, potentially, faced by women who forge ahead solo, without an 'enlightened' male companion.
There were times I felt that the author was so enchanted by aspects of her subject's life that she simply did not or could not ask questions that would have illuminated much of the story, and this was to the detriment of the book, overall. I felt this most markedly in the chapter on Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel -- to me, it felt as if the author was so enraptured by the glamor (spiritually, romantically, materially, and narratively) that she did not do her job as a writer here, at all.
That said, I simply loved the book, overall. I found the narrator to be unique in her manner of reading and would enjoy hearing her again, but she seems only to have read a rather odd series of detective books, at this point. I hope she reads more books like this one! (Actually, I hope there would BE more books like this one!