Tenzin Palmo Quotes


I've always loved the Sangha. I have the deepest deepest respect for them. I'm very sorry that in the West people don't appreciate what the monastic order is about.

One of the beauties of the Buddhadharma is there are so many approaches and not everything is right for everybody.

We should develop a deep appreciation for all the we have and not waste it otherwise we'll die with deep regrets.

For any practice to work the mind which is meditating on the object must merge. Often they are facing each other. One has to become completely absorbed then the transformation will occur.

Buddhism helps us to overcome our endless ego grasping mind to open up to something so much more spacious and genuinely meaningful.

Obviously the dharma is every breath we take every thought we think every word we speak if we do it with awareness and an open caring heart.

The answer lies within ourselves. If we can't find peace and happiness there it's not going to come from the outside.

I have made a vow to attain Enlightenment in the female form - no matter how many lifetimes it takes

If we greet situations with a positive attitude we will eventually create positive returns. If we respond with a negative attitude negative things will eventually come our way.

Merit clears away obstacles.

Our pure awareness is not male or female.

Meditation is a way to take us to a deeper level of awareness.

There is a tremendous rise now in feminine awareness and wishing for equality equal opportunities.

Either we're aware and present or we're not. There is no half way.

We need to be sincere in our practice but at the same time we can't take ourselves too seriously.

My mother's love was really not based on attachment. Her love was genuine love. To make me happy not how I will make her happy.

This is a time that calls for extreme restraint. In a world of outright aggression and violence there can be no winners. To respond to violence with counter-violence only throws oil on the fire.

When we read history we find that in all ages people have thought this is the dark age.

As women become more educated and confident they can start adding their voice.

Actually we've got countless lifetimes so relax.

To want not to want you'll tie yourself in knots. So this is why the Tibetans always say just relax the mind and open.

Learn not to be too ambitious; not to expect if you have a 9-to-5 job and three kids that you're likely to get buddhahood in one lifetime.

Keep your practice very simple and don't be too ambitious.

I think the problem with Western students is they're very ambitious.

If you just follow your inner calling then you just go ahead.

There is a basic problem that a lot of Western monks and nuns become ordained without really understanding or appreciating what the monastic life is all about.

Meditation is for you to realise that the deepest nature of your existence is beyond thoughts and emotions that it is incredibly vast and interconnected with all other beings.

It's important to lighten up a bit!

My body is not good for prostrations.

Just entering into the dharma and taking refuge and bodhisattva vows is a tremendous amount of merit but we need more and more and more.

Since I was a small child I'd believed we were inherently perfect and that we had to keep coming back again and again until we recognized our innate perfection.

As my lama always told me I learned that I practice better when I'm by myself.

The very best players when they are practicing put everything they've got into it. But then they leave it for a while. And it's the same in dharma practice.

Sometimes people come and they have so much pain and confusion in their eyes... what to do? A few words is a little bit of balm but doesn't really solve the deep disease within.

Western Tibetan Buddhists are always looking out there at the distant snow peaks and they lose the flowers along the path.

The Buddha himself said "I still use conceptual thinking but I'm not formed by it." And that's the Buddha.

Distraction is the main problem for us all - what the Buddha called the monkey mind. We need to tame this monkey mind.

The Buddha said that samsara by its nature is painful. He didn't say it was a joyride.

The real spiritual power is enabling beings to realize the nature of the mind. That's the power of Buddha activity.

For so many centuries women have been suppressed and regarded as inferior. And that of course is not right at all that we all have buddha-nature - so what's the difference?

The Buddha always emphased the important of good friends.

To be completely enlightened means that you're a Buddha.I don't speak of enlightenment.

When I look back I feel very grateful.

A lot of people with the purest motivation end up getting completely burned out. And that's because they lack the wisdom and the skill and the inner space.

Still all the tulkus being born are men.

In the very deep darkness of this world little pinpoints of light show up very brightly and can shine a long way.

We're reborn every second every moment.

First you have to help yourself.

You can still practice to be a better and kinder and happier person. That's perfectly possible.

You have to recharge your batteries.

Basically I feel to spend the rest of my life doing retreat.

I think for East and West the first thing we need is a good grounding in basic Buddhadharma.

People should find what approach really speaks to them and then do it. Obviously better with a good teacher who can help you on the path. But in any case basic principles.

Different people are different.

I don't think I've changed anything but I hope that by my talks I have encouraged people in their practice. That's as much as any of us can do.

At the age of 21 I was so sensible and became a nun. I am very grateful to myself for that.

We have produced many of our problems through our confused mental states.

Until time and space exist... I vow to come back for the benefit of other beings.

A dog however nice he is and sweet-tempered doesn't have much of a range of options. A human being does.

Obviously being relaxed doesn't mean that you make no effort.

There are wonderful beings in this world.

If you're meeting with the dharma you have probably been a human being before.

A realized being would not be making any fresh karma because karma is very much connected to the ego but would still be receiving the results of past karma.

There are other ways of benefiting than by being a recognized tulku and sitting on a throne.

Many people are benefiting beings but from a dharma point of view if you are a dharma practitioner then the first priority is to get yourself together.

The problem is that our inherent ignorance keeps us in samsara and unable to benefit ourselves and others on a really deep level.

In our endless past lives we've all done everything you name it we've done it. Good bad intermediate.

Even if one isn't a committed Buddhist it just helps us become better human beings.

In fact there are beautiful people in this world doing incredibly selfless acts over and over and over. Dedicating their lives completely for the welfare and happiness of others.

Of course now as a woman you can do so much without being necessarily a rinpoche.

In the beginning especially we won't realize we're changing.

If nuns begin getting more empowered where does that leave us?

Try to develop some genuine love and compassion some real caring for others.

There are certain teachers who shouldn't be teachers.

You can certainly learn how to rest in the nature of the mind.

I think many monks hesitate to change things.

We shouldn't be too naïve or taken in by charisma.

Just because someone is very charismatic it doesn't mean that they're genuinely qualified.

There are wars there's pestilence there are plagues there is corruption in religious circles corruption in the government when was it not?

The purpose of dharma is to help your mind to expand to grow to clarify. It should uphold us and create an inner sense of peace joy and clarity.

When Tibetan lamas die they stay in a realization of clear light nature of the mind for several days or weeks.

People talk over and over about bodhichitta but so often their heart is quite cold.

To become effortless takes a lot of effort. It's good to compare it to learning an instrument or learning a sport.

I sometimes feel tremendous compassion and helplessness.

The nature of the mind is completely incredible.

Until you are open you cannot receive.

Look at your own potential. Don't overestimate your capabilities and push too hard or underestimate them and use that as an excuse to be lazy.

Wherever we are and whatever we're doing we're either conscious or we're not.

Women are fully capable of doing everything.

We've been human countless times and done everything you can imagine. So we've been planting all these negative seeds and they're going to come up.

The thing to do in this lifetime is to create more merit.

Monastic life cuts off the distractions and emotional entanglements one becomes involved in in the lay life.

Some males are intelligent some are dumb. Some females are intelligent some are dumb. We're all human beings no one is superior.

With sincerity from the depths of your heart to do the best you can just keep going and don't worry too much that you're not Milarepa or Rechungpa.

At one time I thought that if I could really understand renunciation and bodhichitta from the depths of my heart then for this lifetime that would be enough.

The Tibetans are good at learning many skillful ways to show that everything we do becomes dharma practice depending on which kind of approach we use.

I do think that someone who decides to devote themselves entirely to the spiritual life that that is more meritorious.

Forget about realizing shunyata and going on the different bhumis and all this. Just stay in the moment stay aware be kind and try to improve your mind.

We don't always need to be sitting at the foot of the teacher but from time to time we need someone who can overview us and give us direction.

We only think about the difficult people and the horrible things that happen. That's what gets all the media attention.

Joining the Sangha and renouncing worldly life is necessary in order to devote your whole life and all your energies toward the Dharma.

In Dharma practice the most important thing is to be very sincere.

The future of Dharma is in women's hands now because they have this energy which was never really tapped.

The Dharma is a very very special and precious thing. The more you practice it the more you will realize this.

The dharma is here. And the dharma is in your heart. Where else would it be?

We have to transform those ordinary actions of our day into dharma practice because otherwise nothing is going to move.

It takes a tremendous amount of merit to meet with the dharma - especially if you have an interest in it.

If you've made a lot of negative seeds and not a lot of positive seeds even though you meet with the dharma you're going to have problems.

If you lose interest in the dharma then you might be reborn in a place where you are unlikely to meet with the dharma. And then you're completely off the path.

We have met with the dharma. Many of us have met with teachers. We do have some idea of what to do and how to practice. And we should not be lazy.

Why are we sitting? Why are we practicing? Why are we doing anything? It's not so I can be happy. It's so I can embody the dharma in order to benefit other beings.

We don't want to go to heaven. We want to be reborn so that we can keep going and realize the dharma so we can benefit other beings endlessly. It's a very different thing.

Develop confidence in your innate qualities and believe that these qualities will be brought to fruition.

If you become a monk because it's an easy life because you're going to be fed and sheltered and people will respect you then that is not a very meritorious motivation.

I think we females have a lot of work to do for each other.

The power of thought is extremely powerful.

We are educated. We can think. We have the freedom to think.

From the point of view of emptiness there is neither being nor non-being but we're not on the point of view of emptiness we're on the point of view of our relative being.

People get very deep experiences and they think they're enlightened. That's not enlightenment that's just some realization.

There are certain people who people think are enlightened. The problem with the word enlightenment is what you mean by it.

To be enlightened doesn't mean you end up stupefied and unable to function.

It's only when all the dust is completely gone from the mirror and there is only mirror no dust that we're really enlightened. So that's a lot of work.

You think you're enlightened. But as my lama said when you realize the intrinsic nature of the mind then you start to meditate. It's not the end it's the beginning.

It's unlikely that you were a frog in a past life.

I'm glad that I'm female.

One thing in the Buddhadharma is that we are not our body we are not our gender.

It's interesting that in those countries like Taiwan or Korea where nuns are given equal opportunities for study and practice they also develop great social awareness.

Yes times are not good but when were times good? This is samsara.

I think if you really start practicing the energy comes. I was always very happy and grateful for the opportunity to have the time solitude and good health to be able to do it.

We do have the precious opportunity of this human life.

This precious life is our opportunity. We are not the millions and millions of other things that are not human.

Because we're trying because we want it's very hard to get.

We're always given the message that our potential is so limited which is so sad. Actually our potential is infinite.

It's interesting to see people's projections because one lives very much in the world of projections.

As a human being we have everything we need. It's enough suffering to give us incentive to go on but not so much that we don't know where to turn.

If you're born in the higher realms then it's too pleasant and you don't have any incentive to practice. If you're born in the lower realms you don't have any opportunity to practice.

Our thinking can create liberation or it can create imprisonment. It depends on how we use our mind.

We have the pure nature of the mind.

We're not lowly sinners we're not worthless beings. We are something jewel-like and beautiful.

We all have our own karma and so different teachers will be meaningful to different students.

I don't know why I got reborn as a female. Maybe in my past life I had some sympathy or something for women but I certainly wasn't a female last time.

I think it's a meritorious action to become a monk provided that your motivation is pure.

We're not making up merit scores for ourselves. We're making up merit scores so that we can be reborn in a situation where we can really live to benefit ourselves and others.

When I was in retreat I just did my meditation sessions and in-between reading and things I had to do.

From the point of view of the relative world merit is very important.

Why do some people when they want to practice keep coming against problems and difficulties and obstacles - inner obstacles and outer obstacles? It's because of the lack of merit.

Our relative being is what rules our relative world.

I find that being with other people dissipates my energy.

In this life you have obstacles.

When I heard that our bodies change when we get a bit older I thought oh good now I'll go back to being a boy again. But it didn't happen like that.

In one way I would like to teach but I have no qualifications to teach Westerners.

Tibetans are great with meritorious practices.

I really don't know what I could teach and don't really plan to teach.

There are many wonderfully qualified teachers out there but that doesn't mean that each teacher is suitable to the same person anymore than people fall in love with the same person.

Whether we're in retreat or out in the world we should try to develop the quality of awareness as much as possible.

On a relative level where we live we need to have a sense of identity otherwise we'd fall apart wouldn't we?

If you take the time to study how to be a doctor and how to use your scalpel and your medicine then there are endless beings out there to help.

You see people swimming and you think oh how wonderful to swim. But most people stand on the edge swaying back and forth afraid to jump. They don't think they can swim.

I've often said that the seventh paramita should be a sense of humor so we don't take ourselves too seriously.

The world is full of incredible people who are embodiments of compassion. Some of them have a spiritual path; some of them don't.