The real test of our Buddhist practice happens not on the cushion or in the protected space of retreat, but moment-to-moment in daily life, particularly when we find ourselves in uncomfortable situations. How do we respond? In this book, one of the most respected Western figures of contemporary Buddhism, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, offers insights gleaned from more than forty years of engagement with Buddhist practice. Her perspective is vast, with a well-grounded understanding of how the timeless Buddhist teachings apply to the demands and challenges of modern life.
Palmo (Reflections on a Mountain Lake) offers essays based on her talks, focused on the application of the dharma Buddhist teachings to daily life. One of the first Western women to be ordained in Tibetan Buddhism, Palmo is noted for her 12 years of solitary retreat in the Himalayas; she subsequently established a monastery for women in India and advocates for the full inclusion of nuns in the quest for enlightenment. Core Buddhist topics such as impermanence, the paramitas (perfections), and the four foundations of mindfulness are explored in clear, cogent ways. Palmo also introduces the Mahayana ideal of bodhicitta seeking enlightenment for all and distinctly Tibetan practices such as lojong and tonglen that develop mind and compassion. More details about how her own unique journey shaped her understanding of this wisdom tradition would have strengthened this book in relation to the many others available on basic Buddhism. That said, Palmo adds a strong voice to the ongoing discussion of Tibetan Buddhism as practiced by individuals particularly women from Western cultures.