Michaela Haas is a reporter, lecturer, and media consultant who has been studying and practicing Buddhism for almost 20 years. In this fascinating and illuminating book, she introduces us to the lives and work of 12 contemporary teachers of Tibetan Buddhist teachers, both Asians and Westerners. In the preface, Haas admits that these spiritual teachers have given her courage, inspiration, new insights, and enthusiasm. She hopes that we will be inspired in the same way "to let go of old fears, explore new paths, and listen to the whisper of your voice with confidence."
In Tibetan Buddhism, dakinis are female embodiments of enlightenment. They can appear as guides, messengers, and protectors. These extraordinary spiritual teachers have prevailed and struck a blow against the patriarchy which has exerted power for centuries in Tibet and elsewhere. We were edified by the words and actions of Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, the most senior Western Tibetan Buddhist nun alive. She spent three years of silence in a cave and has established a nunnery with 150 women in service.
Two others who continually astonish us with their wisdom are Pema Chodron and Thubden Chodron. The first is a spiritual teacher who has a special talent for connecting with the ordinary lives and challenges of Westerners. One of her favorite practices is: "Always keep a joyful mind."
Thubten Chodron runs a full-scale monastery and is busy teaching every week, communicating with hundreds of students, maintaining three websites, organizing retreats, giving dharma talks, filming, recoding, editing and much more. "We don't call this work, we call it offering service," she told Haas. Another one of the women profiled in this book is Roshi Joan Halifax who has been called a true heroine of engaged Buddhism and has done pioneering work with the dying.
We are thankful to Michaela Haas for introducing us to the other eight women shaping the transmission of Tibetan Buddhism in the West. Visit the website for the book www.dakinipower.com and let the closing dedication seep into your mind, body and soul:
"May you live long and realize your fullest potential.
May your spirit soar high, and may you always have the courage to follow the truth.
May all your aspirations be fulfilled and goodness prevail.
May every being on earth find peace and happiness, shelter and refuge.
Don't let anybody tell you it can't be done."