While iconic archetypes of feminine enlightenment (dakinis in the ancient language of Sanskrit) were erected on shrines, few women in Asia were actually emboldened to follow in their footsteps. That women participate equally is probably the single biggest change with Buddhism being established in the West. Here are ten extraordinary female teachers of Tibetan Buddhism, who have transformed the way Buddhism is viewed in America. Michaela Hass
1. Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche
"If being a woman is an inspiration, use it. If it is an obstacle, try not to be bothered by it."
2. Dagmola Kusho Sakya
First Tibetan woman ever to immigrate to America.
3. Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo (Diane Perry):
"I took the vow to attain enlightenment in a female body."
4. Pema Chödrön (Deirdre Blomfield)
Most successful female Western Buddhist teacher.
5. Ven. Thubten Chödron (Cherry Greene)
An innovative abbess.
6. Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo (Patricia Zenn)
Surfing to realization.
7. Sangye Khandro (Nanci Gustafson)
"Enlightenment is a full-time job."
8. Lama Tsultrim Allione (Rosmanière Ewing)
The enlightened feminist.
9. Chagdud Khadro (Jane Dedman)
A perfect example.
10. Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel
The power of open questions.