Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Quarterly

Along Came a Tigress

Inseparable Across Lifetimes: The Lives and Love Letters of Namtrul Rinpoche and Khandro Tare Lhamo

translated by Holly Gayley

Shambhala, 2019 304 pages; $24.95

WITHIN TIBETAN BUDDHISM, much has been written about the consorts of great lamas—their remarkable lives, and also their role in helping the dharma to flourish through assisting male partners achieve spiritual realization. Many scholars have easily critiqued the tradition of sangyum (“secret consort,” an honorific term for wife or long-term partner of a spiritual master), pointing out the obvious sexism in determining a woman’s value from her sexuality and caretaking role rather than her own qualities. Holly Gayley’s Inseparable Across Lifetimes is not this kind of story.

Gayley introduces readers to an extraordinary woman and to a couple deeply in love, not just with the dharma but with each other. Their love and devotion was not a distraction from their life’s purpose; rather, it became the substance and fuel of their bodhisattva vows to work for the benefit of sentient beings. Khandro Tare Lhamo (1938–2003) was considered the rebirth of two important figures from Golok: one male,

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