Ani Ngawang Pema – 45 years solitary retreat
Yesterday, I was sent a short video clip by one of my students, Sharon Saw. The video was of a beautiful nun who stayed in solitary meditation for 45 years!!
When she was younger, she was sought after by many suitors because of her beauty. She was known as the most beautiful girl in the Khumbu region (northeast of Nepal). Sons from many rich and famous families would seek her marriage… There was one particular wealthy merchant who had the power to demand for her marriage. Instead of jumping at the chance to live a potential life of wealth and luxuries, she instead escaped that life through hole of a cliff-side latrine! She then ran to a monastery to practice Dharma. Imagine, with no way to escape she went through a hole in the ground filled with urine and excrement…
Being in solitary retreat for 45 years, she became a legend in the region. Every traveler towards Mount Everest would go pay homage at her hut… receive blessings, recite prayers, circumambulate her small hut etc. But they would never see her.
No one had seen her, no one had ever had the chance to interview or take photographs of her till the filming of National Geography’s documentary called “Light at the Edge of the World”.
The beautiful nun’s name is Ani Ngawang Pema. She was a student of His Holiness Trulshik Rinpoche. On 19th November 2012, she entered tugdam (controlled death of a highly realized being) after a long illness… and after she entered tugdam, Trulshik Rinpoche instructed for her body not to be touched for 7 days. Only her personal attendant and another monk were allowed into her retreat house during this period. After that, the public were allowed to enter to pay their last respects.
This holy nun did what I wanted to do my whole life which is to enter retreat. I was not given permission by my teachers to do so. I have asked many times but was not given permission. I would love to enter retreat. As a young boy in New Jersey, I use to seek places in nature to meditate. I like forests near lakes. I would go often to meditate in parks near lakes or just on my bed at home. I liked the mountains. I have always wanted to live in the mountains to enter retreat. I feel a draw or a calling to go to the mountains as if this is my real home, where I belong.
Seeing this blessed video brought tremendous tears to my eyes as she has not wasted her life and I wished so much to follow her example. She has blessed me and given me so much inspiration to do the same. To do the same would be my wish.
Ani Ngawang Pema seen for the first time in 45 years
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Light-at-the-Edge-of-the-World-45-year-solitary-retreat.flv
See this short video of her. It’s wonderfully blessed!
Light at the Edge of the World – Full Documentary
Or view the video on the server at: http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/Light-at-the-Edge-of-the-World.flv
Beautiful nun… Ani Ngawang Pema
Ani in her small hut…
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