“In 2008, when the Gyalwang Drukpa suggested awarding her the title Jetsunma in recognition of her spiritual growth and her work with women, Tenzin Palmo’s first reaction was to refuse such a distinction.
‘But,’ she says, ‘I received so many e-mails saying how wonderful it was and how it highlighted the status of women that I realized this title had nothing to do with me but concerned women in general. And for this, I could only say thank you.’
So she took advantage of talking with Gyalwang Drukpa about the names usually given to the nuns, like Ani (aunt) or Chomo (woman of the house). She then suggested ‘Tsunma’—a reference to something noble, delicate, pure. The nuns approved the idea and started using this term with each other.
‘When the Karmapa came to visit Dongyu Gatsal Ling in 2014, I noticed that he also used this term. That was wonderful. The sound of the word immediately gives a positive impression in the Tibetan mind and you know how much we are influenced by language.'”