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“Why Is There No Female Dalai Lama?” International Reporter and TV Host Pens First Comprehensive Book Showcasing Women’s Role in Bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the West

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Twelve stories of courage, determination, and wisdom grace the pages of Michaela Haas’s unique spiritual biography of women who have pioneered and changed the face of Western Buddhism


LOS ANGELES (May 4, 2013)— The Dalai Lama's enthusiastic 'yes' to a female successor in a new TV interview with UK Channel 4 was making headlines. Author Michaela Haas has just discussed this possibility in recent articles in the Washington Post and the Huffington Post: A Female Dalai Lama? Why It Matters.

With her unique career as a successful television host, an international reporter and engaging scholar in Buddhist philosophy, Michaela Haas, PhD, has had unparalleled access to the women who have helped shape Buddhism in the West. Her experience and personal relationships with well-known teachers and authors

such as Pema Chödrön and Joan Halifax have culminated in a groundbreaking new biography being published by Shambhala Publications this April, Dakini Power: Extraordinary Women Shaping the Transmission of Tibetan Buddhism in the West.


Haas’s book is the first spiritual biography to profile and honor the lives of twelve female pioneers of Tibetan Buddhism, whose fresh insights have directly impacted how the Buddhist tradition is perceived in the West. Currently, the Buddhist women’s movement is represented by an estimated 400 million women worldwide. That women participate fully as teachers is probably the single biggest change in Buddhism coming to the West.


A London fishmonger’s daughter who spent 12 years in a cave in the Himalayas; a Malibu surfer girl who then became a nun and founded the most important international organization for Buddhist women; the first Tibetan immigrant in America who had to escape the Chinese grip with her five sons and is now an

acclaimed teacher in Seattle: The women featured in Dakini Power—contemporary teachers of Tibetan Buddhism, both Westerners and Asians, who teach in the West—followed their intuition against all odds, made dramatic and unusual decisions, and sometimes had to fight for their survival in order to lead the

lives they envisioned. All were criticized—for being too conservative or too rebellious, too feminist or not feminist enough—yet they pulled through with immense determination and bravery. The term dakini, in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, represents a female messenger of wisdom and traditionally is used to denote outstanding female practitioners.


Author Haas says, “These are role models for women everywhere who are exploring their life purpose and their spirituality. So many people dream of finding more meaning in their lives, but very few actually get around to doing something about it. The women in the book are the exception.”


The inspiring women featured in Haas’s book include:


Khandro Rinpoche, author of This Precious Life

• Dagmola Sakya, author of Princess in the Land of Snows

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo (Diane Perry), author of Into the Heart of Life

Pema Chödrön (Deirdre Blomfield-Brown), author of When Things Fall Apart and Start Where You Are

Khandro Tsering Chödron (most familiar to readers as the late aunt of Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying)

Thubten Chodron (Cheryl Greene), author of Buddhism for Beginners and Taming the Mind

Karma Lekshe Tsomo (Patricia Zenn), author of Buddhism Through American Women's Eyes

Chagdud Khadro (Jane Dedman), author of P'howa Commentary and Life in Relation to Death

Sangye Khandro (Nanci Gay Gustafson), author of Meditation, Transformation, and Dream Yoga

Roshi Joan Halifax, author of Being with Dying

Lama Tsultrim Allione (Joan Rousmanière Ewing), author of Women of Wisdom and Feeding Your Demons

Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel, author of The Power of an Open Question


“The twelve women profiled in Michaela Haas’s book form a circle that radiates in countless ways. Taken as a whole, their lives document both the

continuing emergence of Tibetan Buddhism in the West and the concurrent work towards women’s inclusion in arenas of practice and leadership where they have historically been marginalized and excluded. Dakini Power is an inspiring contribution to the ongoing conversation.”

Sharon Salzberg, New York Times bestselling author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness

Michaela Haas, PhD, is an international reporter, lecturer, and business consultant who has been studying and practicing Buddhism for almost twenty years. She is the owner of HAAS live!, an international coaching company which combines her experience in media with mindfulness training. With a PhD in Asian Studies, she is currently a visiting scholar in Religious Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. Since the age of sixteen, she has worked as a writer and interviewer for major nationwide German newspapers, magazines and television programs, including hosting her own successful talk show. Michaela divides her time between Malibu, California, and Munich, Germany.



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