Extraordinary Women Shaping the Transmission of Buddhism in the West

Dakini Power honors contemporary female Buddhist teachers and practitioners.

Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel

The fruit of the practice is freedom: freedom from fear, freedom from ego’s preferences. It provides you with a very big way of being.
— Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel
Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel during a teaching in France ©Jurek Schreiner

Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel during a teaching in France

©Jurek Schreiner

A Wonder Woman Hermit

A Marxist's daughter explores everything in life as an open question

Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel grew up as the daughter of a communist record manager in Santa Monica, yet amid the anarchistic debates at home, she was eaten up by a yearning question: "What should I do with my life?" A vivid dream during her college years inspired her to travel to Nepal where she met her teacher and husband, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. She became his first Western student. Under his guidance she has studied and practiced Buddhism for more than 25 years. She has been intimately involved with Rinpoche’s work in bringing Buddhist wisdom to the West and is the author of The Power of an Open Question. She spent seven years in solitary retreat in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado while raising her son at the same time. She seems to effortlessly juggle her many commitments as a retreat master, teacher, author, mother, and student, and speaks openly about the challenges of implementing Buddhist practices in a modern world. "It is like an unspoken rule that we don't talk about our doubts or unresolved questions," she says, "and I question that." 

NEWS: Check out her teaching schedule here.

Exclusive Bonus: What does it mean to have a teacher?

Read an interview with Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel by Michaela Haas about the teacher-student-relationship, originally published in View Magazine

Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel speaks with the Yogini Project about the beginning of her path, and meeting Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche 

Elizabeth about her early years with Kongtrul Rinpoche and coming to America:

Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel speaks about her path in an interview with Michaela Haas for the documentary film "The Power of an Open Question":