Life Story Book

Final Cover Jpg LoResKeeping the Dalai Lama Waiting & Other StoriesAn English Woman’s Journey to Becoming a Buddhist Lama, is Lama Shenpen Hookham’s autobiography. It’s a lively and fascinating account of how a search for Truth lead Lama Shenpen to Buddhism and to be taught by some of the most eminent Buddhist masters of our time.

Available to buy from all usual booksellers online and in shops – ISBN 9781399910491 

To read excerpts of the book click here.

How does an English, Christian girl grow up to be an acclaimed Tibetan Buddhist Lama? It was a search for Truth and a deep wish to understand the mind that led a young, determined Susan Rowan (b.1946) from suburban Essex, England, to the foothills of the Himalayas in the early 1970s. On the instruction of famed Tibetan Buddhist master Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, she headed East to ‘absorb the vibes’ as he put it. There she met and was taught by some of the most eminent Tibetan Lamas and yogins of our time, including Kalu Rinpoche, Bokar Rinpoche and The 16th Karmapa, who ordained her as a nun and subsequently sent her back to the west to teach

At the request of her students, Lama Shenpen Hookham tells her fascinating and unconventional life story in the ‘Keeping the Dalai Lama Waiting & Other Stories’. The lively, anecdotal autobiography documents her extraordinary spiritual journey and her encounters with her teachers that are deeply profound, moving and often humorous. Lama Shenpen shares first-hand experience of how differing cultures and ways of thinking overlap and collide with unexpected consequences. At the heart of this book is a quest for truth – an ongoing discovery of the true nature of mind, yet as we discover, this is more about the heart in its deepest sense.

Lama Shenpen on who the book is aimed at:

Who were Lama Shenpen’s teachers who are featured in the book?

Recommendations for Keeping the Dalai Lama Waiting & Other Stories

“Lama Shenpen Hookham is not only a acclaimed scholar but also a well known and highly respected teacher of Tibetan Buddhism. She tells here the entertaining and inspiring stories of her extraordinary journey where she encounters some of the greatest Tibetan Masters of the 20th century.” – Ringu Tulku Rinpoche

“This is a fascinating personal account of a young English woman finding a connection with Tibetan lamas and nuns during and after the 1970s in India and Nepal.  Shenpen lived in nunneries and Dharma centres and her story highlights her close relationship with several eminent Karma Kagyu lamas in Europe where she served as a translator. This includes her own inner struggle between life as a nun and as a householder. In time Lama Shenpen has set up her own community in Wales which presents the Dharma for Westerners in a way that is both authentic and yet relevant to the students’ own needs and cultural background.” – Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo

“Lama Shenpen Hookham is an inspiring figure in the world of Tibetan Buddhism with her great knowledge of the precious Buddhadharma and mastery of the Tibetan language. Keeping the Dalai Lama Waiting chronicles some of the most exhilarating and compelling stories of Lama Shenpen’s extraordinary life as a Buddhist nun and translator for great Tibetan masters and her own rich spiritual journey. It is so wonderful that she has chosen to share these poignant and personal experiences. May they inspire and encourage others along their own exploration of innate wisdom.” – Her Eminence Khandro Rinpoche

“Shenpen points to the power of seemingly ordinary student teacher encounters, and how much transpires in intimate, tender, humorous moments of connection so central to the spiritual path.” – Judy Lief, Buddhist teacher, author & editor