sakya tasi choling

Life of Jetsun Chime Tenpai Nyima (Vajrayogini Lineage Guru)


His Holiness the 41. Sakya Trizin:
A Short Account of the Life of Jetsun Chime Tenpai Nyima

Jetsuma Chime Tenpai Nyima is among the lineage Masters of "Parting from the Four Attachments", and of many profound dharmas such as the "Profound Guidance of Vajrayogini".

Her father, Ngawang Thutob Wangchuk, was the younger brother of Sachen Kunga Lodro. Her mother was Tashi Yang Chen, the daughter of a Chag Zampa land-holder family. She was born in the Fire-Mouse year of the 13th Rabjung cycle (1756), on the 22nd day of the 11th Tibetan month.

The name of her youth was Chime Bu Tri. In the year of the Water-Tiger (1782), The 25th Khenpo of the Great Temple, Jampa Chökyi Tashi gave her the nun’s ordination and bestowed the name ‘Chime Tenpai Nyima.

From the time of her youth her father’s brother Sachen Kunga Lodro directly taught her the oral transmissions of the collection of the Lam Dre Tsog She and Lob She, as well as the entirety of the collection of the profound teachings of Vajrayogini. In this way, absorbing the teachings in the manner of water being poured from one vase to the next, she became owner of the practices of the ocean of vast and profound Dharma.

Sachen Kunga Lodro, in his pure vision, received a prophecy from Ngorchen Dorje Chang saying that, ‘You will have disciples like four pillars and eight beams’. Chime Nyima was one of the four great pillars who were the principal disciples.

With heartfelt effort, she devoted all her life to daily practice, so that she reached a high level of realisation. She also turned the vast and profound wheel of Dharma with the precious great secret Lam Dre Lob She, the Vajrayogini cycle of teachings, and the twelve mandalas of Sarva Durgati Parishodhana Tantra, and many others. She performed innumerable great empowerments, authorisations and so on, both of the tantra collections, and of profound and extensive teaching cycles.

She directly bestowed teachings and empowerments to Dolma Phodrang’s founding father and throne holder Pema Dud Dul Wangchug and his heir, Throne holder Tashi Rinchen. Other disciples of hers include Phuntsog Phodrang’s founding father Kunga Rinchen, and his son and throne holder, Dorje Rinchen; the brothers of these two founding fathers, Kyabgon Ngodrub Palbar and the Ngawang Kunga Gyaltsen; Thar Tse Khenchen Jampa Namkha Chime, Jampa Kunga Tendzin, the Balkhang Master Acarya Kunga Tashi and many, many others. At this time, of all the Masters who were holders of the Sakya and Ngorpa teachings, there were none who were not among her disciples.

Her main disciple was the meditation Master Ngawang Rinchen of Dege. To him she gave the profound Vajrayogini teaching at a time when she was already very old and had very poor eye sight. But then, due to the pure mutual perception between Master and disciple, her eyes became clear. On this occasion she said “Seeing a Lama like you in Tibet, has restored my eye sight.”

At one time during the Vajrayogini blessing the nectar in the kapala bubbled vigorously and actually started to boil. The meditation Master Ngawang Rinchen drank it again and again, and from this a high meditative experience arose in his mind-stream. Many such amazing stories about her spread in all directions. Many practitioners particularly from the Kham side, although unable to actually meet with her, sought the Vajrayogini blessing of her lineage.

Many high lamas such as Jamyang Khentse Wangpo asserted that Jetsun Chime Nyima was the real Vajrayogini in person. They said this, and many other words of great praise. It is recorded in the accounts that at the time of Sachen Kunga Lodro’s death Jetsun herself did Vajrayogini ritual sessions for many days.

Although the time of her death is not given completely clearly in the texts, we can judge that she must have lived a very long time because, starting from Sachen Kungo Lodro’s time, there are four generations during which she gave empowerments to many lamas. In later life she stayed in Rigdzin Phodrang and was called ‘Great Mother of Rigdzin Phodrang’.

After her death a silver Vajrayogini image, with many matchless uncommon ornaments, was made in her honour. This is at the Great Temple of Sakya.


This is a short account given in answer to my elder sister Chime’s (Jetsunma Chime Luding) question, by her younger brother Ngawang Kunga (His Holiness the 41. Sakya Trizin). It is condensed from the accounts of the lineage Gurus.

April, 2005

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