Previous Minling Jetsunmas
Female Masters Within the Mindrolling Tradition
- Jetsun Mingyur Paldron
- Jetsun Thrinley Chödron
- Jetsun Tsewang Lhamo
- Jetsun Tsering Paldron
There has been another significant line within the Mindrolling tradition
apart from the Trichen line of throne holders, and the Khenchen line
of vinaya holders. This is the Jetsunma line, one of the remarkable
features of Mindrolling. It is a line of many great female masters known
as the Jetsunmas, daughters of various Mindrolling Trichens over the
years. Beginning with Jetsun Mingyur Paldron, the daughter of Chögyal
Terdag Lingpa, to Jetsun Tsering Paldron, the daughter of the present
Mindrolling Trichen, Mindrolling has maintained a tradition of female
Terdag Lingpa stressed the need for women to be educated as practitioners
and teachers. He directed his descendants to maintain the precious tradition
that he himself exemplified by empowering and teaching his own daughter
along with his two sons. His inspiration has continued and many women
have been inspired to practice and teach within this lineage.
Many great female masters have lived, practiced and taught within the
Mindrolling lineage. This has been mostly in Samten Tse, which is the
name of Mindrolling's nunnery. Unfortunately, due to the lack of written
records, many dates and important information are missing. Yet, we hope
that through sharing this history, it continues to inspire and encourage
all practitioners. Given here are a few of the particularly luminous
Jetsun Mingyur Paldron
Jetsun Mingyur Paldron was born in 1699 in the Earth Rabbit year as
the daughter of Chögyal Terdag Lingpa and his consort, Phuntsok
Paldron. By 13 years of age, she had received extensive instructions
and teachings from her father and had accomplished many practices. At
14, she received the entire transmissions of Thug Je Chenpo De Sheg
Kun Du from Lochen Dharmashri and mastered the Tsa-lung and Thigle practices.
Jetsun Mingyur Paldron also received many profound teachings and instructions
from other great masters of the day such as Kathog Rigzin Shabdrung
Jurme Shenphen Wangpo, Shenyen Ogyen Rabten, Soton Thutob Namgyal, Duldzin
Kunga Lodrö and Lopon Sonam Lodrö Gyaltsen. Consequently,
she accomplished practices in both the old and new traditions.
Chögyal Terdag Lingpa passed into Parinirvana in 1714. In 1717,
the Dzingar Mongols invaded Tibet and began destroying monasteries.
Being in Central Tibet, Mindrolling was an easy target of this as well
as other invasions. The Mongols razed the monastery and killed Lochen
Dharmashri and Pema Jurme Gyatso, the eldest son of Terdag Lingpa. The
younger son, Gyalsay Drinchen Rinchen Namgyal, managed to escape into
Kham through the help of the family of the Khochhen Rinpoche. Jetsun
Mingyur Paldron also escaped to Sikkim where she lived and taught for
two years, turning the wheel of Dharma for many fortunate beings, firmly
establishing the Dharma in Sikkim. Mingyur Paldron also founded the
Pema Yangtse monastery there.
After the Mongols left Tibet, Jetsun Mingyur Paldron, who was then twenty
years of age, and her younger brother Drinchen Rinchen Namgyal, returned
to Mindrolling. They found it in ruins. Together, with their courageous
and tireless efforts, they re-built the monastery and re-established
the sangha, making Mindrolling once more the center of learning and
transmission of the Dharma.
At the age of thirty-three, Jetsun Mingyur Paldron gave the empowerments,
oral transmissions and explanations of the collected works of Chögyal
Terdag Lingpa and the Nyingthig Yabzhi to over 270 disciples and thus
insured the continuance of these precious transmissions. Jetsun Mingyur
Paldron also established the Samten Tse nunnery a short distance from
the Mindrolling monastery. It was there that she spent most of the remainder
of her life, practicing, teaching and composing many precious texts
and inspiring many to follow the path she embodied.
Jestun Mingyur Paldron passed into Parinirvana at the age of 70 in 1769.
The life of this great female master is an inspiration to all practitioners,
especially women, to practice and realize the pure Dharma for the sake
of all sentient beings.
Jetsun Thrinley Chödron
Jetsun Thrinley Chödron was born as the daughter of Tri Thrinley
Namgyal. As an ordained nun, she received all the profound instructions
from the lineage holders of Mindrolling and many great masters of the
period. Jetsun Thrinley Chödron taught widely, contributing greatly
to the preservation of the Dzogchen lineage, particularly the Semde
and Longde transmissions. Jetsun Thrinley Chödron was one of the
main teachers of the great Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.
Jetsun Tsewang Lhamo
Jetsun Tsewang Lhamo was born as the daughter of Tritsab Pema Wangchen
and was the grand-aunt to the present Mindrolling Trichen. Jetsun Tsewang
Lhamo's root guru was Jampal Dewei Nyima from whom she took her
ordination vows and received the highest mind instructions. Jetsunma also received profound instructions and teachings from Khenchen Khyentse Norbu and
Chung Rinpoche. After the Cultural Revolution, Jetsunma lived with Chung
Rinpoche until he passed away in 1979. In 1982, Jetsunma left Tibet
for Mindrolling, India, with her younger sister Jetsun Dechen Wangmo
and her grand-nephew, Khenchen Khenrab Gyatso
, the present Minling Khenchen.
In Mindrolling, India, Jetsunma lived and practiced, inspiring many
to follow the true path of practice. She exemplified the life of
an ideal practitioner with her simple lifestyle and dedication to
practicing the Dharma. Jetsun Tsewang Lhamo passed away on June
16, 1995 and remained in samadhi for three days. During these three
days, many people from throughout the world came to pay their last
respects to this great master and to receive her blessings. Thus,
even Jetsunma's parinirvana became an example and inspiration for
all practitioners, particularly to the monks, nuns, and lay-community
of Mindrolling to practice the true Dharma and live a simple life.
Jetsun Tsering Paldron
Jetsun Tsering Paldron, or the Venerable Khandro Rinpoche, as she
is widely known today, is the eldest daughter of the 11th Mindrolling
Trichen Rinpoche and heads Samten Tse Retreat Center. Rinpoche teaches
widely in Europe and North America.