Jetsunma Tamdrim Wangmo

“Jetsunma Tamdrin Wangmo, also known as Jetsunma Kalsang Chökyi Nyima. She is from the Phuntsok Phodrang. You know we have two palaces. I am from the Dolma Phodrang and she is from the Phuntsok Phodrang, which is now in Seattle. She is extremely well-known, even in our Khön lineage history. There is one full chapter describing her life. She is a very great master. She traveled to Kham, the eastern part of Tibet region. There are many stories about how the protectors served her. She manifested in different people and different kind of forms.  

It is mentioned in the biography of my grandfather (Dragshul Thinley Rinchen; the thirty-ninth Sakya throneholder) that she was one of his most important masters. In his biography, he gave her a very high title and wrote, “My Guru, Jetsunma Tamdrin Wangmo is Vajrayoginī in human form.” She is a very great master. My grandfather received Lamdré Lobshed—the Uncommon Lamdré, the Vajrayoginī cycle of teachings, and the Vajramālā the series of major empowerments from her. She is a very great master and practitioner who is recently known. 

Jetsunma Tamdrin Wangmo travelled within the Kham region for some time. Because Kham is very far away from Sakya, it was very difficult and very rare for people there to go to Sakya and receive the blessings of the Khön lineage. So, when she traveled to Sakya, people felt very great devotion, especially the Sakyapas in Kham.  

From all accounts, Jetsunma Tamdrin Wangmo was quite beautiful. One story involves her travels to Tri Hor, east of Derge. Nowadays, Tri Hor is in Sichuan. The local governor there was not a good man, being a womanizer who was always chasing beautiful women. And when he heard that Tamdrin Wangmo was attracting so many followers, he decided that he wanted to meet her. She had a reputation as being a very holy teacher, but as I mentioned earlier, also very beautiful. So Tamdrin Wangmo received a message that the governor wanted to meet her, and that she should set a time for him to come. Her attendant was alarmed and told Tamdrin Wangmo that they should leave, as he was a bad man and might harm her. But Jetsunma said, “No, it doesn’t matter. You can make an appointment. He can come to see me. It’s all right, there won’t be any problem.” So the appointment was made. 

On that day, he appeared and entered Jetsunma’s room to offer her a katag, in a very nervous manner. After that he rushed out of the room, shaking like a leaf. His attendant asked him, “Why did you leave so quickly? Yesterday you were so eager to meet Jetsunma, and now you just left straight away. Why did you do this?” The governor said: “Oh, she looked terrifying! She had a human body, but with the face of a pig, one with long tusks!” Thus, she showed she was a real Vajravārāhī. 

Another time, while she was travelling in the Kham area, her party came to a place where there were many bandits, some of which stole all the horses and mules that carried their luggage. Everyone in the party wanted to go and get the animals back. But she said, “No, this won’t be necessary.” She did a Mahākāla ritual, whereupon suddenly black dogs and black birds appeared from everywhere and surrounded the bandits’ tents, threatening them and frightening them. They were so terrified that they immediately brought all the stolen horses and mules back to Jetsunma!”

Extracted from About Sakya Jetsunmas: Jetsunma Tamdrin Wangmo, by H.H. the Sakya Trichen; The Sakya Tradition Publications.