The Treasury of Lives

A Biographical Encyclopedia of Tibet, Inner Asia, and the Himalaya

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Depa Trinle Gyatso

b.late 16th cent. - d.1668
TBRC P3649

Depa Trinle Gyatso, also known as Jaisang Depa, was born in the U province of Tibet around the beginning of the seventeenth century. He was also known as Drongmene meaning the person from Drongme village. A monk of the Geluk tradition, he served as close personal attendant to Lobzang Gyatso, the Fifth Dalai Lama, from his early childhood, eventually becoming his senior Personal Assistant from 1632 to 1660. In 1660 he was appointed as Desi (Depa, Sakyong or Regent), the de facto Ruler of Tibet. He succeeded the disgraced Depa Norbu in this post and retained it until his death in 1668. The famous Desi Sanggye Gyatso was his nephew.

Nangsa Wobum

b.11th cent. - d.12th cent.
TBRC P1KG10329

According to legend, Nangsa Wobum was a Tibetan woman from the 11th or 12th century. Married to a prince of Rinang, she later left her family life to be ordained as a nun. One of the most famous deloks -- a person who returned from the dead to teach the living -- Nangsa has become a heroine of classic Tibetan opera.

Tamdrin Wangmo

b.1787 - d.early 19th cent.

Tamdrin Wangmo was a princess of the Derge kingdom, a principality in Kham. She was the only daughter of the sixteenth Derge King Sawang Zangpo and Queen Tsewang Lhamo. Her older brother Tsewang Dorje Rigdzin, the seventeenth King of Derge, wrote the royal chronicle entitled A Genealogy of the Kings of Derge. Tamdrin Wangmo became a nun. There is very little information about her in the historical record but enough to suggest that she helped her brother rule the kingdom. 

Depa Norbu

b.1595? - d.mid 17th cent.

Norbu, with the later title of Depa and also known as Nangso Norbu, was a Tibetan government official born in the central Tibetan province of U around the end of the 16th century. In 1644 he was appointed Governor of Shigatse, a post he held until 1659 when he succeeded his elder brother, Desi Sonam Chopel as de facto ruler of Tibet on behalf of the Fifth Dalai Lama. After a brief reign as Regent he rebelled unsuccessfully against the Ganden Podrang government and was banished. His last recorded activity was in 1660. The best source we have for his life is the autobiography of the Fifth Dalai Lama.


Nene Metokma

b.late 19th cent. - d.mid 20th cent.

Metokma was a nineteenth century nun in Terdrom, the nunnery associated with Drigung Til. She was known as a skilled healer capable of curing illnesses and removing spiritual obstacles. She is said to have mastered the process of "extracting the essence" which enabled her to abide for long periods without eating, and to have gained heightened sensory awareness. She died sometime during the cultural revolution.