The Treasury of Lives

In 2017, The Treasury of Lives received an Ashoka Grant from the Khyentse Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche to support all traditions of Buddhist study and practice. Khyentse Foundation's support enabled the publication of ten biographies of Buddhist women from the Tibetan cultural region. In 2018, ten peer-reviewed biographies were added to the site. 


There are 10 biographies Sponsored by Khyentse Foundation

Yeshe Tsogyel

b.early 8th cent. - d.mid 8th cent.
TBRC P7695

One of the best known and beloved female figures in Tibetan Buddhism, Yeshe Tsogyel is believed to have been the wife of the Tibetan emperor Tri Songdetsen and to have served as the main consort of Padmasambhava, playing a vital role in the concealment of treasure literature. There is no evidence that a person named Yeshe Tsogyel lived in Tibet, although this does not rule out the possibility that an aristocrat named Kharchen Za did exist and served as the basis for the Yeshe Tsogyel legends.

Dawo Wangmo

b.early 17th cent. - d.late 17th cent.

Dawo Wangmo was a master of the teachings of Terton Dorje Tokme, whom she served as a consort.

Chonyi Wangmo

b.late 19th cent. - d.mid 20th cent.
TBRC P6572

Chonyi Wangmo was a female Taklung Kagyu master active in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is one of three women collectively known as the "Three Jetsunma."

Yangchen Lhamo

b.1907 - d.1973?

Yangchen Lhamo was the first Director of the Department of Gynecology and Pediatrics at the Lhasa Mentsikhang, as well as the first female professor there. The daughter of the Seventh Riwoche Jedrung, she continued working at the Mentsikhang at least until the advent of the Cultural Revolution.

Tamdrin Lhamo

b.1923 - d.1979

Tamdrin Lhamo was twentieth-century female Nyingma master from Nyarong. Her father was the treasure revealer Nyakla Jangchub Dorje.

Jetsun Rigdzin Choying Zangmo was a famous itinerant female Buddhist adept active in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Born to pilgrims in northern India, she traveled extensively during the first half of her life, visiting sites all across central, western, and southern Tibet, as well as Nepal. Her root guru was Pema Gyatso, who had been a student of Zhabkar Tsokdruk Randrol. She taught Chod extensively and came to be considered an emanation of Machik Labdron. During the second half of her long life she resided at Shukseb Monastery, ultimately taking control of the institution and transforming it into a nunnery.

Kunzang Chokyi Drolma

b.early 19th cent. - d.late 19th cent.

Kunzang Chokyi Drolma was a female adept from the Ngawa region of Amdo who was active in the nineteenth century. Known for her songs, she was praised by local communities and religious leaders. Though little is known of her life, a short passage in a major history of the Jonang tradition attests to her local renown.

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.

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. 

Nangsa Wobum

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

According to legend, Nangsa Wobum was a Tibetan woman from the eleventh or twelfth 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.