Khepa Nyibum Biography

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English | བོད་ཡིག

Longchen Rabjam

Khepa Nyima Bum

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Biography of Khepa Nyibum

from The Jewel Rosary History

by Longchen Rabjam

It was from such a wonderful, marvellous, noble guru [i.e., Gyalwa Zhangtön] that Khepa Nyibum heard the teachings. He [Khepa Nyibum] was born as the son of the great Gyalwa Zhangtön and Gyalmo Yang. While he was still in the womb his mother dreamt that multiple suns rose simultaneously. She reported this to his father, who said, "This is a sign that the child will illuminate the meaning of the unsurpassable secret teachings and eliminate the darkness of ignorance among sentient beings." When the child was born they named him Nyima Bum, 'Hundred Thousand Suns'.

From his fifth to his ninth year, Nyima Bum received all the transmissions of empowerments, guidance and instructions for the Secret Heart-Essence from his father. In his twentieth year, after his father passed away, he went to study with Ngok Gyaltsa. He received and mastered many Sarma tantras and related instructions. In his twenty-second year he married Jomo Gyagar. In his twenty-seventh year, he received instructions on the Three Continua from Drakpa Gyaltsen of the Sakya Khön family and Lama Taksopa, and mastered the Malgyo tradition of Cakrasaṃvara.

In his twenty-ninth year he took Seng-gyen as his wife.[1] In his thirtieth year he received teachings, including the Acha tradition of Cakrasaṃvara, the Ra tradition of the Noble Goddess (Tārā), and the wisdom Protector, from Kyitön Drakpa of Kharak Böndruk.[2] He studied sūtra and tantra with several learned and accomplished teachers. He became a custodian of the present teaching in particular, and was prophesied in the Reverberation of Sound Tantra as an emanation of Vajrapāṇi. During his investiture, he explained the Seventeen Tantras and related instructions, much to the amazement of all the students present. He then practised these teachings assiduously until his twentieth year.

He passed away at sunrise on the eighth day of the Month of Miracles in his fifty-sixth year. At his cremation, a canopy of rainbow light appeared in the sky, and the ground was strewn with relics; Incarvillea flowers sprouted at the site of the cremation, a cold ridge during winter; and the five types of relics spontaneously appeared, all of which inspired a sense of wonder in those present.

| Translated by Adam Pearcey with the generous support of the Tsadra Foundation, 2024.


Tibetan Edition

klong chen rab 'byams pa dri med 'od zer. "lo rgyus rin po che’i phreng ba" In snying thig ya bzhi. 13 vols. Delhi: Sherab Gyaltsen Lama, 1975. Vol. 1: 107–109 (1 folio)

Secondary Sources

Achard, Jean-Luc. “Zhang Nyi ma 'bum (1158–1213) et le développement des sNying thig au 12e siècle”, Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, no. 44, Mars 2018, pp. 231–257.

Dudjom Rinpoche. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. Translated by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein. Boston: Wisdom, 1991.

Leschly, Jakob. "Nyima Bum," Treasury of Lives, accessed February 09, 2024,

Nyoshul Khenpo. A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems. Translated by Richard Barron. Junction City, California: Padma Publication, 2005.

Version: 1.0-20240214

  1. Tib. seng rgyan. In some sources her name appears as Pang-gyen.  ↩

  2. Tib. kha rag bon 'brug. In later sources, this appears as Kharak Wöndruk (kha rag dbon 'brug).  ↩

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