Jamyang Kyentse(1820-1892)

Jamyang Kyentsei Wangpo(‘jam-dbangs mkhyen-brtse’I dbang-po), or briefly Jamyang Kyentse, is a nineteenth century treasure-finder(gter-ston) of Tibetan Buddhism. He was born in 1820 near Yaru Chungchen Drak in Derge(sde-dge), eastern Tibet. At the age of twelve he became a novice at Tartse(tar-rtse) monastery and received the monastic name whose shortened form is Jamyang Kyentse. In 1840 he betook himself to Central Tibet and there, in the great Nying-ma-pa monastery of Mindroling(smin-grol-gling), he requested the full ordination from a monk of Khenpo Rigdzin Zangpo. The rest of his life was very rich in spiritual experiences, but poor in external events. He died in 1892(Ferrari; Nyoshul Khenpo).

During his practice and meditation, Jamyang Khyentse underwent great hardship, completely eradicating any arrogance that may have arisen as a result of his status as a recognized tulku or his noble and wealthy ancestry. He also received oral transmissions for some seven hundred volumes that cover all schools of Tibetan Buddhism without sectarian bias. He spent about thirteen years of his life entirely in study. Because he never indulged in sectarian bias or cynicism, Jamyang Khyentse accepted countless students from all schools(Nyoshul Khenpo; Dudjom Rinpoche).

Together with Jamgon Kongtrul, Jamyang Khyentse had tremendous influence in Derge region in the late nineteenth century. They gained the respect of the Lhasa generals posted in the east and were the moral leaders for the people of Derge. Despite the demands made upon them by worldly concerns, Khyentse and Kongtrul continued to progress by leaps and bounds in their intellectual and spiritual development. The relationship between two is one of the most fascinating yet elusive problems in the nonsectarian movement(Smith).


E. Gene Smith, Among Tibetan Texts: History and Literature of the Himalayan Plateau, (Boston: Wisdom Publication, 2001), p.249.

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals & History, (Boston: Wisdom Publication, 1991), p.849-858.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), p.270-280.

Alfonsa Ferrari, Mk’yen Brtse’s Guide to the Holy Places of Central Tibet, (Roma: Istituto Italiano Per Il Medio Ed Estremo Oriente, 1958), p. XIX-XX