Samding Dorje Phagmo: The First Tibetan Woman to Begin her own Lineage

This is an analysis from Hildegard Diemberger’s book When a Woman Becomes a Religious Dynasty: The Samding Dorje Phagmo of Tibet (2014).


Samding Dorje Phagmo is the first lineage that was initiated and led by a Tibetan woman named Chokyi Dronma in fifteen century Tibet (2007: 1). This lineage continues to exist in present day Tibet. “She was listed among the highest-ranking reincarnation at the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama, and recognized by the Tibetan government and acknowledged by the Qing emperor” writes Hildegard Diemberger. Thus, engaging this historic figure becomes important in situating Tibetan religious approaches to gender.

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