Underestimated Sonam Peldren: A Nomad who was Dorje Pakmo


Sonam Peldren was a religious figure from fourteenth-century Tibet. She was the daughter of a nomad. She had no special status, nor had she been trained or recognized by religious authorities during her time alive. She was recorded as not having received formal education and being illiterate. Yet, following her death, she became recognized in her community as the emanation of Dorje Pakmo. Unlike Tare Lhamo, Sonam Peldren lacked the social standing through which she could affirm her religious identity. However, despite such lack in status, Sonam Peldren is affirmed following her death through the efforts of her spiritual community. The following is an analysis of Sonam Peldren’s gendered subjectivity through an engagement with Suzanne M. Bessenger’s Echoes of Enlightenment: The Life and Legacy of the Tibetan Saint Sonam Peldren (2016). I specifically engage chapters 1 and 2, “The Life of Sonam Peldren” and “Composing the Life…

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