Dakini Day and Je Jigten Sumgon Duchen blessings: Recent photos of the sacred Achi Chokyi Drolma cave, self-arisen Achi and birthplace of Jigten Sumgon in Tibet

For my first post on this new website, for Dakini Day and the Commemoration Day of Drigung Kagyu founder, Je Jigten Sumgon, I would like to share some never-before published photos (see below), which I took of Achi Chokyi Drolma’s sacred place in Yushu, Kham. I visited there in 2020 on a pilgrimage trip, just before the COVID lockdowns started.

Several photos are of the birthplace of Je Jigten Sumgon and feature the cave where Achi Chokyi Drolma spent years meditating and also left handprints in rocks. It is where Achi practiced and composed her own sadhana and then departed to the pure land with a horse and a little dog. There are footprints there of the animals from when they flew into the sky.

My experience there felt surreal, even the monk who showed me around was surreal. He was the only person there and walked up to me after I entered and showed me around. It was just like Achi Chokyi Drolma was really there. Especially when I offered a katak to the self arisen-image of her on the rock.

I hope that these photos provide others with blessings and inspiration. All photos in this post are free to be shared and published, but when doing so, please cite the source as this website, http://www.inabieler.com.

I would also like to thank my Dharma sister, Adele Tomlin (founder and translator of Dakini Publications), she told me she had been looking for photos of the Achi Chokyi Drolma cave for a couple of months and could not find any, and none of the Drigung Kagyu lamas she spoke to had them either. So when I recently told her I had some, she encouraged me to upload and publish them in this post, in particular on this sacred day.

Wishing you all a meaningful, happy and peaceful Dakini Day and Jigten Sumgon day today.


Photo of Jigten Sumgon statue at the place where he was born. Photo: Ina Bieler, 2020.
Photo: Ina Bieler (2020).
Photo: Ina Bieler (2020).
Photo: Ina Bieler (2020).
Photo: Ina Bieler (2020).
The Cave where Achi meditated and from where she went to the Pure lands. Photo: Ina Bieler (2020).
Self-arisen Achi. Photo: Ina Bieler (2020).

Sources/Further Reading

Muldowney, K. K. (2011).  MA thesis, Florida State University, ‘Outward Beauty, Hidden Wrath: An Exploration of the Drikung Kagyü Dharma Protectress Achi Chökyi Drölma’. See: https://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/islandora/object/fsu:254364/datastream/PDF/view

Muldowney, K. K.  (2015).  The Elusive Lady of Nanam: An Introduction to the Protectress A chi Chokyi Drolma in David P. Jackson  Painting Traditions of the Drikung Kagyu School (Rubin Museum of Art, 2015).

Tomlin, Adele (2021) GODDESS QUEEN OF SPACE: ACHI CHOKYI DROLMA. Life-Story, Texts, Depictions, ‘Praise to Achi’ by Jigten Sumgon and Teaching by 8th Garchen Rinpoche


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