From an early age, Jetsunma Ahkön Norbu Lhamo has devoted herself to meditation and the alleviation of suffering in the world. With confirmation from two highly revered Tibetan Buddhist masters, His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Dzongnang Rinpoche, His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, 11th throneholder of the Palyul Lineage in the Nyingma tradition, recognized Jetsunma as a reincarnation of the 17th century yogini Genyenma Ahkön Lhamo. The first Ahkön Lhamo was the sister of Rigdzin Kunzang Sherab, the founder and first Throneholder of Palyul.
Subsequently, His Holiness Kusum Lingpa recognized Jetsunma as an emanation of Princess Lhacham Mandarava, the Indian consort of Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche, or Precious Teacher), the Indian scholar who stabilized Buddhism in Tibet. Jetsunma is the first Western woman to have been officially recognized and enthroned as a Tulku, an enlightened being who reincarnates in whatever form necessary to benefit sentient beings.
In 1985, Jetsunma established Kunzang Palyul Chöling (KPC) at the request of His Holiness Penor Rinpoche. When His Holiness returned to America in 1988, he offered the Rinchen Terdzöd, the great treasury of revealed teachings (terma) for the first time in the United States at KPC. At that time, His Holiness consecrated the first of the 19 Stupas that currently stand on the property. Teachings are continually offered at KPC where there is a community of 30+ monks and nuns as well as many lay practitioners. With the additional guidance of a resident Khenpo, students continue their Dharma study and learn how to conduct ritual practices in the Palyul tradition. In 2015 the KPC Sangha celebrated its 30th year of prayer around the clock, upholding a commitment to maintain continuous prayer until there is no more suffering. Visitors come to KPC to meditate and pray day and night.
With innate compassion and wisdom, and drawing on her experiences as a Western woman, Jetsunma makes even the most profound Buddhist teachings accessible. Her teachings, often infused with humor, reach a broad audience, including long-time Buddhist practitioners as well as people simply wanting to live with kindness and generosity. Jetsunma encourages each of us to create a world of compassion, by contemplating the suffering of others and taking action to bring about change.