Chim Jampaiyang

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Chim Jampaiyang (T. mchims 'jam pa'i dbyangs མཆིམས་འཇམ་པའི་དབྱངས་) (ca. 1245-1325)[1] was a Kadampa scholar and author of Ornament of Abhidharma, a famous Tibetan commentary on Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosha.[2] The Ornment of Abhidharma is commonly known in Tibet at the Chimzö or Great Chimzö.[2]

Ian James Coghlan states:

There are few details of the early life of Chim Jampaiyang, or Jampalyang, and we first hear of him in connection with Narthang Monastery, as a student of Chim Namkha Drak (1210–85) and later Chomden Rikpai Raldri (1227–1305). In his colophon to [Ornament of Abhidharma], Chim Jampaiyang explicitly praises Namkha Drak, whom he calls Omniscient One (thams cad mkhyen pa), and eulogizes his name. These heartfelt words indicate a close connection, a teacher-disciple relationship. Namkha Drak was the seventh abbot of Narthang Monastery (1245–80), a widely respected scholar and author who along with Kyelnak Drakseng established Narthang’s dialectical college. It is likely that Jampaiyang attended this college.
Jampaiyang left [Narthang] for Sakya, the seat of Drogön Chögyal Phakpa (1234–80), the fifth of the five Sakya founding masters and nephew of Sakya Paṇḍita. Phakpa was a student of Chim Namkha Drak, whom he later appointed as an arbiter in Tibetan political affairs, and it is likely that Jampaiyang traveled to Sakya with Namkha Drak’s blessing. While Jampaiyang was resident there, Phakpa was invited to the Mongol court, and in 1268 he left for Beijing accompanied by Chim Jampaiyang. Phakpa was installed in Beijing as imperial preceptor in 1271, where he remained until 1274, when he departed Beijing for Sakya, arriving in 1276.
It is not clear if Jampaiyang accompanied Phakpa back to Sakya at that time, but it seems he did return to Tibet at some point, for Gö Lotsāwa mentions that Chim Jampaiyang was later invited to the imperial palace accompanied by Khentsun Yönten Gyatso (1260–?), implying that Jampaiyang made at least a second journey to China. If so this trip was probably made during the life of Buyantu Khan (1285–1320), the great grandson of Kublai Khan. Jampaiyang is described as the court chaplain (mchod gnas) to Buyantu, who became emperor in 1311. Chim’s colophon [to Ornament of Abhidharma] indicates the timeline for composing the work: Jampaiyang commenced it at the Sakya college and completed it “at the Zhongdu palace of the great king, ruler of the earth.” The emporer is not named, but it is possible that Chim was engaged in the work under Kublai Khan when Phakpa was imperial preceptor, and perhaps even under the Khan’s two successors, before completing it under Buyantu Khan.
While Jampaiyang remained in Beijing, Rikpa Raldri made progress in collating the Buddhist canon, and Narthang became a center where, it was said, two thirds of Tibet’s tripiṭakadharas gathered. Rikpai Raldri was assisted in this work by Jampaiyang, who sent numerous gifts to his teacher. Raldri was reputedly only pleased when Jampaiyang sent Chinese ink to be used in the great work of copying the canon. Thus it was due in part to the patronage of Jampaiyang that the entire Kangyur and Tengyur were copied and housed in the Mañjuśrī temple at Narthang.[2]

His great nephew, Chim Lozang Drakpa, wrote a shorter commentary, which is known as the Small Chimzö.[2]


  1. Dates estimated by Ian James Coghlan in Chim Jampaiyang (2019). Coghlan states: "These approximate dates reflect the assumption that Chim was a student of both Chim Namkha Drak (1210–85) and Chomden Rikpai Raldri (1227–1305) as well as the tutor of Buyantu Khan (r. 1311–20)"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Chim Jampaiyang 2019, s.v. Translator's Introduction.


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