Jamgon Mipam Rinpoche

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Jamgon Mipam Rinpoche (1846–1912), also known as Mipam Gyamtso, was an influential scholar and teacher of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Douglas Duckworth states:

Mipam is a major figure in [the Nyingma] tradition, and in terms of the breadth and depth of his writings, he is in a class of his own. His works live today as part of the curriculum of study at several contemporary monastic colleges in Tibet, India, and Nepal. Thus, Mipam is not simply a towering figure of historical importance; he continues to hold a central place in a flourishing Buddhist tradition. Although he lived quite late in the long history of Buddhist development in Tibet, his influence on the Nyingma school has been enormous.[1]

Mipam wrote over 32 volumes on topics such as painting, poetics, sculpture, alchemy, medicine, logic, philosophy and tantra.[2] Mipam's works are still central to the scholastic curriculum in Nyingma monasteries today.[3]

Mipam is also considered one of the leading figures in the Rimé (non-sectarian) movement.


Douglas Duckworth states:

Not a lot of biographical information about Mipam is available—which is surprising, considering the contribution he made to Buddhist thought and monastic education—but what we do know about his life and particularly from his works reveals that he was an extraordinary genius. He spent most of his life in meditation retreat, yet he was also actively involved in Buddhist scholarship. Mipam wrote extensively and not just on a few areas of Buddhist thought. He wrote on an incredibly wide range of scriptures and traditions, and his works address topics that extend well beyond the classic Buddhist scriptures.[1]

Brief biography

Rigpa wiki states:

Mipham Rinpoche was born in the region of Derge in eastern Tibet. At the age of fifteen he undertook eighteen months of intensive retreat on Manjushri. He later confided to some of his students that from then on he had always been able to understand any text he read. Patrul Rinpoche taught him on the famous ninth chapter of the Bodhicharyavatara, ‘Wisdom’, and himself confirmed that after just five days’ teaching, Mipham Rinpoche had completely mastered both the words and meaning of the text. Mipham Rinpoche also received and mastered innumerable teachings and transmissions from Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and Jamgön Kongtrul, as well as from masters of all traditions throughout Tibet. He always took to heart Je Tsongkhapa’s famous advice that the teachings should be regarded first and foremost as practical guidance for life rather than merely as intellectual speculations. Mipham Rinpoche had an enormous impact in re-awakening a deep reverence and interest in the Nyingma and Dzogchen teachings. His contribution to the Rimé movement is inestimable.[4]

Traditional biographies

Traditional biographies:


Mipam was a prolific writer; three hundred and twenty-two of his Dharma works have come down to us. Apart from these, he composed more than thirty-five books on a range of subjects including medicine; poetry (particularly the Gesar epics); logic; cosmology; astrology and divination; alchemy; painting and sculpture; and engineering. For example, there is an oral tradition that at one time he designed and built a machine that flew; but soon dismantled it again, saying that such things were just distractions.

Tibetan texts

  • The majority of volumes of Mipam Rinpoche's collected works (gsung 'bum) as Tibetan ebooks can be downloaded here.

Selected English translations

See the following link for selected English translations of Mipam's work:

Translations available online:

Alternate names

Note that Mipam's name has been commonly spelled "Mipham" (with an 'h'). However, the 'h' is not pronounced; hence scholars such as Duckworth, Hopkins, et al spell the name as "Mipam."

Alternate names for Mipam are:

  • Jamgon Ju Mipham Gyatso (ʼJam-mgon ʼJu Mi-pham rgya-mtsho)
  • Jamgön Mipham (ʼJam-mgon Mi-pham)
  • Ju Mipham (ʼJu Mi-pham)
  • Mipham Gyatso (mi pham rgya mtsho)
  • Ju Mipham Namgyal Gyatso (ʼju mi pham rnam rgyal rgya mtsho)
  • Mipham Namgyal Gyatso (mi pham rnam rgyal rgya mtsho)
  • Jamgon Mipham Gyatso (ʼjam mgon mi pham rgya mtsho)
  • Mipham the Great (mi-pham chen-po)
  • Lama Mipham (bla-ma mi-pham)
  • Mipham Rinpoche (mi-pham rin-po-che)



Search for videos:

Selected videos:


  1. 1.0 1.1 Duckworth 2011, "Introduction".
  2. Chogyam Trungpa; The Tantric Path of Indestructible Wakefulness (volume 3)
  3. Duckworth 2011, p. 46.
  4. RW icon height 18px.png Mipham Rinpoche, Rigpa Shedra Wiki


  • Duckworth, Douglas (2011), Jamgön Mipam: His Life and Teachings, Boston: Shambhala Publications 
  • Dudjom, Jikdrel Yeshe Dorje; Dorje, Gyurme (2005), The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, Its Fundamentals and History (2 ed.), Boston: Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-199-8 
  • Germano, David (2002). "A Brief History of Nyingma Literature". THDL. Archived from the original on 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 
  • Goodman, Steven (1981). "Mi-pham rgya mtsho: An Account of His life, the Printing of His Works, and the Structure of His Treatise entitled mKhas pa'i tshul la 'jug pa'i sgo". Windhorse (I). 
  • Pettit, John Whitney (1999). Mipham's Beacon of Certainty: Illuminating the View of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection. Boston: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-157-2. 
  • Phuntsho, Karma (2005). Mipham's Dialectics and Debates on Emptiness: To Be, Not to Be or Neither. Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism. London: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 0-415-35252-5. 
  • Phuntsho, Karma (2007), "Ju Mi pham rNam rgyal rGya mtsho: His Position in the Tibetan Religious Hierarchy and a Synoptic Survey of His Contributions", in Prats, Ramon N., The Pandita and the Siddha: Tibetan Studies in Honour of E. Gene Smith, New Delhi: Amnye Machen Institute, ISBN 81-86227-37-7 
  • Smith, E. Gene (2001). Among Tibetan Texts: History & Literature of the Himalayan Plateau. Somerville MA: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-179-3. 
  • Dharma Fellowship of HH the Gyalwa Karmapa. "The Life of Mipham Jamyang Namgyal (1846–1912)". Dharma Fellowship of HH the Gyalwa Karmapa. Retrieved 2008-08-27. 

Further reading

Studies of Mipham's thought

External links

This article includes content from Mipham Rinpoche on Rigpawiki (view authors). Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0 RW icon height 18px.png