Achi Drolma’s Biography
Achi Drolma was born in Western Tibet. Her father was called Great Yogi Dorje. At one time her parents had not had any children and they discussed this matter between themselves. They decided to go on a pilgrimage to Nepal and circumambulate the Great Stupa, make charitable offerings, and make aspiration prayers so they could conceive a child. They went to Nepal and circumambulated the stupa and did all else they had planned. The stupa’s caretaker asked what their wish was. They replied that they were prosperous and had everything they wished, except a child. They were doing this circumambulation so they could conceive a son. The caretaker said if you do this tomorrow on the full moon day you will achieve your wish. So they made elaborate offerings the next day. That night they had a dream. Achi’s mother saw a crystal stupa entering her womb and her father saw a golden vajra entering his wife’s heart. After this auspicious dream they decided to return to Tibet. They conceived a child soon after. They gave birth at a place not far from Drikung Til. The father desired a son, but Achi’s mother gave birth to girl. The father wondered how they could have a girl after such auspicious signs. But he mother said, maybe this baby girl may be even better than the son you expected.
The infant girl would recite Tara’s mantra. People heard of this and thought she might be the birth of a dakini. As she grew up she was always compassionate and kind and explained the dharma to the other children. Both her parents died while she was still a child. When her parents died, she offered everything they had to a monastery. As she grew up, she was very attractive and she had many suitors. She rejected all these offers and told them she must move away. She left her homeland with a group of merchants travelling to China and went with them to East Tibet. The merchants asked her to continue with them to China, but she rejected this offer.
There was a great yogi and retreatant at the place she stopped and Achi received teachings from him. She asked to become his wife. The retreat master became offended and told her he had renounced everything.
She replied, “I am not asking for the sake of sensual pleasure. If we are married we will be better able to benefit sentient beings through the dharma.”
The retreat master told Achi, “You are a vagabond without possessions and I likewise have no possessions. Once we are married we will have a family and be unable to support them or benefit the dharma. Think about this.”
But she insisted on getting married and told him not to worry about material possessions. She said, “Invite your relatives and the local officials to our wedding and leave the rest to me.”
He agreed to her request and organized the wedding. His relatives thought he had lost his mind, but they accepted his invitation. Achi’s fiance was nervous that they could not afford anything. Achi started playing her damaru and the wedding site was filled with possessions. Among them were precious dzi stones that they could exchange during the ceremony. All the relatives were astounded by the abundance that had appeared out of nowhere and declared that Achi must be a wisdom dakini. They had a son and the fourth generation son of this family was Jigten Sumgon, the second Nagarjuna, and founder of the Drikung lineage. Achi went straight to the pure land without dying. If you go to where she lived in East Tibet you can see her foot prints and hand prints in solid rock and other signs of her life.
There are countless stories of how Achi has benefited practitioners. After the Chinese invasion of Tibet Chutsung Rinpoche was thrown into a labor camp. People saw a woman visiting him in his cell and bringing him food. It was impossible that this was an ordinary person because of the restrictions. When Chetsang Rinpoche escaped to India over the Himalayas his route was blocked by a crevasse in a glacier. He started to turn back but looked over his shoulder. He saw a woman on the other side of the crevasse and thought there must be a path past it. When he retraced his steps the crevasse was no longer there. When he reached where the woman was, there was no sign of her. From there he was able to escape to India. So Achi can personally aid the practitioner.
Drupon Thinley Ningpo
Susquehanna Yoga Center
December 3, 2006