Biography Of Ma Gcig

Ma Gcig Zha MaDATA
Wylie name 
Name etymologyMa Gcig-"One Mother"
Naming history 
Person typeSentient Being
ClanZha ma
Summary (1 paragraph)Along with her brother, ma gcig zha ma taught Lamdre to a great many scholars and translators.
Longer description 
Birth date (Tibetan) 
Birth date (international)1062 A.D.
Birth place (Tibetan)pha drug in Latö-Iho
Death date (Tibetan) 
Death date (international)1149 A.D.
Death placeunknown
Spheres of activityTeacher of the secret precepts of the "Path of the Fruit".
References (reference, page/line, passage)The Blue Annals (Roerich). Pp. 124, 127, 219, 235, 239, 436, 557. Tibetan Tantric Buddhism in the Renaissance: Rebirth if Tibetan Culture (Ronald M. Davidson, 2005) Pp. 150, 291-93, 301, 320-22. Luminous Lives (Cyrus Sterns, 2001) Pp. 58-60.

Detailed Template



Names and titles (ming dang mgo sa)

Name (ming gzhan dag/): ma gcig zha ma

Etymology: Ma Gcig-"One Mother"

Type (rigs)

  • Primary Name (ming gtso bo/): ma gcig zha ma
  • Variant Orthography:
  • Primary Title:
  • Personal Name: zha ma, ma gcig
  • Birth names: zha ma, ma gcig
  • Family Name: zha ma
  • First Ordination Name:
  • Secret Initiatory Name:
  • Final Ordination Name:
  • Reversal:
  • Sanskrit:
  • Chinese Name:

Occasion name given (ming ster ba'i skabs):

  • Occasion type:
  • Tibetan date (bod tshes/):
  • International date (spyi tshes/):

Types (rigs)

Sentient being type (sems can rigs mi 'dra/):

  • Human
    • historical
    • religious
    • scholar
  • transcendent deity


  • female (pho)

Ethnicity (mi rigs):

  • Tibetan

Birth and death ('khrungs 'das)

Birth International date ('khrungs dus/ _spyi 'o'i lo zla tshes grangs/):1062 A.D.

Birth Tibetan date ('khrungs dus/ _spyi lo'i lo zla tshes grangs/):

Death date ('das dus/ _spyi 'o'i lo zla tshes grangs/): 1149 A.D.

Death date Tibetan ('khrungs dus/ _spyi lo'i lo zla tshes grangs/):

Places & Institutions (yul)

Birth place ('khrung yul/): pha drug in Latö-Iho

Death place ('das yul/): unknown

Principal sphere(s) of activity (spyod yul/): Transmitter of the "Path of the Fruit" teachings.

Family (khyim tshang/)

Paternal clan (a pha'i rus pa'i ming/):

Maternal clan (a ma'i rus pa'i ming/):

Related individuals:

Relationship type:

  • Father (a pha) rdo rje rgyal mtshan
  • Mother (a ma/) rgya gar lha mo
  • Brother Khong-bu-pa
  • Husband a ba lha rgyal
  • Husband dge ba'i blo gros

Name (ming/): Ma Gcig Zha Ma

Birth date ('khrungs dus/): 1062 A.D.

Death date ('das dus/): 1149 A.D.



  • Main teachers: pha dam pa sangs rgyas, pu hrangs lo tsa ba, ye rab pa, se mkhar chu ba, bai ro tsa na
  • Collaborator: Her brother, Zha Ma-lotsawa
  • Deity:
  • Vision:

Incarnational pedigree

  • Incarnation of
  • Incarnation (yang srid)

Past lives:

Future lives:

Emanations of:

Education (slob sbyong)

Study institutions: She was first a consort of of the translator Ma Chöbar, then later Padampa.

Teaching institutions:


Things studied (doctrines, ritual, literature): Lamdre

Things taught (doctrines, ritual, literature): Lamdre


Occupation: Consort, Teacher

  • Religious:

Religious sectarian affilialtion (chos lugs): Sakya

Institutional base(s):

Summary of career activities:

Writings (rtsom yig)


DD-MM-YYYYTibetan DateTitle of EventType of EventDescription of EventSource

Short summary of life

Ma Gcig zha ma was a consort of the translator Ma Chöbar and learned the Lamdre teachings from her brother, who was a disciple of Padampa. She experienced several gynecological hardships that were believed to be caused by her shortcomings in meditative practice. She taught Lamdre to many students, but is also famous for not teaching to a group of Indian translators, feeling subordiante to outsiders from the land of the Dharma, despite being revered in her homeland.

Biographical sketch



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