Sonam Bumpa b.1222 - d.1282
Name Variants: Chenngawa Sonam Bumpa ; Mangphuwa; Sonam Bumpa
Sonam Bumpa (bsod nams 'bum pa) was born at a place called Mangpu (mang phu) in 1222, the water-horse year of the fourth sexagenary cycle. Details of his parents and childhood are not known save that he was nephew of the third abbot of Katok, Jampa Bumpa (byams pa 'bum, 1179-1252) who cared for him since his childhood and presumably gave him his monastic vows. Jampa Bumpa served him as his main teacher and taught him reading, writing, and memorization of prayer texts and then the traditional subjects from the sūtra and tantra, including necessary empowerments and esoteric instructions.
During the Second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi's (karma pa 02 karma pak+Shi 1203-1283) visit to Katok, Sonam Bumpa assisted his uncle in his ordination, serving as ācārya.
In 1252, the water bird year, when his uncle Jampa Bumpa retired from the abbacy of the monastery, Chenngawa Sonam Bumpa ascended the seat of abbot of Katok as its fourth abbot. He gave extensive teachings and earned a large following across Kham. Following the still-developing Katok tradition, he taught at all levels of the Nine Vehicles (theg pa rim pa dgu) into which the Nyingma tradition divided the Buddhist teachings. He built a large statue of Maitreya in the Lhachenkhang (lha chen khang). He is said to have lived a simple life and performed the activities with humility.
Sonam Bumpa retired from the Katok abbacy in 1282, when he was about sixty-one. He appointed his disciple, Yeshe Bumpa (ye shes 'bum pa, 1242-1315) as his successor. He passed into nirvana that same year. His reliquary was installed with Choje, the founder and his two immediate disciples in Kumbum (sku 'bum). Sonam Bumpa was the first among the three famous "Bumpa lamas" of Katok Monastery.
’Jam dbyangs rgyal mtshan. 1996. Rgyal ba kaH thog pa’i lo rgyus mdor bsdus. Chengdu: Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, pp. 39-40.
Dudjom Rinpoche. 2002. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein, trans. Boston: Wisdom, p. 694.
View this person's associated Works & Texts on the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center's Web site
- Historical Period