Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo is an enthroned tulku within the Palyul lineage of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. In the late 1980s, she gained international attention as the first Western woman to be named a reincarnated lama. She continues to serve as Spiritual Director for Kunzang Odsal Palyul Changchub Choling, a Buddhist center in Poolesville, Maryland, which includes one of the largest communities of Western monks and nuns in North America. She went on to found a center in Sedona, Arizona, U.S.A. Jetsunma has been described by her own teachers, as well as many other Tibetan Buddhist lamas who have visited her temple, as a dakini or female wisdom being.
Nyingma traditional histories consider their teachings to trace back to the first Buddha Samantabhadra (Güntu Sangpo) and Indian mahasiddhas such as Garab Dorjé, Śrī Siṃha and Jñānasūtra.
Traditional sources trace the origin of the Nyingma order in Tibet to figures associated with the initial introduction of Buddhism in the 8th century, such as Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyal, Vimalamitra, Vairotsana, Buddhaguhya and Shantaraksita.
Nyingma teachings are also known for having been passed down through networks of lay practitioners .