Gyelwa Jangchub belonged to the Lasum (la gsum) clan. He initially served in the Tibetan government as a minister to Tri Songdetsen (khri srong lde btsan, 742-800) before becoming one of the first seven Tibetans to be ordained by Śāntarakṣita.
He is said to have received teachings and empowerments from Padmasambhava, visited India numerous times, and became a translator of many texts. He is occasionally listed as a twenty-sixth disciple of Padmasambhava.
According to legend, as the result of his practice he could remain poised in the sky in meditation posture.
Gyelwa Jangchub is best remembered, however, as the author of the biography of Yeshe Tsogyel, in which he appears as an occasional student of Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyel herself. In the eighth chapter Yeshe Tsogyel prophesized that Gyelwa Jangchub would attain the rainbow body, and went on to identify him as the reincarnation of her consort Acarya Sale (a tsa ra sa le). In the colophon of the text Gyelwa Jangchub shares author credit with Namkhai Nyingpo (nam mkha’i snying po, 8th c.); the text was revealed by Taksham Nuden Dorje (stag sham nus ldan rdo rje, b.1655).
Gyurme Dorje is director of Trans Himalaya, with offices in the United Kingdom, Chengdu, and Kham. He earned a Ph.D. in Tibetan Literature at the School for Oriental and Asian Studies in 1987 and a Masters degree in Sanskrit & Oriental Studies at Edinburgh in 1971.