Author Topic: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?  (Read 121607 times)


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Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« on: June 29, 2012, 02:14:34 PM »
Thought I'd share with all....

I came across this information about the mystical, magical, beautiful Dakinis that we hear so often in our prayers' verses and it is really interesting to know what they represent and truly are...

Do add to this if you have found anything interesting ;)

The Dakini Principle


Dakini is a Sanskrit term, Khandro is its Tibetan equivalent, it means "Sky-Goer". Dakinis are portrayed in female form and their male counterparts are known as Dakas. There are two types of dakinis – the Wisdom Dakini and the worldly dakini. Worldly dakinis are the ones still trapped in the cyclic existence and are found in the human and well as the celestial realms. They can take a beautiful or a demonic form. For example, the originally evil five Tseringma sisters were tamed by Guru Padmasambhava into Dharma protectors. A female practitioner who has attained some insights but not yet fully liberated from samsara is also considered to be a worldly dakini.

Wisdom Dakinis are the enlightened ones, such as Vajra Yogini, Tara and Samantabhadri. They are also portrayed as female consorts of the male Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Dakini is a source of refuge. Besides taking refuge in the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha), we also take refuge in the Three Roots (Guru, Yidam and Dakini): Guru as the root of blessings because he or she will guide us to attain enlightenment; Yidam as the root of accomplishment because through the skilful method of practicing on an Yidam or tutelary deity, one will realise the nature of his or her own mind; Dakini as the root of all enlightened activities since Dakini represents primordial wisdom.

Dakini is associated with spaciousness, therefore has the ability to give birth to limitless prospects of enlightened activities which can be grouped into four: pacifying, enriching, magnetising and destroying. Dakini also embodies the union of emptiness and wisdom. There is nothing more than this.

Many people associate the principles of Dakini with physical beauty or physical attractions of a woman, however this is not the ultimate meaning. A Dakini has the ability to move freely in the space, a space which is beyond thoughts and beyond fabrications. This is the state of awareness which is under control, stable and yet free. Everyone has the ability and the potentials to realise the Wisdom Dakini principles or nature within oneself.

Here is a beautiful picture of Flying Vajrayogini our Wisdom Dakini Queen...


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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2012, 07:33:52 AM »
Thank you for a wonderful post dsiluvu. From what I know, besides 'sky goer', they are also called "celestial woman" or "cloud fairy." I found more on from different beliefs.

Tibetan Buddhism

Although dakini figures appear in Hinduism and in the Bön tradition, dakinis are particularly prevalent in Vajrayana Buddhism and have been particularly conceived in Tibetan Buddhism where the dakini, generally of volatile or wrathful temperament, act somewhat as a muse (or inspirational thoughtform) for spiritual practice. Dakinis are energetic beings in female form, evocative of the movement of energy in space. In this context, the sky or space indicates shunyata, the insubstantiality of all phenomena, which is, at the same time, the pure potentiality for all possible manifestations.

Dakinis, being associated with energy in all its functions, are linked with the revelation of the Anuttara Yoga Tantras or Higher Tantras, which represent the path of transformation, whereby the energy of negative emotions or kleshas, called poisons, are transformed into the luminous energy of enlightened awareness (jnana) yielding rigpa.
When considered as a stage on the Vajrayana Path, the dakini is the final stages: the first is the guru, which corresponds to the initial realization of the true condition of reality, as this is introduced by the guru in the empowerment, if the disciple obtains what the Inner Tantras call peyi yeshe. The second is the devata, which corresponds to the meditation insofar as the devata is the method we use for developing the state discovered in the initial realization of the true condition of reality. The third stage is the dakini insofar as the dakini is the source of the activities based on the realization of the guru and the meditation of the devata. In Dzogchen these three correspond to tawa, gompa and chöpa: the first is the direct Vision of the true nature of reality rather than an intellectual view of reality, as is the case with the term in other vehicles; the second is the continuity of this vision in sessions of meditation; and the third is the continuity of this vision in the everyday activities. As a tantric practice, imperfections are utilised to make the vision uninterrupted. As the Base, the dakinis are the energies of life; as the Path, they are the activities of advanced practitioners; as the Fruit, they are the actionless activities of realized Masters.

According to tradition, a Dakini gave a black hat to the third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje (1284–1339), when he was three years old. The Black Crown became the emblem of the oldest reincarnating Tibetan lineage.

In Hinduism

In Hinduism the term Dakini has often negative associations. From the ninth through at least the thirteenth centuries, there was an active cult of dakinis, usually called yoginis in India today. The dakinis are the guardians of the deeper mysteries of the self, and it is through them that the secrets of inner transformation are opened. The Ranipur-Jharial Temple in Orissa, India, contains stone carvings of sixty-four dakinis, ancient symbolic representations of the female principles of intuitive wisdom. At least nine yogini temples have been discovered so far. There is a distinction among the terms goddess, shakti, yogini and dakini, shakini though in general conversation it is blurred and the terms are used interchangeably. A dakini is a Tantric priestess of ancient India who "carried the souls of the dead to the sky" They are timeless, inorganic, immortal, non-human beings who have co-existed since the very beginning with the Spiritual Energy.

In Japanese Buddhism

Dakini-ten in Japan (She always appears in the form to have ridden on white fox.) 1783

During the decline of the Heian period, the Dakini image was mixed together with images of foxes and half-naked women, acquiring the names Dakini-ten (Dakini-deity, ????), Shinko?-bosatsu (Central Fox Queen-Bodhisattva, ?????), and Kiko-tenn? (Noble Fox-heavenly Queen, ????). In the Middle Ages the Emperor would chant before an image of the fox Dakini-ten during his enthronement ceremony, and both shogun and emperor would pay honors to Dakini-ten whenever they saw it. Although Dakini-ten was said to be a powerful Buddhist deity, the images and stories surrounding it in Japan in both medieval and modern times are entirely drawn from local kitsune mythology, having no parallels in China or India. The modern folk belief, often printed in Japanese books about religion, is that the fox image was a substitute for the Indian jackal, but the jackal is not associated with Dakini anywhere. It was a common belief at the time that ceasing to pay respects to Dakini-ten would cause the immediate ruin of the regime. Likewise, in the Genpei J?suiki it is claimed that Taira no Kiyomori met a kitsune on the road and that his subsequent performance of Dakini-ten rites caused him to rise from an unimportant clan leader to the ruler of the entire nation.

In early modern times the Dakini rite devolved into various spells called Dakini-ten, Izuna, and Akiba. People who felt wronged in their village could go to a corrupt yamabushi who practiced black magic, and get him to trap a kitsune and cause it to possess a third party. Reports of possession became especially common in the Edo and Meiji periods.


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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2012, 03:10:26 PM »
Thank you for a wonderful topic. Here is another information of Dakinis whom i never heard before, its interesting of what we found in searching indeed.

Eight Bodhisattva Dakinis

The Bardo Thödol speaks of eight female Bodhisattvas appearing in groups of two during the 2nd to 5th days of the bardo.

The deities in question, listed according to their appearance, have the following names:

2nd day
Lasya, who rules the human sense of vision and draws all eyes toward her by performing dance and mudra (1). Thus she is seen as the divine archetype of the female temptress, displaying the physical beauty, dignity, majesty and seductiveness of the feminine principle.
Pushpa (Skt., puspa, "flower"), the Goddess of flowers and the natural environment as well as the Bodhisattva of vision and sight.

3rd day
Mala, the Bodhisattva of adornments, necklaces and garlands
Dhupa, the Goddess of air, smell and scent who carries and burns wonderful incense

4th day
Gita, the Bodhisattva of singing and chanting
Aloka, who carries the torch of boundless white light

5th day
Gandha, Goddess of feelings carrying an essence made of herbs, representing sensory perception
Naivedya or Nartya, who offers the nourishment of meditation that is necessary for skillful action
These eight goddesses are associated with the eight male Bodhisattvas, with who they are frequently shown in sexual union, more precisely in the yab-yum position.

The fierce aspects of the eight deities are known as Eight Phramenma.

Positive Change

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2012, 05:48:25 PM »
Here are some various interesting "explanations" that I would like to add to an already most wonderful thread!

Dakini loosely translates as "sky-dancer" or "walker in space" from Sanskrit. The dakini represents complete freedom. As a female Buddha she symbolises enlightened energy.

A Dakini is a Tantric priestess of ancient India who "carried the souls of the dead to the sky". This Buddhist figure is particularly upheld in Tibetan Buddhism. The dakini is a female being of generally volatile temperament, who acts as a muse for spiritual practice. Dakinis can be likened to elves, angels, or other such supernatural beings, and are symbolically representative of testing one's awareness and adherence to Buddhist tantric sadhana.

According to legend, members of the Indian royal castes and the wealthy nobility brought their deceased to the far North to visit the Shrine of the Dakini (located at the foothills of the Himalaya). Other legends mention a Tibetan myth which says dakini first appeared in a remote area "pure of man".

Dakini are timeless, inorganic, immortal, non-human beings who have co-existed since the very beginning with the Spiritual Energy. In some New Age belief systems, they are angelic. This New Age paradigm differs from that of the Judeo-Christian by not insisting on angels being bona fide servants of God.

Moreover, an angel is the Western equivalent of a dakini. The behavior of dakini has always been revelatory and mysterious; they respond to the state of spiritual energy within individuals. Love is their usual domain - one explanation for dakini or angels supposedly living in the sky or heaven. Manifestations of dakini in human form occur because they supposedly can assume any form. Most often they appear as a human female. By convention, a male of this type is called a 'daka'.

In Tibetan Buddhism and other schools closely related to Yogacara and Vajrayana practises, a dakini is considered a supernatural being who tests a practitioner's abilities and commitments. Many stories of the Mahasiddhas in Tibet contain passages where a dakini will come to perturb the would-be Mahasiddha.

When the dakini's test has been fulfilled and passed, the practitioner is often then recognised as a Mahasiddha, and often is elevated into the Paradise of the Dakinis, a place of enlightened bliss. It should be noted that while dakinis are often depicted as beautiful and naked, they are not sexual symbols, but rather natural ones. There are instances where a dakini has come to test a practitioner's control over their sexual desires, but the dakini itself is not a being of passion. Tantric sex may involve a "helper" dakini - a human female trained in Tantra Yoga - or an "actual" dakini. Both increase the level of erotic pleasure for the sexual participants by helping them focus on a non-physical state of spiritual joy and the physical pleasure of sex at the same time.

Iconographic representations tend to show the dakini as a young, naked figure in a dancing posture, often holding a skull cup filled with menstrual blood or the elixir of life in one hand, and a curved knife in the other. She may wear a garland of human skulls, with a trident staff leaning against her shoulder. Her hair is usually wild and hanging down her back, and her face often wrathful in expression, as she dances on top of a corpse, which represents her complete mastery over ego and ignorance. Practitioners often claim to hear the clacking of her bone adornments as the dakinis indulge in their vigorous movement. Indeed these unrestrained damsels appear to revel in freedom of every kind.

There is a connection between Dakini goddess energies and all of creational feminine dieties.

Some people believe the Dakini language is linked to that of Atlantis - the trilling of the high priestesses in the language of Vril.

Dakini is the Goddess of Life's Turning Points. Distillations of archetypal emanations, the Dakinis represent those essence principles within the self which are capable of transformation to a higher octave. Dakinis are 'sky dancers,' heavenly angels devoted to the truth (dharma), woman consorts of and partners with the god-creators of India and Tibet. Dakini serves as instigator, inspirer, messenger, even trickster, pushing the tantrika (aspirant) across the barriers to enlightenment.

Dakini's wrathful aspect is depicted by the mala of skulls. Her peaceful aspect is depicted by the lotus frond. Like Hindu goddess Kali, her role is to transmute suffering. Her left hand holds high the lamp of liberation. Dakini represent the sky being a womb symbol connoting emptiness, creativity, potentiality. They are objects of desire and also carriers of the cosmic energies that continually fertilize our human sphere. Dakinis bring us pleasure and spirituality. They provoke the enervating lust that brings life into being. They are poetic and cosmic souls, put here to tempt us to spirituality.

It is said that the Dakinis have the power to instantly entrap mere mortals with their gaze. The mirror of your mind is the mysterious home of the Dakini - your right brain - your feminine side. The secret Dakinis guard the deeper mysteries of the self. Representing upsurging inspiration and non-conceptual understanding, Dakinis invite you to cut free of all limitations. They are unconventional, unexpected, spontaneous, dancing in great bliss, at one with divine truth. In the eastern tradition, a cycle of 64 Dakinis/Yoginis represents a complete cosmogram for the transformation of the self, embodying the total energy cycle of creation as depicted by the dance of Gnosis, the wisdom and energy of the divine feminine. In representing this complete cycle we have the opportunity of evoking not only the Goddess, but of manifesting the totality of the Great Goddess herself.

Yogini/Dakini temples flourished in India around the 9th through the 12th centuries. Erected in remote places, especially on hilltops, the temples were circular enclosures open to the sky. Around the inner circumference were 64 niches which housed exquisite stone carvings representing various aspects of the Goddess energy, creating a circular mandala around a central image of Shiva, symbol of Cosmic Consciousness and the one-pointedness of yogic discipline.


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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2012, 06:13:15 PM »
They are usually depicted as dancing which indicates they actively participate in the world or in the spiritual world,or in the spiritual in both Nirvana and samsara.Dakini represent manisfestation of energy in female form.The movement of energy and space indicates Shunyata. The Dakinis are much associated with the revelation of higher tantras. which represent the path of transformation.The Dakinis grant karma,siddhis or magical powers that are of a more worldly purpose.They manifest in visions,dreams and meditationed experiences.

Big Uncle

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2012, 06:20:47 PM »
As far as memory permits, Dakinis to my knowledge are emanations of the Yidam's wisdom and so, they appear in female aspect and are invoked from special physical places on earth to come and bestow spiritual realization upon the Tantric practitioner.

Many awakened masters often have the ability to perceive their presence and sometimes hear their haunting melodies from which they convey songs of realization. The great Panchen Lama Chokyi Gyeltsen composed the liturgical chant melody of the Tsog offering of the Lama Chopa based upon the sacred chants he heard from the Dakinis.

On top of that, i found a rather interesting explanation and distinction of the 4 different classes of Dakinis....

Classes of Dakini
Judith Simmer-Brown, based on teachings she received from Tibetan lamas, identifies four main classes of dakini. These follow the Twilight Language tradition of esotericism in referring to secret, inner, outer and outer-outer classes of dakinis. The secret class of dakini is Prajnaparamita (Tibetan yum chenmo) or voidness, the empty nature of reality according to Mahayana doctrine. The inner class of dakini is the dakini of the mandala, a meditational deity (Tibetan:yidam) and fully enlightened Buddha who helps the practitioner recognise their own Buddhahood. The outer dakini is the physical form of the dakini, attained through Completion Stage Tantra practices such as the Six Yogas of Naropa that work with the subtle winds of the subtle body so that the practitioner's body is compatible with an enlightened mind. The outer-outer dakini is a dakini in human form. She is a yogini, or Tantric practitioner in her own right but may also be a kamamudra, or consort, of a yogi or mahasiddha.

Dakinis can also be classified according to the Trikaya, or three bodies of a Buddha. The Dharmakaya dakini, which is Samantabhadri, represents the Dharmadhatu where all phenomena appear. The Sambhogakaya dakinis are the yidams used as meditational deities for tantric practice. The Nirmanakaya dakinis are human women born with special potentialities; these are realized yogini, the consorts of the gurus, or even all women in general as they may be classified into the Five Buddha Families.


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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2012, 07:02:29 PM »
One of my favourite beautiful Dakini of all time... and she was human before too...

Tara, the Savioress

Tara once was a virtuous human being, a woman on the path of awakening. In response to the prejudice against women that she encountered she made a powerful intention: she prayed that in the future she might manifest in female form for the rest of eternity to fulfill all the wishes and needs of beings who were suffering.

Another story tells of the time when Tara first appeared in her full compassionate transcendent form: the great Bodhisattva Chenrezi, the Hero of Compassion, was gazing at the universe and witnessing the continuous throes of suffering in the numerous realms of beings. As he considered everyone's pain and the ignorance that prevented each being from seeing the ways they were perpetuating their own suffering, a tear fell from his eye. That tear manifested as Tara; so it seems she has a definite relationship with water in general and "the water of compassion" in particular.

Tara has many different forms; Martin Willson's book, In Praise of Tara: Songs of the Savioress, there is a translation of "The Praise in 21 Homages," a tantra spoken by Buddha Vairochana, the central male buddha of the five-fold mandala. The tantra details twenty-one different aspects of her wisdom activity. Some are fierce, some are serene and some are joyful. She is apparently unable to ignore anyone's request for help, even requests for the smallest assistance.

In Willson's book, there is a Praise of Arya Tara composed by a student of the Dzogchen master Manjusrimitra named Akshobya-vajra. His praise is specifically noteworthy in that it focuses on Tara's five-fold aspects in relation to the mandala of the elements. It also gives a glimpse of the transcendent aim of the view of Dzogchen in that it is a praise that aspires to go beyond striving directly into the experience of recognizing the truth of inherent buddha nature, uncovering the ineffable perfection within...

Homage to the Venerable Arya-Tara!

Homage to Tara, the Dharmakaya,
resting in the Realm born of Knowledge,
Great Bliss, simple and free of concepts,
quite pure, Ultimate Bodhicitta!

Homage to Tara, the Sambhogakaya,
the beautiful Body of youthful exuberence
and radiant face of the finest color
resting amidst a mandala of goddesses!

Homage to Tara, the Nirmanakaya,
sending out, from Her secret heart mandala
forms of perfect Knowledge,
saving beings from the six realms of confusion!

Homage to Tara who is Buddha!
Whose supreme Mind,
free of wrong concepts and sleep of unknowing,
appears as anything knowable;
homage to Her
who receives the praise of perfect Buddhas!

Homage to Tara who is true Dharma,
showing Great Bliss, Nirvana's peace
the highest of holy Dharmas,
the ten Wisdom-Knowings and Ten Perfections!

Homage to Tara who is Sangha,
Who has realized the body speech and mind
of all Enlightened Ones of the past present and future,
the Dakini of Total Wisdom!

Homage to Tara the Desirous,
who, wanting to calm the sorrow of wandering beings,
devotes herself to the three realms
in the form of a Goddess who loves
like a mother!

Homage to Tara free of desire,
who, knowing samsara's nature is pure,
has no attachment to the three realms--
the form of the Mother who births the

Homage to Tara, the Non-abiding,
who, by uniting Method and Wisdom
abides in neither samsara nor nirvana,
neither desirous nor free of desire!

Homage to You, O Buddha Tara,
body of all the Buddhas' Gnosis,
dispeller of the darkness of ignorance
from sentient beings blinded
by delusion!

Homage to You, O Jewel Tara,
collection of all the Buddha's virtues
subduer of the mountain of pride
of sentient beings overpowered
by arrogance!

Homage to You, O Lotus Tara,
immaculate Speech of all the Buddhas,
dispeller of samsara's thirsts
for sentient beings pained
by desire!

Homage to You, O Karma Tara,
supreme Activities of all the Buddhas,
extractor of the thorn of envy
from sentient beings overcome by jealousy!

Homage to You, O Vajra Tara,
vajra-body of all the Buddhas,
annihilator of weapons of hate
in sentient beings oppressed
by anger!

Homage and praise to Your Vajra Body,
you whose form is like a reflection,
free of gross or subtle matter
and bearing Marks and Signs of Perfection!

Homage and praise to Your Vajra Speech,
you who utter sounds like an echo,
abandoning syllables and phrases,
transcending the ways of words
and language!

Homage and praise to Your Vajra Mind,
you whose mind is like a dream,
whose experience is not real, unreal
or something else,
not knowing existence or nothingness!

To Tara, immaculate and all-pervasive
I give praise with speechless vajra words,
free of sound and utterance,
beyond the fixation of praise
or object of praise.

To Tara free of both experiencer
and experience
I bow down with vajra mind,
beyond knower or knowing,
beyond observer and observed.

White Tara is connected specifically with longevity and the source of all life. She will become the elixir of life that is enjoyed by all at the tea ceremony.

There is no conflict between the color relationships of the mandala of the elements and the fact that White Tara is in the center. "White Tara" is only like a general name. According to the conditons, there are a blue, green, red, yellow and white aspect of White Tara, reflecting her responsiveness to the needs of beings in different circumstances.

There are women who practice the Praise to the 21 Taras and dance as these aspects of Feminine Wisdom in places around the earth for the sake of peace.


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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2012, 07:05:29 PM »
More information about the five dakinis, they are consort of Buddha Heruka.   

Herukas in tantric union with their five dakinis. Their purpose is to annihilate the five principal failings of human behavior (ignorance, hatred, pride, passion, and envy) while the five dakinis enlighten the five elemental realms (earth, water, fire, air, ether). All of them have three heads, six arms, and four legs and are adorned with crowns of skulls and skull-necklaces. They are usually depicted in paintings with wings of the garuda bird, a mythical bird that symbolizes the power to overcome evil.

1. Buddha-Heruka - appears in the center with his smoky-white dakini Krodhesvari. This wrathful Heruka is an emanation of Buddha Vairocana, manifesting himself in a terrifying flaming form. In his right hands he carries a long-handled axe, a flaming sword, and the wheel of the teachings; in his left, a kapala, a ploughshare, and a bell.

2. Vajra- Heruka (dark blue ) – appears in the east with his dakini Vajra-Krodhesvari

3. Ratna-Heruka (yellow) –appears in the south with his dakini Ratna-Krodhesvari

4. Padma-Heruka (red) – appears in the west his dakini Padma-Krodhesvari

5. Karma-Heruka (green) – appears in the north with his dakini Karma-KrodhesVari


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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2012, 07:36:39 PM »
As mentioned by dsiluvu, here is samantabhadri, a consort of Samantabhadra.

Guru figure and yidam - Primordial Mother of all the Buddhas

Samantabhadri (Kuntuzangmo in Tibetan) is the consort and female counterpart of Samantabhadra (Kuntuzangpo in Tibetan), the primordial Buddha of the older schools of Tibetan Buddhism. They are usually shown in sexual union (yab/yum in Tibetan), the blue male figure and white female figure embracing each other in lotus position.

Samantabhadri is sometimes shown alone, in which case she is seated in lotus posture with her hands in meditation posture in her lap.

Samantabhadri is always shown naked (as is her consort) to demonstrate the unadorned nature of Absolute Truth, the emptiness of all phenomena. She is in some senses an analogue of Prajnaparamita.

Yeshe Tsogyal was known as an emanation of Samantabhadri, according to Judith Simmer-Brown in her subtlest form Yeshe Tsogyal was known as "expanse of mah?sukha Küntusangmo [Samantabhadr?], the all-good queen"

Jessie Fong

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2012, 12:09:12 AM »
In general, the Buddhist term “Dakini” can be taken to mean goddess. In the Tibetan language this Sanskrit term is translated as Khandroma (mkha’-‘gro-ma) meaning “she who traverses the sky” or “she who moves in space.” Dakinis are active manifestations of energy. Therefore, they are usually depicted as dancing, this also indicating that they actively participate in the world, or in the spiritual perspective, in both Samsara and Nirvana. In the Tantric Buddhist tradition of Tibet, Dakinis basically represent manifestations of energy in female form, the movement of energy in space. In this context, the sky or space indicates Shunyata, the insubstantiality of all phenomena, which is, at the same time, the pure potentiality for all possible manifestations. And the movements of their dance signify the movements of thoughts and the energy spontaneously emerging from the nature of mind. Being linked to energy in all its functions, the Dakinis are much associated with the revelation of the Anuttara Tantras or Higher Tantras, which represent the path of transformation. What is transformed here is energy. This method is quite reminiscent of alchemy, the transmutation of base metal into pure precious gold. In this case, the energy of the negative emotions or kleshas, called poisons, are transformed into the luminous energy of enlightened awareness or gnosis (jnana).

One Buddhist Dakini originating from the country of Uddiyana is the goddess Kurukulla. The name Kurukulla is translated into Tibetan as Rigjyedma (rig-byed-ma), “she who is the cause knowledge.” She is associated with a king of Uddiyana named Indrabhuti. But there were at least three Indrabhutis and this is most likely the second one. Moreover, there exists a sadhana text attributed to him for the red Kurukulla in her eight-armed form. [7] But whether she had eight arms or four arms, she is generally known as the Uddiyana Kurukulla. Most modern scholars believe this indicates that Kurukulla was originally a tribal goddess, much like the Hindu goddess Durga had been in India, who later, because of her popularity, became associated with the Buddhist great goddess Tara. For this reason, Kurukulla is often called the Red Tara (sgrol-ma dmar-po) or Tarodbhava Kurukulla, “the Kurukulla who arises from Tara.”


Generally they are called sky travellers - sounds like space travel in this modern age is not something new.


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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2012, 05:25:52 PM »
Here is an interesting Dakini... she shoots flowers and is another form of TARA :)

Kurukulla, the "Enchantress"

A diety exists in Hindu and Buddhist Tantra who is often invoked in works of subjugation, enchantment and magnetising people to you.  Her name is Kurukulla (pronounced "Koo-roo-koo-lay" according to Jason Miller).  In Buddhism she is an aspect of Tara who is often called the "Red Tara" and is considered the heart of Tara herself.  In Hindu Tantra she is said to contain the energies and presence of the Mahavidyas Tara, Tripura Sundari (in her maiden form as "Bala Tripura Sundari") and Matangi.  She is the combined energy of these three goddesses.  Many Tantriks also believe that she is an aspect of the Mahavidya Chinnamasta.  The *Lalita Sahasranama Stotram* mentions her name as one of the many names of the goddess Lalita Tripurasundari and in the Sri Vidya Tradition she is associated with the energies of the Full Moon. The Tantraraja Tantra gives a theory of 15 Lalita Nityas which are energy rays of the goddess Lalita connected with the lunar phases and Tara Kurukulla is said to be the mother of these energies.  In the Shaktisamgana Tantra she is the fourth Nitya and a mantra is given for her.

"Kuru means "harsh sound," and kulla means "family." Her name derives from her place of residence, Kurukulla Mountain. She was originally an Indian tribal deity, and was also assimilated into the Hindu religion as well. She is a voluptuous sixteen year old girl who is often depicted as having red skin and two pairs of arms. She carries a bow and arrow similar to Cupid's and wears a necklace made from the fifty severed heads of the fifty negative emotions she vanquished. And she is always dancing."
Kurukulla is also popular with those who are seeking a job as she can make you stand out during an interview process and create conditions wherein you are likely to get hired or promoted.

[ "The goddess is usually shown in her usual four-armed form, dancing in ardhaparyankasana and adorned with crown of skulls, necklace of severed human heads, and the bone ornaments. Her upper left hand bears her standard attributes of the drawn bow and arrow, with the bow in her left, or wisdom hand. The right hand counterpart of method is shown pulling back the bowstring. Her one right hand holds a summoning arrow or hook and flower noose or string in her left hand. Iconographically the bow and arrow are key symbolic implements referencing the goddess's subjugating qualities. When shown preparing to shoot, they are understood to be combining wisdom and method to aim the power of that union straight into the enemy's heart. The arrow serves to transfix false views, while the bow shows mastery over the three realms. When bow and arrow are adorned with or created from flowers, as found in Kurukulla's standard iconography, it alludes to the destruction of Kamadeva, the Hindu god of passion, who after shooting arrows at the meditating figure of Shiva was burnt to ashes by his wrath-filled gaze." ]

[ Quoted from: ]

      I first learned of Kurukulla years ago in India from a Tibetan Buddhist Tantrika of the Sakya lineage who had made an altar to her in her home.  She told me about Kurukulla and explained that she had worked with her for over 30 years and had been blessed and protected by her through these years.  She was in her late sixties but was very charming and I would even dare to go so far as to say she was alittle "sexy".  She had something about her that was captivating and a youthful appearance and demeanor despite her elderly years.  I enjoyed her company immensely and we would have wonderful conversations over tea.  Sometimes I would even forget I was speaking to an old lady and it felt like I was spending time with a high school sweetheart.  Nothing untoward happened between us, but she had truly captivated me with her presence.

     Years later I read some references to Kurukulla in some Hindu Tantras wherein I learned that she was also a Hindu goddess.  At the time I was not as interested in the arts of enchantment, feeling to myself that women were probably more suited to exploring those arts.  Later on I learned that there were just as many men as women who practiced these arts and they were in high demand by those who were seekers in Tantra.  There were several Tantrik sadhana texts specifically dedicated to her, and some Buddhist masters specialized in her practices and empowerments.  A couple of years back or so I read a wonderful article by Vajranatha (John Myrdhin Reynolds) which explained about the Tantrik magical traditions surrounding Kurukulla and I was captivated by it.  You can find the article on this site:

      I also learned from Jason Miller's book  *The Sorceror's Secrets* of a simple method to work with her and I started doing so at the time.  I have found Kurukulla to be a very useful goddess in many respects.  She has helped me to perform all types of workings involving enchantment and subjugation.  I have learned that not only can she create passion she can also help you subjugate it so you can control your emotions and lusts.  She is not only a goddess of passion but can also guide you to enlightenment and liberation.  Afew months back I received her empowerment from a Buddhist Lama to work with her as well as guidance from my Guru about her practice in Hindu Tantra.  Recently a ritual text called the *Arya Tara Kurukulla Kalpa* was translated by the 84,000 project which is working on translating many Tantrik texts.  I have been awaiting this translation for some time as this ritual manual gives many of the magical practices of Kurukulla.  You can find it on this site:

Kurukulla Mantras:

1st Buddhist Mantra:  OM KURUKULLAY HRI SVAHA


1st Hindu Mantra:  OM KURUKULLAY SVAHA


3rd  Hindu Mantra (for Kurukulla as Kali Nitya) :  Krim Om Kurukulle Krim Hrim Mama Sarva-Jana-Vasamanya Krim Kurukulle Hrim Svaha.


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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2012, 05:36:50 PM »
Found another lovely description about Kurukulle.... written in a very fictional like take

Kurukulle, Archetype of Compassionate Activity
Falling in Love with the Dharma

Where can I go between the pleasure and the pain of it – between sentiment and horror-shock, indifference and anxiety? When I see you suffer, should I suffer? Would that help? Or would it help if I felt nothing, and just got on with life?

No, and no; but then what would help? If I also vibrate with what you feel, I know it helps, but still it hurts. Can anything be done about pain - beyond having sympathy, or maybe living differently?
I don’t think so, unfortunately. But understanding this does change the space where the great mass of dissatisfaction happens. Suddenly there isn’t anything to stop me giving whatever I have, and that’s all anyone can ever do.

Suffering is in everything. No experience, no deed is ever totally satisfactory. What we all need is a creative response to all this suffering – our own, and others’. We can all be overwhelmed by it. Being overwhelmed by suffering is generally very far from being an insight experience. Yet it could induce transformative insight if we could be overwhelmed in a different way – as was Avalokitesvara who fell apart like Humpty Dumpty when he saw how impossible it is to save all beings from suffering. Yet from the shattered remains arose a thousand arms tooled, equipped with wisdom eyes, and ready to go into action.

Kurukulle is another archetypal image that represents insight springing from great compassion. Like the whole great gang of Bodhisattva forms, like Avalokitesvara, Vajrapani and Manjusri, she is a pop cartoon image, carrying a powerful message about how we could all be if we were enlightened. On a mega scale, Kurukulle embodies positive response to suffering. She is a dancer. She dances wild in a cremation ground, wearing bones. She is young and gorgeous and draws all beings to her irresistible allure. In Tantric Buddhism there are four ritual forms: the yellow prospering or maturing rite, the white pacifying and calming rite, the black destroying rite, and the red rite of fascination. Kurukulle is about the fourth of these. She is red, very red and her beauty hypnotises and magnetises all beings. She holds flowery weapons, especially a flowery bow with which she fires love arrows into all beings’ hearts, causing them to fall in love with Dharma.

Yes, this is another Buddhist fantasy. Yet it represents a truth: the life of full awareness is profoundly joyful, and suffering can be overcome! You really can dance in the midst of death and darkness! These fantastic images represent a spirit we can partake of if we take them into our hearts. We can meditate upon them. They represent the innate Buddha nature that can be brought to life in us.

The question for us, of course, is how we can even approach such an extraordinary place. We need to fall apart and be put back together differently.
The two main avenues of practice, roughly covering 'falling apart' and 'total renewal' are that of wisdom and that of compassion. The path of Wisdom explores non-self. You see that ‘self’ is a fantasy based on a fundamental misreading of experience. Our experience of self is there all the time as normal. Even a Buddha has one, but he or she doesn’t think it has some kind of special existence. Non-Buddhas like us take it very seriously indeed – as something fixed, real and so important that our whole life is geared around it. But self is just one frame of the movie of our lives. It is just a snapshot reading, a bundle of ephemeral memories, wants and fears happening at the moment. And the view that it is fixed (as me, mine, myself) is the root condition for all our worst suffering. By that I mean all the suffering we add on to the circumstances we cannot avoid. It is usually the worst suffering by far.

Wisdom practice sees this in meditation and lets it go. Wisdom can be there in action too: try giving up a few preferences and being less me, me, me –  it is liberating. Well, it is liberating if one does it clean and straightforwardly. It is not if one does it out of duty or to please the group. That is just me, me, me in another form.

Compassion practice is demonstrated through the Bodhisattva’s life and the four Immeasurables of Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity.

Maitri (metta, Pali), ie love – better expressed as friendliness, kindness and wellwishing – is the basic and very Buddhist quality. Buddhists may sometimes be weird but they are usually very friendly. This is the ritual of attraction. Maitri or metta (the actual terms in Sanskrit and Pali) is not sentimental, or just fancying someone. It is ‘disinterested’ in the sense that it is not for ‘me’, but responds to how the actual person is – however attractive or otherwise they may seem at the time.
Karuna, or Compassion is what happens when this so-well-grounded friendliness meets with suffering. It is not pity, not a kind of frozen anxiety, but just a direct, helpful and friendly response. In other words it is less self referenced.

Mudita or (sympathetic) Joy is that grounded friendliness when it meets happiness and is joyful at it – rather than feeling resentful or wanting to undermine it, which unfortunately is a common response.
Upeksha (upekkha, Pali) comes out of insight into the non-self nature of all things, the understanding that all beings are already free of self, yet they grasp on to an idea of a self, and therefore suffer. The response of upeksha meets that reality, by understanding, through experiential insight, how much of that suffering is self-caused. You may be born into terrible conditions, but self-grasping makes that suffering far worse. So you meditate on that and it gives you more power to help – frees you from more levels of self-grasping – and makes you more like Kurukulle!

Positive Change

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2012, 10:42:44 AM »
Five Wisdom Dakinis

The designation Wisdom Dakinis refers to five major Dakinis who appear in the Bardo Thödol during the first five days in the bardo, one on each successive day and each in inseparable union with one of the five Sambhogakaya Buddhas. Just who appears in union with who varies in different accounts.

Sometimes, with the Tibetan ye-shes translated as 'awareness' rather than 'wisdom', these goddesses are called Awareness Dakinis. They are regarded as emanations of Vajravarahi, who in turn is an aspect of the Vajrayogini.

On a human level, these dakinis are believed to have manifested as the five women who practiced the teachings together with Padmasambhava, including the most secret exercises. Erroneously and unfortunately, both these major goddesses and their human incarnations are often reduced in importance by simply calling them the Five Consorts.

The Buddha-Dakini Akashadhatvishvari appears on the 1st day at the Center, in union with Vairocana. Her color is white and her element ether; she represents the Wisdom of Universal Law. (or with either Ratnasambhava or Akshobhya).

The Vajra-Dakini Locana appears on the 2nd day in the East, in union with Aksobhya. Her color is blue and her element water; she represents the Wisdom of the Mirror. (or with Vairocana in the East).

The Ratna-Dakini Mamaki appears on the 3rd day in the South, in union with Ratnasambhava. Her color is yellow and her element earth; she represents the Wisdom of Equality. (or with Akshobhya in the Center).

The Padma-Dakini Pandaravasini [Pandara] appears on the 4th day in the West, in union with Amitabha. Her color is red and her element fire; she represents the Wisdom of Distinction & Discernment.

The Karma-Dakini Samayatara [Samaya Tara] appears on the 5th day in the North, in union with Amoghasiddhi. Her color is green and her element air; she represents the Wisdom of Action & Accomplishment.

More interesting trivia (in point form)[/b[/color]]

1. Generic Sanskrit name for a type/group of female deities the number of which is said to be 100.000 myriad's. They appear in both Hindu and Buddhist myths, iconography and scriptures; usually sky-clad - i.e. bare.

2. In popular Indian folklore, a dakini are regarded as semi-divine beings and is often seen as a malignant spirit, demoness or witch-like hag.

3. In Buddhist Ladakh, dakinis enjoy a much better reputation than in India. Here, for example, 500.000 of them are invited to a celebration of marriage in order to bestow their blessings and good fortune on the young couple; a custom still alive today.

4. In some cases, Dakini is the personal name of an individual goddess, as in the case of an attendant of Chinnamasta, as well as in case of the goddess ruling the Muladhara Chakra.

5. In Vajrayana, it is a designation for the wrathful and semi-wrathful female deities among the yidam. Although most of the translated literature uses the Sanskrit term - even in Tibetan texts - the Tibetan khadroma (khandro) is much more woman-positive; indicating these deities/women as females who move on the highest level of reality. Their nudity is said to symbolize the diamond-like clarity of the truth they unveil. In the Bardo Thödol, a dakini is defined as the feminine energy principle, associated with knowledge and intelligence, which may be either destructive or creative.

6. In yet other instances, dakini is used as an honorary title for an enlightened woman, a living incarnation of a goddess; and for female initiates practicing ritual sexuality. These "Female Buddhas", as research has shown, have been very instrumental in defining and spreading the Vajrayana teachings, although the credit for this has often gone to male practitioners and/or masters.

7. In Tibet, Dakini is also a personal name.

We must certainly not be misled by those authors who simply call a dakini an 'emanation' or 'consort' of Buddha So-and-so. Although Buddhist Tantra ascribes a less energetic dynamism to the female pole than does Indian Tantra, the dakinis are certainly equal - if not superior - to the male deities. In the context of the Tantric teaching that enlightenment, wisdom and liberation are achieved through a fusion of method and goal, it is the goal that is seen as the female aspect (the dakini) and the method/path as the male (see Inner Tantras).


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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2012, 12:08:30 PM »
I have found a story of Sukhasiddhi, one from of Vajrayogini but in reality she was a very accomplished practitioner who achieved the level of a dakini in her very lifetime. She is of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage. Below is her story.

the story of the wisdom dakini sukhasiddhi

also known as dewai ngödro

Sukhasiddhi, an eleventh century female meditation master, was a contemporary of Niguma and also a teacher of Khyungpo Naljor, who considered her to be his kindest guru. Her life demonstrates to us that age is not a factor when it comes to attaining enlightenment: she met her guru at age 61 and attained enlightenment soon thereafter. Both she and Niguma's teachings form the heart of the Shangba lineage instructions. Her story was translated from a collection of stories of the lives of Shangba masters

This is the story of the woman known by the name Sukhasiddhi in Sanskrit or Dewai Ngödrup in Tibetan. I pay homage to the glorious wisdom dakini. At one time, in the Moslem part of India [Kashmir], there were 38,000,000 cities. In one of these--in the one called the Western Moslem City--there lived a couple with three sons and three daughters. At one time, they became so extremely impoverished and destitute that they had only one jar full of rice left as their food supply. They agreed they should not eat this last provision and stored it in a hidden place. Then, the three sons went south in search of food. The three daughters went north. The father went west. While they were gone, a very poor beggar came to the door asking for food. The mother, who had stayed home, opened the jar of rice and gave it to the beggar.

The father, unable to find food in the west, became weak with hunger. Remembering the vase full of rice, he turned back with the thought that they must use that as their food. The three sons also had no luck and turned back. The three daughters also were compelled to come back empty-handed. All three parties returned from their search at about the same time. When they convened at home, they said, "Mother, open the container of rice and give us some. Already we were weak with hunger, and we have new become completely exhausted from our journey." The mother replied, "Thinking you would return with food, I gave the rice to an extremely poor and weary beggar who came asking for alms. So now we have nothing."

The father, sons and daughters replied in unison, "Even had you done something like this previously, it would not have been with our consent. Not only did you not go with us in search of food; you robbed us of our earnings at the same time!" Saying this, they threw her out of the house.

From Kashmir, the old woman traveled west to Persia [Orgyen]. In Orgyen, all males were dakas and all females were dakinis. Therefore, it was said that by merely traveling there, a person's awareness would naturally become clear. It happened to be harvest time, so the woman gathered some grains together and loaded them onto her back. She carried this into a city and established herself as a beer seller.

At that time the master Birwapa, also known as Avadhutipa, was living in a nearby forest of Orgyen, where he practiced secret conduct with his consort yogini Avadhutima, who frequently went to the town to buy him beer. Most often, she purchased beer from the old woman beer vendor, because the beer she sold was far more delicious than that sold by the other vendors. One day, the old woman asked, "Yogini, after you buy my beer, who do you take it to?" The yogini replied, "In the forest of Yaki lives an excellent yogin. I bring it to him." The old woman said, "Well, in that case, you do not need to pay for the beer", and gave her the very best portion of beer to take with her.

When the yogini returned to the forest, Birwapa said, "How is it that you were able to acquire this beer for free?" She replied, "There is a new beer seller with devotion; she is unlike the other vendors we used to buy from. I told her that my excellent lama lives in the forest and that I bring beer to him. The beer seller was moved to devotion and gave me this beer to bring." Birwapa said, "At all costs, I must deliver that old woman from the three realms of samsara." So the yogini returned to the market and asked the old woman, "Will you come?" The old woman felt very inclined to go, so she accompanied the girl to meet him, bringing with her a jug of beer and some pork. During that very meeting, Birwapa bestowed upon her fully the secret practice, the four empowerments of the nirmanakaya chakra at the navel. He also taught her the generation phase, completion phase and secret practices, along with instructions in the magnetizing activity. She transformed into a wisdom dakini right at that time.

At the time that she was thrown out of the house by her husband and children in Kashmir, she was 59 years old. When she came to Orgyen and established herself as a beer seller, she was 60. When she met Birwapa and requested empowerment, she was 61. Then, in the course of that one night, her 61 year old physical body purified itself and transformed into a youthful, attractive, very white rainbow body. Her silken hair flowed down her back. She became as beautiful as a sixteen year old maiden, ravishing to behold, and sat up in the sky for seven days. Thus, she became known as the miraculous dakini known as Sukhasiddhi. She then actually transformed into the Bhagavati Dakmema and became the secret consort of Birwapa.

Since even as of now she has not passed away, her wisdom eyes see sentient beings in the three realms throughout the six times. Especially, she teaches the Dharma to those who have pure view. She directly blesses those engaged in the secret practice and those who supplicate her, and she confers upon them supreme and ordinary siddhi. Those who read the life story of the wisdom dakini or merely hear her name will develop devotion. [Upon first hearing of her] I, Kyungpo Naljorpa, felt the seed of faith stir deep within my heart. I traveled all over India in search of her. I finally encountered her in the middle of the Sandalwood Medicine Forest in front and above a Tala tree. I saw her from afar, floating up in space in the midst of swirling rainbow light surrounded by countless dakinis. I offered her five hundred sang of gold and requested complete instruction. She fully bestowed upon me the four empowerments of the extraordinary secret practice. She gave me oral instructions in the generation and completion phase aspects of the secret practice, the six yogas and the three gatherings. In particular, she conferred the special point of attaining Buddhahood in a just a few years or months... From among my four root lamas Niguma, Rahula, the Hidden Yogin and Sukhasiddhi, Sukhasiddhi showed me the most exceptional kindness. Her first kindness was in conferring many prophesies. Her second kindness was that she became my secret consort and bestowed all initiations without exception. Her third kindness was in bestowing empowerments, practices and instructions. She was also very kind to say, "I will never be separate from you all throughout India and Tibet." She also said, "Good practitioners in the future who engage in this secret practice will accomplish it."

Mokchokpa said, "Once, when I was deeply engaged in intense practice, Sukhasiddhi came and gave many prophesies. From that time forward, she was never separate from me." Lama Kyergangpa said, "When I went to Lhasa to see the emanation, Sukhasiddhi taught me Dharma, including the completion phase exercises, and bestowed the four empowerments. Now she is not separate from me for even a moment. Sangye Nyentön said, "Once, when I was staying for awhile with the one known as Kyergangpa, I saw Sukhasiddi face to face. She repeated these words to me three times, "Rest in non-referential awareness". From that time onwards, I have continuously seen her face before me. I requested from her the four extraordinary empowerments. She made many prophesies such as, "You will become a yogin who masters the three doors to complete liberation." And "If you and your students wish to attain Buddhahood in a matter of years or months, go to an isolated place and engage in this secret practice and you will accomplish the goal." May there be auspiciousness.


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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2012, 04:02:53 AM »
I read something interesting about Dakini Gurus in relations to Mahasiddhas and thought I post it here:

"Many siddhas had incarnate Dakini Gurus, and many more had no human Guru at all. The root-tantras can be classified as father, mother or non-dual tantras: father-tantras stress the creative mode of meditation and skillful means; mother-tantras emphasize fulfillment meditation and perfect insight; and non-dual tantras treat both equally.

Mother- or yogini-tantra was very popular amongst the siddhas - the names of Cakrasamvara and Hevajra appear most often in the legends - and thus the Dakini, generally in the form of Vajra Varahi, Cakrasamvara's consort, appears frequently in their mindscape.

Sometimes a Wisdom Dakini appears in the realm of visionary enjoyment (sambhogakaya) to initiate a yogin at the propitious moment. If his capacity for creative imagination is sufficiently developed he sees her in a vision before him, otherwise he may hear a voice or simply see her and hear her in his mind's eye - the result is the same. Sometimes the Dakini is embodied; the mundane or worldly Dakini often appears as a whore or a dancing girl to the itinerant yogin - in Tibet and Nepal, and perhaps India, drinking establishments and brothels were identical, and the hostess would be the madam.

This identification of woman with the Dakini shows the thorough-going non-duality of Tantra - every woman was the Dakini; even though she may lack experiential recognition of it and never have heard the name, still she is the tantrika's Dakini: even without beauty and intelligence, every woman is an immaculate, entrancing Dakini, the embodiment of wisdom.

For one siddha the Dakini was his mother, and for another she was a young girl. The Dakini Guru is clearly most capable of empowering a yogin to practice the fulfillment mode of meditation by uniting with him as insight to his skillful means, and this happens frequently.

Other siddhas were initiated by Bodhisattvas - Manjusri, Lokesvara or Tara - some appearing in divine form in the sphere of visionary enjoyment (sambhogakaya) and others as incarnate emanations (nirmanakaya)."

From: Masters of Mahamudra: Songs and Histories of the Eighty-Four Buddhist Siddhas by Keith Downman