General Buddhism => General Buddhism => Topic started by: dsiluvu on June 29, 2012, 02:14:34 PM

Title: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: dsiluvu 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...
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: bambi 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.
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: ratanasutra 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. (
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: Positive Change 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.
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: RedLantern 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.
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: Big Uncle 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.
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: dsiluvu 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.
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: ratanasutra 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
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: ratanasutra 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"
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: Jessie Fong 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.
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: dsiluvu 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.

Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: dsiluvu 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!
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: Positive Change 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).
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: Ensapa 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.
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: Vajraprotector 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
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: dsiluvu on July 04, 2012, 08:59:02 AM
What a beautiful praise and in a nut shell on Dakinis...

"In the profound sutra system, the Dakini is called the Great Mother.
Indescribable, unimaginable Perfection of Wisdom,
Unborn, unobstructed essence of sky,
She is sustained by self-awareness alone:
I bow down before the Great Mother of the Victorious Ones, past, present, and future.

Thus it is written in the Great Paramita Sutra. In the precious tantric tradition, 'desireless, blissful wisdom is the essence of all desirable qualities, unobstuructedly going and coming in endless space'. This wisdom is called 'the Sky Dancer', feminine wisdom, the Dakini.

In the tantra system, the Three Jewels of the sutras are contained in the Three Roots -- Guru, Deva, Dakini. One in essence, these three aspects are the three objects of refuge. Guru is the aspect that bestows blessing; Deva is the aspect that transmits siddhi; and Dakini is the aspect that accomplishes the Buddha's karma."

Trinley Norbu Rinpoche from his Foreward to
Sky Dancer: The Secret Life and Songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyel
translated by Keith Dowman, ARKANA (Penguin Group), London, 1989 (
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: Ensapa on July 05, 2012, 09:19:57 AM
here is a dakini that is the synthesis of 3 great dakinis: Vajrayogini, Prajnaparimita and Tara. She also founded the practice of Chod, the most effective way to cut off the ego. She is none other than Machig Lhabdron, a married woman who became a dakini in her very lifetime. It is inspiring to read about dakinis who became enlightened in just one lifetime because they put in effort to ripen their imprints rapidly.

The especially well-known profound practice of Chöd was brought from India to Tibet by the great mahasiddha Dampa Sangye . . . The Chöd teachings and practice were transmitted in Tibet by Machig Labdrön, who thus played a very important role in the Chöd lineage. Here, therefore, we will give a brief history of the wisdom dakini Machig Labdrön.

First, she manifested from Dharmata in the form of Prajiiaparamita. From that, she emanated as the great pandit and mahasiddha Dandrub Zangpo in India. He was a very well-known scholar and accomplished yogi. At that time, he received many prophecies from divine beings and his own teacher that he must go to Tibet to benefit many beings in the snowy regions. He quickly accomplished complete realization in the cave of Potari, and while he was practicing and experiencing clear realization, a dakini appeared and told him he needed to go to Tibet to benefit many beings in the snowy regions, and must transmute his consciousness into her heart.

As the dakini requested, he transmuted his consciousness into her heart and took birth in Tibet in the town of Labchi Kangra as the daughter of a couple who had great devotion to the Dharma. Her father and mother, Chakyi Dawa and Bumcham, were patrons of the Buddhadharma and lords of that town.

After entering her mother’s womb, during the pregnancy many special and divine signs appeared, such as her reciting the Mani and Ga-Te and other different mantras and even speaking to her mother from the womb. All these unusual indications were heard by the mother. During the pregnancy the mother had many omens, dreams, and blissful and joyful experiences. Many neighbors and villagers also had incredibly unusual omens, dreams, and experiences. Machig was born without any kind of difficulty to the mother and immediately stood in a mass of rainbow light and manifested many divine signs, such as a third eye and being able to speak right away to her mother. Her wisdom and compassion naturally caused people to be devoted to her as an emanation of Buddha and to bow, pray, and receive blessing from her without any doubt.
She followed her mother in her daily practice in the shrine room, reciting, bowing, and saying prayers, expressing devotion at an early age. She also showed unimaginable intelligence in reading, matched by no other; even her own teacher could not equal her intelligence.

Her special ability and unusual qualities became known throughout the kingdom; even the king heard of her, and extended an invitation to her and her family to meet with him. He offered them gifts and prayers, and gave her the name of “Labdrön,” as the one born in the village of Labchi Kangra and already called Dranma by her mother.

She was an extremely fast reader and mastered all aspects of Buddhist science, including logic, etc., without effort. When she was thirteen her mother died; afterward she followed her sister as a disciple of Lama Drapa Nganshe and stayed for four years with him, learning the teachings and practice of the sutra and tantra traditions, and reading the sutras for that lama. Afterward she met Kyoton Sonam Lama, who bestowed on her the empowerments of all traditions. She received teachings, and both Lama Drapa Nganshe and Kyoton Sonam Lama foretold that she must unite with the Indian mahasiddha Sangye Tanpa, who had come to Tibet to benefit sentient beings; that she had the karma to unite method and wisdom and benefit beings with him.

She met and practiced tantric union with the great mahasiddha [Sangye Tonpa] and again returned to her two gurus, telling them what she had done and requesting more teaching. Finally they sent her back to the yogi to continue with him, even saying that to start a family lineage with him would greatly benefit sentient beings. So she followed her gurus’ instructions, went back to him, and had two sons and a daughter. After having the daughter, she completely renounced worldly life and practiced in isolated places. After that, she met Dampa Sangye and requested all the teachings directly from him. He foretold that she would greatly benefit beings and should go practice at the mountain of Zangri Kamar; that many disciples would be gathered there, and that it would greatly benefit sentient beings.

According to her gurus’ instructions, she meditated there and began to teach many beings – humans, nonhumans, spirits, and nagas. She composed her own tradition, Pungpo Sengyurma, “Offering the Body as Food for Demons.” She developed this and taught it to many beings; then her tradition flourished all over Tibet. She had many disciples; abbots, learned pandits, and many yogis and yoginis became her students.

Her doctrine of Pungpo Sengyurma became popular all over Tibet, and rumor of it even spread to India. Then pandits and mahasiddhas were sent to verify that an emanation of Prajnaparamita had appeared in human form, had developed a specific tradition, and was benefiting beings. Two accomplished siddhas, both pandits and great beings, were sent to Tibet to meet Machig, question her, and check her teachings. When they first spoke to her, Machig replied in the Indian tongue. They asked her how she learned the language, and she replied that she had no need to learn it; she had been born in India before her present birth in Tibet, and had never forgotten it. This impressed the two pandits; here was a great being who could change lives and yet not forget the language.

They stayed and debated with her for many days concerning the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana points of view. The two great scholars could not defeat her; she won the debate, and her teaching became popular not only in Tibet but in Nepal and India as well. While the teachings of the Buddha had been faithfully carried from India to Tibet and elsewhere, never before had any tradition been transmitted from Tibet to India. Machig’s Chöd of Mahamudra transmission was the first time in history that a valid source of Dharma went from Tibet to India. Thus, such a great being, Machig Labdrön, was the first lineage holder, and this unbroken lineage continues until today

Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: Vajraprotector on July 06, 2012, 07:15:43 PM


The female Buddha Simhamukha has the face of a lioness and the body of a woman. Her leonine visage shines with the startling awakeness of enlightened awareness. Her mouth is drawn in a perpetual roar of untamable fury and exultant laughter. her vibrant body surges with waves of pure, primal power.

Simhamukha manigests the elemental vitality of a lioness on the prowl or racing toward her prey. She embodies a torrent of energy that is unstoppable by an external force and can level anything in its path. Her fiery, ferral persona conveys the intensity required of those who would experience ultimate reality. Her supernal rage is not a seelfish drive to protect or destroy but rather a ruthless inteolerance of anything that would block the flow of spiritual growth and awakening. The lion-faced female Buddha is accompanied by two attendants with animal heads, proclaiming that she communes with every living being an is kin to all that is soverign, wild, and free.

Simhamukha, whose name means "Lion-Faced Lady," is a fully enlightened being. She has attained Buddhahood, the state of ultimate wisdom and supreme bliss. Her mind flows in a pure, nonconceptual stream, free from distortion and conceptual overlay. Thus she is said to be a "wisdom dakini,""wisdom-bestowing female,""great victorious mother,", "female who elights in highest knowldge," and "enlightened being whose nature is primordial wisdom and ultimate reality."Because her mind is completely purified, every experience arising in her mental stream has the quintessential "taste" (rasa) of supernal joy, and she enjoys a continuous flow of "spontaneoisly arising supreme bliss." Her bliss is spontaneous because it is not dependent on external bjects; it is supreme because it can never be diminished or destroyed. It is the primordial nature of the mind, an intrinsic quality of being that naturally arises when all the attachments that cause suffering have been severed.

One who has attained this realisation is said to dwell in the realm of bliss. This “realm” is not an otherworldly paradise or afterlife destination, but rather the very world we live in, experienced with enlightened awareness. In Tantric parlance, the world itself becomes a mandala mansion – a palatial abode of shimmering perfection – for one who beholds it with pure vision. Simhamukha’s joyous demeanor and zestful dance bespeak this sublime enjoyment. Because her mind dwells in absolute freedom and her experiential stream is a river of bliss, her mode of being in the world is one of transcendent playfulness:

In the center of an ocean of blood and fat
Is the spontaneously wise dakini,
Playfully dancing amidst appearances and emptiness,
Here in her pure mansion, the world of ordinary appearances.

Simhamukha displays many of the attributes common to wrathful deities, such as an angry visage, tiger-skin skirt, and bone ornaments. Her dancing pose, curved knife, and skull bowl are characteristic of female Tantric Buddhas.

On one level of interpretation, these accoutrements connote overcoming negativity. Following this line of analysis, Simhamukha dances in triumph on negatie forces and opposition she has overcome, personified by the prostrate corpse beneath her feet. Her knife “shatters the hearts and heads of those with horrible karma,” sending them quickly to a higher state, and from her skull bowl she drinks “the heart-blood of the worst evildoers.” Her roaring laughter terrifies and repels those who approach to do harm.

Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: Midakpa on July 08, 2012, 01:49:04 PM
The Dakini is also called the "Great Mother". In the mandala of Lord Dorje Shugden there are the nine Great Mothers. They comprise the four mothers representing the four elements and the five goddesses representing the five object sources, that is, forms, sounds, smells, tastes and tactile objects. Their names are as follows:

The Four Mothers:
1. Lochana (earth)
2. Mamaki (water)
3. Benzarahi (fire)
4. Tara (wind)

The Five goddesses:
5. Rupavajra (forms)
6. Shaptavajra (sounds)
7. Gandhavajra (smells)
8. Rasavajra (tastes)
9. Parshavajra (tactile objects)
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: jessicajameson on July 08, 2012, 07:34:48 PM
I read what is written in this thread, but I need to ask a few basic questions - if you guys don't mind.

There are 2 types of dakinis: Wisdom Dakini and Worldly Dakini. The Wisdom Dakini are enlightened, like Vajra Yogini, Samantabhadri, Prajnaparimita and Tara. The worldly Dakinis are unenlightened and trapped in the cyclic existence - found in the human and celestial realms.

From this, I deduce that there are many levels of Dakinis, just as how there are many levels of Buddhist practitioners in this world.

Do Wordly Dakinis continue their practice in the celestial realm? Can they degenerate in their practice and still fall back into the 3 lower realms?

If I am aspiring to enter the mandala of Vajrayogini as a dakini, is that a proper aspiration? Am I protected in Vajrayogini's mandala, what happens when I ascend in my practice and become an enlightened being?

When my mind becomes ONE with Vajrayogini, do I cease to exist? My mind becomes one with Vajrayogini, so I am her and she is me - so does my consciousness cease to exist?
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: Big Uncle on July 11, 2012, 09:57:34 PM
I read what is written in this thread, but I need to ask a few basic questions - if you guys don't mind.

There are 2 types of dakinis: Wisdom Dakini and Worldly Dakini. The Wisdom Dakini are enlightened, like Vajra Yogini, Samantabhadri, Prajnaparimita and Tara. The worldly Dakinis are unenlightened and trapped in the cyclic existence - found in the human and celestial realms. - I think Dakinis belong to the celestial realms. Human dakinis refers to great female practitioners usually.

From this, I deduce that there are many levels of Dakinis, just as how there are many levels of Buddhist practitioners in this world. - Yes, you are right.

Do Wordly Dakinis continue their practice in the celestial realm? Can they degenerate in their practice and still fall back into the 3 lower realms? - Since they are unenlightened, that is very real possibility. Just like us, all of us have a chance to fall to the three lower realms.

If I am aspiring to enter the mandala of Vajrayogini as a dakini, is that a proper aspiration? Am I protected in Vajrayogini's mandala, what happens when I ascend in my practice and become an enlightened being?
- entering in Vajrayogini's mandala is synonymous with receiving her meditational practice and you are definitely protected. If you have the great fortune to receive her practice, you will purify tremendous amounts of negative karma and just recitation of her sacred mantra alone will be tremendous powerful blessing for our next life.

When my mind becomes ONE with Vajrayogini, do I cease to exist? My mind becomes one with Vajrayogini, so I am her and she is me - so does my consciousness cease to exist? - No, you mind doesn't cease to exist. When you become one with Vajrayogini is just a fancy way of saying you have become enlightened.

Anyway, I found an interesting article about Vajrayogini practice. Vajrayogini's practice is unique because Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche recommends her as a THE yidam for our time period. I think he probably foresaw that there would be many practitioners who would need her practice because of the degeneration and distraction that is so prevalent...

In his oral commentary on Vajrayogini the great non-sectarian master Jamyang Khentse Wangpo, whose words were recorded by the Gelugpa writer Ngawang Damcho Gyatso, writes:

What are the different divisions of Vajrayogini? There is the secret Vajrayogini; that is none other than the primordial base-of-all of all sentient beings, the clear light mind that has been pure from the beginning.  In interdependence with that, there is there is the inner Vajrayogini [taking the form of] a short A, or in this system a VAM syllable, in the middle of a triangular [matrix of] channel-knots at the navel. In dependence on this there is the co-emergent sambhogakaya Vajrayogini who abides in the Akanishta heaven, arising as an appearance of the outer nirvana and samsara.  [Further,] there are the field-born nirmanakaya [vajrayoginis] that abide in the twenty-four, thirty-two etc. sacred places of Jambudvipa.  [Finally], all the women who abide in various countries and locations are the karma-born dakinis.

General Characteristics

Vajrayogini/Vajravarahi ranks first and most important among the dakinis. She is the "Sarva-buddha-dakini" the Dakini Who is the Essence of all Buddhas. Although there are a number of visual representations of Vajrayogini, certain attributes are common to all: She is mostly shown as young, naked, and standing in a desirous or dancing posture. She holds a blood-filled skull cup in one hand and a curved knife (kartr or dri-gug) in the other. Often she wears a garland of human skulls or severed heads; has a khatvanga staff leaning against her shoulder; her usually wild hair flowing down her neck and back; her face in a semi-wrathful expression. Her radiant red body is ablaze with the heat of yogic fire and surrounded by the flames of wisdom.

Various Forms & Lineages

Varietals of Vajrayogini/Vajravarahi seem to be present in all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, for example the Padmadakini/Yeshe Tsogyal in the Nyingma or the Khundrol-ma in the Bon tradition. Here we focus on the forms of Vajrayogini as practiced in the New Translation or Sarma School (= Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug traditions) of Tibetan Buddhism. These forms of Vajrayogini share the triple-OM mantra (with minor variations), are usually named Vajra-yogini or Vajra-varahi, and can be traced back to one of the Indian mahasiddhas who lived in the 10th and 11th century, or to one of the Tibetan translators of the Sarma School like Marpa.


In a general context, Indian texts (and also modern authors) often do not seem to distinguish between the terms "Vajravarahi" (= Adamantine Yogini) and "Vajrayogini" (= Vajra Sow) using both names interchangeably. If used to indicate a specific deity, however, one has to differentiate. The iconography of Vajravarahi is based on a vision of Tilopa (928 - 1009 C.E.), called "rDo-rje phag-mo" in Tibetan; and Vajrayogini's on a vision of Naropa (956 - 1040 C.E.), Tilopa's disciple, called Naropa's Yogini (Tibetan: Na-ro mkha'-spyod). Naropa did not pass on this particular practice lineage to Marpa but instead to the Phamtingpa Brothers from Parping (Nepal) who passed it on to the Sakya tradition from where it came later to the Gelugpas. See Common Lineage.

Vajravarahi in the Kagyu Tradition

The various Kagyu lineages of Vajravarahi (often translated as "Vajrayogini") go back to Tilopa, Naropa, and Marpa. A number of modern Kagyu teachers, like Chogyam Trungpa and H.E. Garchen Rinpoche have stressed the importance of this practice.

The iconographical form is that of Vajravarahi. With a semi- wrathful expression on her face, she is red in color, has three eyes and dark yellow hair flowing upward, at the crown a boar's head. The right hand holds up a curved knife and the left a white skull cup at the heart. In the bend of the left elbow stands an upright khatvanga staff. She is adorned with a tiara of gold and five white skulls, green ribbons and gold and jewel earrings, a garland of fifty fresh heads, a garland of flowers, a bone necklace, girdle, bracelets and anklets, she wears a long green scarf around the shoulders. With the right leg raised in a dancing posture, the left presses on a sun disc atop a prone figure. Above a moon disc and pink lotus seat, she is completely surrounded by the tight curling flames of orange pristine awareness fire.

Vajrayogini in the Sakya Tradition

From the Phamtingpa Brothers the Vajrayogini (Tibetan: Na-ro mkha'-spyod ) lineage quickly came to the great Sakya master Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092 - 1158 C.E.) who also received two other Vajradakini lineages derived (1) from Maitripa in the form of Maitri's Dakini (Tibetan: Mai-tri mkha'-spyod) and (2) from Indrabhuti in the form of Vajravarahi or Indra's Dakini (Tibetan: Indra mkha'-spyod). Although Naropa's Vajrayogini is the principal practice all three forms are still alive and part of the Thirteen Golden Dharmas of the Sakyas. Since all three dakinis are red in color they are also called the Three Red Ones (Tibetan: dmar-mo skor-gsum).

The Vajrayogini practice ranks most important and is very much alive in the Sakya tradition to this very day. Over the centuries there have been various expositions of this system, most prominently the Eleven Yogas of Vajrayogini by Jamyang Khyentse Wangchuk (1524 - 68 C.E.) who also wrote an extensive commentary on the practice. This commentary is the basis for the 7-day teachings given by the highest contemporary Sakya teachers like H.H. Sakya Trizin and H.E. Jetsun Kusho-la. During those teachings some participants are also introduced to additional, most secret practices not contained in the common sadhana. The Vajrayogini initiation is only given to aspirants who have been previously introduced to the Hevajra or Chakrasamvara mandala (= Highest Yoga Tantra initiations).

Vajrayogini in the Gelug Tradition

It is said that Vajrayogini was Je Tsonkhapa's (1357 - 1419 C.E.) innermost yidam. There is no evidence for this since the Gelugpas had paid attention to Vajrayogini/Vajravarahi only as the consort of Chakrasamvara being one of their three principal yidams (gsang bde 'jigs gsum; the others are Guhyasamaja and Vajrabhairava). To this very day, Vajrayogini is not part of the canonical teaching curriculums at the tantric colleges. Only as late as in 18th century the Sakya transmission of Naropa's Vajrayogini seems to have been introduced to the Gelug tradition. From then on the Gelug and Sakya Vajrayogini lineages are separate from each other.

It was Phabongkha Rinpoche (1878 - 1941 C.E.) who recommended and promoted the Vajrayogini practice as the main meditational deity of the Gelug tradition. The main disciples of Phabongkha Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche promoted the Vajrayogini practice further - especially among Western audiences. So did the next generation of lamas like Lama Yeshe, Lama Zopa, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Geshe Tharchin, Gehlek Rinpoche, just to name a few. Today the Vajrayogini practice has become very popular with teachers and students. Like in the Sakya tradition aspirants have to take a full Highest Yoga Tantra empowerment before they can receive the Vajrayogini initiation. Also Vajrayogini teachings (= commentaries on the practice) and retreats are often offered. 
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: Ensapa on July 24, 2012, 04:42:13 PM
Saraswati is Manjushri's consort and helps bestow wisdom and creativity. She is popular in the Gelug tradition because Lama Tsongkhapa has a very special connection with her as she appears directly to Tsongkhapa all the time. He even wrote a very special prayer to her. Here's a nice writeup on the Buddhist Saraswati.


Mipham Rinpoche (19th century) invokes Saraswati in the introduction to The Blazing Lights of the Sun and Moon (Tib. Sherab Raltri:)

In the expansive lotus-garden of speech of all the conquerors,
With 100,000 melodious blooms of holy Dharma,
You are a singing swan that shines as bright as moonlight,
May you now enjoy the vast lake of my mind.

Saraswati [or Sarasvati] is essentially an Indian goddess.  She appears as a Buddhist  yidam in her capacity as an embodiment of virtuous activities of all kinds especially cultural ones such as learning, and also the performing arts, especially music.  Her mythology also includes an important purificatory aspect.  In many regards, she shares characteristics with White Tara.

In Tibetan, Saraswati is Yang Chenmo, or when her musical aspect is emphasized, she is  Piwa Karpo.  In Mongolian she is Keleyin ukin Tegri, in Chinese she is called Tapien-ts'ai t'iennu or Miao-yin mu, and in Japan she is equated with Benten.   The Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo is named for Saraswati.

She is often identifiable by her plain white garment, (though not in this image) her veena which is a stringed musical instrument, and her association with the consonants and vowels of the Sanskrit language.  Her own seed syllable is haym. 

In the Sadhanamala (162) Maha-Sarasvati's mantra is:

Om Hrih Mahamayange Mahasarasvatyai namah.

Bardor Tulku Rinpoche, through Lama Yeshe Gyamtso, related (KTD, Sept. 1, 2007) the origin of the Goddess Saraswati according to Buddhist tradition:

During the Golden Age at the time of the Churning of the Sea [of Milk] containing amrita [the elixer of Immortality], there arose, to the south of Mount Meru, a marvellous wave. That wave was the embodiment of all virtue and goodness, and Lord Brahma was so delighted with it that he caused it to be raised up as a goddess, who was named for those excellent qualities.  Hence the name, Sara-swati (Sanskrit for "she [becoming] of the stream" [of good]).  Another tradition holds that she is the same as Yami, sister of Yama.

In Hinduism, she is the daughter of Devi and wife of Lord Brahma, and her vehicle is the celestial bird called the hamsha or kinnara, usually portrayed as a swan but sometimes a peacock.  She is called Sharda Devi or Sharada (Sarada) and the hymn to her says that her home is Kashmir, once famous for its pandits or learned scholars. 

Saraswati means 'the one that flows' and is the name of a Vedic river that once flowed, but has vanished.  That is the source of her connection with fluidity of all fertile kinds including speech, writing, song, music and thought.  She is also known as Vak [speech.]

In India, grandmothers make a pentagram or Saraswati-sign with honey on the tongue of newborns to invoke the blessing of speech.

Hers is a spring [besant] festival falling on the fifth day of the new year's waxing moon.  In Bengal, it is the custom of girls to wear the light orange shade called besanti on Saraswati Day.

Students of all kinds call upon her for success in their studies.  She is depicted dressed in pure white without the usual adornments of goddesses as she, herself, is the source of illumination.

In Bengal, students are supposed to fast before the Book or Boi Puja as this time is also known,  and  writing materials, musical instruments and school supplies are placed before the deity's altar. 

Books are considered sacred to Saraswati; if one accidentally sits or puts their feet on even a page of a book, it is necessary to pranam [bow with palms together] or touch it to the forehead with respect, as a form of apology for the misdeed.

Offerings end with a special floral and fruit tribute [pushpanjali] accompanied by the following mantra said three times:

Saraswati maha-bhage vidye kamala lochane
Viswa-rupe vishalakshi vidyangdehi namastute
Esho shachandana pushpa bilvapatranjali
Namo Saraswatvayi devyayi namo.

This puja is also the time that very young children are initiated into writing. An elder holds the child and guides its hand to write for the first time, the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet --  Aum.

In Bengal at least, this festival is celebrated in all schools and colleges, and educational institutes are closed all day.  Children participate feeling this will bring them luck in their exams. 

Saraswati Puja is also plum-eating day.  Amusingly to English-speakers, in Bengali the word for the fruit that epitomizes spring is Kool.

~ Source of Saraswati Puja in Bengal: Biswas Anirban,  Calcutta.

In Buddhism, as well as being a yidam or inspirational deity Saraswati is sometimes considered the consort of Manjushri, the knowledge bodhisattva.  She was the yidam of the reformer and founder of the lam-rim system, Tsongkhapa.

She is sometimes considered the peaceful form of the protector, Palden Lhamo.  That connection may derive from her dark blue colour which is the same as that of Nila Saraswati, who is the dark blue emanation of Durga, the Mahakali of Hindu tantric tradition.

Yangchenma  is sometimes equated with White Tara since she is white with one face and, sometimes, three eyes.  She can also be depicted with only two hands, knees bent with crossed ankles as she sits playing her instrument. When she is depicted with 4, one hand holds a book of scripture and another a tenwa [mala] that symbolizes the string of letters of the alphabet. 

There is also a red Sarasvati -- Yangchen Marmo, and also a vajra, or Dorje Yangchenma, whose mantra in this last form as Arya Vajrasarasvati (sadhanas no.161 & 163) is:

Om, pichu pichu prajna vardhani jvala jvala medhavardhani dhiri dhiri
buddhivardhani, Svaha

~ mantra information courtesy M. B., Nepal
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: RedLantern on July 29, 2012, 03:17:53 PM

Dakinis are energetic beings in female form,evocative of the movements of energy in space,the sky or space indicates Shunyata;the unsubtiantiability of all phenomena,which is at the same time,the pure potentialiality for all possible manifestations.Dakinis are associated with energy in all of it's functions,are linked with the revelation of the Annutare Yoga Tantras,which represent the path of transformation,whereby t negative emotions called poisons are transfered into the luminous energy of enlightened awareness yielding.
There are two kinds of Dakinis,worldly and enlightened.According to tradition,a Dakini gave a black hat to third Karmapa,Rangjung Dorje when he was three years old.The black crown became the emblem of the oldest reincarnating Tibetan  lineage.
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: Ensapa on July 30, 2012, 04:34:14 PM
Here is a rather long and detailed explanation of the Dakini that we can all pick up something from. It is a rather technical description of a dakini.

Woman and the Dakini

Published as a commentary in Sky Dancer.

'Do not question woman. Adore her everywhere. In her real nature she is Bhagavati! Perfection of Wisdom; and in this empirical world Bhagavati has assumed the form of woman.' Tantric metaphysics are derived principally from the Prajnaparamita sutras, and this prajnaparamita sloka clearly states the tantric view that there is no distinction between the ultimate metaphysical nature of woman and the relative human reality. Woman is the Dakini and is to be worshipped as such. Further, the Prajnaparamita gave Tantra the concept of woman as the Perfection of Wisdom, perfect insight (shes-rab, prajna), which is defined as 'awareness of all phenomena as Emptiness'. However, in Tantra, since 'Emptiness is not separate from form, nor form from Emptiness', this Awareness that is the Dakini is the nondual, gnostic awareness.of which the male principle manifest as form is an aspect. Thus the totality of reality as Awareness can be represented by the Dakini alone, or it can be indicated by the inseparable union of male and female principles. In the latter case the Dakini's perfect insight into Emptiness is in contradistinction to skilful means (thabs, upaya), the Guru's ever compassionate, dynamic motivation that manifests as phenomenal appearances. When the Dakini alone is all-embracing Awareness (mahajnana, ye-shes-chen-po), she is the blissful cosmic dance of illusion. The existential experience of the Dakini is one, but the multiplicity of means to attain that experience, and the different ways of conceiving the inexpressible, create a seemingly complex metaphysics.

    After that attempt to clarify basic concepts, it is relevant to ask the question, has woman been arbitrarily assigned these existential values, or do Emptiness and Awareness relate to her essential nature? According to the metaphysical systems that frame the psychological insights of numerous ancient cultures the physiological-sexual and psychological nature of woman is receptivity. The quality of receptivity, 'an enveloping openness', is evident in tantric symbols of the goddess: the lake, the well, the empty vase, and most graphically and ubiquitously, the yoni (vagina).

    In so far as Tantra takes sexual processes as analogous to spiritual processes and relates sexual principles to mystical principles, if the essential nature of woman's anatomy and of her sexual response is receptivity, then receptivity can define the female principle. Receptivity is a condition of awareness of empty form. Practically in the yogin=s meditation upon Emptiness, receptive relaxation is imperative; in total mental relaxation, consciousness perched at the doors of the senses achieves perfect insight into the forms of perception (vipasyana meditation). These forms of perception, into which insight is achieved, are the compassionate forms of the Guru's skilful means. In the same way that the female's sexual receptivity invites the male's creative sexual activity, the Dakini's mental receptivity facilitates her perfect insight into the Guru's dynamic forms, and the resulting union is of Emptiness and form, perfect insight and skilful means, Awareness and compassion.

    Expressed in terms of receptivity, Awareness and Emptiness, the female principle may appear irrelevant to woman herself conscious of her human condition. But it cannot be sufficiently stressed that in the realm of tantric practice there is no distinction between woman in her everyday reality and the all-inclusive divine female archetype that permeates her being and dominates her mind (the Yidam Vajra Yogini, for instance). Every woman is the Dakini. Her third initiation is the empowering recognition of that fact, and her post-initiation practice the sadhana (spiritual practice) of maintaining and substantiating the Dakini's Awareness. Whether or not woman knows herself as the Dakini, the Guru and yogin see her only in her divine form. A yogin can evaluate the maturity of his practice by judging the constancy and depth of his vision of woman as the Dakini. That is not to say that he should see every woman as Tara, the goddess of devoted service (although he should be able to discern that syndrome in every woman to some degree), for there are innumerable types of Dakini, even as many as there are psychological types of woman. The tantric pantheon includes eldritch blood-sucking, flesh-eating and child-devouring Dakinis, binding, beating and destructive Dakinis, besides the sublime consorts of the Bodhisattvas. The constant in the adept's vision of them all is their empty dance of Awareness, whereas the mutable forms of their dances, and their functions, are like make-up and ornaments.

    It is already clear that 'Guru' and 'Dakini= are internal metaphysical realities. Evidently each human psyche contains both male and female principles; the male principle and its qualities are recessive in woman and the female recessive in man, even as the Dakini's dominant Emptiness cannot be separated from the recessive skilful means, which is ever present but unstressed. In the symbology of anuyoga, both the white and red elixirs run in the psychic veins of both men and women, although the Guru's complexion is white while the Dakini=s is red. In atiyoga, when the recessive and dominant are nicely balanced, the elixirs are blended and the complexion of the Dakini is 'blushing fair'. When an anchorite or a monk or nun describes his or her state of being as a union of Guru and Dakini obviously there is no equation of Guru with man nor Dakini with woman. But when yogin and yogini are described as Guru and Dakini cohabiting in perfect awareness and pure pleasure in a Buddhafield, this lay tantrika couple are projecting their recessive principles upon their partners. Or to formulate it in another way, when man and woman, yogin and yogini, recognize he the Emptiness of her and she the compassion of him, their relationship is a union of Guru and Dakini. The emotional vicissitudes of their personal relationship, the love and hate, the pride and jealousy, are the Dakini's fine ornaments, while the gamut of response that she inspires in him are reflected in her face and in her stance.

    In relation to the yogin practitioner the female principle may be conceived in four modes which are known as mudras. Maintaining the integrity of union with these four mudras sustains the samaya of the Guru's Speech which is identity with the Yidam. These mudras are best conceived as lovers with whom the yogin must retain an unbroken intimate, intense and true relation wherein no trace of doubt or infidelity arises. The first is the samaya-mudra, the verbal promise to keep the root and branch samayas. The second is the Guru's Consort herself in whom is embodied the five Dakini modes of Awareness. A consort is a Dakini by virtue of her involvement in a moment, or rather an unbroken succession of moments, of integration and enlightenment. In fact, rather than define the Dakini as a human being, she is better understood as a moment's intuition of the Emptiness and purity in passion when perfect insight and skilful means integrate. The third mudra is hand gesture and posture, and the relationship with her is maintained by practising according to the Guru's instruction. The fourth is mahamudra; she is inconceivable, since she is an anthropomorphic representation of Emptiness - transforming, magical illusion, pure, all-inclusive sensual Awareness.

    It can be useful here to distinguish between the siddha-adept's view of the Dakini and the neophyte or yogin-practitioner's experience. To the former, a woman is the Dakini, but even in a sexual situation she is of no higher order of Dakini, or source of visionary instruction, than any other complex of sensory stimuli. This is no slur on woman but rather a manner of evincing the constancy of a siddha's feeling tone of pure pleasure no matter what the content of his perceptual situation. There are no degrees of Emptiness for him. For the initiate on his way to the centre of the mandala, however, a woman as a karmamudra of Awareness is a guardian of the mysteries, a guide through the doors of the mandala, a bestower of initiation, and the object of the initiation itself. She provides the first glimpses of a nondual reality; she reveals what is the Emptiness of phenomenal appearances; she demonstrates the dance of magical illusion. Such experiences may be related to a particular woman until the initiation is complete, or knowledge of the Dakini may be limited to a succession of encounters with many women, or the Awareness Dakini may never embody herself in a human woman, and in the latter case experience of her need be no less intense or efficacious.

    Thus it should be clear that although woman is the Dakini, it is not woman as a discrete isolate in time and space. It is not the concept 'woman' that men usually project upon the Dakini-woman who is a total experience of empty form, taste, touch, smell and sound. Due to our conditioned craving for the security of the concrete, our desire to possess something or someone tangible, and any of a welter of causes derived from uncontrolled emotivity, the mind fabricates an objective delusion and reifies it as woman, or at least all women are perceived through this screen of delusion. From the point of view of ignorance where the Dakini is not recognised at all, woman is a symbol of the Dakini, and further, if the aspirant cannot achieve the samaya of union with a Dakini and know her directly he can project his vision of the Dakini upon her and worship her, adoring her as a goddess. This last is the way of kriyayoga-tantra, in the Outer Tantra.

    Finally, in the non-dual reality of Buddhahood all phenomenal appearances are space and Emptiness on one hand and magical illusion, fairyland, and the reflection of the moon in water on the other hand. Understanding this, following Tsogyel, a yogini-practitioner will know that her body-mind is empty of a substantial, discrete 'ego' and that her individual personality is an integral part of a dynamic field of relativity encompassing all living beings, embodied and disembodied, in all time and space. And detached from that field, identifying with the constant 'suchness' of experience, dynamic primal space, with Tsogyel she can then say 'I am the principal of the whole of samsara and nirvana... I live in the minds of all sentient beings, projecting myself as the elements of the bodymind and the sense-fields, and by secondary emanation projecting the twelve interdependent elements of existence'. Or, identifying with the empty ground of her own being she discovers the universal ground of relativity that spontaneously emanates the universal illusion. This universal illusion is her Guru: his body is phenomenal appearances; his speech is all sound; and his Mind (thugs) all Mind.

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Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: buddhalovely on August 03, 2012, 09:44:11 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).
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: Dondrup Shugden on March 30, 2015, 06:16:10 PM
Dakinis are often seen in many pictures as heavenly beings, like goddesses of beauty with perfection in all aspects.

This post is revived for the very informative contributions that I have enjoyed reading very much.  Nothing much can be added to this very extensive research and information.  Enjoy reading like I did.
Title: Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
Post by: MoMo on May 02, 2015, 12:13:27 PM
This thread was one of the best collections of information on Dakini in one place. If this forum a tools that could pinned this thread I would like to suggest admin and moderators to pin it. So that more forumer could revisit and read this collection of information when necessary. _/\_