Author Topic: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?  (Read 115744 times)

dsiluvu

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #15 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
http://www.reocities.com/SoHo/1204/dakini.html

Ensapa

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #16 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.

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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


Vajraprotector

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2012, 07:15:43 PM »
Simhamukha



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.


Midakpa

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #18 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)

jessicajameson

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #19 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?

Big Uncle

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #20 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...

Vajrayogini

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.

Terminology

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. 

Ensapa

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #21 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.

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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

RedLantern

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #22 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.

Ensapa

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #23 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.

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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.


From http://www.keithdowman.net/essays/woman.htm

buddhalovely

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #24 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).

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #25 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.

MoMo

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Re: Dakinis - Who are they and What they Represent?
« Reply #26 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. _/\_