Author Topic: Yeshe Tsogyal, founding mother of Tibetan Buddhism  (Read 5342 times)

sonamdhargey

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Yeshe Tsogyal, founding mother of Tibetan Buddhism
« on: February 10, 2013, 09:27:41 AM »
Biographies: Yeshe Tsogyal, Princess Of Karchen

Yeshe Tsogyal (777-837 A.D.) was born in the princely Kharchen family.1 Her father's name was Namkhai Yeshe and her mother was called Ge-wa Bum. When she was born, a spring of fresh water spontaneously burst from the ground and formed a sizable pond next to her house. This pond came to be known as "Lha-tso", the Divine Lake. Later the spot would become a famous pilgrimage site for generations of devotees.
In ancient Buddhist history it is recorded that, around the beginning of the Christian era, a young spiritual seeker called Sadaprarudita came from the West to northwestern India in quest of knowledge and enlightenment. He became a disciple of the very learned Master Dharmodgata of Kashmir. Sadaprarudita received from Master Dharmodgata the sacred treatise that is known as the Golden Book "sealed with seven seals", the root text of Transcendental Wisdom (Prajnaparamita).2

In the records of these long ago events, there is mention of a certain merchant's daughter who helped and encouraged the self-sacrificing Sadaprarudita, and without whom he never would have succeeded in his quest. That merchant's daughter, along with Sadaprarudita, worked hard on the spiritual Path. She is recognised as a great Bodhisattva, and to this day is known as Saraswati-devi,3 the divine mother of knowledge, grace and wisdom. Indeed, Sadaprarudita could not have attained his Enlightenment without her aid. It is said that Yeshe Tsogyal was an incarnation of the Bodhisattva Saraswati-devi.

A Disciple Of Lord Padmasambhava

Life was not at first good to Yeshe Tsogyal. She was brutally raped by her first suitor and fought over by her second. When she fled from the latter, she was taken and placed in the Emperor's harem. Later the Sage-Emperor offered her as a consort to our Master, the Lord Padmasambhava.

Lord Padmasambhava set her free and she became his disciple. Only then did she begin to discover happiness in her life. That was in the year 794 A.D., when Yeshe Tsogyal was sixteen years old. When she received Empowerment her flower fell on the sacred mandala of Vajrakilaya and through practicing the appropriate sadhana she rapidly gained accomplishment. She then received all of the Lord Padmasambhava's teachings and became his spiritual heir.

Since Yeshe Tsogyal possessed a phenomenal photographic memory, it was possible for her to memorize vast numbers of texts without the slightest difficulty. Thus the entire Khadro Nying-t'ig teachings were handed into her care.

The Princess Yeshe Tsogyal traveled to Nepal in 795 A.D., where she met her soul-mate and mystical consort, Atsara Sahle. The Yogini and her consort traveled to various hermit caves, where they practised their Sadhana with great diligence.

Yeshe Tsogyal would seem to have been a stronger personality than her mate. She had suffered extensively in her youth. She had great determination to attain spiritual awakening. Atsara Sahle was from the valley of Kathmandu, where the biting cold of Tibet in winter is never experienced. It was therefore more difficult for him, when they lived as hermits in the high mountains. Yet both struggled as best they were able on the hard path of spiritual endeavour.

There came a period when, while living alone in the wintry cave of Nering Senge, her mate having retreated to warmer climes, that Yeshe Tsogyal began to face all the demons of her mind. Visions rose up before her in the process of her meditations, equal to those of Buddha Sakyamuni beneath the Bodhi-tree, or Christ in the throes of his Temptation, or St. Anthony in the Desert, full of hideous and terrifying intensity. Hordes of phantoms advanced upon her: fearful, seductive, malign, and evil. With these, the product of her own traumatic passions, she wrestled, while remaining unmovable in her vajra-like samadhi, the immutable poise of impartial contemplation. For days the onslaught continued, until finally she was left in peace. This was the trial of her final spiritual catharsis.

Afterwards, at the lonely cave of Paro Taktsang in the highlands of Bhutan, with her consort Atsara Sahle, she disciplined herself through vigorous fasts, long meditation, and the spiritual practice known as karmamudra, so as to blend the refined positive and negative seed essences (bindus) of her heart nerve-plexus (cakra) and branch nervous-systems (nadi), from whence the five major and five secondary bio-energies (vayu) of the living body derive, so as to crystallizing in the whole of her presence the basis of an inner vajra-body. This rigorous blending together of refined nerve substance (the white and red seed essences), and the undoing of the last psychological knots of the heart centre, pertains to the final stage for winning Buddhahood in a single lifetime. Yeshe Tsogyal's retreat at Paro Taktsang would be the last austerity practiced for her own benefit.

In Paro Taktsang after pursuing her goal with incredible diligence, Yeshe Tsogyal attained the level of a world-encompassing Insight holder. Thus she gained the basic stages of Enlightenment.

Later she travelled all over Tibet with her Precious Guru, the Lord Padmasambhava, blessing particular locations and depositing Treasure texts for the benefit of future mystics.

She went into an isolated Meditation Retreat in 796 and did not come out until 805, after her great Guru had already left Tibet, but when she did finally emerge it was as a fully Enlightened Buddha. Possibly in 837, but perhaps later, she transcended worldly existence, ascending bodily to the manifest pure field dimension of the Sacred Red Mountain, the luminous sphere of her Guru, the Lord Padmasambhava.

Source: http://www.dharmafellowship.org/biographies/historicalsaints/princess-yeshe-tsogyal.htm

Jessie Fong

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Re: Yeshe Tsogyal, founding mother of Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2013, 01:02:40 PM »
Yeshe Tsogyal was one of five dakini emanations of Vajra Yogini and, in essence, also a manifestation of Guru Rinpoche himself. She appeared to assist Guru Rinpoche in spreading the Vajrayana, especially the terma teachings, in the Snowy Land of Tibet. Yeshe Tsogyal is also considered an emanation of Arya Tara, Vajra Varahi, Prajnaparamita and Samantabhadri -- all enlightened buddhas.

-- Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche excerpt from Dakini Teachings




RedLantern

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Re: Yeshe Tsogyal, founding mother of Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2013, 03:18:29 PM »
She is the founding mother of Tibetan Buddhism and is the foremost master of Tibetan Tantra.She is considered to be the speech incarnation of Vajra Varahi (wrathful form of Vajrayogini).She is also known as the Great Bliss Queen.She also considered as Mother of all Nyingma lineage and a female Buddha of Nyingma
school.Nyingma view her as ultimate Dakini,an embodiment of Venerable Superior Lady Tara The Swift,ruler of all the lotus and activity lineage.She is considered not to be different from Vajra Varahi ,mother of all Buddhas
and the very ground of being.The name Yeshe means "primordial wisdom" and Tso-gyal means "Queen of Ocean like quality of mind"

Big Uncle

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Re: Yeshe Tsogyal, founding mother of Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2013, 07:37:51 AM »
Also, Yeshe Tsogyal is believed to taken rebirth again in Tibet as Machig Labdron. Machig Labdron became just as famous and celebrated as Yeshe Tsogyal because of her pure awakening that she had developed the Tantric Chod tradition based on the Shije practice of Padampa Sangye, which in turned was developed from the Perfection of Wisdoms Sutra texts. Here's a nice biography that had been posted on this forum before:-

Machig Labdron

Machig Labdrön (1055 - 1149) was a renowned 11th century Tibetan Tantric Buddhist practitioner and teacher.
Machig Labdrön was a great Tibetan yogini who originated several Tibetan lineages of the Indian tantric practice of Chöd. Machig may have come from a Bönpo family and, according to Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, developed Chöd by combining native Tibetan Bönpo shamanism with the Dzogchen teachings, although this is historically incorrect.

In the Life of Yeshe Tsogyel, Padmasambhava predicted that Yeshe Tsogyel would be reborn as Machig Labdron; her consort, Atsara Sale, would become Topabhadra, Machig’s husband; her assistant and Padmasambhava's secondary consort, Tashi Khyidren, would be reborn as Machig’s only daughter, and so on. All of the important figures in Tsogyel's life were to be reborn in the life of Machig Labdron, including Padmasambhava himself, who would become Phadampa Sangye.

Machig was the mindstream emanation (tulku) of another great yogini, Yeshe Tsogyal, as well as "an emanation of the 'Great Mother of Wisdom,' Yum Chenmo, and of Arya Tara, who transmitted to her [Machig] teachings and initiations."This pattern of reincarnations and emanations continued into the life just before her birth as Machig Labdrön. In the lifetime before, she was the Indian yogi, Mönlam Drub. After his death, the body of the twenty-year-old Mönlam Drub is said to have remained "alive" in the cave of Potari in Southern India.

According to tradition, it was Mönlam Drub's mindstream which entered the womb of Bum Cham ("Great Noble Woman"), who lived in the area of Labchi Eli Gangwar in Tibet, which caused the birth of Machig. According to the biography of Machig that appears in Tsultrim Allione's work Women of Wisdom, her mother experienced auspicious dreams of dakinis shortly after conception, dreams which contained the vase and the conch of the Ashtamangala:
When consciousness entered the womb of the mother on the fifteenth day, she dreamt that four white dakinis carrying four white vases poured water on her head and afterwards she felt purified. Then seven dakinis, red, yellow, green, etc., were around her making offerings, saying “Honor the mother, stay well our mother to be.”

After that, a wrathful dark-blue dakini wearing bone ornaments and carrying a hooked knife and a retinue of four blue dakinis carrying hooked knives and skull cups, surrounded her, in front of her, behind her, and to the left and right. All five were in the sky in front of Bum Cham. The central dakini was a forearm’s length higher than the rest.

She raised her hooked knife and said to the mother: “Now I will take out this ignorant heart.”

She took her knife and plunged it into the mother’s heart, took out the heart and put it in the skull cup of the dakini in front of her, and they all ate it. Then the central dakini took a conch which spiraled to the right and blew it. The sound resounded all over the world. In the middle of the conch was a luminous white “A”.

She said” “Now I will replace your heart with this white conch shell”...

Even after she woke up she felt great bliss.
As a child and young woman, Machig made a living as a liturgy reader. She was fortunate to be literate and patrons would hire her to read the Prajna Paramita Sutra or 'The Perfection of Wisdom', a Mahayana Sutra, in their homes as a form of blessing and to gain merit. Machig was known to be a fast reader and so was in much demand as this meant that she could complete the entire text quickly and her patrons would have to pay for fewer meals for her while she read.


Chöd

Machig's Chöd, also known as Mahamudra Chöd, has been widespread in Tibet since Machig's lifetime. It is also called "The Beggars' Offering" or "The Cutting-Off-Ritual." Chöd is a visionary Buddhist practice of cutting attachment to one’s corporeal form (in terms of the dualistic proclivity to relate to one's corporeal form as a reference-point that proves one’s existence). This means that a practitioner offers the mandala of their own body in a ganacakra rite. The practitioner works entirely with their own mind, visualizing the offering, and—by practicing in lonely and dreaded places, like cemeteries—works to overcome all fear. This is also why Chöd was often used to overcome sickness in order to heal oneself and others. In some lineages of the Chöd practice, chodpas and chodmas (practitioners of Chöd) use a bell, small drum (a Chöd damaru), and a thigh-bone trumpet (kangling) made of human bone (often obtained from the charnel ground of sky burials).


As long as there is an ego, there are demons.
When there is no more ego,
There are no more demons either!

—Machig Labdrön