INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY (MARCH 08): THE FEMALE PRINCIPLE AND FEMALE LINEAGES RESEARCH AND TRANSLATIONS

 

“Male or female–there is no great difference. But if she develops the mind intent on enlightenment, to be a woman is better.” -Guru Padmasambhava.

“It is time we truly recognize that the era of the hunter is past. This should be a more “feminine” era – an era when women make greater contributions to society. If we continue to devalue what women have to offer, we will continue harming women and continue overlooking and devaluing these virtues that are considered “feminine.” And these are precisely the virtues that the world needs more now.”—17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje

For International Women’s Day (March 8th) today am re-posting links to all the articles and translations have published so far on this website  related to women. There are two pages on the website dedicated to all things and people female and feminine. As this is a subject very close to my heart (and body), I intend to do more work on such topics, with a new article coming up soon.  For now, here is a review of the body of work done so far. Enjoy!

May women’s equal role in the four-fold Buddhist sangha be restored. May female teachers, practitioners, translators, lineage holders flourish! Let’s unite as women of all races, creeds, colours and countries and like Noble Tara support and help each other as sisters, daughters, mothers and more with love and compassion on our paths to full awakening! 

Music? I’m Every Woman by Chaka Khan.

Adele Tomlin, 8th March 2022

1) THE FEMALE PRINCIPLE

This section of the website contains articles, research or texts that are specifically related to issues connected to gender, sexuality and females in Buddhism. Topics covered include making visible the unsung heroines and invisible women of Buddhism, Vajrayana and tantra; the Dakinis and female teachers of male Mahasiddhas; male power and misconduct and misogyny towards women and its connection with monasticism and power; Dakini script and its symbolism and meaning in treasure-revelations; the great importance of love, consent and respect for women in Vajryana tantric practice and unions; the heterosexual norm of tantric unions; the outstanding activities related to women by the 17th Karmapa; the meaning of ecstasy and bliss in tantra and more.

‘DAKINI IS TRUTH!’ TILOPA’S ‘OVERLOOKED’ FEMALE TEACHERS AND ENTERING ‘UNCONVENTIONAL’ CONDUCT (TUL-ZHUG)

UNSUNG HEROINES, MOTHERS OF MAHĀMUDRĀ AND SOURCE OF SARAHA’S SONGS : Re-telling the (her)stories of the symbolic ‘arrow-maker’ Dakhenma, and the ‘radish-curry’ cook gurus of siddha, Saraha

‘DIFFICULT’ AND WILD WOMEN: THE INVISIBILITY AND OVERLOOKING OF FEMALES IN BUDDHISM, PAST AND PRESENT and WEBSITE SECTION DEDICATED TO FEMALE TEACHERS/LINEAGES

IN PRAISE OF THE FEMME FATALE ‘SCARLET WOMAN’: Male monastic privilege and appropriation, denigration of women, female lineages, ‘feminist’ male consorts, and Vajrayoginī with severed-head and reversed Yum-yab union

DAKINI SCRIPT (Khandro Da-yig): Mysterious Symbolic Key to Hidden Treasures

THE ‘MOTHER OF WISDOM’: Pictures, poems and songs on Mother’s Day!

Yeshe Tshogyel Guru Yoga‘ by 15th Karmapa

The male-female tantric union: Homophobic heteronormativity or biological inner essences?

‘Actions Speak Louder than Words’: 17th Karmapa’s outstanding activities on female empowerment and equality 

Tantric Buddhism, Sex and Women: the Importance of Love, Respect and Consent

Ultimate ‘ecstatic union’: the meaning and role of ‘erotic bliss’ in tantra and Kālacakra

Yeshe Tsogyel
2) FEMALE LINEAGES AND TEACHERS

The second website page is dedicated to new research and translations connected to female teachers (past and present) and female lineages/female-founded practices, such as Maya (Buddha’s mother), Prajapati (Buddha’s Aunt and Step-mother), Arya Kshema (one of Buddha’s first main female disciples), Utpalavarṇā (c. 250 BCE) (another of Buddha’s main female disciples and first to greet Buddha on Lhabab Duchen), Princess Lakṣmīṅkarā, Yeshe Tsogyel, Princess Mandāravā, Achi Chokyi Drolma (grandmother of the founder of the Drikung Kagyu), Chinese empresses, Gelongma Palmo (founder of the practice Nyung Ne), Machig Jobum, Machig Labdron (founder of Chod), Milarepa’s female disciples, Kunzang Trinley Wangmo (Zhentong lineage holder and consort of Taranatha), Jomo Menmo, the Sakya Jetsunmas, Khandro Rinpoche (the 15th Karmapa’s consort and dakini of Tsurpu), and Freda Bedi (the first female translator for the Karmapas).

In 2013, the Larung Gar nunnery in Kham, Tibet published a 16-volume collection/anthology of Indian and Tibetan women’s biographies, ‘Phags bod kyi skyes chen ma dag gi rnam par thar ba padma dkar po’i phreng ba, and this is something I hope to do more work on too.

(Listed Alphabetically)

Achi Chokyi Drolma (11th Century)

GODDESS QUEEN OF SPACE: ACHI CHOKYI DROLMA. Life-Story, Texts, Depictions, ‘Praise to Achi’ by Jigten Sumgon and Teaching by 8th Garchen Rinpoche

Arya Kshema (c. 250 BCE)

BRAVEHEART BUDDHA: Women and lower castes as ‘foremost’ disciples, colloquial language teachings, ‘six requisites’ of monastics and the all-male ‘first council’

Chinese Empresses

7TH CENTURY CHINESE QUEEN’S SHOWER OF BLESSINGS ON A 21st CENTURY AMERICAN WILDFIRE: Garchen Rinpoche and the Gyanagma Wheel of Princess Wencheng: her life, influence and sacred objects in Tibet

EMPRESS XU’S DREAM REVELATION OF A SUTRA BY AVALOKITESVARA AND ADVOCATE OF WOMEN’S EDUCATION. ‘Good Deeds’ by 17th Karmapa (Day 9: part 2)

Freda Bedi (20th Century)

‘TOWARDS SUPREME ILLUMINATION’: Guru Yoga Texts by 16th Karmapa and translations by the Karmapas’ first female translator, Freda Bedi

Gelongma Palmo (11th Century)

SEEING SICKNESS AND SUFFERING AS POSITIVE: Female Mahasiddha and Lineage Founder, Gelongma Palmo and the 11-faced, 1000-armed Avalokitesvara (Nyung Ne) and teaching by 8th Garchen Rinpoche

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo (20th-21st Century)

‘I DON’T EAT MY FRIENDS’: 78th birthday offering to Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, meditator, teacher and nunnery founder, on eating animals

Jomo Menmo

‘Gathering of all the Ḍākinī’s Secrets’ (Khandro Sangdu), the empowerment ‘Gathering of Vārāhīs’ and the ‘Lady Demoness’ female terton, Jomo Menmo

Machig Jobum

Machig Jobum: Female mahasiddha and lineage holder of Dro Kālacakra

Machig Labdron (12th Century)

CHOD LINEAGES AND MACHIG LABDRON: Indic-Tibetan Sources, Contemporary Works, The Karmapas and ‘The Long Lineage Supplication to Machig” by Bengar Jampel Zangpo

Mandāravā (8th Century)

15th Karmapa on the ‘Immortal Life-Essence Bindu’ treasure: long-life practice of Padmasambhava and Mandāravā

NEW TRANSLATION: ‘Praises to Mandāravā’ by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

Maya, Buddha’s Mother (c. 250 BCE)

RE-TELLING (AND RE-NAMING) ‘LHABAB DUCHEN’: WHEN MILK STREAMED FROM MOTHER’S BREASTS TO BUDDHA’S MOUTH AND BUDDHA’S GREAT ACT OF REPAYING MOTHER’S KINDNESS

Rechungma and Saley O – Milarepa’s female disciples

Rechungma’s Song of ‘Fifteen Realisations

A Girl’s Lament: Songs of Saley O to Milarepa

Khandro Rinpoche – 15th Karmapa’s consort (21st Century)

THE ‘GREAT DAKINI OF TSURPU’, KHANDRO RINPOCHE, ON THE ‘FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS’: FIRST TURNING OF DHARMA WHEEL (CHOKOR DUCHEN)

Kunzang Trinley Wangmo (16th Century)

A Woman’s Voice : the Autobiography of Kunga Trinley Wangmo, (Zhentong lineage holder and secret consort of Tāranātha)

Prajapati – Aunt of Buddha and first Bikshuni nun (c. 250 BCE)

BUDDHA THE RADICAL REVOLUTIONARY AND FEMINIST: WHEN ROYALTY BOWED TO LOWER CASTES AND WOMEN BECAME FULLY-ORDAINED SANGHA (by 17th Karmapa)

Princess Lakṣmīṅkarā

IN PRAISE OF THE FEMME FATALE ‘SCARLET WOMAN’: Male monastic privilege and appropriation, denigration of women, female lineages, ‘feminist’ male consorts, and Vajrayoginī with severed-head and reversed Yum-yab union

Female Teachers of Mahasiddhas Saraha and Tilopa

DAKINI IS TRUTH!’ TILOPA’S ‘OVERLOOKED’ FEMALE TEACHERS AND ENTERING ‘UNCONVENTIONAL’ CONDUCT (TUL-ZHUG)

Mahāsiddha Tilopa:  ‘Ḍākinī’s Instruction to Tilopa on the Bardo

UNSUNG HEROINES, MOTHERS OF MAHĀMUDRĀ AND SOURCE OF SARAHA’S SONGS : Re-telling the (her)stories of the symbolic ‘arrow-maker’ Dakhenma, and the ‘radish-curry’ cook gurus of siddha, Saraha

Sakya Jetsunmas

EMANATIONS OF VAJRAYOGINI? THE SAKYA JETSUNMAS, A FEMALE FAMILY LINEAGE

Utpalavarṇā (c. 250 BCE)

A woman’s devotion: Utpalavarṇā, the first to greet Buddha’s Descent from the Heavens (Lhabab Duchen)

Yeshe Tshogyel (8th Century)

BLISS QUEEN: YESHE TSOGYEL AND VAJRAYOGINĪ.Their connection, supplications and new translation of Yeshe Tsogyel ‘Self-Liberation from Clinging’ Supplication by Terton-Yogini, Tare Lhamo

Yeshe Tshogyel Guru Yoga‘ by 15th Karmapa

Yeshe Tsogyel’s Descent to the Hell Realms and How She Got Her Name

 

Mahā Māyā dreaming of the white elephant before giving birth to Buddha. Gandhāra relief, 2nd century CE; in the British Museum.

 

2 thoughts on “INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY (MARCH 08): THE FEMALE PRINCIPLE AND FEMALE LINEAGES RESEARCH AND TRANSLATIONS

  1. Happy International Woman’s Day, Dear Adele! I hope you are doing well. 
    Thank you for this sharing. I look forward to checking out these links. 
    Peace, Love and Harmony to you and yours!Paul

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