FEMALE TEACHERS/LINEAGES

Machig Labdron – renowned yogini and lineage founder of Chod

This page is dedicated to new research and translations connected to female teachers (past and present) and female lineages/female-founded practices. There is another page dedicated to issues related to gender, biology and women in Buddhism here.

New research (and other women’s names) will be added as and when published. Recently, 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.

Female lineages/teachers

(Listed Alphabetically)

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

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 Lakshamikara

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 Mahasiddha Saraha and Tilopa

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)

Yeshe Tshogyel Guru Yoga‘ by 15th Karmapa

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