Welcome to Dakini Translations, the personal website of Adele Tomlin, an independent writer, scholar/translator, poet, practitioner and student of Tibetan/Vajrayana Buddhism. For Adele’s personal website, see adeletomlin.com. For her current CV, read/download below here:
The purpose of the Dakini Translations and Publications website is not only to provide an independent, online resource for my own ongoing translation work and research, but also as a general source of information, activities and work about, Vajrayana and Tibetan Buddhism, particularly trying to support and promote the work of female teachers, scholars, translators, practitioners and artists whenever possible. For a video Introduction (2022) to the website and work, see here.
Since 2005, after taking refuge in a private audience with the supreme head of the Karma Kagyu lineage, HH the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje, in India (who was the first Tibetan lama I ever met or took refuge with, as well as the first I received a Highest Tantric Empowerment, Chakrasamvara from, in Bodh Gaya 2007), I have been studying Buddhist Philosophy and Tibetan language in Europe, Nepal and India, and taking teaching and empowerments from Tibetan Buddhist masters from all major lineages, such as HH 17th Karmapa, HE 12th Gyaltsab Rinpoche, HE Thrangu Rinpoche, HE 8th Garchen Rinpoche, HE Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, and more.
I am an English woman with a Bachelor’s degree in Law (qualified barrister), a Master’s Degree in Western Philosophy (King’s College, University of London) and a Master’s degree in Tibetology (University of Hamburg, Germany). My MA thesis was awarded a first-class result (by Prof. Dorji Wangchug) and later published as a book Taranatha’s Commentary on the Heart Sutra (LTWA, 2017), with a foreword by Prof. Matthew Kapstein. It is a Zhentong commentary on the Heart Sutra. Another translated book recently published is the Chariot that Transports to the Four Kayas by Bamda Gelek Gyamtso (LTWA, 2019), with a foreword by Dr. Cyrus Stearns. It is an important instruction text in the Dro Kalacakra tradition. For other research and translations, see this website.
Since 2017, after graduating from the University of Hamburg, I was studying at a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery in India until the COVID lockdown started. For more on my background and work see online CV here.
Why the name ‘Dakini Translations and Publications’? First, I am not claiming I am a dakini (although some lamas and laypeople have said so :-)). I am a very ordinary woman with lots of faults. Although, no-one ever takes issue with the founders of Wisdom Publications for lacking wisdom, do they? However, in the Vajrayana, one of the fourteen root vows is to respect and never denigrate women, any woman. Why? Because the ‘female principle’ is seen as the nature of wisdom, and dakinis often appear in a female form. So, unless one is an awakened being (who can see who is a dakini or not) then one should be very careful! A dakini represents Dharma activity, of which translation and research is a part of such activity. However, being called a dakini is ‘not always a compliment’, as Khandro Rinpoche playfully reminds us all in this short video teaching here!
Also, the Dharma translation and publications world is still (like many other fields) dominated (and run) by men. Even the few women who are successful in the field are often sidelined, ignored or their work subtly denigrated – for more on that see my article here. As a female translator, I wanted to have a site name that not only reflects my female-ness but also as a feminine symbol in a male-dominated field. A few people have even questioned my use of ‘attractive’ photos of myself smiling and so on. To them I say, life, practice and Dharma was never supposed to be only for, and about serious, po-faced celibate men in robes!
New translations and publications will be updated and made available to view on the website, depending on certain restrictions or requirements for the texts. The work I do is in accordance with ‘right livelihood’ and thus is voluntary, on a non-profit basis, and funded by my own money or private donations. The Innate Kalacakra project was awarded the Ashoka Grant from Khyentse Foundation. Any support or sponsorship is always most welcome.
The success of this work depends on the people who read and benefit from it. To share my gratitude for their support, here is just a snapshot of some of the comments made about it (by scholars and non-scholars):
“I fell over backwards when I saw your work.”
“Cannot hit the heart button enough. 7 out of 7 stars. ”
“I can’t pinpoint every impressive element in this article alone … there are so many!”
“Pithy, brilliant and epic. Beautiful.”
“An amazing trove of treasure “.
“Color me impressed on every level!”
“I always can’t wait to read when I see an email from Dakini Translations land in my inbox!”
“Wow! I am stunned! I don’t have more to say now because I am in shock, awe. Just thank you!!!”
“I so appreciate how respectfully you note your sources and revere the teachers, which is very impressive after all you have been through.”
“I am amazed at how consistent your diligence and fluent writings are and how respectful your careful notations of source materials. “
“Your emailed translations have disrupted my decades-long addiction to the New York Times, which seems rather grey and paltry in comparison.”
“Your website and work are so modern and yet also so authentic.”
“You have captured the essence of my thought as an artist.”
“You are providing an invaluable service to the average person who is neither scholar nor monastic but nonetheless retains an abiding interest in these ultimately highest of spiritual teachings. Your diligent academic research, distillation and colourful as well as musical presentations of the myriads of Dharma topics covered on your website are truly a ‘tour de force’ worthy of Tara’s blessings.”
“It’s astounding to bump into the problems of misogyny, etc. in a religious practice where Dakinis and Yoginis play such a pivotal part. That’s why I really appreciate your work and the light you shine on these obscurations.”
May it be of benefit and may the feminine principle, energy and wisdom be nurtured and flourish in all sentient beings!
You may contact me here if you have any questions or requests.