About the site

Adele Tomlin (Zangmo)

Welcome to Dakini Translations, the personal website of Adele Tomlin, an independent writer, scholar/translator, poet, practitioner and student of Tibetan/Vajrayana Buddhism.


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 by, and about, Vajrayana and Tibetan Buddhism, particularly trying to support and promote the work of female teachers, scholars, translators, practitioners and artists whenever possible.

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 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 Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche, HE 12th Gyaltsab Rinpoche, HE Thrangu Rinpoche, HE 12th Garchen Rinpoche,  HH 14th Dalai Lama and more.

Myself with root lama, HH 17th Karmapa at Gyuto monastery, 2007. I first met HH and took refuge with him in a private audience in India, 2005.

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 and Texts and Translations.

At the Dolma Ling nunnery debate ground, India, 2019.

Since 2017, after graduating from the University of Hamburg, I have been studying at a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery in India. For more on my background and work see online CV here.

At Buddha Park, Ravangla Sikkim, 2019.
Myself and local women attending the ‘Knowing One Liberates All’ empowerments given by HE 12th Gyaltsab Rinpoche (Ralang monastery, Sikkim. October 2019). (For more on that event see 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!

At Norbulingka, Dharamsala, India 2019.

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. 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 and Dharma was never supposed to be only for and about serious, po-faced celibate men in robes!

Offering a mandala on the final day of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo transmissions of HE Schechen Rabjam Rinpoche, Siliguri, India 2020.

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 depends on the people who read and benefit from it. To share my gratitude for their support, here are just a snapshot of some of the comments made about it (by scholars and non-scholars):

“I fell over backwards when I saw her 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!”

At Tiger’s Nest (Tagtsang), Paro, Bhutan, March 2019.

May it be of benefit and may the feminine principle, energy and wisdom be nurtured and flourish in all sentient beings!

At the golden stupa of Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro in Tashi Ding, Sikkim, India, January 2020.

You may contact me here if you have any questions or requests.

Take a walk on the wild side with Dakini Translations!
Moonstone Blues (August 2021)