Holly Gayley

Holly Gayley

Holly Gayley, Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies, is a scholar and translator of contemporary Buddhist literature in Tibet. She is author of Love Letters from Golok: A Tantric Couple in Modern Tibet, co-editor of A Gathering of Brilliant Moons: Practice Advice from the Rime Masters of Tibet, and translator of Inseparable Across Lifetimes: The Lives and Love Letters of Namtrul Rinpoche and Khandro Tāre Lhamo.

Holly Gayley

Holly Gayley, Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies, is a scholar and translator of contemporary Buddhist literature in Tibet. She is author of Love Letters from Golok: A Tantric Couple in Modern Tibet, co-editor of A Gathering of Brilliant Moons: Practice Advice from the Rime Masters of Tibet, and translator of Inseparable Across Lifetimes: The Lives and Love Letters of Namtrul Rinpoche and Khandro Tāre Lhamo.

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GUIDES

Women in Buddhism

Women in Buddhism

Throughout history women have played a vital role in the preservation and presentation of Buddhism. The Buddha himself expressed deep respect for his mother and as several contemporary Buddhist scholars have pointed out, women have played a significant role in helping to shape and preserve Buddhism. That is certainly true for Buddhism in today's world.

Today, contemporary Buddhism is largely shaped by a number of women who play vital roles from translation to teaching to holding highly influential seats in Buddhist sanghas around the world. We are happy to publish a wide range of Buddhist authors many of which come from diverse Buddhist traditions that span a wide range of ideas. This guide is certainly not complete in the sense of presenting each and every example of women in Buddhism today, but hopefully it will give readers a place to begin learning from and celebrating the many women who make Buddhism possible today.

Recent and Upcoming Releases

$24.95 - Paperback

Lifting as They Climb
Black Women Buddhists and Collective Liberation

By Toni Pressley-Sanon

The lives and writings of six leading Black Buddhist women—Jan Willis, bell hooks, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, angel Kyodo williams, Spring Washam, and Faith Adiele—reveal new expressions of Buddhism rooted in ancestry, love, and collective liberation.

Lifting as They Climb is a love letter of freedom and self-expression from six Black women Buddhist teachers, conveyed through the voice of author Toni Pressley-Sanon, one of the innumerable people who have benefitted from their wisdom. She explores their remarkable lives and undertakes deep readings of their work, weaving them into the broader tapestry of the African diaspora and the historical struggle for Black liberation.

Dr. Toni Pressley-Sanon is an associate professor in the Department of Africology & African American Studies at Eastern Michigan University, having previously held positions at the University of Buffalo and Pennsylvania State University. Her work dwells on the intersections of memory, history, and culture in both Africa and the African diaspora. She is the author of four books and numerous journal articles and book chapters on these subjects. Toni has practiced Buddhist meditation and mindfulness for the past ten years.

Available 05/21/2024

$26.95 - Paperback

A Dakini's Counsel
Sera Khandro's Spiritual Advice and Dzogchen Instructions

By Sera Khandro
Translated by Christina Monson

Sera Khandro Dewai Dorje was a modern Tibetan Buddhist teacher who single-pointedly pursued a life of Dharma while balancing family life and public teaching. This collection of her advice, prayers, dreams, prophecies, and treasures (terma) is both biographical and instructional. It comes from within the tradition of Dzogchen, replete with practices for resting in the nature of mind. This lineage forms the bedrock of Christina Monson’s own spiritual path, lending a deep intimacy to the translations, which serve as a window into Sera Khandro’s life, teachings, and rich inner experience.

Sera Khandro (1892–1940) was one of the most prolific Tibetan female authors of the past several centuries. At the age of fifteen, she left her home in Lhasa for eastern Tibet, embarking on a lifetime devoted to her spiritual path—she became a spiritual master, a revealer of ancient hidden teachings, a mystic, a visionary, a writer, a mother, and a vagabond. Her written works and spiritual lineage have been preserved and are now cherished worldwide.

Christina Monson (1969–2023) was a Buddhist practitioner and teacher and Tibetan language translator and interpreter. She had over thirty years of study, translation, and practice experience in Buddhism beginning with an interest in Asian philosophy as an undergraduate student at Brown University.

embodying tara

$22.95 - Paperback

Embodying Tara
Twenty-One Manifestations to Awaken Your Innate Wisdom

By Chandra Easton

Tara, the Buddhist goddess of compassion, can manifest within all of us. In this illustrated introduction to Tara's twenty-one forms, respected female Buddhist teacher and practitioner Dorje Lopön Chandra Easton shows you how to invite Tara’s awakened energy to come alive in yourself through:

  • insight into core Buddhist concepts and teachings;
  • meditations;
  • mantra recitations; and
  • journal exercises.

The relatable stories from Buddhist history and the author’s personal reflections will give you the tools to live a more compassionate life, befriend your fears, and overcome everyday challenges.

Chandra Easton is a Dharma teacher, author, and translator of Tibetan Buddhist texts. She has taught Buddhism and Hatha Yoga since 2001. In 2015, she was given the title of Vajra Teacher, Dorje Lopön, for Tara Mandala Retreat Center by Lama Tsultrim Allione and H. E. Gochen Sang Ngag Rinpoche. Lopön Chandra studied Buddhism and Tibetan language in Dharamsala, India, and at UCSB’s religious studies department. During her studies, she cotranslated with her mentor, B. Alan Wallace, Sublime Dharma: A Compilation of Two Texts on the Great Perfection (Vimala Publishing, 2012).

$21.95 - Paperback

The Buddhist and the Ethicist
Conversations on Effective Altruism, Engaged Buddhism, and How to Build a Better World

By Peter Singer
By Shih Chao-Hwei

An unlikely duo—Professor Peter Singer, a preeminent philosopher and professor of bioethics, and Venerable Shih Chao-Hwei, a Taiwanese Buddhist monastic and social activist—join forces to talk ethics in lively conversations that cross oceans, overcome language barriers, and bridge philosophies. The eye-opening dialogues collected here share unique perspectives on contemporary issues like animal welfare, gender equality, the death penalty, and more. Together, these two deep thinkers explore the foundation of ethics and key Buddhist concepts, and ultimately reveal how we can all move toward making the world a better place.

Shih Chao-Hwei is a Buddhist monastic, social activist, scholar, and recent winner of the Niwano Peace Prize. A leading advocate for animal rights, a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage, and a key figure in the Buddhist gender equality movement, she is also a professor at Hsuan Chuang University and the founder of Hong Shih Buddhist College.
Peter Singer, the “father of the modern animal welfare movement,” was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine. An Australian philosopher and professor of bioethics, he has contributed to more than 50 books in over 30 languages. Singer is founder of The Life You Can Save nonprofit and a professor of bioethics at Princeton University.
ShangpaV2

$49.95 - Hardcover

Shangpa Kagyu: The Tradition of Khyungpo Naljor, Part Two
Essential Teachings of the Eight Practice Lineages of Tibet, Volume 12 (The Treasury of Precious Instructions)

By Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye
Translated by Sarah Harding

This is the second of two volumes that present teachings and practices from the Shangpa Kagyu practice lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. This tradition derives from two Indian yoginīs, the dākinīs Niguma and Sukhasiddhi, and their disciple, the eleventh-century Tibetan yogi Khyungpo Naljor Tsultrim Gönpo of the Shang region of Tibet. There are forty texts in this volume, beginning with Jonang Tāranātha’s classic commentary and its supplement expounding the Six Dharmas of Niguma. It includes the definitive collection of the tantric bases of the Shangpa Kagyu—the five principal deities of the new translation (sarma) traditions and the Five-Deity Cakrasamvara practice. The source scriptures, liturgies, supplications, empowerment texts, instructions, and practice manuals were composed by Tangtong Gyalpo, Tāranātha, Jamgön Kongtrul, and others.

The first part of this series is also available now.

Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye (1813–1900) was a versatile and prolific scholar and one of the most outstanding writers and teachers of his time in Tibet. He was a pivotal figure in eastern Tibet’s nonsectarian movement and made major contributions to education, politics, and medicine.
Sarah Harding has been a Buddhist practitioner since 1974 and has been teaching and translating since completing a three year retreat in 1980 under the guidance of Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche. Her publications include Zhije and Chöd, respectively the thirteenth and fourteenth volumes of The Treasury of Precious Instructions series. She was an associate professor at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, starting in 1992, and has been a fellow of the Tsadra Foundation since 2000.

Women in Buddhist Research & Academia

The Woman Who Raised the Buddha
The Extraordinary Life of Mahaprajapati

By Wendy Garling

Mahaprajapati was the only mother the Buddha ever knew. His birth mother, Maya, died shortly after childbirth, and her sister Mahaprajapati took the infant to her breast, nurturing and raising him into adulthood. In this first full biography of Mahaprajapati, Wendy Garling presents her life story, with attention to her early years as sister, queen, matriarch, and mother, as well as her later years as a nun. Garling reveals just how exceptional Mahaprajapati’s role was as leader of the first generation of Buddhist women, helping the Buddha establish an equal community of lay and monastic women and men. Mother to the Buddha, mother to early Buddhist women, mother to the Buddhist faith, Mahaprajapati’s journey is finally presented as one interwoven with the founding of Buddhism.

$18.95 - Paperback

Wendy Garling is a writer, mother, gardener, independent scholar, and authorized dharma teacher with a BA from Wellesley College and MA in Sanskrit language and literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha’s Life (2016, Shambhala Publications), a groundbreaking new biography of the Buddha that relates his journey to awakening through the stories of Buddhism’s first women.

Illumination
A Guide to the Buddhist Method of No-Method

By Rebecca Li

A modern guide to the transformative practice of silent illumination from Chan Buddhist teacher Rebecca Li.

Silent illumination, a way of penetrating the mind through curious inquiry, is an especially potent, accessible, and portable meditation practice perfectly suited for a time when there is so much fear, upheaval, and sorrow in our world. It is a method of reconnecting with our true nature, which encompasses all that exists and where suffering cannot touch us.

$21.95 - Paperback

Rebecca Li, PhD, is a meditation and Dharma teacher in the lineage of Chan Master Sheng Yen and founder and guiding teacher of Chan Dharma Community. She gives Dharma talks and leads Chan retreats in North America and Europe. She is also a sociology professor and lives with her husband in New Jersey. Her talks, writings, and schedule can be found at rebeccali.org.

Tales of a Mad Yogi
The Life and Wild Wisdom of Dukpa Kunley

By Elizabeth L Monson

The fifteenth-century Himalayan saint Drukpa Kunley is a beloved figure throughout Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal, known both for his profound mastery of Buddhist practice as well as his highly unconventional and often humorous behavior. Ever the proverbial trickster and “crazy wisdom” yogi, his outward appearance and conduct of carousing, philandering, and breaking social norms is understood to be a means to rouse ordinary people out of habitual ways of thinking that leads them toward spiritual awakening.

Elizabeth Monson has spent decades traveling throughout the Himalayas, retracing Drukpa Kunley’s steps and translating his works. In this creative telling, she has reimagined his life based on historical accounts, autobiographical sketches, folktales, and first-hand ethnographic research. The result, with flourishes of magical encounters and references to his superhuman capacities, is a poignant narrative of Kunley’s life, revealing to the reader the quintessential example of the capacity of Buddhism to skillfully bring people to liberation.

$19.95 - Paperback

Elizabeth Monson, PhD, is the spiritual codirector of Natural Dharma Fellowship and the managing teacher at Wonderwell Mountain Refuge. She is a Dharma teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, has lectured at the Harvard Divinity School, and teaches meditation throughout New England.

living theravadaLiving Theravada
Demystifying the People, Places, and Practices of a Buddhist Tradition

By Brooke Schedneck

An illuminating introduction to the contemporary world of Theravada Buddhism and its rich culture and practices in modern mainland Southeast Asia.

Theravada translates as “the way of the Elders,” indicating that this Buddhist tradition considers itself to be the most authoritative and pure. Tracing all the way back to the time of the Buddha, Theravada Buddhism is distinguished by canonical literature preserved in the Pali language, beliefs, and practices—and this literature is often specialized and academic in tone. By contrast, this book will serve as a foundational and accessible resource on Theravada Buddhism and the contemporary, lived world of its enduring tradition.

$24.95 - Paperback

Brooke Schedneck, PhD, is an assistant professor in the department of religious studies at Rhodes College. Her work focuses on contemporary Buddhism in Thailand, and she spent years teaching and conducting research in Chiang Mai. She has presented her research internationally, and her work has been featured in academic journals and publications such as TricycleAeon, and The Conversation.

Inseparable Across Lifetimes

Translated by Holly Gayley

An inspiring and intimate tale set against the turmoil of recent Tibetan history, Inseparable across Lifetimes offers for the first time the translations of love letters between two modern Buddhist visionaries. The letters are poetic, affectionate, and prophetic, articulating a hopeful vision of renewal that drew on their past lives together and led to their twenty-year partnership. This couple played a significant role in restoring Buddhism in the region of Golok once China’s revolutionary fervor gave way to reform. Holly Gayley, who was given their correspondence by Namtrul Rinpoche himself, has translated their lives and letters in order to share their remarkable story with the world.

$24.95 - Paperback

Holly Gayley, Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies, is a scholar and translator of contemporary Buddhist literature in Tibet. She is author of Love Letters from Golok: A Tantric Couple in Modern Tibet, co-editor of A Gathering of Brilliant Moons: Practice Advice from the Rime Masters of Tibet, and translator of Inseparable Across Lifetimes: The Lives and Love Letters of Namtrul Rinpoche and Khandro Tāre Lhamo.

Black and Buddhist
What Buddhism Can Teach Us about Race, Resilience, Transformation, and Freedom

Edited by Cheryl A. Giles and Pamela Ayo Yetunde

Leading African American Buddhist teachers offer lessons on racism, resilience, spiritual freedom, and the possibility of a truly representative American Buddhism.

What does it mean to be Black and Buddhist? In this powerful collection of writings, African American teachers from all the major Buddhist traditions tell their stories of how race and Buddhist practice have intersected in their lives. The resulting explorations display not only the promise of Buddhist teachings to empower those facing racial discrimination but also the way that Black Buddhist voices are enriching the Dharma for all practitioners. As the first anthology comprised solely of writings by African-descended Buddhist practitioners, this book is an important contribution to the development of the Dharma in the West.

With contributions by Acharya Gaylon Ferguson, Cheryl A. Giles, Gyōzan Royce Andrew Johnson, Ruth King, Kamilah Majied, Lama Rod Owens, Lama Dawa Tarchin Phillips, Sebene Selassie, and Pamela Ayo Yetunde.

$19.95 - Paperback

Cheryl A. Giles, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Francis Greenwood Peabody Senior Lecturer on Pastoral Care and Counseling at the Harvard Divinity School. Giles is the author of several articles and co-editor of The Arts of Contemplative Care (Wisdom, 2012).
Pamela Ayo Yetunde, J.D., Th.D. is a Community Dharma Leader in the Insight Meditation tradition. She teaches pastoral care and counseling and has taught at University of the West, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, and Upaya Institute and Zen Center. Ayo has written for BuddhadharmaLion’s RoarReligions, and Buddhist-Christian Studies. She is the author of Object Relations, Buddhism and Relationality in Womanist Practical Theology and Buddhist-Christian Dialogue, U.S. Law, and Womanist Theology for Transgender Spiritual Care.

Red Tara
The Female Buddha of Power and Magnetism

By Rachael Stevens

Tara is one of the most celebrated goddesses in the Buddhist world, representing enlightened activity in the form of the divine feminine. She protects, nurtures, and helps practitioners on the path to enlightenment. Manifesting in many forms and in many colors to help beings, Tara’s red form represents her powers of magnetization, subjugation, and the transformation of desire into enlightened activity. She is considered to be particularly powerful in times of plague and disharmony.

This comprehensive overview focuses on the origins, forms, and practices of Tara, providing the reader with insightful information and inspirations relating to the goddess. Its second part focuses on Red Tara, a powerful and liberating form of Tara that is particularly important to connect with in a time of crisis. These chapters cover various forms of Red Tara found throughout the Tibetan Buddhist world, the particular qualities she represents, and how through prayers and meditation we can embody her principles and truly benefit beings.

$29.95 - Paperback

Rachael Stevens holds a doctorate from Oxford University, is an early education teacher, and is a long-term Buddhist practitioner. Rachael’s research focuses on Red Tara, and she has studied and practiced with Buddhist communities in Europe, Asia, North America, and Brazil.

Dakini's Warm Breath
The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism

by Judith Simmer-Brown

The primary emblem of the feminine in Tibetan Buddhism is the dakini, or "sky-dancer," a semi-wrathful spirit-woman who manifests in visions, dreams, and meditation experiences. Western scholars and interpreters of the dakini, influenced by Jungian psychology and feminist goddess theology, have shaped a contemporary critique of Tibetan Buddhism in which the dakini is seen as a psychological "shadow," a feminine savior, or an objectified product of patriarchal fantasy. According to Judith Simmer-Brown—who writes from the point of view of an experienced practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism—such interpretations are inadequate.

$39.95 - Paperback

Judith Simmer-Brown, Ph.D., is professor and chair of the religious studies department at Naropa University (formerly the Naropa Institute), where she has taught since 1978. She has authored numerous articles on Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist-Christian dialogue, and Buddhism in America. She is an Acharya (senior teacher) in the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa. A practicing Buddhist since 1971, she lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Art of ListeningThe Art of Listening
A Guide to the Early Teachings of Buddhism

by Sarah Shaw

The Dīghanikāya or Long Discourses of the Buddha is one of the four major collections of teachings from the early period of Buddhism. Its thirty-four suttas (in Sanskrit, sutras) demonstrate remarkable breadth in both content and style, forming a comprehensive collection. The Art of Listening gives an introduction to the Dīghanikāya and demonstrates the historical, cultural, and spiritual insights that emerge when we view the Buddhist suttas as oral literature.

Each sutta of the Dīghanikāya is a paced, rhythmic composition that evolved and passed intergenerationally through chanting. For hundreds of years, these timeless teachings were never written down. Examining twelve suttas of the Dīghanikāya, scholar Sarah Shaw combines a literary approach and a personal one, based on her experiences carefully studying, hearing, and chanting the texts. At once sophisticated and companionable, The Art of Listening will introduce you to the diversity and beauty of the early Buddhist suttas.

$18.95 - Paperback

Sarah Shaw is a faculty member and lecturer at the University of Oxford. She has published numerous works on the history and practices of Buddhism, including Mindfulness and The Art of Listening.

Women in Tibetan Buddhism

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo was raised in London and became a Buddhist while still in her teens. At the age of twenty she traveled to India, becoming one of the first Westerners to be ordained as a Buddhist nun. The international bestseller Cave in the Snow chronicles her twelve years of seclusion in a remote cave. Deeply concerned with the plight of Buddhist nuns, she established Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery in India. In 2008 His Holiness the Twelfth Gyalwang Drukpa, head of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage, gave her the rare title of Jetsunma (Venerable Master).
reflections mt lake cover

$21.95 - Paperback

Khandro RinpocheKhandro Rinpoche - Born in India in 1967, Khandro Rinpoche is the daughter of Tibetan meditation master His Holiness Mindrolling Trichen and is herself a renowned teacher in the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. She is the head of a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery in India and divides her time between teaching in the West, running the nunnery, and supporting charity projects for Tibetan refugees in India.

$22.95 - Paperback

Ani Pema Chodron served as the director of Karma Dzong in Boulder, Colorado, until moving in 1984 to rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to be the director of Gampo Abbey. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche gave her explicit instructions on establishing this monastery for Western monks and nuns. She currently teaches in the United States and Canada and plans for an increased amount of time in solitary retreat under the guidance of Venerable Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. She is interested in helping to establish Tibetan Buddhist monasticism in the West, as well as continuing her work with Western Buddhists of all traditions, sharing ideas and teachings.

$24.95 - Hardcover

Thubten Chodron - Ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun in 1977, Venerable Thubten Chodron is an author, teacher, and the founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey. Sravasti Abbey is the only Tibetan Buddhist training monastery for Westerners in the US and holds gender equality, social engagement, and care for the environment amongst its core values. Ven. Chodron teaches worldwide and is known for her practical (and humorous!) explanations of how to apply Buddhist teachings in daily life.

$19.95 - Paperback

Lama Tsultrim Allione is an author, internationally known Buddhist teacher, and the founder and resident lama of Tara Mandala Retreat Center. She is the author of Women of Wisdom, the national best-seller Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict, which has been translated into seventeen languages, and Wisdom Rising: Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine.

$29.95 - Paperback

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel has studied and practiced Mahayana Buddhism, as well as the Vajrayana tradition of the Longchen Nyingthik, for over 30 years under the guidance of her teacher and husband, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. She has been intimately involved with Rinpoche’s work in bringing Buddhist wisdom to the West, in particular the development of Mangala Shri Bhuti, an organization dedicated to the study and practice of the Longchen Nyingthik lineage.
The Logic of Faith

$16.95 - Paperback

Anne Carolyn Klein is Professor and a former Chair of the Department of Religion at Rice University. She is also a cofounding director of the Dawn Mountain Tibetan Temple, Community Center, and Research Institute. Her publications include Path to the Middle (SUNY Press), Unbounded Wholeness, coauthored with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche (Oxford University Press), and Knowledge and Liberation (Snow Lion Publications).

$29.95 - Paperback

Sangye Khandro is an American woman who studied Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan language with Tibetan masters in India and Nepal. She has studied and translated many important Tibetan Buddhist texts. She is a cofounder of Light of Berotsana, a nonprofit organization for translators of Tibetan texts.
Essence of Clear Light

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Carolyn Rose Gimian is a teacher of meditation, mindfulness, and Buddhism, as well as a writer, book editor, and archivist. She edited Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior in close cooperation with Chögyam Trungpa. After his death, she compiled and edited two additional books of his Shambhala teachings: Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala and Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery. She is also the editor of the ten-volume Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Mindfulness in Action, and many other volumes of his work.
Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Women in the Zen Tradition

"By being keen observers of our planet, we are more connected to the world around us and in a better position to prevent harm and improve the health of the earth."
—Stephanie Kaza, Mindfully Green

Joanna Macy, PhD, teacher and author, is a scholar of Buddhism, systems thinking, and deep ecology. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, Macy has created a groundbreaking framework for personal and social change that brings a new way of seeing the world as our larger body. Her many books include World as Lover, World as SelfWidening Circles, A MemoirActive Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy; and Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work That Reconnects.

$27.95 - Paperback

Stephanie Kaza is Professor Emerita of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont. A leading voice in Buddhism and ecology, her most recent book is Green Buddhism: Practice and Compassionate Action in Uncertain Times.

$18.95 - Paperback

Joan Halifax, PhD, is a Zen priest and anthropologist who has served on the faculty of Columbia University and the University of Miami School of Medicine. For the past thirty years she has worked with dying people and has lectured on the subject of death and dying at Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Medical School, Georgetown Medical School, and many other academic institutions. In 1990, she founded Upaya Zen Center, a Buddhist study and social action center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1994, she founded the Project on Being with Dying, which has trained hundreds of healthcare professionals in the contemplative care of dying people.

$27.95 - MixedMedia

Natalie Goldbergis the author of fifteen books. Writing Down the Bones, her first, has been translated into nineteen languages. Three Simple Lines: A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku is her latest book. For the last forty years she has practiced Zen and taught seminars in writing as a spiritual practice. She lives in northern New Mexico.
Writing Down the Bones

$16.95 - Paperback

Paula Arai was raised in Detroit by a Japanese mother and did Zen training in Japan. She obtained her Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University in 1993 and is now the Eshinni & Kakushinni Professor of Women and Buddhist Studies at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California. She is the author of Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart of Japanese Women’s RitualsWomen Living Zen: Japanese Soto Buddhist Nuns, and Painting Enlightenment: Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra.
little book of zen cover

$19.95 - Hardcover

Jan Chozen Bays, MD, is an ordained Zen teacher and a pediatrician who specializes in the evaluation of children for abuse and neglect. She has trained in Zen for forty-five years with Roshis Taizan Maezumi and Shodo Harada. With her husband she serves as co-abbot of Great Vow Zen Monastery, a residential center for intensive Zen training in Oregon.
Mindful Eating Left

$16.95 - Paperback

Zenju Earthlyn Manuel is an author, poet, and ordained Zen Buddhist priest. She is the author of Deepest PeaceSanctuaryThe Way of TendernessTell Me Something About Buddhism, and Black Angel Cards: 36 Oracles and Messages for Divining Your Life. She compiled and edited Seeds for a Boundless Life: Zen Teachings from the Heart by Zenkei Blanche Hartmann and is a contributing author in Dharma, Color, Culture and The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women.

$18.95 - Paperback

Laura Burges (Ryuko Eitai) is a lay entrusted Buddhist teacher in the Soto Zen tradition. She lectures, offers classes, and leads retreats at the San Francisco Zen Center and at other practice places in Northern California. She is the abiding teacher at Lenox House Meditation Group in Oakland. Laura taught children for 35 years and now mentors other teachers.
Zen Way of Recovery

$21.95 - Paperback

Susan Moon is a writer, editor, and Buddhist teacher in the Soto Zen tradition. For many years she has taught and led Zen retreats nationally and internationally. Her books include This Is Getting Old: Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity; the groundbreaking collection, The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women, with Florence Caplow; and What Is Zen? with Norman Fischer.
alive dead

$17.95 - Paperback

Women in the Insight and Theravada Tradition

Ven. Ayya Khema was born into a Jewish family in Berlin in 1923 and escaped the Nazi regime in 1938. She was ordained a Theravadin Buddhist nun in 1979 and established a forest monastery near Sidney, Australia; a training center for nuns in Colombo, Sri Lanka; and, later, Buddha-Haus, a meditation center in the Allgäu, Germany. Among her books are When the Iron Eagle FliesBeing Nobody, Going NowhereWho Is My Self?; and an autobiography, I Give You My Life. She passed away in 1997.
Path to Peace

$18.95 - Paperback

Sharon Salzberg is one of America's leading spiritual teachers and authors. A practitioner of Buddhist meditation for over thirty years, she is a co-founder of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Insight Meditation Society, and she directs meditation retreats throughout the United States and abroad.

Lovingkindness

$16.95 - Paperback

Christina Feldman - In the early 1970s, Christina Feldman spent several years in Asia, studying and training in the Buddhist meditation tradition. She has led insight meditation retreats in the West since 1974. A cofounder of Gaia House, in Devon, England, she is a regular teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts and at Spirit Rock in Woodacre, California. In addition, she leads retreats in Europe.
Boundless Heart The Buddha’s Path of Kindness, Compassion, Joy, and Equanimity By Christina Feldman

$16.95 - Paperback

Additional Resources on Women in Buddhism

Sera Khandro: A Reader’s Guide

Sera Khandro (1892 - 1940), also known as Kunzang Dekyong Wagmo,  was one of the great masters of the early 20th century and the English speaking world is fortunate now that both her story and her writings have been emerging more and more over the past few years. Her story is at once fascinating, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting. Tulku Thondup Rinpoche, in his remarkable Incarnation: The History and Mysticism of the Tulku Tradition of Tibet gives a superb overview: "This...

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Mandarava Reader’s Guide

This series of blog posts are meant to be resources guides to complement the biographies of the great masters and scholars on the Treasury of Lives site. Mandarava Mandarava Mandarava was one of the great 8th century adepts and was one of the main consorts of Guru Rinpoche. As such a central figure at the time of Guru Rinpoche, she is a focus of many works. A wonderful complete biography was published by our friends at Wisdom Publications as The...

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On Translation: Sarah Harding and Larry Mermelstein

In our second On Translation video series cosponsored with the Tsadra Foundation, we are pleased to share this recording of Sarah Harding (Naropa University and the Tsadra Foundation) & Larry Mermelstein (Nalanda Translation Committee).   This session is for any student, practitioner, or translator of Tibetan Buddhism and is an opportunity to enter the world of translators of the Buddhadharma with two of the most experienced Tibetan translators. Most people encounter the Buddhist teachings through translations of texts, so like...

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Yeshe Tsogyal: A Guide for Readers to the Dakini Princess

yeshe-tsogyal

The first Tibetan ever to attain complete enlightenment was in all probability the woman Yeshe Tsogyal, closest disciple of Padmasambhava, the master who introduced the Buddhist teachings to Tibet in the eighth century. The first three books below are not just biographies—and very different from each other both in emphasis as well as some of the events accounted for—but  inspiring examples of how Buddha’s teaching may be practiced. Although these texts are of great antiquity, they nevertheless expresses a tradition that is still alive today and is an archetypal description of the teacher-disciple relationship. Yeshe Tsogyal follows the complete Buddhist path, including the Dzogchen teachings, and herself becomes a Guru of great power and wisdom. Passages of profound teachings are offset by episodes of exploit and adventure, spiritual endeavor, court intrigue, and personal encounter. Hers is a dramatic story, full of beauty and song, and offers an intimate glimpse of Tsogyal’s feelings, aspirations, hardships, and triumphs.

Biographical Accounts

Lady of the Lotus Born
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Lady of the Lotus-Born: The Life and Enlightenment of Yeshe Tsogyal

By Yeshe Tsogyal, Namkhai Nyingpo, and Gyalwa Changchub
Foreword by Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche
Translated by The Padmakara Translation Group

Lady of the Lotus-Born is a terma, or Dharma Treasure, written and concealed in the eighth century for future generations by the accomplished masters Namkhai Nyingpo and Gyalwa Changchub, the disciples of Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal. The text was discovered nearly a thousand years later in the seventeenth century by the Tertön (Dharma Treasure finder) Taksham Samten Lingpa, who, by interpreting the symbolic script of the dakinis (reproduced at the beginning of each chapter), revealed the text in its entirety as it has been handed down to us.

Life and Visions of Yeshe Tsogyal
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The Life and Visions of Yeshe Tsogyal: The Autobiography of the Great Wisdom Queen

By Yeshe Tsogyal, rediscovered by Drime Kunga and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, and translated by Chonyi Drolma
Foreword by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

The many layers of the heroic life of Yeshé Tsogyal, Tibet’s best-known dakini and female master, are revealed in this inspiring work. Translated here for the first time, this terma, or “hidden treasure,” presents an outer narrative of her birth, family, and struggles in a traditional male-dominated society; an inner account of her meetings with the great master Padmasambhava; and a secret chronicle of her retreat at Chimpu and her visionary journey to Oddiyana. This accomplished translation is enriched by the refreshing insights of six contemporary scholars and teachers of Tibetan Buddhism, making this invaluable guide to the life of Yeshé Tsogyal a treasure for practitioners, scholars, and anyone intent on the possibility of awakening.

You can read a piece from the book Judith Simmer-Brown wrote here.

Sky Dancer: The Secret Life and Songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyel

By Taksham Nuden Dorje, translated by Keith Dowman
Foreword by Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

Another terma text is this extraordinary work, discovered by Taksham Nuden Dorje n the seventeenth century.

An Thinley Norbu Rinpoche says in the foreword,

Those who read the biography of the supreme tantric master, Padma Sambhava, and his Consort, Yeshe Tsogyal, have the chance to identify with them, and those who cultivate the inner wisdom Dakini:, the root Dakini:, progress towards becoming the supreme Sky Dancer, incomprehensible feminine wisdom,
the lover without motive.

and

In the dharmakaya's stainless space Yeshe Tsogyel is Kuntuzangmo, infinite and noble femininity itself. These names and qualities are no more than
indications of the nature of the dharmakaya which can never be contained in, or identified by, concepts. Sambhogakaya is the
glowing awareness of the dharmakaya, where the Five Buddhas and their Consorts appear as unobstructed luminous space-form. As the feminine aspect in the sambhogakaya, Yeshe Tsogyal is the Five Wisdom-Consorts.

Books Related to Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal

Fearless Lions Roar
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by Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche
Translated and introduced by David Christiansen

Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche was one of the most important teachers of the 20th century - an important teacher to some of the best living teachers.  In the pages of this book, Yeshe Tsogyal appears throughout.  Here is one section:

At present we are practicing the meditation deity in the form of the dakini, from the terma treasure teachings of the second Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdral Yeshe Dorje (1904–87). It is a teaching that has been revealed specifically for the benefit of beings in this dark age. This practice stems from the compassion of the three jewels and the blessings and aspirations of the buddhas and is an actual method to accomplish Guru Padmasambhava’s consort Yeshe Tsogyal. The dakini Yeshe Tsogyal is the nirmanakaya emanation of dharmadhatu Samantabhadri, the consort of the dharmakaya buddha Samantabhadra, who is the female aspect of the ultimate deity (don gyi lha).

In order to help us realize this state for ourselves, through the power, blessings, and aspirations of Buddha Samantabhadra and consort, the dakini Yeshe Tsogyal arises as their actual manifestation and is born into this world. Yeshe Tsogyal was blessed and taught by Guru Padmasambhava and as part of her various enlightened activities, she wrote down and transmitted a method to follow her and accomplish the essence of her awareness wisdom (rig pa’i ye shes kyi ngo bo). Thus we have the practice of Yeshe Tsogyal as a yidam or meditation deity.

Cascading Waterfall
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A Cascading Waterfall of Nectar

To call Cascading Waterfall a book on the preliminary practices is a bit like calling the Mt. Everest a hill.  Coming from the vast wisdom mind of Longchenpa's emanation in our age, it is an indespensible guide to the path.  And Yeshe Tsogyal, who Rinpoche describes as Kuntuzangmo appearing in form, appears throughout.

Rinpoche includes a translation of Mipham Rinpoche's prayer to Yeshe Tsogyal, The Longing Melody of Faith.  

And the second part of the book is a commentary on the meaning of “The Continuously Blossoming Rosary of the  Lotus Assembly Palace” called The Light Rays of the Youthful Sun and Rinpoche offers us many teachings on the Great Exaltation Queen Yeshe Tsogyal who features in the prayer.

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Inseparable across Lifetimes: The Lives and Love Letters of the Tibetan Visionaries Namtrul Rinpoche and Khandro Tāre Lhamo

By Namtrul Jigme Phuntsok and Khandro Tare Lhamo
Introduced and translated by Holly Gayley

Namtrul Jigme Phuntsok and Khandro Tare Lhamo were an extraordinary 20th century terton visionaries as the translations of love letters.  Tare Lhamo is widely considered an emanation of Yeshe Tsogyal and this connection appears throughout Gayley's introduction as well as the letters themselves.

The letters are poetic, affectionate, and prophetic, articulating a hopeful vision of renewal that drew on their past lives together and led to their twenty-year partnership. This couple played a significant role in restoring Buddhism in the region of Golok once China’s revolutionary fervor gave way to reform.

fearless dudjom
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Light of Fearless Indestructible Wisdom: The Life and Legacy of His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche

By Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal

This biography of Dudjom Rinpoche references Yeshe Tsogyal throughout.  It includes the Seventh Heap of Lightbeams which a brief explanation of Kyabje Rinpoche’s enthronement as a great tertön and regent of Guru Padmasambhava and of how Guru Rinpoche and wisdom dakini Yeshe Tsogyal entrusted him with terma.  Kenpo Tsewang also shares how in some terms teachings terma teachings it says that Guru Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal reincarnated together in the form of His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, so that he was their actual presence—only the body was different.

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by Judith Simmer-Brown

This is a classic of scholarship on the Dakini principle from the point of view of a practitioner.  Yeshe Togyal is discussed and referenced throughout.  Here is a sample:

As for her inner dimension, Yeshe Tsogyal was remarkable because she was not merely a mortal; in her dynamic nature she was a tantric Buddhist meditational deity. She is called Sarasvati (Yangchenma), the great female bodhisattva of learning, culture, and music, the peaceful consort of Manjusri, who carries a lute that serves as her symbol. Sarasvati is also called Vakisvari, (Ngawang Lhamo) or ‘‘lady of speech’’ for her connection with seed syllables, music, utterance, and poetry. She is the dakini of the mirrorlike wisdom, and the ‘‘white-cloaked lady’’ (Ko Karmo) who is dakini of inner heat in the yogic practice of tummo. It is said that Yeshe Tsogyal was Sarasvati in her previous life.

Yeshe Tsogyal in her visionary dimension was the radiant White Tara (Drolma Karmo) the savior who, with her compassionate seven eyes, attends to the health and welfare of beings in all quarters. In another manifestation, she was Vajrayogini or Vajravarahi, who are two aspects of the most important dakini  in the Tibetan tantric system. Vajrayogini is a semiwrathful deity, depicted as red and dancing, wearing bone ornaments; she is the most expressive of the qualities of wakefulness, the personification
of the widsom-mind itself. In her alternate identity as Vajravarahi she is the ‘‘Vajra Sow,’’ the manifestation of the nonconceptual quality of the mind, who severs thought with her hooked knife

 

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Heart Advice to Tibetans

Preserving Tibetan Culture and Cultivating a Good Heart

Heart Advice to Tibetans

An excerpt from Voices from Larung Gar.

Introduction by Holly Gayley

In his seminal work of advice, Heart Advice to Tibetans for the Twenty-First Century (composed in 1995), the renowned Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok articulates a path forward for Tibetans as a nationality. His vision of progress entails preserving Tibetan culture and its civilizational heritage while adopting new forms of knowledge and improving the standard of living for Tibetans in the arenas of economics, technology, and infrastructure. This vision of progress, which the khenpo encapsulates at one point as the “synthesis of the ancient and modern,” represents a Buddhist approach to the challenges signaled by the turn of the millennium, a key moment which for him, on the one hand, risks the decline and disappearance of Tibetan culture and, on the other hand, holds out the possibility of Tibetans making a grand contribution on the world stage. . . .

Preamble to Heart Advice to Tibetans for the Twenty-First Century

Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok (1995)

At the very pinnacle of the world, the Land of Snows was foretold by the omniscient one, our teacher the Buddha, the incomparable friend to all beings, and became the field of conversion for noble Avalokiteśvara. For many thousands of years, this place was known to history as the Buddhist kingdom of Tibet with its righteous people—brave and heroic warriors imbued with kindness, honesty, and a noble demeanor.

When Lord Atiśa, the crown ornament of all Indian paṇḍitas, arrived in Tibet, he blessed the land.

During the time of our ancestor Songtsen Gampo, many commonplace and distinctive systems of knowledge were developed. In the reign of Trisong Detsen, the empire held sway from the banks of the Ganges River in the west to the Chinese city of Chang’an (present-day Xian) in the east. There is no need to be bashful about the extent of Tibetan territory, power, and wealth.

Later, when Lord Atiśa, the crown ornament of all Indian paṇḍitas, arrived in Tibet, he blessed the land with the aspiration that Tibet remain a Buddhist kingdom in line with a prophecy made by Orgyan Padmākara, the second buddha: “When the dharma no longer flourishes in India, it will spread throughout Tibet.” That came to pass based on the kindness of Dharma kings and the efforts of the masses across the vast expanse of Tibet.

This is testimony to our history, which gives us both pride and inspiration. In this regard, it is not hyperbole for us to praise our own nationality; we should know that our people have a truly magnificent history. Then gradually, due to fluctuations over time, various periods of flourishing and decline occurred in Tibet. At present, in this new era, we can tell whether or not we are on par with the most advanced peoples. Now, there’s no time to delay! We are on the verge of the twenty-first century.

During the past century, the way people think and the way things are made have been transformed. Whatever changes have taken place, this is the nature of existence. In the midst of these changes, we Tibetan people should maintain the worthy traditions of our ancestors so that they do not vanish, including our distinctive civilization, the beneficial aspects of our values, and local customs and habits.

Tibetans should try to work together and each contribute according to his or her own capacities.

In addition, we should adopt new forms of knowledge of the modern period to the degree that they are beneficial in both the long and short term. Each and every Tibetan must think carefully about the ways to avoid falling behind the various nationalities of the world. For example, even the most humble home, like an anthill, is protected from collapse when all the members of a household are united in purpose: “If we don’t do such and such, then in the future our home will deteriorate in one or another way.”

We as a people with a magnificent history can benefit the entire world with our distinctive civilization. Otherwise, if we don’t think like this—and make do with just food and shelter—then we are more dim-witted than cattle. What a sad state of affairs!

In terms of action, above all, Tibetans should try to work together and each contribute according to his or her own capacities—virtuous and experienced elders with an orientation toward the greater good of Tibetans as a people, young intellectuals able to discern what is worthwhile in a synthesis of the ancient and modern, and lamas and tulkus who have extensive knowledge of secular and religious affairs and are able to influence others on the path to virtue. The vast majority of the population should follow their lead. With a unified approach, let us endeavor on the path forward into the future. This is very important!

Cultivate a Good Heart

For the future, in the twenty-first century, what should our approach be as Tibetans? First and foremost, everyone—young and old, male and female—should continuously cultivate a good heart. As it is said:

If your heart is good, the ground and path are also good.
If your heart is base, the ground and path are also base.
Everything depends on the purity of your intent.
So always endeavor toward a good heart.

In this regard, a good heart or intent refers to concern for other beings, including all types of people and animals down to insects. If you see any living creature suffer, you should think, “How wonderful if I could alleviate their suffering even for a moment.”

Whoever has such love and compassion, without agitation in their hearts, is always joyful.

For example, under the hot sun we hope for the slightest cool breeze, and in the cold we hope for just a bit of sunlight. Likewise, if a spark falls on our skin or a thorn pricks us, we don’t like it. If someone speaks harshly to us, we don’t want to hear it. In the same way, we should set aside wanton thoughts of harming or killing others, not only all types of people but even insects.

Further, with sensitivity, we should be pleased when the destitute find a little money, when animals are freed from slaughter, or even when someone loses something and later finds it. This is what is called love and compassion. We should regard not only our own Tibetan people but all living beings universally in this way. At the same time, we should have special affection for our own people, who share the same flesh and bone as relatives. In particular, within that, we should cherish the unique characteristics of our nationality. An attitude like this is invaluable.

Whoever has such love and compassion, without agitation in their hearts, is always joyful. Wherever they go, they bring benefit to others, experience harmony among friends, and garner praise from everyone. All their aspirations are spontaneously fulfilled. Also, in the next life, the fully matured result of love and compassion is enjoying the higher realms as a god or human. As it says in The Way of the Bodhisattva, “The result of a clear intent is abiding in Brahmā’s realm or such.” Since the result follows from the cause, for anyone who benefits others with love and compassion, this will be true not only for this life but in all subsequent lives as well.

Moreover, if all the members of a household have a good heart, then no matter how destitute, they will spend their days with a sense of well-being, since “the source of all well-being is a joyful mind.” The same is true if all the members of a community have this attitude or all the citizens of a nation. And, if everyone in the world were goodhearted then, without a doubt, peace and joy would come to the entire world.

If we look back at recent history, the damage and losses that have occurred around the world in general and within specific countries all have been the result of a detrimental mindset that wishes benefit for one’s own at the expense of others. At the beginning of this century, during World Wars I and II, there were countless causalities. When America dropped the atomic bomb on Japan, hundreds of thousands of lives were lost in a single instant. More recently in the Gulf War, terrifying modern weapons were used. How many hard-won valuables and priceless lives were lost?

If you want to lead a meaningful human life, then from now onward there is no choice but to train the mind.

Furthermore, the source of all oppression and tyranny between nations and peoples who have little regard for each other comes down to simply this: the absence of love and compassion. Specifically, if we reflect on the present course of the world, terrifying modern weapons that never existed before have been manufactured and fill the earth from top to bottom. At this juncture of time, if we sever the cord of love and compassion, all hope for human life, prosperity, and civilization on earth as a whole is lost.

If you are unable to give rise to the good intention to benefit others a hundred times, at the very least, while enjoying this human life, do not harm others. If you don’t want to suffer physically or mentally, then abandon malice that seeks to harm or kill another in order to obtain a little happiness for yourself.

Needless to say, our minds are like young stallions in need of training. A mind that is naturally oriented to benefit others from the start, without need of transformation, is rare indeed. If you want to lead a meaningful human life, then from now onward there is no choice but to train the mind. If you have good intentions, based on that alone, you will enjoy all the good things in life, both temporal and spiritual. This is vital.

Be Genuine and Honest

Second, one should be genuine and honest. Within human society, from birth until death, it’s important to be genuine at heart and honest in demeanor, whether toward individuals or other ethnicities. Make no mistake, acting in a straightforward manner without deception is a source of well-being for self and other. So, whatever you do, act without pretense or cunning, examining your motivation. For the most part, people seem to do whatever they want. But, it’s worthwhile not to do that so you won’t have anything to regret later. Otherwise, if you deceive others for your own gain, it will be difficult to sustain with no one else finding out. In the end, you don’t achieve your heart’s desire and instead encounter misfortune.

Generally speaking, Tibetans are actually quite genuine and honest. Our Tibetan brothers and sisters scattered around the world have had the opportunity to live alongside people from various places for a long time. Based on that, Tibetans are often praised for being compassionate, helpful, honest, brave, and courteous. With such an excellent legacy from our ancestors, it’s crucial not to allow our worthy traditions to decline. . . .

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Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok (1933–2004) was a prominent teacher in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism who was recognized as a terton (treasure revealer) and renowned for his mastery of Dzogchen. He established Larung Gar near the town of Sertar.

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Devī and Pema | A Duet

The following is an excerpt from

Namtrul Jigme Phuntsok and Khandro Tāre Lhamo

A Letter from Tāre Lhamo

The tenth letter Tāre Lhamo sent to Namtrul Rinpoche during their correspondence.

This is a duet that Tāre Lhamo composed between Devī and Pema. Devī means “goddess” in Sanskrit and translates the second part of her name, Lhamo, and Pema refers to Namtrul Rinpoche’s name in youth, Pema Drime Lodrö. This duet was performed in 1979 for a small group of her followers during Sagadawa, the month-long celebration of the Buddha’s parinirvāna. To begin, the mood is tinged with the sorrow of being separated from the beloved. Yet overall it portrays a sense of optimism and good fortune. The devastation of the recent past is implicitly referenced as demonic forces and enemies that destroy the dharma. Despite this, there is a triumphal tone. The demons have been vanquished and the sun of the Buddhist teachings is poised to rise once again.

On the fifteenth day of Sagadawa in the Earth Sheep Year—

Devī:

Congenial friend, these etchings on mind,
Engraved on the stone of selflessness,
Cannot be altered, even in death;
It is samaya, the oath of the past.

In a splendid garden on earthen meadow,
An utpala of exquisite beauty blooms.
Its nectar is the allotment for the little bee
As an elixir for memory that liberates through taste.

The resonant plucking of the lute
Has sorrow in its melody,
So that I never forget the words of my friend.
This is the accumulation of past deeds.

The sun is your handsome face,
Decorated with the help of rainbow-colored clouds.
A drizzle of cool rain is the field of disciples.
This is coincidence, shared in common.

In reply, Pema:

The luster of my youthful friend, like a conch-colored moon,
Traversing space alongside the constellations,
Its radiance clears away the murkiness of sorrow.
From prior aspirations and samaya, the time has come!

Devī:

Above, the Indian peacock bearing a crown,
Its voice like the melodious kalaviṅka bird,
Flaunts its plumage, spread out like a parasol,
And dazzling form, like a hollyhock in bloom.

Pema:

The mottled rocky peak with a conch seal
Is the den of the white snow lioness and her cubs,
Not the thoroughfare of lesser, ordinary beasts.
This is the way of the world, according to karma and dominion.

Devī:

There is yellow gold in the depths of the ocean;
But the conch crocodile left without acquiring it.
I, the fish, so supple and so flexible,
Retrieved the nāga vase for my own gain.
Inside is the merit of all we need and desire.

Pema:

Great Lion Gesar established on the golden throne,
The six divisions of Ling are settled like ice on a lake.
The fortune of Ma is replete with cattle, goat calves, and sheep,
And the mothers and aunts offer liquor to gladden.

Devī:

Lord Norbu Rinpoche, the supreme victorious one,
Has destroyed the doctrine of dark demons at the borders.
The sun of the teachings of sublime Śākyamuni shines.
I offer the choice draft to convene a festival of delight.

Pema:

You, fortunate men and women gathered here,
Like a city of divine male and female warriors,
I am from the auspicious site, Lhalung Sumdo,
Signifying in my sovereign form that the benefit of beings will be accomplished.

At a time of plentiful good fortune, the month’s start,
To open the maṇḍala of the profound path of secret means,
Friend, the lineage of many vidyādharas are arranged in rows,
And the powerful warriors of Ling perform the dance.

Hundreds of thousands of mother ḍākinīs sing songs of praise.
Above, the wisdom deities disperse blessings to consecrate.
In between, all eight classes of gods and spirits provide aid.
Below, the earth lords and nāgas spread luck and fortune.
The great kings of the four directions protect and nurture.

This is a song to eat the lungs and hearts of vicious demons,
Enemies that harm the dharma, the teachings of Buddha.
In order to heal the demise and misery of destitute Tibetans,
This is a song to swirl the lasso at auspiciousness and fortune.
This is a song to gather whatever deeds have been undertaken.

Retinue of chief, ministers, and subjects, remain here now;
The time has come to bring down the eighteen fortresses.
Coincidence clicks into place without obstructing conditions!
Instigate the joy of dharma, the teachings of Buddha!

With faith and respect for the teachings of Lord Śākyamuni,
With confidence in the speech of the divine lama,
Value the command of the sovereign king.
Heed the advice of the kind father and mother.
Tell the truth: don’t muddle karmic cause and effect.
Not entrusting enemies, bring them down headlong.

Without inwardly taming negative emotions, the five poisons,
There is risk of ruin in both this life and the next.
With supreme compassion for all mother sentient beings,
Lovingly protect the lowly, weak, and destitute.

Welcomed by smiling friends, relatives, and neighbors,
Conversing in the exchange of pleasant words,
Enjoying the sweet nectar of delicious food and drink,
Dressed in fine wools and jewel ornaments,
Body, because it is a maṇḍala, I present it as an offering.
Speech, because it is symbolic dharma, I sing melodiously.
Mind, because it is dharmatā, I invoke the vast expanse.

Because this place, through pure vision, is a buddha realm,
Today is the time, under the auspicious sun,
For the coincidence of glorious good fortune to converge.
The gods and humans are happy. Oh bliss! Oh joy!

However long, from now until attaining enlightenment,
To forge the happiness of the six realms of mother beings,
And so that dharma, the Buddha’s teachings, does not disappear,
Carry the burden of others’ benefit at the risk of your life
And don the mighty armor of rousing bodhicitta.

May I be a guide to one day lead all mother beings
To the self-arising citadel of Zangdok Palri,
Into the presence of the sovereign, Lord Padma,
Gathering as one assembly, never to part ways.

As a result of this aspiration in song and verse,
May the aspirations of the divine lama be accomplished.
May the mighty dominion of the ancestral chiefs increase.
May the mothers and aunts be meritorious and elegant.
May auspiciousness in accord with dharma be fulfilled.

This was spoken at the pleasant grove of Tashi Lhathang Norbu for the enjoyment of a gathering of disciples, the glory of a delightful ocean.

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