Yeshe Tsogyal is known as Mother of Tibetan Buddhism. She was the consort of Padmasambhava, the Indian tantric teacher who brought Buddhism to Tibet. She was born into a royal family in about 757 AD. She is often equated with the Hindu Goddess Saraswati.
The name Yeshe Tsogyal means Primordial Queen of The Lake.
She became as fully realised as her Guru, Padmasambhava, and he told her that with the right intention towards enlightenment and sufficient will, birth in a woman’s body is better for the purposes of self-evolution. This accords with wider Tantric tradition. It is said that Yeshe Tsogyal was reborn as Machig Labdron, the great Tibetan yogini.
Early in her life she experienced great difficulty including being violently raped, and set upon by bandits, but by virtue of diligent practise she emerged in her mid-life from a cave, fully enlightened.
In her Karmamudra Instructions she says….
Unite male (solar) and female (lunar) energies,
Developing the method of mixing higher and lower energies,
Female assisting male and male assisting female,
The principles of each being separately practiced.
Intensify and elevate your practice, broadening the horizons of your pleasure;
But if pleasure and Emptiness are not identified,
Profitlessly you stray from the path of Tantra.
Apprehend the intrinsic unity of pleasure and Emptiness.
Padmasambhava had told Yeshe Tsogyal to find a certain yogi named Atsara Sahle, with whom she would practice sadhana. They got on well together, but he could not endure the cold of their hermitage, so left alone in a cave in Kathmandu, Yeshe Tsogyal faced her inner demons…
There came a period when, while living alone in the wintry cave of Nering Senge, her mate having retreated to warmer climes, that Yeshe Tsogyal began to face all the demons of her mind. Visions rose up before her in the process of her meditations, equal to those of Buddha Sakyamuni beneath the Bodhi-tree, or Christ in the throes of his Temptation, or St. Anthony in the Desert, full of hideous and terrifying intensity. Hordes of phantoms advanced upon her: fearful, seductive, malign, and evil. With these, the product of her own traumatic passions, she wrestled, while remaining unmovable in her vajra-like samadhi, the immutable poise of impartial contemplation. For days the onslaught continued, until finally she was left in peace. This was the trial of her final spiritual catharsis.
There is a very interesting description of Yeshe Tsogyal’s final tantric initiation by Padmasambhava.
The Third Initiation
Obeying the Guru’s instruction, sealing my body as a lighted butter-lamp, I applied myself to meditation until Awareness had become strong. Initially, I was oppressed by anxiety, but later the sounds of the syllables in the focal points of the psychic nerves resonated spontaneously; I gained full awareness and perfect control of my vital breath and energy flows, and instinctive and immediate knowledge of how to employ them…..and a few signs of mastery occurred.
However, the Guru enjoined me ‘not to eat the barley until it was ripe’, that my initiations were not yet complete. So with greater faith in Guru Rimpoche than the Buddha himself, I addressed him thus:
0 Venerable Orgyen Rimpoche,
I beg you to grant the Supreme Initiation.
Then the Guru appeared as the mandala of the Red Heruka… he took up the Absolute Heruka in his hand like a spear, and he replied:
If you wish the seed to infuse your inner mandala,
Offer your mandala of mystic delight.
If you speak of this method your Samara is broken.
I, the girl Tsogyel, sank beneath mundane appearances, and having slipped into the nakedness of pure pleasure, I anointed my mandala of delight with the five sacred substances, and made further petition:
Buddha Hero of Pure Pleasure, do as you will.
Guru and Lord of Pure Pleasure,
With true energy and joy, I implore you to inject
The seed into the inner mandala.
And I will guard the secret of the method with my life.
Then with three fingers stirring the pollen dust of the lotus, I offered my mandala to the mandala of the Guru’s Body with an intense snake-like dance. The mandala of dynamic space having gathered into itself the nature of the Great Pema Heruka himself by means of the hook of the lower member’s focal point, the Absolute Heruka, his magnificent flaming vajra [editor: phallus] in a state of rapacity and violent abuse, his wrinkles uncreased, projecting his full emanation, took command of the lotus throne [editor: vagina] with a roar of scornful laughter that flooded appearances with glory, transmuting them into pure pleasure. Thus he revealed to me the Mandala of the Blazing Sun of Radiant Inner Space, conferring power upon me.
(Spiritual Raunch ~ Way better than Fifty Shades of Grey…)
Vikki Noble, who is a very interesting and knowledgeable shamanic writer for women that i have long admired and highly recommend, writes about Yeshe Tsogyal. She describes how these Tibetan Dakinis and Bodhisattwas were considered energy forces that unblock obstructions within the energy body and on the spiritual path. She says Dakinis often are the organisers of synchronicities and fate. The Dakini is a ”sky-goer”..she who moves through space. The shamans who make soul flights. ”She who revels in the freedom of emptiness.” (Miranda Shaw).
Noble gives a strong description of another initiation of Yeshe Tsogyal’s……
”When she reached the brink of death in her advanced meditation retreat and she called out to “the Teacher”:
Yeshe Tsogyal says…”Then I had a vision of a red woman, naked, lacking even the covering of bone ornaments, who thrust her bhaga against my mouth, and I drank deeply from the copious flow of blood. My entire being was filled with health and well-being, I felt as strong as a snow-lion, and I realized profound absorption to be inexpressible truth.”
This is clearly a direct link to Vajrayogini, the red Queen of the Dakinis who is frequently depicted drinking her own menstrual blood from a skullcup held in her left hand. The essential female bodily substance, menstrual blood, is shown here to be spiritual nourishment par excellence, creating a striking metaphor for female-to-female direct transmission in a lineage of wisdom, in this case from the deity, Vajrayogini, to a dakini, Yeshe Tsogyal, in human form.
Dakinis are explicitly understood to take form as human women, and although not all women are dakinis, any woman at any time might be a dakini. The simplest way of understanding this is through the biological bloodline of menstruation, a legacy bequeathed from all mothers of daughters in every culture throughout time, all the way back to the beginnings of human evolution. Humans diverged from the primate tree when we abandoned estrus and established our bleeding and ovulation in synchronization with the yin-yang polarity of the Moon’s monthly cycles.”
Yeshe Tsogyal was the preserver and scribe of the Teachings of Padmasambhava, and one of her activities was the secret deposit of sacred esoteric texts (known as Mind-Treasures) in safe places and hidden caves in the mountains, where seekers of the future could find them. These secreted texts are known as Termas.
‘Not a single clod of earth that hands may grasp
Is now without my blessing
And time the truth of this will show
The proof will be the taking out of treasures
The five fold elements I brought beneath my sway
And everywhere I filled the earth with treasures.’
~ Yeshe Tsogyal
”If you know me, you know that I reside in the hearts of all beings. Just summon me and I will return!”
Okay! That’s enough for now.