Entries by Stella

Machig’s Struggle with Self-Doubt

“When we look at Machig’s life we see her self-doubt balanced by an underlying sense of destiny. She was at once very human, struggling with questions about whether to give up her spiritual vows and enter a relationship, and at the same time she was clearly an extraordinary being, recognized from childhood as a divine […]

His Holiness The Dalai Lama’s Favorite Prayer

  His Holiness The Dalai Lama recites this prayer daily because, he says, “It gives me inner strength and enthusiasm to serve sentient being and humanity.” It is a passage from Bodhicaryavatara, the epic poem renowned as “The Way of the Bodhisattva” composed by Shantideva.  “May I be a guard for those who are protectorless,  […]


What Makes Yeshe Tsogyal the Perfect Disciple?

“The visualization of ourselves as Yeshe Tsogyal is particularly important and profound. She was both Guru Rinpoche’s consort and his chief disciple. He had a deep loving-kindness and a great tenderness toward her, as well as confidence in her ability to understand and implement his teachings. Thus, if we visualize ourselves as Yeshe Tsogyal, with […]


The Secret Power of the Dakini

“In her most subtle, essential form, Yeshe Tsogyal is called ‘expanse of mahasukha Kuntusangmo [Samantabhadri], the all-good queen.’ This deity is called the primordial Mother Buddha, source of all enlightenment. She is the consort and female counterpart of Samantabhadra (Kuntusangpo), the primordial buddha of the Nyingma school, who represents the formless space of wisdom, the […]

The Symbolic Meaning of Green Tara’s Color

 “Green Tara’s color symbolizes activity and success. Although she possesses the same qualities as other manifestations of the omniscient ones, she specifically embodies the enlightening influence by which the Buddhas act to benefit and guide us. In addition, she represents the purified aspect of the element of air, which activates growth in the world. Just […]


The Horrific Appearance of the Dakini

“Not all dakinis appear in young and beautiful form; in horrific form they have the power to open the practitioner’s mind in a direct way. This is how the karma dakini appears in ‘destroying’ mode, removing particularly intractable obstacles to practice. The great master Tilopa was constantly under the tutelage of an ugly old dakini-woman, […]


Lama Tsultrim Allione on Faith

  “I saw that faith is a powerful form of relaxation, and this turned out to be one of the most powerful realizations of the pilgrimage for me. Faith is taking things one step at a time, relaxing, trusting. It is moment-to-moment opening to the wisdom beings.” ~ Lama Tsultrim Allione, “Women of Wisdom”


Mandarava Tames Charnel Ground Beings

“Because the wisdom dakini is native to the charnel ground, she has special powers to tame the raw and terrifying spirits who dwell there. Princess Mandarava was especially known for her abilities to tame the charnel ground beings. In her first encounter, she was daunted by the horrific appearances, screams, and behaviors of the demons […]


“Some Said I Was A Dakini”

“I always think I am not a dakini. I don’t know who I am. Some lamas say I am Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal, some say I am Vajrayogini, and others say I am Tara. It might be their own pure appearances. I myself think I am nothing special. When I was young some people said I […]


Do Not Be Discouraged

  When Tara appeared to Machig Labdron while she was in retreat in a cave at the age of forty-one, the yogini said to Tara: “You have been very kind to me and have given me power. I am just a weak, stupid woman, but now I have become someone who can benefit others because […]

The Blessing of Green Tara

 Green Tara appeared to Khenchen Tsara Dharmakirti Rinpoche (Chokyi Drakpa) while he was in a Chinese prison and gave him a prophecy that the Dharma would again flourish in Tibet:  “While he was still in prison, [Tsara Dharmakirti] Rinpoche had an auspicious vision of a pure realm where he met Green Tara. Upon seeing Green […]


Whatever We Can Do…

  “Whatever we can do to serve others, at any moment, in any situation, is the practice of bodhi, or awakening. Service awakens in us a natural generosity, not a calculated response that weighs the pros and cons and decides whether it’s worth the effort. It is a matter of the heart. We see a […]


Recognizing the Wisdom Dakini

“As we have seen, it is often difficult to recognize the wisdom dakini. She may appear in the form of a human woman or take the visionary form of a worldly demoness dakini. Because of the ambiguity of her appearance, which is a central part of her lore, tantrikas study her identifiable marks, which differ […]

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo on the Meaning of “Tsunma”

“In 2008, when the Gyalwang Drukpa suggested awarding her the title Jetsunma in recognition of her spiritual growth and her work with women, Tenzin Palmo’s first reaction was to refuse such a distinction. ‘But,’ she says, ‘I received so many e-mails saying how wonderful it was and how it highlighted the status of women that […]