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Between Dakas and Dakinis

Dakini-Soyolmaa

“Between dakas and dakinis there’s a difference
In how their bodies may seem in apparent reality,
But for Mahamudra, luminous clarity,
There’s not an atom of difference in their essential nature.

Those with good fortune and intelligence,
Who enter into the Vajrayana
And attain the mantric siddhis,
Are renowned as mantra-born dakinis.

By attending a realized teacher and
By the power of meeting mind’s natural state
They directly realize the reality that abides.
These are called coemergent dakinis.

By dwelling in the fields of the twenty-four
Sacred places of body, speech, and mind,
They accomplish the benefits of others.
These are called sacred-realm dakinis.”

~ Spontaneous song by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyatso Rinpoche

However, the dakini expresses feminine gender in only a qualified sense, since in her absolute essence she represents the ultimate beyond gender. From this point of view, she has no allegiance to anyone; it is inaccurate to say that women alone possess the dakini. When the practitioner truly understands this, liberation from gender concepts can be glimpsed. The wisdom dakini can best be understood in terms of her enlightened essence, the four dimensions that depict how the limitless nature of mind can manifest in human forms dedicated to the welfare and awakening of all beings.”

The wisdom dakini manifests these four aspects simultaneously. Secretly she is pure space-emptiness, vast and inexpressible, which can be seen in the nonconceptual gaze of her eyes in her outer forms. Fundamentally we see ‘her’ as inseparable from the mind, not identifiable as an object of perception, and so we do not find ‘her’ at all. The inner dakini is a visionary manifestation of the dynamic quality of the mind and phenomena, experienced in brilliant color and form, empty and vivid. In the outer aspect, this purity manifests as intense heat and desire without ego, fueling nonconceptual insight. In the outer-outer aspect, she takes whatever physical form may be of most benefit for those whom she may meet or instruct; whatever the form, her very body expresses her qualities directly and nonconceptually.”

~ Song quote and text, “Dakini’s Warm Breath” by Judith Simmer-Brown

*Dakini image by the Mongolian artist Soyolmaa Davaakhuu