Luminous Moonlight: The Life of Do Dasal Wangmo
Tara Mandala launched Dakini Day, July 2, 2013, with the launching of ‘Machig Publications’ with the groundbreaking release of “Luminous Moonlight: The Life of Do Dasal Wangmo,” the great-granddaughter and lineage holder of the great Terton Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje.
From Tara Mandala:
On July 2, 2013 Tara Mandala is launching a publishing company entitled Machig Publications with their first book, “Luminous Moonlight: The Life of Do Dasal Wangmo” translated by Sarah Schneider, with an extensive introduction by Lama Tsultrim Allione. We are pleased to announce the publication of this first book, which is a biography of the great-granddaughter of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje (1800-1866), the tertön (treasure revealer), of the Dzinpa Rangdröl cycle of teachings, which is the focus of the seven-year Gateway program being initiated this week at Tara Mandala.
Do Dasal Wangmo is a well known Tibetan physician and the last of the family lineage holders. She is a reincarnation of Do Khyentse’s sister Lösal Drolma, who was the Dharma heir for the extraordinary cycle of teachings called Dzinpa Rangdröl. In 2010 Lama Tsultrim, facilitated by Sang-ngag Rinpoche and Alec Zenkar Rinpoche, had the great fortune to meet Do Dasal Wangmo who was 83 years old at the time, in Dartsedo where Do Khyentse resided. Sarah Schneider was present as translator and began the translation at that time. The book includes photos of Dasal Wangmo, the lamas around her, the retreat huts and monasteries of Do Khyentse, as well as lineage paintings and rare lineage photos.
The intention of Machig Publications is to support Tara Mandala Sangha and other practitioners of Buddhism in publishing relevant and otherwise unavailable books and translations. Several other books are currently in development.”
We rejoice in this landmark release of a life story of a great yogini and lineage holder of the Dzinpa Rangdröl. We look forward to what is to come from Machig Publications.
Meeting the Great Bliss Queen: Buddhism, Feminism, & the Art of the Self
Despite the daunting barriers of geography and language that separate them, Buddhism and contemporary feminism have much to say to each other. Buddhist practices such as mindfulness (in which calm centering and keen awareness of change coexist) and compassion (in which the self is recognized as both powerful in itself and interdependently connected with all others) can be important resources for contemporary women, while feminism can expand the traditional horizons of Buddhist concerns to include social, historical, and psychological issues. The image and ritual of the Great Bliss Queen, an important Buddhist figure of enlightenment, form the unifying theme of this book, Meeting the Great Bliss Queen, modeling the practices and theory that can assist each of us in being at one with ourselves and fully engaged with others.
Written by Anne Carolyn Klein.
The Excellent Path of Devotion: An Abridged Story of a Mendicant’s Experiences in Response to Questions from Vajra Kin
“The Excellent Path of Devotion: An Abridged Story of a Mendicant’s Experiences in Response to Questions from Vajra Kin” is a concise autobiography composed in 1929 by the great treasure revealer Sera Khandro, Dewa’i Dorje, 1892–1940.
“It presents in poignant verse key events from Sera Khandro’s spiritual and conventional worlds. It affords a rare opportunity to glimpse the extraordinary journey of a Tibetan female master whose fortune was intricately entwined with heirs of the Dudjom lineage in early twentieth-century Golok. Sera Khandro’s account of her experiences in undergoing hardships on the path and pursuing her prophesized destiny as a treasure revealer can serve as a source of inspiration and increased faith for all Buddhist practitioners.”
Translated by Christina Monson (assisted by Lama Chonam).
Currently this book is not available to order. Most of this first printing is being offered as gifts, and the translator plans on reprinting a softback version at a later date. To receive notification of when it might be available, or if you are interested in helping to sponsor the 2nd softcover publication, please visit:
Skillful Grace: Tara Practice For Our Times
Tara is one of the most inspiring of Buddhist deities, embodying the most compelling and vital qualities of the feminine: beauty, grace, and the ability to nurture, care for, and protect. This complex goddess, whose practice transcends sect and class, is also a true warrior, vanquishing fear and ignorance–in a sense the earliest known incarnation of Buddhist feminism. Skillful Grace is an elegant introduction to practice and meditation techniques based on the Vajrayana path.The book is divided into three main sections. The first contains the basic text of Tara practice, The Essential Instruction on the Threefold Excellence, which connects the seeker to the profound essence of Tara as revealed by Chokgyur Lingpa.
The other two sections feature enlightening commentaries on the text by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Jamgön Kongtrül, and Adeu Rinpoche.
Skillful Grace includes all the preliminaries of Tara practice, as well as its main part and the subsequent yogas. Tara Bennett Goleman’s foreword, Marcia Schmidt’s introduction, and various appendixes and footnotes add useful context.
Translated and edited by Erik Pema Kunsang and Marcia Binder Schmidt.
For the highly recommended study program by Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche that utilizes the Tara’s Triple Excellence, see:
Buddha’s Daughters: Teachings from Women Who Are Shaping Buddhism in the West
Buddhism began to take root in the West at just the same time that women’s voices were arising to find expression here—after millennia of being relegated to the background. If that was a coincidence, it was an auspicious one, for the women who emerged as Buddhist teachers have been among the most articulate of Dharma-communicators—and they remain an indelible feature of Western Buddhism as the practice matures here. The remarkable range of their teaching is showcased in this anthology. The pieces featured touch on the topics that are at the heart of our lives—relationships, uncertainty, love, parenting, food, stress, mortality, living fully, and social responsibility. These approachable, engaging teachings illuminate Buddhist concepts and practices, such as
meditation, tonglen, lovingkindness, cultivating gratitude, and deep relaxation.
Buddha’s Daughters is a collection of compelling and informative teachings by the most influential female Buddhist teachers of today illuminating a diverse range of topics, containing wisdom from such well-known and respected contemporary Buddhist teachers as:
Pema Chödrön, Ayya Khema, Sharon Salzberg, Toni Packer, Maurine Stuart, Karen Maezen Miller, Khandro Rinpoche, Jan Chozen Bays, Sister Chan Khong, Sylvia Boorstein, Pat Enkyo O’Hara, Darlene Cohen, Joanna Macy, Bonnie Myotai Treace, Tsultrim Allione, Tenzin Palmo, Tara Brach, Joan Sutherland, Carolyn Rose Gimian, Joan Halifax, and Charlotte Joko Beck..
Edited by Andrea Miller and the editors of the Shambhala Sun.
Taking The Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears
“Deep down in the human spirit there is a reservoir of courage. It is always available, always waiting to be discovered.
In the last years of his life, Chogyam Trungpa taught unceasingly on the very real possibility of creating enlightened society – a society where individuals cultivated unconditional friendliness for themselves and unconditional caring for others. It is true that when we try to do either of these things, we find that it’s not that easy. The resistance to accepting ourselves and to putting others’ welfare first is surprisingly strong. Nevertheless, he spoke with enthusiasm and confidence about our remarkable capacity for bravery, for open-mindedness, for tenderness – our remarkable capacity to be spiritual warriors, fearless men and women who can help to heal the sorrows of the world.
The Buddhist master Shantideva set forth a path for training in spiritual warriorship. In his text ‘The Way of the Bodhisattva,’ he explains how the bodhisattva or spiritual warrior begins the journey by looking honestly at the current state of his or her mind and emotions. The path of saving others from confusion starts with our willingness to accept ourselves without deception.
You would think that a training whose intention was to prepare us to benefit others would focus exclusively on other people’s needs. But the majority of Shantideva’s instructions entail working skillfully with our own blind spots. Until we do this, we are in the dark about how other people feel and what might soothe them. It only dawns on us slowly that the way sorrow and joy feel to me is the same way they feel to others. As Shantideva put it, since every single being on the earth feels insecurity and pain, just the way I do, then why do I keep putting the emphasis only on me?
This book has been an attempt to look closely at how we stay stuck in this kind of narrow, self-absorbed vision. It has also been an attempt to pass on some of what my teachers have taught me about how to get unhooked. The motivation for presenting this material, however, is not solely the wish that each of us might become happier. The primary intention is that we might follow the advice contained here in order to prepare ourselves to look beyond our own welfare and consider the great suffering of others and the fragile state of our world. As we change our dysfunctional habits, we are simultaneously changing society. Our own awakening is intertwined with the awakening of enlightened society. If we can lose our personal appetite for aggression and addiction, the whole planet will rejoice.
For the sake of all sentient beings, I hope that you will join the growing society of aspiring and full-fledged spiritual warriors who are emerging from every continent on the globe. May we never give up our genuine concern for the world. May our lives become a training ground for awakening our natural intelligence, openness, and warmth, and may this small text be of some support on the way. As Chogyam Trungpa joyfully proclaimed, “We can do it!”
~ ‘Epilogue: Taking This Into The World’ from Taking The Leap.
Written by Pema Chödrön.
Princess In The Land of Snows: The Live of Jamyang Sakya
Her Eminence Dagmo Kusho Sakya was born in Kham, Eastern Tibet. As the niece of one of the most highly realized Sakya Masters of the twentieth century, H.E. Dezhung Rinpoche III, her training in Buddhist practice began at an early age. She has received extensive teachings and empowerments from many great lamas of all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism throughout her lifetime. Dagmola is married to H.H. Jigdal Dagchen Sakya of the Khön lineage, the Head Lama of the Sakya order of Tibetan Buddhism. Dagmola specializes in Tara empowerments, practices, and teachings, and has many students throughout the world.
Princess In The Land of Snows chronicles her life:
“This is the story of a determined woman who overcame great obstacles in order to achieve religious freedom. Born in eastern Tibet, Jamyang Sakya married into the powerful Sakya family, spiritual advisers of Kublai Khan and for years rulers of much of Central Asia. Her engaging personal story evokes a rich vision of Tibet’s traditional culture, customs, and religious practices.
Jamyang Sakya tells of being the only girls in a monastic private school, of dreams and divinations interpreted by high lamas, of long pilgrimages to sacred Buddhist sites, and of her life as a high lady of Sakya. Her narrative reveals a multifaceted picture, from the intricacies of managing a palace household to the political takeover by the Chinese Communists, who destroyed much of Tibet’s religious heritage. It climaxes with the Sakya family’s harrowing walk through the Himalayas to freedom, during which they were hotly pursued by the Chinese. After a year in India, they immigrated to the United States, one of the first Tibetan families to do so.”
Written by Jamyang Sakya (Dagmo Kusho-la) and Julie Emery.
Tara: The Feminine Divine
“Let us suppose that in a dream we meet a deity. We would also be sure of the individual existence of that deity. Also, we would be sure of the reality of the “I” who, upon seeing the deity, would feel joy and devotion. However, in truth, the person perceiving the deity and the deity would both be manifestations from the same inexpressible essence, the mind itself. In the same way, for those who live on a relative level, the deities appear on a relative level without being separated from their essence, which is none other than the essence of the mind.
Let us take Tara as an example. Now, when we practice Tara meditation, we must make a mental effort to imagine her as she is, green in color, hands making certain mudras, legs in a definite position, adorned with various attributes, and so on. In a certain way, Tara is then the creation of our psyche, and we remain, at least partially, prisoners of the idea that there is ‘me’ on the one hand and Tara on the other. This mental creation is not useless. As a reflection of the Body of Enjoyment, this mental creation is linked with it and allows us to approach it.
Once the ultimate realization is obtained, this same Tara is no longer the fruit of any mental effort. Without her form disappearing, she reveals herself as a spontaneous expression of the Absolute Body, a clarity of the mind in which there is no subject and no object.
There is also a difference between the deity as we imagine it, and as she exists in the reality of the Awakened Mind.”
~ Bokar Rinpoche, from his introduction in Tara: The Feminine Divine.
Tara’s Enlightened Activity: An Oral Commentary on the 21 Praises to Tara
The female Buddhist deity Tara is an object of devotional worship and meditative practice for Tibetan Buddhists everywhere, both male and female. She clears away fears, overpowers negative emotions, and enables all beings to reach enlightenment. She has special resonance as a source of female spiritual wisdom. Tibetans of all schools and traditions recite the verses on which this commentary is based. Focused contemplative meditation in relation to the myriad aspects of Tara works to transform the practitioner’s mind into those enlightened qualities and mind states that Tara represents.
Sought-after teachers throughout the West for over twenty-five years, Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche and his brother Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche illuminate the practice of the Praises to the Twenty-one Taras in Tara’s Enlightened Activity with humor and wisdom. The explanations cover progressively more subtle levels from basic Buddhism through the Inner Tantras and culminate with Dzogchen. Interspersed with lively stories about Tara, the authors explain the physical conditions for practice, the outer and inner meanings of the text itself, and give solutions for problems that may emerge as practice progresses.
Written by Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche.
Machig Labdrön and The Foundation of Chöd
Machig Labdrön is popularly considered to be both a dakini and a deity, an emanation of Yum Chenmo, or Prajnaparamita, the embodiment of the wisdom of the buddhas. Historically, this Tibetan woman, a contemporary of Milarepa, was an adept and outstanding teacher, a mother, and a founder of a unique transmission lineage known as the Chöd of Mahamudra. This translation in Machig Labdrön and The Foundation of Chöd of the most famous biography of Machig Labdrön, founder of the unique Mahamudra Chöd tradition, is presented together with a comprehensive overview of Chöd’s historical and doctrinal origins in Indian Buddhism and its subsequent transmission to Tibet.
Chöd refers to cutting through the grasping at a self and its attendant emotional afflictions. Most famous for its teaching on transforming the aggregates into an offering of food for demons as a compassionate act of self-sacrifice, Chöd aims to free the mind from all fear and to arouse realization of its true nature, primordially clear bliss and emptiness.
Written by Jerome Edou.
How To Free Your Mind: The Practice of Tara The Liberator
Tara, the feminine embodiment of enlightened activity, is a Buddhist deity whose Tibetan name means “liberator,” signaling her ability to liberate beings from the delusion and ignorance that keep them trapped in ever-recurring patterns of negativity. She embodies a challenge—to transform our minds and become like her, whose tranquility, compassion, and wisdom make her so beautiful—but one that is profoundly nurturing.
In the Venerable Thubten Chodron’s words in How To Free Your Mind: The Practice of Tara The Liberator, “We can relax in her presence and look at ourselves honestly, knowing that Tara will not judge, reject, or abandon us due to our shortcomings. Like a mother, she sees her child’s potential—in this case, our spiritual potential or Buddha-nature—and wants to nurture it.”
Ven. Chodron describes a simple meditation on Tara, explaining its benefits and its application to daily life. She then presents two well-loved praises to Tara, together with reflections on their meanings for modern practitioners.
Written by Thubten Chodron.
Learning True Love: Practicing Buddhism in a Time of War
Sister Chan Khong’s autobiography tells the story of her spiritual and personal odyssey through the many years of her life. The book’s centerpiece is her moving account of her return to Vietnam, her homeland, after 40 years of exile. She describes in refreshing detail her emotional reactions, the reunions with many old friends and fellow activists, and her impression of the “new Vietnam” where Buddhists still struggle for religious freedom. Often compared to The Autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi, this memoir connects to larger themes, especialy when the author discusses the life and teaching of her fellow exile, Thich Nhat Hanh, gives an overview of the development of the European and American peace and human rights movements, and introduces readers to the Vietnamese style of Buddhism. Learning True Love is a testament to the power of tenacity and faith.
Written by Sister Chân Không.
Open Heart, Clear Mind
“This introduction to Buddhism by an American Tibetan Buddhist nun focuses on practical applications of Buddhist psychology to modern life. In a straightforward style and with warmth and humor, Chodron sets forth the fundamental points of the Buddha’s teaching on transforming habitual attitudes and realizing our full human potential. “…conveys a clear understanding of Buddhism as it has been practiced by Tibetans, in easily comprehensible language.” ~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Open Heart, Clear Mind provides practical introduction to Buddhism that focuses on the application of Buddhist psychology to modern life. Thubten Chodron, an American Buddhist nun, presents the basic points of this path for understanding ourselves and improving the quality of our lives. In a straightforward style and with warmth and humor, Chodron gives us the fundamental points of the Buddha’s teaching on transforming habitual attitudes and realizing our full human potential.
Written by Thubten Chodron.
First Buddhist Women: Poems and Stories of Awakening
First Buddhist Women is a readable, contemporary translation of and commentary on the enlightenment verses of the first female disciples of the Buddha. Through the study of the Therigatha, the earliest-known collection of women’s religious poetry, the book explores Buddhism’s 2,600-year-long liberal attitude toward women. Utilizing commentary and storytelling, author Susan Murcott traces the journey of wives, mothers, teachers, courtesans, prostitutes, and wanderers who became leaders in the Buddhist community, acquiring roles that even today are rarely filled by women in other, patriarchal religions.
Written by Susan Murcott.
Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death
The Buddhist approach to death can be of great benefit to people of all backgrounds—as has been demonstrated time and again in Joan Halifax’s decades of work with the dying and their caregivers. Inspired by traditional Buddhist teachings, her work, as shared in Being With Dying, is a source of wisdom for all those who are charged with a dying person’s care, facing their own death, or wishing to explore and contemplate the transformative power of the dying process. Her teachings affirm that we can open and contact our inner strength, and that we can help others who are suffering to do the same.
Written by Roshi Joan Halifax, a Buddhist teacher, anthropologist, author, and social activist whose work focuses on teaching contemplative practices to prisoners and dying people.
Joan Halifax is the abbot and head teacher of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, a board member and fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, and a Lindisfarne Fellow. She has also founded several organizations and initiatives, including the Zen Peacemaker Order, the Ojai Foundation, The Project on Being with Dying, and the Upaya Prison Project.
Buddhism Through American Women’s Eyes
The Buddha’s path to human transformation declares women and men equally capable of spiritual realization, yet throughout history most exemplars of this tradition have been men. Now, as Buddhism is transmitted to the West, women are playing a major role in its adaptation and development.
Buddhism Through American Women’s Eyes presents the conversation taking place among experienced practitioners from many Buddhist traditions who share their thoughts on the Buddhist outlook, its practical application in everyday life, and the challenges of practicing Buddhism in the Western world. Thirteen women contribute a wealth of thought-provoking material on topics such as “Bringing Dharma into Relationships,” “Dealing with Stress,” “Buddhism and the Twelve Steps,” “Mothering and Meditation,” “The Monastic Experience,” and “Forging a Kind Heart in an Age of Alienation.”
Translated and edited by Karma Lekshe Tsomo.