When Machig Labdron was forty-one years old she had an extraordinary meeting with the majestic Lady Tara who gave her blessings and explained that she was a mind emanation of the Great Mother Yum Chenmo:

“The one known as the primordial Mother Yum Chenmo is the ultimate nature of all phenomena; emptiness/the essence of reality [dharmuta] free from the two veils. She is the pure expanse of emptiness, the knowledge of the non-self. She is the matrix which gives birth to all the Buddhas of the three times. However, so as to enable all sentient beings to accumulate merit, the Great Mother appears as an object of veneration through my aspirations and prayers for the sake of all beings. 

And so, through the power of my wishes and compassion, from the dharmata there appears bright light in the shape of an orange-colored bindu marked with the syllable MUM, ablaze with light. In turn this transforms into the Great Mother Yum Chenmo, golden in color, with one face and four hands, sitting in the vajra posture, her body beautiful with all the major and minor marks of a Buddha. Surrounded by her princely sons, the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions, Yum Chenmo resides in the Gandavyuha sphere of the celestial pure land of Akanistha, in a marvelous celestial palace.

“From my heart there radiates a greenish-black ray of light marked with the syllable HUNG and it enters into the Mother’s heart, awakening her. Then it radiates out again, gathering the power of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions and it dissolves again into the Mother’s heart. Instantly, she transforms into a sky-blue dakini with one face and four hands. She is the sovereign of the Vajradhatu.

From her body, speech, mind, qualities and activity appear innumerable manifestations. Among these, the mind emanation is the bluish black Vajra Lady with one face and two hands who subjugates all demons. On the crown of her head is a boar’s head emerging from her hair. Her splendor illuminating the three worlds, she gathers all the dakinis under her power. She sets all demonic forces to work as her servants; she is the source of the liberation of all phenomena.

“Now this Vajra Lady, who subjugates all demons for the sake of all sentient beings, took numerous births in appropriate times and places. She mastered the Pitakas and accomplished tremendous deeds for the sake of living beings. Finally she took birth in Tibet. She is no other than yourself, Shining Light of Lab.”

From “Machig Labdron and the Foundations of Chod” by Jerome Edou.

Image: Prajnaparamita statue at Tara Mandala retreat center.