Lekyi Wangmo

Dharmadhatu that cannot be apprehended,
Present everywhere, without delineation,
Single sphere, ineffable, this mahasukha state —
The unexcelled abode of all the buddhas.

~ A Vajra Song of Dakini Karmeshvari

Lekyi Wangmo, or Dakini Karmeshvari, (manifestation of Guhyajnana, tib. Sangwa Yeshe, the Secret Wisdom Dakini) is the the dakini to whom Vajradharma entrusted the teachings of Kagyé (the Eight Great Sadhana Teachings) which had been sealed in caskets and placed within the stupa of Shankarakuta (tib. Deché Tsekpa, the Blissful Tower Stupa) in the Cool Grove charnel ground, Sitavana, near Bodhgaya in India.

In turn she entrusted these teachings to the eight vidyadharas who used to gather at this place: Vimalamitra, Humkara, Manjushrimitra, Nagarjuna, Prabhahasti, Dhanasamskrita, Rambuguhya-Devachandra and Shantigarbha. Having mastered these teachings, these Indian masters reached the level of vidyadhara, the knowledge holder. Each of these vidyadharas later transmitted their teachings to Padmasambhava who then became the main holder of all.

Lekyi Wangmo is also known for bestowing initiations and blessings of her body to Guru Padmasambhava. When Padmasambhava requested teachings from Manjushrimitra, the latter sent him to seek initiations of the wisdom dakini.

When he entered the palace of Guhyajnana, the Secret Wisdom Dakini, she was seated on a throne of sun and moon discs, dressed in charnel ground ornaments and holding a skull-cup and wooden drum. Guru Rinpoche approached her with the appropriate offerings, prostrations, and circumambulations, requesting the outer, inner, and secret empowerments. She responded by transforming him into the seed syllable HUM and conferring on him these three empowerments with her body: first, she took the HUM on her lips; then she swallowed him and he received abhiseka in her stomach; next she empowered him in her secret place. Finally, she passed him through her secret lotus, and with these blessings his body, speech, and mind were purified of defilements. These constituted the outer, inner, and secret empowerments he sought, purifying the three obscurations. Through this blessing and others, he came to be known as Thotreng Tsal, or “strength of the rosary of skulls.”

The encounter of Padmasambhava and Lekyi Wangmo (referred as Kungamo in the text) is described in his biography composed by Yeshe Tsogyal:

“Shakya Senge (one of the Padmasambhava’s names) reflected, “I will practice the teaching of Mahayoga and accomplish both the vidyadhara level of longevity and the supreme vidyadhara level of mahamudra.” Thinking thus, he went to the great master Manjushrimitra who was living at Mount Malaya. He requested the teaching, but the master said, “The time is not yet right for me to teach you. You must go to the charnel ground named Sandal Grove where the nun Kungamo lives. She is a wisdom dakini endowed with great blessings and skilled in conferring the outer, inner, and secret empowerments. Go there and request the empowerments.” Thus he was instructed.

Shakya Senge then went to charnel ground Sandal Grove where he met the maid Young Damsel, who was fetching water. He presented the letter requesting the bestowal of the outer, inner, and secret empowerments. Having gotten no response, he asked, “Have you forgotten my message?” Still, she did not utter a word, so Master Padma applied his power of concentration, nailing down her buckets and crossbar.

Being unable to lift the buckets, she drew a white crystal knife from her waist and said, “You have quite some power, but I can do something more amazing!” Exclaiming these words, she cut open her chest revealing the forty-two peaceful deities in her upper part and the fifty-eight herukas of wrathful deities in her lower torso, thus vividly displaying the hundred peaceful and wrathful divinities.

‘She must be the nun,” he thought and began to pay her homage and to circumambulate her. Yet, she said, “I am just a maid-servant. Go inside.”

He went inside and met the nun Kungamo, who was seated on a throne. Flanked by dakas she wore bone ornaments and held a skull cup and a wooden drum in her hands. Surrounded by thirty three maidens, she was performing a feast offering. After having offered a mandala, prostrating, and circumambulating Kungamo, he requested the outer, inner, and secret empowerments. She then turned Shakya Senge into the syllable HUNG and, swallowing him, she conferred the empowerments within the mandala of her body. Emitting the HUNG through the secret lotus, she purified the obscurations of his body, speech, and mind.

Empowering him externally as Buddha Amitabha, Kungamo gave the blessing to attain the vidyadhara level of longevity. Empowering him internally as the noble Avalokiteshvara, she gave the blessing to attain the vidyadhara level of mahamudra. Empowering him secretly as glorious Hayagriva, she blessed him to magnetize all the mamo dakinis, worldly devas, and haughty demon spirits. Finally, she also gave him the secret name of Loden Chogsey.”

Sources:  “The Lotus-Born, the Life Story of Padmasambhava” composed by Yeshe Tsogyal and revealed by Nyang Ral Nyima Oser. Translated into English by Erik Pema Kunsang.

“Dakini’s Warm Breath, the Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism” by Judith Simmer-Brown.

“Wellsprings of the Great Perfection, the Lives and Insights of the Early Masters” compiled and translated by Erik Pema Kunsang.