“Although Tibetan women have played a minor public role in institutional Buddhism, they have emerged in yogic lineages as teachers and holders of special transmissions and practices. They have served as founders of new lineages of teachings, as in the case of Machik Labdron; they have played important roles in the hidden-treasure (terma) traditions of Tibet, beginning with Yeshe Tsogyal; they have developed unique practices, as did Gelongma Palmo, who conjoined Avolakiteshvara practice with fasting in nyungne meditation; they have appeared as partners and ‘secret mothers’ of great yogins, teaching privately or through their life example, as in the case of Dagmema; they have been renowned yoginis practicing in retreat, as in the contemporary examples of Ayu Khandro and Jetsun Lochen Rinpoche [Shuksep Jetsunma]. These women played yogic rather than academic or monastic roles, probably because monastic education and leadership were traditionally denied them by the Tibetan social structure. A rare exception can be found in Jetsun Mingyur Paldron, the daugghter of the Mindroling terton Terdag Lingpa, who was known for her penetrating intellect and great learning. She was responsible for the rebuilding of Mindroling monastery after its destruction by the Dzungars in the early eighteenth century. … insofar as these Tibetan yoginis have been considered human dakinis, they fall within the purview of our study…
The dakini symbol continues to be the living essence of Vajrayana transmission, the authentic marrow of the yogic tradition.
While monastic establishments and philosophical systems may exhibit elements of patriarchal bias, the living essence carries no bias. It is essential to study the dakini in her own context to understand the power and importance of this symbol for the authentic preservation of the yogic traditions of Tibet.
Vajrayana Buddhism places emphasis upon oral instruction in the guru-disciple relationship, preservation of texts and teachings, and solitary practice as a way to safeguard these meditation and symbolic traditions. These aspects form the matrix of the study of the dakini.”
~ Judith Simmer-Brown, “Dakini’s Warm Breath”