Monday, January 28, 2013

Yeshe Tsogyal & Oddiyana (757–817 AD)


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"Yeshe Tsogyal (757–817 AD), was the consort of the great Oddiyana tantric teacher Padmasambhava......("Primordial (ye) Wisdom (shes) Queen (rgyal mo) of the Lake (tso)")...Tsogyel, relationship with that of an older Bön figure, Swastika Bon yogini, Bonmo Tso of the Chokro Clan (female Bön practitioner of the lake)......her consort, Atsara Sale, her assistant and Padma Sambhava’s secondary consort, Tashi Khyidren......she was born as a princess in the clan of Kharchen. According to some accounts her father was called Namkha Yeshe and her mother was Gewa Bum..."....

Klein, Anne Carolyn (1995). Meeting the Great Bliss Queen: Buddhists, Feminists, and the Art of the Self.

"...Yeshe Tsogyel is introduced as an incarnation of Saraswati, (the goddess, of Hindu origins....From “Hindu” Puranic lore, Saraswati is the “patroness of learning, giver of intelligence to the newborn, source of the Sanskrit alphabet, bestower of poetic skill, and granter of knowledge and wisdom.” (Shaw, 235). Tsogyel clearly embodies Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge because of her adept nature of learning and mastering the teachings. Tsogyel “woos” her captives many times and again with her beautiful singing voice, another quality of Saraswati. In Buddhism, Saraswati is often associated with Prajnaparamita the goddess of perfect wisdom.....Tsogyel’s life is filled with incredible feats. How much of this story is true? And how much is hyperbolic folklore? As Dowman writes, “Again it should be emphasized that attempting to derive history from legend is to treat an orange as if it were an apple.” (338).... Yeshe Tsogyel came into being when Tibet was at the height of its military conquest of Central Asia. While Buddhism filled the hearts of some Tibetan nobility, it angered the priests of the pre-Buddhist Bon religion, clan leaders, and created a “power play” between the Buddhists and the Bonpos ministers. ....In the text The Life of Yeshe Tsogyel, King Det-sen declares,' I have tried to establish Buddhism and Bon in equality like my ancestor Songsten Gampo, but Buddhism and Bon are inimical, and mutual recrimination has credited doubt and suspicion in the minds of the King and his ministers."....Yeshe Tsogyel : Tibet’s First Enlightened Buddhist....(A Feminism Model in Ancient Form?)....By Andrea Vecchione ACS PhD.(ABD) (2009)

Sky Dancer: The Secret Life and Songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyel.....By Keith Dowman

"Tsogyel was born princess of Kharchen. Kharchen was one of the seven Central Tibetan principalities subjected by Songtsen Gampo. Courted by princes of two other kingdoms, Kharchu and Zurkhar, Tsogyel would have neither and absconded to Womphu (the valley in which one of the three Taktsang power places is located). Finally, the Emperor married her when she was twelve or thirteen years old........The King Trisong Detsen was ensconced in the Samye monastery itself. While the Bon ministers sought the Guru's life, the King begged for initiation into the Tantra. Guru Pema insisted that Trisong Detsen wait a year for his initiation, and during that year the King married Tsogyel. Thus when the King again asked the Guru for initiation, he could offer Tsogyel along with his Empire as the initiation price........At the age of sixteen (ca. 773) Tsogyel received initiation. The King's admission that he had given his queen to the 'vagrant sadhu' was the cause of a raucous quarrel in council between the Buddhist and the Bonpo factions. The senior ministers Lugung Tsenpo and Takra Lutsen were the most active opponents of the King. Mama Zhang (Ma-zhang) was also present in council but played no part in the dispute. The King felt sufficiently strong to decree the building of monasteries and hermitages, and that any opposition to himself or the Guru would be punished. The violent reaction of the Bon ministers caused the King to compromise - both Guru Pema and Tsogyel would be banished. However, with the King's connivance, they went to Tidro to meditate...

"The empire that Trisong Detsen offered his Guru included China, Jang (south of Lithang), Kham, Jar, Kongpo, Bhutan, Purang, Mangyul, Guge, Hor, Mongolia and the Northern Plains (Jang-thang)...

"MKhar chen bza' Ye shes mtsho rgyal is the name of the consort of Padmasambhava according to the hagiographies of Myang ral, the 12th century teacher who first codified the Padmasambhava histories. She belongs to 25 Rig dzin, first disiples of Padmasambhava. Rig dzin means "holder of knowledge or awareness" (rig pa knowledge 'dzin pa, to hold, sanscrit: Vidyadhara). These masters are considered to be highly accomplished due to their meditations and ritual practices......

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"In the north-western part of the land of Oddiyana....Buddhist texts speak of Oddiyana as a beautifully green and fertile kingdom, inhabited by gentle people often clothed in white, who had great respect for wisdom and learning. It was surrounded by high, rugged mountains, and in the broad valleys were towering white stupas and golden temple roofs. It seemed a paradise on earth and so was called “the royal garden” from the Sanskrit udyana......Oddiyana was also known as “the paradise of the dakinis”, as it was reputed for its unique sisterhood of priestesses—ladies dedicated to wisdom and spiritual development. These priestesses were not nuns, and lived in sanctuaries or forest chapels......With regard to the origins of the Vajrayana teachings, the tantric scriptures recount that it was King Dza of the kingdom of Zahor who first received the tantras, which landed miraculously on his palace roof. It is believed that Dza is another name for King Indrabodhi of Oddiyana. If this is the case, then the tantras began to be disseminated in Oddiyana......The first human Dzogchen master, Garab Dorje, was born near Lake Kutra in Oddiyana.......Padmasambhava, who was to introduce Vajrayana and Dzogchen to Tibet was miraculously born on Lake Dhanakosha and raised by the king of Oddiyana. Many of the Dzogchen texts that were translated into Tibetan during the early period of transmission were translated from the language of Oddiyana.......Patrul Rinpoche gives a more precise indication of where Oddiyana was in The Words of My Perfect Teacher (Tib. Kunzang Lamé Shyalung) when he describes the birthplace of Garab Dorje as being close to Lake Kutra in the region of Dhanakosha. Dhanakosha means ‘treasury of wealth’. This corresponds to a region between Chitral, Gilgit and Swat. John Reynolds suggests that “perhaps Uddiyana is actually a name of a much wider geographical area than the Swat Valley alone, one embracing parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and even Western Tibet (Zhang Zhung).".....Reynolds, John M., The Golden Letters, Snow Lion, Ithaca, New York, 1996

King of Oddiyana, Indrabhuti...."Padmasambhava married the dakini Prabhavati and ruled the kingdom according to the Dharma, ushering in a time of happiness and peace. He was known then as King Tortokchen, ‘The Turbaned King’...... Zahor being the Tibetan name of Mandl...Guru Rinpoche and his closest disciple Yeshé Tsogyal travelled all over the Himalayas, and blessed and consecrated the entire land, especially: “the twenty snow mountains of Ngari, the twenty-one sadhana places of Ü and Tsang, the twenty-five great pilgrimage places of Dokham.....Guru Rinpoche had numerous highly realized female disciples, including the five principal consorts: Yeshé Tsogyal, Mandarava, Shakyadevi, Kalasiddhi and Tashi Khyidren......According to Khenpo Palden Sherab: "Yeshe Tsogyal said that Guru Padmasambhava has nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine biographies.....


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….January 2013


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