The primary emblem of the feminine in Tibetan Buddhism is the dakini, or "sky-dancer," a semi-wrathful spirit-woman who manifests in visions, dreams, and meditation experiences. Western scholars and interpreters of the dakini, influenced by Jungian psychology and feminist goddess theology, have shaped a contemporary critique of Tibetan Buddhism in which the dakini is seen as a psychological "shadow," a feminine savior, or an objectified product of patriarchal fantasy. According to Judith Simmer-Brown—who writes from the point of view of an experienced practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism—such interpretations are inadequate.
In the spiritual journey of the meditator, Simmer-Brown demonstrates, the dakini symbolizes levels of personal realization: the sacredness of the body, both female and male; the profound meeting point of body and mind in meditation; the visionary realm of ritual practice; and the empty, spacious qualities of mind itself. When the meditator encounters the dakini, living spiritual experience is activated in a nonconceptual manner by her direct gaze, her radiant body, and her compassionate revelation of reality. Grounded in the author's personal encounter with the dakini, this unique study will appeal to both male and female spiritual seekers interested in goddess worship, women's spirituality, and the tantric tradition.
The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa: Volume Five: <i>Crazy Wisdom</i>; <i>Illusion's Game</i>; <i>The Life of Marpa</i> (Excerpts); <i>The Rain of Wisdom</i> (Excerpts); <i>The Sadhana of Mahamudra</i> (Excerpts); Selected Writings
The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa brings together in eight volumes the writings of one of the first and most influential and inspirational Tibetan teachers to present Buddhism in the West. Organized by theme, the collection includes full-length books as well as articles, seminar transcripts, poems, plays, and interviews, many of which have never before been available in book form. From memoirs of his escape from Chinese-occupied Tibet to insightful discussions of psychology, mind, and meditation; from original verse and calligraphy to the esoteric lore of tantric Buddhism—the impressive range of Trungpa's vision, talents, and teachings is showcased in this landmark series.
Volume Five focuses on the lineages of great teachers who have transmitted the Tibetan Buddhist teachings and on the practice of devotion to the spiritual teacher. It includes inspirational commentaries by Chögyam Trungpa on the lives of famous masters such as Padmasambhava, Naropa, Milarepa, Marpa, and Tilopa, as well as an excerpt from The Sadhana of Mahamudra, a tantric text that Chögyam Trungpa received as terma in 1968. Among the selected writings are "Explanation of the Vajra Guru Mantra," an article never before published, which deals with the mantra that invokes Guru Rinpoche; seminar talks available in book form for the first time; and previously unpublished articles on Milarepa.
Juxtaposing empowering images of women with their textual repudiation, beginning with the Buddha himself who abandoned his wife; tantric courtesans who are considered necessary to male enlightenment with fertility rituals designed to ensure male offspring; tales of gender-bending gods and goddesses with all male heavens; Serinity Young draws on a vast range of sources to reveal the colourful, and often troubling, mosaic of beliefs that inform Buddhist views about gender and sexuality.
Containing detailed descriptions and analyses of monastic ritual, the work builds up a picture of Tibetan tantric traditions as they interact with more localised understandings of bodily identity and territorial cosmology, to produce a substantial re-interpretation of the place of monks as ritual performers and peripheral householders in Ladakh. The work also examines the central and indispensable role of incarnate lamas, such as the Dalai Lama, in the religious life of Tibetan Buddhists.
They may shave their heads, don simple robes, and renounce materialism and worldly desires. But the women seeking enlightenment in a Buddhist nunnery high in the folds of Himalayan Kashmir invariably find themselves subject to the tyrannies of subsistence, subordination, and sexuality. Ultimately, Buddhist monasticism reflects the very world it is supposed to renounce. Butter and barley prove to be as critical to monastic life as merit and meditation. Kim Gutschow lived for more than three years among these women, collecting their stories, observing their ways, studying their lives. Her book offers the first ethnography of Tibetan Buddhist society from the perspective of its nuns.
Gutschow depicts a gender hierarchy where nuns serve and monks direct, where monks bless the fields and kitchens while nuns toil in them. Monasteries may retain historical endowments and significant political and social power, yet global flows of capitalism, tourism, and feminism have begun to erode the balance of power between monks and nuns. Despite the obstacles of being considered impure and inferior, nuns engage in everyday forms of resistance to pursue their ascetic and personal goals.
A richly textured picture of the little known culture of a Buddhist nunnery, the book offers moving narratives of nuns struggling with the Buddhist discipline of detachment. Its analysis of the way in which gender and sexuality construct ritual and social power provides valuable insight into the relationship between women and religion in South Asia today.