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Lions Roar : July 2018
Another important aspect of the dakini’s feminine energy is how they cut through notions of pure and impure, clean and unclean, what you should do and shouldn’t do. They break open the shell of those conventional structures into an embrace of life in which all expe- rience is seen as sacred. If we look at the early stories of tan- tric Buddhism, there are all kinds of examples of situations where people are presented with some- thing they perceive to be impure, and then a dakini appears and cuts through that and says, “If you’re seeing this as pure or impure, you’re clearly not understanding the point.” There’s a story of the monk Abhayakaragupta, an accomplished Hindu scholar. He has not yet become a Buddhist when a low-caste woman appears at his door, asking him to have sex. Horri- fied, he tells her he can’t touch her, never mind having sex, or he will be defiled. He chases her away, afraid someone will see him talk- ing to her and he will be criticized for having contact with a low-caste woman. Before she leaves, she tells him to go to a certain place to receive tantric Bud- dhist initiation, but he doesn’t follow her suggestion. Then after he becomes a Buddhist monk, a young girl comes to him and offers him raw meat. He is disgusted by this offer and refuses. Sometime later, when he is already in his tantric appren- ticeship, he has a third encounter. His guru’s female attendant, who usually brings him his water, comes to his room and offers to do a tantric feast with him. When he turns her down, she orders him to do so, giving him another chance. But he is oblivious of who she really is and refuses again. Then she chastises him and tells him that since he has failed to recognize Vajrayogini three times, he has missed his chance to attain enlightenment dur- ing his lifetime. The wisdom dakini Vajrayogini sent her emanations to him three times, but, caught in ideas of pure and impure, he failed to recognize her. Her tests challenged his preconceptions and prejudices to recognize the dakini, but he failed. He was worshipping the divine feminine in his meditations, but did not recognize and honor her human manifestation. You can see here how, although this happened many, many years ago in India, it’s not that dif- ferent in our lives now. We’re always encounter- ing situations in which we’re liking or disliking things. We like or dis- like foods. We like or dislike places. We like or dislike people. We think something is pure or something is impure; something is dirty or something is clean. These beliefs of duality are all things that the dakinis break through, even those golden rules of celibacy and vegetarianism practiced by the monks. They open and embrace all phenomena, recognizing all phenomena as “one taste,” as equal. Practicing Tibetan Buddhism more deeply, I came to realize that the dakinis are the undomesticated female ener- gies—spiritual and erotic, ecstatic and wise, playful and profound, fierce and peaceful—that are beyond the grasp of the conceptional mind. There is a place for our whole feminine being, in all its guises, to be present. ♦ Adapted from Wisdom Rising: A Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine, by Lama Tsultrim Allione. Reprinted with per- mission from Enliven Books. WISDOM RISING A Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine By Lama Tsultrim Allione Enliven Books; 368 pp.; $26.99, (cloth) Trainings & Retreats in Santa Fe, New Mexico SEE ENTIRE CALENDAR, TEACHINGS, AND MORE AT UPAYA.ORG SANTA FE, NM 505-986-8518 ext. 112 REGISTRAR@UPAYA.ORG july6-8 Poetry of K abir and Zen Sensei Kaz T Linda Hess, P july13-15 Calligraphy: Heart of the Brush Sensei Kaz T july 31 - august 5 Sesshin: Not Always So– Suzuki Roshi’s Teachings and Practice in an Uncertain World Sensei Hozan Senauke, Petra Zenryu Hubbeling august 9 - 12 Attending to Pain and Suffering with Compassion, Wisdom, Clarity, and Resilience R leet Maull, P september 14 - 16 The Hidden Lamp: Courage and Intimacy - Exploring Women’s Stories Z lorence Caplow, Reigetsu Susan Moon, Natalie Goldberg september 20 - 23 Exploring Inner and Outer Nature Mark Coleman LION’S ROAR | JULY 2018 75