Mineral pigment, gold, gouache and acrylic on primed cotton
Collection Tara Sullivan
Sukhasiddhi is a wisdom dakini who is associated with a few Vajrayana lineages, namely as past life incarnations of Yeshe Tsogyal (Nyingma)and Machig Labdron (Chod , but she is predominantly known for her activities within the Shangpa lineage. Often shadowed by the prominence of the wisdom dakini Niguma, her accomplishments were of equal importance to those of her dakini sister. She was born in Kashmir into the life of an impoverished housewife. Until the age of fifty nine she struggled with the household duties of a mother of six. An act of kindness directed towards a wandering sadhu, which left the family with nothing to eat, resulted in her being banished from the household. Homeless, she then wandered westward to Oddiyana (Swat Valley in Pakistan) where she began to make alcohol to sell so that she could survive. A regular customer of hers, a female adept named Avadhuti-ma would buy alcohol for her partner, the mahasiddha Virupa, who was in retreat. On one visit she gave some alcohol to Avaduti-ma as an offering to Virupa. Upon receiving her offering, Virupa sent word asking if she would like to receive teachings from him. She did, and soon after went to visit Virupa with two containers of alcohol and some pork as further offerings. Upon receiving empowerment and instruction from Virupa, Sukhasiddhi attained full enlightenment at the age of sixty one. It is said that her physical body became like a rainbow. She is often depicted as a light skinned sixteen year old, mostly with a peaceful countenance, but occassionally semi-wrathful. Sukkasiddhi became one of Kyungpo Naljor’s four main masters, the others being Niguma, Rahula and Metripa.
Prints of the original thangka are available for sale.
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