White Tara, also known as the wish fulfilling wheel, is called upon to bestow long life and good health through her infinite compassion for all beings. She is brilliant, luminous white like the full moon. Seven eyes mark her form, expressing the awakened nature that fills her presence. Her right hand is in the mudra of generosity, the left holding a white lotus in full bloom. The Buddha of Boundless Light, Amitabha rests above her head.
Dorje Drolo is one of the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche. He appears in this wrathful form of “crazy wisdom” to subdue worldly spirits and bind them under oath to protect terma ( revealed teachings ) and to serve the dharma. “Crazy wisdom ” is a term with different interpretations, but it could be seen as the activity of holy madness. Unconventional, sometimes offensive behavior which is actually fully immersed in spiritual realization.
Dorje Drolo, red in color, is seen here riding atop a pregnant tigress amidst clouds of smoke, flames and swirling oceans of blood. He holds a Dorje in his right hand and a phurba in his left.
The seed syllable of the Kalachakra (Wheel Of Time) Tantra, called the ” ten interlocked syllables of power “. Consisting of seven individual syllables combined with the crescent shaped visarga, circular bindu and serpentine like nada at the top. The syllables in Lantsa script are Ha (blue) Ksa (green) Ma (red) La (yellow) Va (white) Ra (red) and Ya (black). The two syllables flanking the seed syllable are E and Vam. There are many levels of significance attributed to the syllables which are contained within the tantra itself.
One of the most famous personages known throughout Tibet, Milarepa represents the potential in every human being to overcome seemingly insurmountable difficulties in life to achieve the ultimate state of realization.
As a child, the young Thopaga as he was called then, was blessed to be raised in a wealthy family with his mother, father and sister in western Tibet. When his father suddenly passed away, their wealth and property were taken from them by his aunt and uncle, leaving the three of them in virtual servitude to the uncle and utterly impoverished. Mila’s mother, out of desperation for their condition, persuaded him to study black magic and take revenge on the aunt and uncle, so that they could regain their possessions and eliminate the strife and struggle that had become their everyday existence. Becoming proficient in sorcery, Mila directed a hailstorm to the house of the aunt and uncle, killing 35 people and later causing destruction to the villagers crops who ventured after him.
He later regretted these acts and searched for a teacher to guide him in a way in line with pure dharma. Eventually he was led to the feet of Marpa, the great translator and yogi. Due to the severity of his past actions Marpa put Mila through the most difficult process of purification and rejection imaginable. This drove him to the point of utter exhaustion and even attempted suicide. Ultimately, due to the kindness of Marpas wife he was finally accepted by Marpa as a student and practiced with unequalled faith and diligence until he realized complete awakening.
Milarepa is at times depicted with green tinged skin, a sign of his fasting in retreat, only eating the broth of nettles. He is often seen with his right hand at his ear, singing songs of realization which he became well known for.
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. After 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 occasionally semi-wrathful, pointing her finger to the ineffable. Sukhasiddhi became one of Kyungpo Naljor’s four main masters, the others being Niguma, Rahula and Metripa.
Dorje Sempa is a bodhisattva who’s primary activity is purification. This includes the purification of the accumulated influences of all unwholesome thoughts, words and deeds that the practitioner has ever committed. His bija syllable, Hung, sits on a lotus and moon seat above his crown. With the right hand he holds a dorje at his heart, representing skillful means. In his left hand resting in his lap is a drilbu, the ritual bell of wisdom and emptiness. Liquid light of primordial awareness flows from his luminous form, filling ones experience with blinding light, bliss and the release of all impurities and confusion. They exit as black pus and filth, all kinds of conventionally disgusting or disliked things, insects, poisonous animals, etc flow out of every single pore of ones body onto the golden ground of non referential being.
The goddess Tara in the Tibetan tradition is an expression of Prajnaparamita, the Great Mother Dharmakaya, and also avalokatesvara, bodhisattva of compassion. In her green aspect, she eliminates all fear and obstacles to Awakening. Her name means to traverse the ocean of existence.
Lha zhi dril drup
A practice from the Shangpa lineage focusing on the main deity, Dorje Chang ( Tib. ) Vajradhara ( Skt. ) in union with his consort Ying Chuk Ma ( Tib. ) Vajradatavesvari ( Skt. ). They are surrounded in the four cardinal directions by Chagdrupa (6 armed Mahakala), who’s focus is dispelling outer obstacles, directly in front of them; Dorje Naljorma (Vajra Yogini), who’s focus is enriching inner meditative experience, bliss and heat, to their right; Chenrezig (2 armed Avalokatesvara), who’s focus is enriching outer meditative experience, directly behind them; Drolma Jangku (Green Tara), who’s focus is dispelling inner obstacles, to their left.
There are two main sources of transmission for this practice. This particular one was revealed to Rahula Gupta Vajra in south India. He later transmitted it directly to Kyungpo Naljor at Pen-youl Jok-po in Tibet while in retreat. Kyungpo Naljor then passed it on to Mok-chok-pa and it has been continually passed down through the lineage until the present day.
Chenrezig ( Tib. ) or Avalokatesvara (skt. ), the expression of awakened compassion rests in the center of this composition of nine dynamic figures of light. He is red and dons the attributes of the Sambhogakaya realm, which include a crown, jewels and silks. He has four arms expressing the four immeasurables; love, compassion, joy and equanimity.
Amitabha, the top most figure, is known as the Buddha of boundless light. His red color indicates that he is of the Lotus family, in fact he is the ultimate expression of this family, who’s main activity is love and compassion.
Just below Amitabha is a form of Guru Rinpoche, known as Pema Jungney. He is a dark skinned mahasiddha wearing charnel ground bone ornaments and dancing atop a moon seat and lotus.
The protector Tamdrin ( tib.) Heyagriva ( skt.) appears to the right of Chenrezig (viewers left). The intense compassion that issues from him is displayed by a wrathful countenance, a compassion which is indestructable in the face of all obstacles, such as the over whelming confusion, hatred and attachment that prevents beings from recognizing their pure nature. Opposite Tamdrin is Guhya dakini, who has 4 arms and who’s body radiates with orange luminosity. At the bottom are the dakinis of the four directions. From the viewers left to right are: white Buddha dakini, yellow Ratna dakini, red Padma dakini and green Karma dakini.
“Fierce and Great Wrathful One”, Chandamaharoshana is shown in union with Dveshavajri, feminine wisdom. Being expressions of the Buddhas Akshobya and Mamaki, they are both blue in color. In his right hand he holds up in the air a flaming sword of wisdom, which purifies all obstacles and dissipates confusion. A vajra topped noose is held in his left hand in the threatening mudra. He is in kneeling posture. Looking up, down and straight ahead with his three bloodshot eyes, he destroys Mara, subdues nagas and defeats all obstructors. Chandamaharoshana has the power to destroy all evil with his anger. He is a protector, purifier and remover of obstacles.
The wrathful black dakini, Troma Nakmo, is an expression of compassionate primordial awareness and wisdom. Padampa Sangye, the Indian mahasiddha, is believed to have first introduced her practice into Tibet during the 12th century. He received the sadhana from Aryadeva, who had previously received it from Virupa.
Troma Nakmo is considered to be the wrathful aspect of Prajnaparamita, the perfection of transcendent wisdom. She plays a key role within the Shije and Chod lineages and to some extent the Nyingma lineage. Her ferocity or wrath is projected through the means of unbridled compassion for all beings. She is as vast as space, the ground from which all things arise and fall. Her skin is black azure, recalling the womb of all experience. Three eyes intensely gaze into timeless spacelessness. The head of a black sow encircled by a green snake rises from her mass of flaming hair representing absolute reality. She is crowned by five skulls signifying her power to transform neurosis into clarity and wisdom. Her body is adorned with five bone ornaments of the charnel grounds. Those in addition to her bodily form, represent the six paramitas. Flayed elephant, human and tiger skins serve as her clothing, a reminder of having destroyed the three poisons of ignorance, desire and anger. A necklace of fifty one freshly severed heads sway across her dancing body, showing that she has purified the fifty one mental factors. Her right hand held high brandishing a flaying knife cuts through all dualistic confusion. At her heart in her left hand rests a skull cup filled with frothing blood. While leaning in the crook of the same arm is a Khatvanga, symbolizing ultimate bodhicitta as the union of bliss and emptiness. Her left leg presses into the heart of a human corpse, dancing the death of ignorance.