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Thursday, 26 May 2016 15:30

Lady of the Lotus-Born

Lady of the Lotus-Born - coverLady of the Lotus-Born
- The Life and Enlightenment of Yeshe Tsogyal
— by Namkhai Nyingpo & Gyalwa Changchub

The first Tibetan to attain complete enlightenment was in all probability the woman Yeshe Tsogyal - the closest disciple of Padmasambhava, the master who brought Buddhism to Tibet in the eighth century.

In the eighth century, the Indian master Padmasambhava (known as the "Lotus-Born" Guru) introduced Buddhism into Tibet. One of his first disciples, and the closest to him personally, was Yeshe Tsogyal, greatly revered by Tibetans as a Nirmanakaya - an enlightened soul who returns to human life to lead others in the way of enlightenment. This is her biography, written by two of her disciples, an ancient text in a genre called namthar, a "tale of liberation".

This classical text is not only a biography but also an inspiring example of how the Buddha's teaching can be put into practice.

Lady of the Lotus-Born  interweaves profound Buddhist teachings with a colorful narrative. It is also an intriguing picture of Tibet at the beginning of the Buddhist era - a time of upheaval, when royal patronage was striving to foster the new teachings in the face of powerful opposition. Although a text of great antiquity, it nevertheless expresses a tradition that is still alive today and is an archetypal description of the teacher-disciple relation-ship.

Yeshe Tsogyal follows the complete Buddhist path, including the Dzogchen teachings, and herself becomes a Guru of great power and wisdom. Passages of profound teachings are offset by episodes of exploit and adventure, spiritual endeavor, court intrigue, and personal encounter. It is a dramatic story, full of beauty and song, and offers an intimate glimpse of Tsogyal's feelings, aspirations, hardships, and triumphs.

Yeshe TsogyalLady of the Lotus-Born  is a terma , or Dharma Treasure, written and concealed in the eighth century for future generations by the accomplished masters Namkhai Nyingpo and Gyalwa Changchub - the disciples of Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal. The text was discovered nearly a thousand years later in the seventeenth century by the Terton (Dharma Treasure finder) Taksham Samten Lingpa, who, by interpreting the symbolic script of the dakinis (reproduced at the beginning of each chapter), revealed the text in its entirety as it has been handed down to us.

The book will appeal to students of Tibetan Buddhism and readers interested in the role of women in Buddhism and world religions. Recommended for academic libraries.

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