Lyudmila Klasanova

A dakini is one of the most remarkable manifestations of the Buddha nature in female form. In Buddhist tradition, dakinis are worshiped as human emanations of wisdom that keep the key to the esoteric knowledge of Vajrayana and reveal the path to complete freedom. The term was originally associated with secondary figures in the entourage of the deities of local traditions of India. In classical Sanskrit texts, dakinis are described mostly as hostile demonic creatures inhabiting sinister and secluded areas or places of cremation. Such spaces are considered sacred because of the opportunity they provide for inner contemplation and spiritual realization.

Dakini Vajravarahi. Drawing by the author.

The change in the adoption of the figure of a dakini occured under the influence of Buddhist meditative schools (6th-7th century), as a result of which they begin to be venerated as protectors of meditation and spiritual guide who help in removing illusions. The way they are accepted in Tibetan Buddhism is completely different and this is expressed very well in their Tibetan name khandroma, which translates usually as “a woman, who is walking, flying or dancing in the sky”. In the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, khandroma is a symbol of the sky, which is all-embracing, like emptiness. She is the one who reveals the truth about the emptiness of all phenomena and moves blissfully in boundless space of emptiness.

The term dakini is also identified with tantric deities that protect and spread Buddhist teachings, realized yoginis, and extraordinary women who carry out enlightened actions. In Tibetan tradition, there are many classifications of dakini. The most important are the worldly dakini (jigten kyi khandro), who are related to demoness, and the primordial wisdom dakini (yeshe khandro), who are consider as fully enlightened beings.

Dakini Vajrayogini. Drawing by the author.

Homage to the Primordial Wisdom Dakini

Primordial wisdom dakini –
Light radiates from the mystical worlds,
I pay homage and pray to you.
Grant your blessing and reveal your perfect form and beauty.
Take me in your sky dance, teach me your steps of worship,
Illuminating the heaven with a great bliss.

Primordial wisdom dakini,
I pay homage and pray to you.
Grant your blessings and the sacred sounds of your voice.
May the beating of my heart
Melt into the rhythm of your eternal dance!
Take me in your traveling to the land of unforgettable great bliss.

Primordial wisdom dakini,
I pay homage and pray to you.
Grant your blessing and the fragrance of the mystical union
Of the outer, inner and secret worlds.
May I inhale, melting in your breath
And exhale, pouring into the boundless world of bliss!

Primordial wisdom dakini,
I pay homage and pray to you.
Grant your blessing to all sentient beings.
Save us from the delusions and help us
To clear the obstacles in our lives.
Grant your blessing and sow the seeds of liberation in our hearts.

Dakini Vajravarahi. Drawing by the author.