Asian art

Buddhist deity: Yeshe Tsogyal

Buddhist deity: Yeshe Tsogyal

Buddhist deity, Yeshe Tsogyal is regarded as the mother of Tibetan Buddhism since her consort was Padmasambhava. It is believed that Yeshe Tsogyal has revealed terma with Padmasambhava and also hid many of the Padmasambhava's terma on her own with the instructions of Padmasambhava for future generations.

It is recorded that Yeshe Tsogyal was born as a princess in the region of Kharchen in the almost late 8th century. She lived there for around 99 yrs., even though she is referred as Padmasambhava's main consort, she was primarily a spiritual master and teacher. Hence the Nyingma and Karma schools of Tibetan Buddhism recognize Yeshe Tsogyal as a female Buddha

Legends of Yeshe Tsogyal

As legend mentions Yeshe Tsogyal was born in the same manner as the Buddha. Therefore, Yeshe Tsogyal is regarded as the reincarnation of the Buddha's own mother, Maya. It is believed that when she was born a nearby lake became double in size.

From the very young age, Yeshe Tsogyal was inclined to the spirituality. Therefore, Yeshe Tsogyal wanted to pursue dharma practice rather than being a part of the family. She had a deep urge about this so she ran away from home to practice. But the family members brought back to home by force. At the age of sixteen, she was compelled to marry the then emperor of Tibet, Trisong Detsen.

Later Trison Detsen invited Padmasambhava to Tibet with the purpose of propagating the teachings of Buddha and also to help in building the monastery in Tibet. When the work was completed Trisong Detsen was very happy and offered Yeshe Tsogyal as a gift to Padmasambhava. Padmasambhava later freed Yeshe Tsogyal and she became Padmasambhava's main disciple and consort as well

Yeshe Tsogyal's spiritual life and attainments

Yeshe Tsogyal has been an important role model in Tibetan Buddhism. When she asked about her inferior female body to herself, Padmasambhava advised Yeshe Tsogyal that a body is just an asset. There is no great difference whether it is a male or female body. The human body is just a basis for realizing enlightenment. if the female develops the mind bent on enlightenment, the woman's body is also better. Therefore, Yeshe Tsogyal studied seriously and practiced meditation as well. It has been known that Yeshe Tsogyal spent many years in isolated meditation retreat. During this retreat and many more, she accomplished several different cycles of tantric spiritual practices. All of these practices and various other wisdom and also the practices of Tummo, Vajrakilaya, Karmamudra Sadhana, and Zhitro were taught by Padmasambhava.

After several achievements, Yeshe Tsogyal gained access to an elaborate palace. Here, she received esoteric initiations from several Vidyadharas and Buddhas. Later she returned to Chingpu and on the way she was robbed by seven bandits. But she converted them to follow Buddhist practice. All of them went to the Oddiyana with the objective to practice Zhitro initiations from a Vidyadhara. There Yeshe Tsogyal received a secret name Kharchen Za and cavorts in bliss with her.

After many years of practice and study, Yeshe Tsogyal's level of spiritual awakening, enlightenment was equal to Padmasambhava. But among lay Tibetans, she is regarded as a fully enlightened Buddha in the form of an ordinary woman.

Iconography of Yeshe Tsogyal

In Buddhist arts, Yeshe Tsogyal is depicted in white color holding vajra in her left hand and singing bowl in her right hand. She rests on the lotus pedal in her crossed leg but the right one is a bit moved forward. The posture of Yeshe Tsogyal is quite different is various Buddhist arts. Even though the most common one is in the sitting posture but we can also see the Buddhist deity Yeshe Tsogyal in standing and other postures as well.

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