- Art History
- Religious Context
Identity: Individual Deity (not a class/category)
Tantra Class: Anuttarayoga Tantra
Source Texts: Chakrasamvara cycle of Tantras
Function/activity: Ishtadevata (Meditational Deity)
Colour: red, black, white, yellow
Attributes: curved knife & skullcup
Consort: Chakrasamvara, Others
Vajrayogini is the principal female deity of the Chakrasamvara Cycle of Tantras. There are many different forms of the deity with each having a unique name and appearance. Some names are descriptive such as Krodha Kali meaning 'black wrathful' yogini and others refer to the lineage or principal Indian mahasiddha associated with a particular Yogini practice. The most common forms found in art are the Naropa (Naro Khacho) form, Vajravarahi (with the pig face at the side), Vajrayogini in a dancing posture, Krodha Kali (the black form) and Dechen Gyalmo (of the Longchen Nyingtig). Other names refer to the Indian or Tibetan lineage associated with a particular Yogini form and practice. The terms 'dakini' and 'vajra dakini' are often used with reference to Vajrayogini.
Sanskrit: Vajrayogini Tibetan: dor je nal jor ma
There are many other forms of the deity besides those mentioned above but those numerous other forms are not as commonly found in art as a central subject or sculpture. Besides the painted and sculptural representations there are also many different mandala configurations for the various forms.
Vajrayogini, is a representation of complete buddhahood in female form. Classified as Wisdom or 'Mother' Anuttarayoga Tantra the practices originate with the Chakrasamvara Cycle of Tantras. Although found in a variety of forms, she is common to all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. In this particular form she is a special teaching passed down from the lineage of the Indian mahasiddha Naropa through to the Sakya School. This form is also popular within the Gelug Tradition.
Database Search: All Images | Painting | Sculpture | Mandala
Jeff Watt 3-2003 [updated 3-2017, 9-2019, 12-2019]