Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Dakini (Popular Deities)

Dakini as Meditational Deities

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
--- Real and/or Imagined
--- Separation & Conflation
--- Separation
--- Conflation
- Female Imagery Introduction
- Goddess Terminology
- Confusions: Devi, Goddess, Virini
- Others...

Video: Popular Dakinis in Art

Popularity List:
- Vajrayogini:
--- Naropa Tradition
--- Vajravarahi
--- Krodha Kali
- Simhamukha
- Jnana Dakini (Yogambara)
- Dechen Gyalmo
- Guhyajnana Dakini
- Others...

- Dakini: Meaning, Topics & Types
- Goddess Terminology
- The Five Dakinis

The female deities of the tantric systems of the wisdom classification of Anuttarayoga such as Chakrasamvara, Mahamaya, Buddhakapala and Cathurpitha all refer to those feminine forms as dakini. In the method and non-dual classifications the female deities are generally referred to as devi, goddesses.

The most popular forms of dakinis are first and foremost the three different appearances of Vajrayogini of the Naropa tradition, then Vajravarahi with a boar face and lastly the black Krodha Kali. Simhamukha, the lion-faced deity, is also referred to as a dakini and belongs to the Chakrasamvara cycle of tantras. Jnana Dakini, sometimes depicted as the consort of Yogambara, belongs to the Chaturpitha tantra.

The historical figures of Yeshe Tsogyal, Machig Labdron, Sukhasiddhi, Niguma and others are often described as being dakinis. Sometimes they are referred to as deities and most if not all have guruyoga ritual practices and possibly other meditations such as for the benefit long-life.

Some traditions such as the Nyingma conflate many different deities and historical figures into one. The female deity Prajnaparamita, Samantabhadri, Vajrayogini, Tara and Yeshe Tsogyal are often explained as being the same entity but in various forms and displaying different functions and activities.

Jeff Watt 10-2021