The Dakini Principle
Central to Chod is the principle of the Dakini, the personification of enlightened feminine energy Wisdom beyond name and form. As an archetype, the feminine principle completely pervades the spiritual traditions of Tantric Buddhism, and this is nowhere more apparent than in the lineages of Chod. MaChik’s placement of the Divine Feminine as a centerpiece of the practice was a natural progression of her strong reliance on the teachings of the Prajnaparamita.
These core teachings of the Mahayana had already designated woman as the source of ultimate Wisdom, with Prajnaparamita personified as a female deity. But certainly the identification of the feminine with Wisdom Mind is not exclusive to Tibet. The Goddess as the embodiment of the ultimate spiritual matrix is found in spiritual traditions, world-wide, from ancient times to the present. Taoists personified the Yin part of the Yin-Yang balance of the universe as the receptive, hidden and all-embracing womb of the world of form.
The Dakini in Chod
The dakini’s enlightenment embodied in the feminine form is an ever-present principle in Chod. It is there in the central figures of Machik, Vajrayogini and Troma. It is intrinsic to the damaru and the bell. It is heard in the sacred dakini melodies of the liturgy. It is overtly present in the prayers, invocations and visualizations of the ritual.
And above all, it is the guiding wisdom, the pervasive ground of Chod, the space in which we move from mundane mind to authentic being, beyond our limited ego-identity. It is both path and goal, guide and fruition. No wonder that the dakini can manifest in such complex and mutlifaceted ways, defying any simple definition or verbal convention. The dakinis, in the end, is an ongoing discovery and lived experience. Nonetheless, we can set our sights and adjust our view by discussing the many ways that this fundamental Vajrayana principle shows up in the practice of “cutting through.”
The Recurring Chod Dakini
The Great Mother