BUDDHA NATURE.COM Songs and Meditations of the Tibetan Dhyani Buddhas

The Vajra Dakini

Dakini Language

The language spoken by Dakinis is not verbal - it is visual. Even mantras are usually communicated in visual form. Mantras in their sound form can act as travel techniques or transportation, which are their two major uses for practitioners. They can also create worlds, which are their major uses for dakinis.

But dakinis do not drag along practitioners, like Alaskan huskies pulling sleds of fur and food. We do not climb the ladders of stars lugging devotees on our backs. We are explainers, artists, and dancers. We show relationships and explain the workings of yantras. We reveal meditations techniques and we are concerned over how many of them have been lost. Thus, we see the importance of the teachings coming back in new forms - old tea in new bottles.

If you encounter a dakini, you should create an opening in your heart, a place of honor and respect. For those with greater skills at visualization, it might be a lotus on a throne. This place of honor should be full of devotion and awaiting sacred teachings. The heart is like a meditation cave, and the teacher is in its center shining with light.

The dakini may take any form. She may be ugly and wrathful [to serve as] a protector or peaceful and beautiful to serve as a guide or muse. The lineages have largely hidden our beautiful forms as too tempting to monks, and substituted peaceful forms. But really these [two types of forms] are different. As the protector form is violent, the muse form is erotic. Both forms can show strength and inspiration.

But the language used in such forms of [dakini] sadhana is metaphorical - it is as if information is compressed into a sphere with many layers. The true Buddha mandala is not flat - those [mandala] images you see are only a slice of a greater [multi-dimensional] image. The mandala is spherical and could be sliced in an infinite number of ways. Mandalas have outer gates or layers - gateways for people to enter, places of death and threat and guardians as well as peaceful night skies and beautiful gardens. Then there are labyrinthine layers to travel with the lower emanations of Buddhas and bodhisattvas. It takes much effort to penetrate the higher emanations to reach the center of the mandala, which is the place of the Buddha. While such a Buddha-form may not be technically called an essence (as its root is in the Void of silence), it acts like an essence, and is capable of emanation and manifestation.

The dakini language is like this. Let us imagine a dakini in vajra form, crystalline, wearing white brocade robes, in the midst of diamond flowers and roads of pearls. She takes a snowball and throws it at the meditator. When the snowball lands on his or her heart or forehead, it opens up, and within it is a world of knowledge. The snowball has many layers.

The outer layer is often history - how certain ideas or themes have been manifest in the world [during the past]. This outer layer is full of historical images and events which the person may see, or fully experience. The next level of the snowball is ideational. There are ideas that the original theme has inspired, as well as artistic images. At a deeper level are Buddha worlds, dedicated to the theme, and deeper still is the theme itself. Further within is the ultimate source.

Thus, in dakini language, each word or concept has many layers - each is a world onto itself. In order to translate dakini language, the translator must be able to penetrate through the layers of meaning. A translator must also be a [transpersonal] psychologist knowing the layers of the mind, as well as an art historian knowing symbolism. What appears as a word is really a world. Such teachings do not need to be hidden [by monks or lineages] in the physical world - they are hidden in the layers of the mind. They may be hidden but we may reveal them again.

Translator's note:   Translating dakini language is a difficult process. Such language is entirely symbolic, and the more powerful symbols evoke many personal symbols as well. The translator needs to distinguish between personal images and symbols and those that originate beyond the personal areas of the mind.

One may encounter such visual symbols in sacred texts, especially termas, and they may reveal their inner meaning spontaneously. Or one may visualize a dakini in meditation, and she can express herself by means of such symbols. In both of these cases, dakini language needs translation. And there is no dictionary or list of grammatical rules by which one can check for errors.

The only way to verify that the translation is accurate is to create equivalent symbols and then ask the dakini if they approximate the intended meaning. It is rather a slow form of checking, but it is easy to miss some subtlety or implication. Translation involves many checks for accuracy.


This Web Site © Copyright 2007, J. Denosky, All Rights Reserved