A Celebration of the Feminine
If all the goddesses of the Buddhist traditions were rolled into one woman, she’d embody the highest qualities of every woman on the planet.
She would be endowed with: innocence, vitality, nurturing, love, sex appeal, wrath, protection, healing, mercy and wisdom. And since she is special – enlightenment.
This woman would have an awesome body, incredible beauty, wonderful complexion, untold patience, and the ability to conquer anything, while emanating love everywhere. Forget about your everyday concerns of work, family, kids, the bills — or even pre-menstrual syndrome — this woman would be so enlightened, those problems would simply make her stronger. Which is probably why so many of us – men and women – pray to her various forms everyday. And have been for centuries.
As a collective, these Buddhist goddesses symbolize not just the ideals that we hope to achieve, but the qualities that already intrinsically exist within us. And while their bodies are female, they in fact symbolize the feminine qualities within all of us – men and women. For, as the wheel of karma turns, we have most likely all been men and women through many lifetimes. And no matter what gender, we are all in need of liberation from the world of delusion.
Among the many Buddhist traditions, the Tibetans have perhaps celebrated the widest range of goddesses. Other traditions in East Asia have tended to focus on the singularly exalted goddess Kuan Yin. Many Tibetan Buddhist goddesses originated from Indian Hindu deities; Hinduism’s Kali became Buddhism’s Krisna Krodha Dakini. Yet, in all traditions, these goddesses embody the Buddha’s greatest teachings — love, compassion and wisdom.
In tribute to these remarkable goddesses — and their qualities within each of us — we present the most well known Buddhist Goddesses-
Text adaptations from: “The Female Buddhas: Women of Enlightenment in Tibetan Mystical Art,” by Glenn H Mullin with Jeff J Watt, featuring the Art Collection from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, Clear Light Publishers, 2003. www.clearlightbooks.com