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Nārodākinī (Sanskrit, Standard Tibetan: Naro Khachö Wylie: nā ro mkha' spyod[1]) is a deity in Vajrayana Buddhism[2] similar to Vajrayogini[3][4] (red, striding, bearing a vajra) who no longer appears in the active pantheon, despite its importance in late Indian Buddhism. In the Sādhanamālā she is said to be a transformation or emanation of Vajrayogini.[5]

Nārodākinī is readily recognizable by her lunging posture and kapala. Her head is uptilted, poised to imbibe the blood that overflows her skull bowl, and her right hand brandishes a curved kartika. Nārodākinī's physical attributes are interpreted with reference to long-standing Buddhist principles as well as distinctively tantric concepts. For example, her freely flowing hair is, in the Indic setting, a mark of a yogic practitioner, especially one who cultivates tummo,[6] whereas Buddhist exegetes interpret the unbound tresses as a sign that her mind, free from grasping, is a flowing stream of nonconceptuality.[7][8][9][10] Her crown of five skulls represents her transformation of the five aspects of selfhood into the five transcendental insights of a Buddha. Her garland of fifty severed heads symbolizes her purification of the fifty primary units of language and thought. Her bone ornaments represent five of the six perfections of a bodhisattva. Her body itself represents the sixth perfection, wisdom, which all female deities implicitly personify.

Nārodākinī carries a mystical khaṭvāṅga[11][12]), supported by her left arm or balanced across her left shoulder. The staff indicates that she is not celibate and has integrated[13] eroticism into her spiritual path, mastering the art of transmuting pleasure into transcendent bliss.[14]

She manifested herself in an initiatory vision to the great Indian Teacher and Mahasiddha Naropa, (A.D. 956-1040) who received teachings from her, and his disciples began calling her Naro Dakini or Vajrayogini Naro Kha Chod or Naro Sky Goer. Moreover she is patroness of the Sakya school and an acolyte of the dakini Vajravarahi. She is a Sarvabuddhadakini having access to all the Buddhas and thus is more powerful. This form of Vajrayogini or Dakini is the preeminent form of Yogini in the Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi tantras.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A Saint in Seattle: The Life of the Tibetan Mystic Dezhung Rinpoche by David P. Jackson (2004)
  2. ^ The World of Tibetan Buddhism: An Overview of Its Philosophy and Practice by Dalai Lama (1995) p.113
  3. ^ Vajrayogini: Her Visualizations, Rituals, and Forms (Studies in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism) by Elizabeth English (2002)
  4. ^ Guide to Dakini Land: The Highest Yoga Tantra Practice of Buddha Vajrayogini by Kelsang Gyatso (1996)
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs by Robert Beer (1999) p.23
  7. ^ Buddhist Wisdom: The Diamond Sutra and The Heart Sutra by Edward Conze, John F. Thornton, Susan Varenne, and Judith Simmer-Brown (2001)
  8. ^ Mahamudra: The Moonlight -- Quintessence of Mind and Meditation by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal, The Dalai Lama, and Lobsang P. Lhalungpa (2006) p.88
  9. ^ Mind at Ease: Self-Liberation through Mahamudra Meditation by Traleg Kyabgon (2004) p.18
  10. ^ Essence of Buddhism (Shambhala Dragon Editions) by Traleg Kyabgon (2001) p.146
  11. ^ The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs by Robert Beer (1999) p.110
  12. ^ The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Mystical Classics of the World) by Robert Thurman and Huston Smith (1993) p.163
  13. ^ Dancing in the Flames by Marion Woodman (1997) p.43
  14. ^ Introduction to Tantra : The Transformation of Desire by Lama Yeshe, Jonathan Landaw, and Philip Glass (2001)
  15. ^ Sarvabuddhadakini (Naro Dakini): The First Feminist