What is a Dakini?
Hello. . . I am writing to you from inside Sensual by Nature Studio. . . I am going to attempt to answer a question that is not actually answerable in completion or by definition . . .
Many people have come to me over the years that I have been in practice as an indoctrinated Dakini and Tantra Life Coach provider in New York City. I always welcome curiosities and questions, and try my best to answer and educate your mind and spirit, though I am most aware that most spiritual teachings do not hold definition, and they occur instead through experience. Often the mind and body don’t even know that something was just learned, but something changes. We are always evolving, transforming and transmuting. That is all we are doing, we can trust that. Further, this transmutation is the way that I believe energetic practice such as Tantra truly occurs. Many people try to put labels on it, or want a “step by step technique to Enlightenment,” but, to my understanding, that wish is the fearful mind playing tricks to try to by-pass the vast expansive experience one feels beneath all that they do on this earth, through the body and spirit. To my understanding, if I must try to explain this, it is being able to rest in the unknown, have gratitude for the vast mystery of life, and find an ability to follow the natural flow of truth in our bodies, minds and spirits. This is where this ephemeral “enlightenment” occurs.
So, “What is a Dakini?” Many people have come to me over these past years, and asked just this question many times. I find myself shying away from such a question because, to me, finding a definition or an organized label that can then be used to box something into a category, and thus definitive belief and persona, is precisely the antithesis of what a Dakini is and does. Definitions create expectations for result and the expectation creates a defense against experiencing what is, which is primarily where the results and transformations need to spawn: in the spontaneous, unknown of the moment. So, being that I am not someone who spends a lot of time on definitions, expectations, or conditions, I have not, before today, taken interest in sitting down to fabricate a definition for the word
“Dakini, or really for what I offer you exactly, or how it works. It is different for everyone. I connect energetically with you in the time and space that you come to me, and intuitively, I find the most suitable way to help awaken your essential being, and guide you into new aspects of life awareness and experience, when we are together. This cannot be labeled.
“What is a dakini?”
“Dakini are timeless, inorganic, immortal, non-human beings who have co-existed since the very beginning with the Spiritual Energy. Dakinis are elusive and playful by nature; the authentic dakini principle is “a very sharp, brilliant wisdom mind that is uncompromising, honest; trying to nail them down with a neat definition means missing them, since defying narrow intellectual concepts is at the core of their wisdom.” Khandro Rinpoche (a living lama in Tibetan Buddhism)
My personal experience:
A few years ago, one of my dedicated pupils was seeking a definition for the word “Dakini” and sent his discovery to me in an email, as to him it resonated with our process together. I decided if it helped him, it may help other seekers, and so I posted it on my website, to help the curious practitioner understand more about what I can offer your life. It reads:
“Dakini was an honorary title given to women who had the rare ability to help people instantly connect to spirit through their embodiment of divine feminine energy. In the presence of a dakini, people would become spontaneously awakened and set free of the masks that disempowered them. This initiation would enable them to connect with states of divine union and bliss that they had always longed to experience. . .”
I also had an email exchange this past years with someone that I would like to briefly share a small excerpt, just a few lines of. First, I offer this email exchange because in it, I spontaneously felt I wanted to satisfy this person’s curiosity, and so in reply simply came up with as my own “definition” of a Dakini, for this seeker.
Seeker: In terms of my question about your being a goddess or a Dakini – well, I read your website and my sense is that you are simply an amazingly talented, beautiful, kind, compassionate, thoughtful and well-spoken woman. Our connection seemed quite intense and authentic — not really sure how that happened. And your words were so thoughtful and meaningful. Maybe it is “goddess-like” but I think it’s probably just who you are. :0 So I look forward to seeing you again — hopefully soon. And I would welcome your thoughts on any of the above. Smiling and feeling relaxed while thinking of you.
Hello: So. . dakini not dakini goddess not goddess person yes person. . .well. . . In my understanding, and so my use of the word, a dakini is a kind of therapeutic agent who is in service of helping people become more attuned to greater source as it interconnects within them and also with the same life force in all beings. A dakini is a person who is perceptive to a sort of clairvoyance and with that “awakeness,” is able to see into you so deeply that the deluge of society and pragmatic thought can quickly clear away, allowing your beautiful essence to shine through like crystal clear Mediterranean Sea water. So, dakini, not so much about goddess versus human etc., I think we all have god like powers within. I am here to help you to continue enliven your most inner self, so that becomes more of what you experience day to day and relate to the world through. I am here for you to visit and commune with so as to develop this enlightenment.
Other People’s Words. . .
Michaela Hass, a Phd in Asian Study, a reporter, lecturer, consultant, in her new book “Dakini Power?” answered this question.
Q: What is a dakini?
A: In short, a dakini is a female messenger of wisdom. Tibetan Buddhists have a unique definition of the dakini as a role model of female enlightenment. The dakinis are depicted as strong and fiercely independent. The Tibetan word for dakini, khandro, literally means ‘sky-goer’, and it hints at the expansiveness of their view. I find this very interesting. All the female masters I met are extremely compassionate, warm, and kind, with very soft and tender hearts. At the same time, they also seem to have backbones of steel.
From an anonymous website:
“Dakini is a Sanskrit (ancient Indian language) word for the ancient Tantric “Sky Dancer” tradition defining female embodiment of enlightenment that will awaken you through feminine energetic guidance. The behavior of dakini has always been revelatory and mysterious; they respond to the state of spiritual energy within individuals. The dakini acts as a muse for spiritual practice. Love is their usual domain – one explanation for dakini or angels supposedly living in the sky or heaven. Manifestations of dakini in human form occur because they supposedly can assume any form. Most often they appear as a human female. Dakinis are energetic beings, evocative of the movement of energy in space. In this context, the sky or space indicates the insubstantiality of all phenomena, which is, at the same time, the pure potentiality for all possible manifestations. Dakini are timeless, inorganic, immortal, non-human beings who have co-existed since the very beginning with the Spiritual Energy.” Anonymous: http://www.crystalinks.com/dakini.html
I reference a practitioner-scholar named Judith Simmer-Brown, who differentiates four levels of meaning:
“On a secret level, she is seen as the manifestation of fundamental aspects of phenomena and the mind, and so her power is intimately associated with the most profound insights of meditation. In this her most essential aspect, she is called the formless wisdom nature of the mind itself. On an inner, ritual level, she is a meditational deity. On an outer, subtle-body level, she is the energetic network of the embodied mind in the subtle channels and vital breath of tantric yoga. She is also spoken of as a living woman: she may be a guru on a brocaded throne or a yogini meditating in a remote cave, a powerful teacher of meditation or a guru’s consort teaching directly through her life example. Finally all women are seen as some kind of dakini manifestation.” Judith Simmer-Brown, Dakini’s Warm Breath (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 2001), p. 9.
Says American teacher Tsultrim Allione ,
“Thus, dakinis appear in many forms. “The dakinis are the most important elements of the enlightened feminine in Tibetan Buddhism. They are the luminous, subtle, spiritual energy, the key, the gatekeeper, the guardian of the unconditioned state. If we are not willing to invite the dakini into our life, then we cannot enter these subtle states of mind. Sometimes the dakinis appear as messengers, sometimes as guides, and sometimes as protectors.” Lama Tsultrim Allione, The Mandala of the Enlightened Feminine (Louisville, CO: Sounds True, 2003).
“Dakinis are often depicted as beautiful and naked, yet they are not sexual symbols, but rather natural ones. There are instances where a dakini has come to test a practitioner’s control over their sexual desires, but the dakini itself is not a being of passion. Tantric sex may involve a “helper” dakini – a human female trained in Tantra Yoga – or an “actual” dakini. Both increase the level of erotic pleasure for the sexual participants by helping them focus on a non-physical state of spiritual joy and the physical pleasure of sex at the same time.”
“Other pictures and statues tend to show the dakini as a young, naked figure in a dancing posture, often holding a skull cup. Her hair is usually wild and hanging down her back, as she dances on top of a corpse, which represents her complete mastery over ego and ignorance. Indeed these unrestrained damsels appear to revel in freedom of every kind. Her peaceful aspect is depicted by the lotus frond. Her role is to transmute suffering. Her left hand holds high the lamp of liberation. Dakini represent the sky being a womb symbol connoting emptiness, creativity, potentiality. They are objects of desire and also carriers of the cosmic energies that continually fertilize our human sphere. Dakinis bring us pleasure and spirituality. They provoke the enervating lust that brings life into being. They are poetic and cosmic souls, put here to tempt us to spirituality.”
“It is said that the Dakinis have the power to instantly entrap mere mortals with their gaze. The mirror of your mind is the mysterious home of the Dakini – your right brain – your feminine side. The secret Dakinis guard the deeper mysteries of the self. Representing upsurging inspiration and non-conceptual understanding, Dakinis invite you to cut free of all limitations. They are unconventional, unexpected, spontaneous, dancing in great bliss, at one with divine truth. With a dakini’s guidance, We have the opportunity of evoking not only the Goddess, but of manifesting the totality of the Great Goddess herself within ourselves.”
“Yogini/Dakini temples flourished in India around the 9th through the 12th centuries. Erected in remote places, especially on hilltops, the temples were circular enclosures open to the sky. Around the inner circumference were 64 niches which housed exquisite stone carvings representing various aspects of the Goddess energy, creating a circular mandala around a central image of Shiva, symbol of Cosmic Consciousness and the one-pointedness of yogic discipline.”
Above sections from the websites: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakini & http://www.dakinipower.com/what-is-a-dakini/
Hello. . . All this said, I do like experiential living, learning and awakening. You are welcome to conceptualize all you please, it makes for great dinner conversation and makes great impressions on people. Me, I will stay in my sanctuary and hold space for your awakenings, when you are ready to shed these socialized needs to feel better about this unknown thing called living. I welcome you, I invite you to visit me at Sensual by Nature Studio in NYC. I do ask that if you can, you shed all of these words and simply arrive “not knowing,” and curious to explorations through energy, gaze, touch and talk.