Statue of Yeshé Tsogyel

Yeshé Tsogyel

The Female Buddha

Yeshé Tsogyel (ye shes mTsho rGyal) is the primary figure of devotion and inspiration in the Aro gTér lineage of the Nyingma tradition. Padmasambhava is no less important in the Aro gTér lineage than in the other lineages of Nyingma – but in the Aro gTér lineage it was Yeshé Tsogyel from whom the gTérma was received by Khyungchen Aro Lingma. Yeshé Tsogyel’s equality with Padmasambhava in the Aro gTér is displayed through her adoption of the identical physical position of Padmasambhava, as well as the adoption of his implements and ornaments: the khatvangha (which symbolises Padmasambhava as her ‘inner method-display’); the dorje (rDo rJe); and, the kapala (skull bowl).

This representation of Yeshé Tsogyel is a wonderful example of Vajrayana statuary, and is resplendent in its detailed display of her realised qualities. Her cemetery ornaments (ru rGyan) terminate at her knees with sun moon pendants, which display her knowledge of the union of the daka and dakini principles. She is both Khandro and Pamo (mKha’ ’gro dPa mo). The crossed vajras at her heart is the symbol that she has assumed the fivefold wisdoms of the five Buddha-families.