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Ekajaṭī or Ekajaṭā, (Sanskrit; Tibetan: ral chig ma. English: One Braid of Hair), also known as Māhacīna-tārā,[1] one of the 21 Taras, is one of the most powerful and fierce goddesses of Indo-Tibetan mythology. According to Tibetan legends she is an acculturation of the Bön goddess of heaven, whose right eye was pierced by the tantric master Padmasambhava as he banished her. Ekajati is also known as 'Blue Tara'.

Often she appears as liberator in the mandala of Green Tara. Along with that her ascribed powers are removing the fear of enemies, spreading joy and removing personal hindrances on the path to enlightenment.

Ekajati is the protector of secret mantras and "as the mother of the mothers of all the Buddhas," represents ultimate unity. As such her own mantra is also secret.

The first Karmapa Düsum Khyenpa already meditated upon her in early childhood.

According to Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, she is the principle guardian of the Dzogchen teachings and is "a personification of the essentially non-dual nature of primordial energy."[2]

Origin

Ekajaṭī is found in both the Buddhist and Hindu pantheons; it is most often asserted that she originated in the Buddhist pantheon but some scholars argue this is not necessarily so.[3][4] It is furthermore believed that Ekajaṭī originated in Tibet, and was introduced from there to Nalanda in the 7th century by (the tantric) Nagarjuna.[5]

It appears that at least in some contexts she is treated as an emanation of Akshobhya.[6]

Iconography

She is of a blue skin tone, with a high, red chignon ("she who has but one chignon" is another one of her titles). She has one head, one breast, two hands and a third eye. However, she can also be depicted with more body parts; up to twelve heads and twenty four arms, with different tantric attributes (sword, kukuri, phurba, blue lotus axe, vajra)

In her most common form she holds an axe, drigug (cleaver) or khatvanga (tantric staff) and a skull cup in her hands. In her chignon is a picture of Akshobhya.

Her demeanour expresses determination. With her right foot she steps upon corpses, symbols of the ego. Her vajra laugh bares a split tongue or a forked tongue and a single tooth. She is dressed in a skull necklace and with a tiger and a human skin. She is surrounded by flames representing wisdom.

Troma Tantra

The 'Troma Tantra' or the 'Ngagsung Tromay Tantra' otherwise known as the 'Ekajaṭĭ Khros Ma'i rGyud' focuses on rites of the protector, Ekajati and is subsumed within the Vima Nyingtig.[7]

Notes

  1. The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India By David Gordon White. pg 65
  2. Norbu (1986)
  3. "The Goddess Mahācīnakrama-Tārā (Ugra-Tārā) in Buddhist and Hindu Tantrism" by Gudrun Bühnemann. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 59, No. 3 (1996), pp. 472
  4. Kooij, R. K. van. 1974. "Some iconographical data from the Kalikapurana with special reference to Heruka and Ekajata", in J. E. van Lohuizen-de Leeuw and J. M. M. Ubaghs (ed.), South Asian archaeology, 1973. Papers from the second international conference of South Asian archaeologists held in the University of Amsterdam. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1974 pg. 170.
  5. The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India By David Gordon White. pg 65
  6. "The Cult of Jvālāmālinī and the Earliest Images of Jvālā and Śyāma." by S. Settar. Artibus Asiae, Vol. 31, No. 4 (1969), pp. 309
  7. Thondup, Tulku & Harold Talbott (Editor)(1996). Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Shambhala, South Asia Editions. ISBN 1-57062-113-6 (alk. paper); ISBN 1-56957-134-1, p.362

References

  • Beyer, Stephen (1973). The Cult of Tara. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-03635-2
  • Norbu, Namkhai (1986). The Crystal and the Way of Light. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. ISBN 1559391359
This article incorporates information from the German Wikipedia.

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