Yeshe Tsogyal
Tibetan name
Tibetan: ཡེ་ཤེས་མཚོ་རྒྱལ
Wylie transliteration: ye shes mtsho rgyal
pronunciation in IPA: [jeɕe tsʰocɛ]
official transcription (PRC): Yêxê Cogyai
THDL: Yeshé Tsogyel
other transcriptions: Yeshe Tsogyal,
Yeshe Tsogyel,
Yeshey Tsogyel
Chinese name
traditional: 益西措杰
simplified: 益西措杰
Pinyin: Yìxī Cuòjié

Yeshe Tsogyel, also known in the Nyingma tradition as the Great Bliss Queen, is a semi-mythical female deity or figure of enlightenment (dakini) in Tibetan Buddhism. She lived from 757 to 817, and is most identified as the mystic spiritual Yab-Yum consort of the great Indian tantric teacher Padmasambhava ("the Lotus-Born One"), who was invited to Tibet by the Emperor Trisong Detsen.

Though a consort of Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyel became a master in her own right. [1]

Both the Nyingma and Karma Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism recognize Yeshe Tsogyal as a female Buddha. The translators of Lady of the Lotus-Born, the namthar or spiritual biography that Yeshe Tsogyal left as a terma observe:

As Dodrup Tenpai Nyima makes clear, beings able to reveal Termas must have at least the realization of the Perfection Stage practices. On the other hand, the one who originates the Treasures must have the supreme attainment of Buddhahood. Lady of the Lotus-Born is thus a testimony of Yeshe Tsogyal's enlightenment.[2]

More detail

From the mouth of a lotus was born
The swift goddess, heroic liberator
Who went forth in human form
Amid the snowy mountains of Tibet.[3]

Among lay Tibetans she is seen as a Buddha who takes the form of an ordinary woman so as to be accessible to the average person, "who, for the time being, do not see her Vajravarahi form as a fully perfected deity."[4] In fact,

She displays whatever emanation form will tame
Any given [person], just as, for example, the full moon in the sky
Emerges as [various] reflections in different water vessels.[5]

According to legend she was born in the same manner as the Buddha, a Sanskrit mantra sounding as her mother gave birth painlessly, and she is considered a reincarnation of the Buddha's own mother, Maya Devi. Her name ("Primordial (ye) Wisdom (shes) Queen (rgyal mo) of the Lake (tso)") derives from her birth causing a nearby lake to double in size.[4]

As a young girl, she is said to have prayed for the happiness of all sentient beings. At the age of sixteen, she was initiated into Buddhism by Guru Padmasambhava. Although she was originally one of the Queen consorts of Trisong Detsen, she was given to Padmasambhava and became his main spiritual consort. After many years of diligent study she achieved a level of enlightenment equal to his. Yeshe Tsogyal was the main compiler of Padmasambhava's teachings, and it was she who concealed most of the termas.

Tsogyel, though fairly obviously a transformation of an older Bön figure, Bönmo Tso (female Bön practitioner of the lake), whom she debates in her "autobiography", also preserves the Great Completeness traditions shared by Bön with Tibet's earliest Buddhist tradition. As the wife of Tri-song-day-tsen and the consort of Padmasambhava, given to him at her request by the king, she also stands historically at the beginning of Buddhism's eclipse of Bön in Tibet. She is also considered a manifestation of Sarasvati and sometimes identified with the Bodhisattva Tara.[4]

In the '“Life of Yeshe Tsogyel,” Padma Sambhava predicted that Yeshe Tsogyel would be reborn as Machig Lapdron; her consort, Atsara Sale [6], would become Topabhadra, Machig’s husband; her assistant and Padma Sambhava’s secondary consort, Tashi Khyidren, would be reborn as Machig’s only daughter, and so on. All of the important figures in Tsogyel’s life were to be reborn in the life of Machig Lapdron, including Padma Sambhava himself, who would become Phadampa Sangye.[7]

According to Karmapa lineage Tsogyel had attained Buddhahood in that very life. On the Gyalwa Karmapa website it is said that she -some thirty years before transcending worldly existence- finally emerged from an isolated Meditation Retreat (796-805) as "a fully Enlightened Buddha " (samyak-saṃbuddha). [8]


Gyatso (2006) relates the background to how the Zhitro (also spelled: Shitro, Xitro) was received by the wang of a Vidyadhara through the Bardo of trance:

After succeeding in a variety of feats, including beheading a tiger, she gains access to an elaborate palace where she receives esoteric initiations from several vidyādharas and buddhas. She returns to Chingpu and after a year is robbed by seven bandits whom she then converts to Buddhist practice. She proceeds with the bandits on a magic carpet to the place Oḍḍiyāna where they all receive peaceful and wrathful deity practice (zhitro) initiations from a vidyādhara, who gives her the secret name Kharchen Za and cavorts in bliss with her.[1]

Citing Padmasambhava

Padmasambhava is supposed to have said to her: "The basis for realizing enlightenment is a human body. Male or female, there is no great difference. But if she develops the mind bent on enlightenment the woman’s body is better" (quoted by Stevens, 1990, p. 71).

Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal in dialogue

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gyatso, Janet (2006). A Partial Genealogy of the Lifestory of Yeshé Tsogyel. Harvard University. JIATS, no. 2 (August 2006), THDL #T2719, 27 pp. Source: [1] (accessed: November 16, 2007)
  2. Changchub, Gyalwa; Namkhai Nyingpo (2002). Padmakara Translation Group. ed. Lady of the Lotus-Born: The Life and Enlightenment of Yeshe Tsogyal. Shambhala Publications, Inc.. p. xxxvii. ISBN 1570625441. 
  3. (Jigme Lingpa quoted by Dro-drup-chen III in Gantok (1975), cited in Klein)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 (Klein 1995, p.15-17)
  5. (Ngawang Denzin Dorje (1972), cited in Klein)
  6. some information on Atsara Sahle from Nepal
  7. citation from Women of Wisdom, Extract :MACHIG LAPDRON by Tsültrim Allione
  8. Yeshe Tsogyal, Princess Of KarchenWebsite of the Dharma Fellowship of His Holiness the Gyalwa Karmapa


  • Klein, Anne Carolyn (1995). Meeting the Great Bliss Queen: Buddhists, Feminists, and the Art of the Self. Beacon Press: Boston. ISBN 0-8070-7306-7.
  • Gyatso, Janet (2006). A Partial Genealogy of the Lifestory of Yeshé Tsogyel. Harvard University. JIATS, no. 2 (August 2006), THDL #T2719, 27 pp. Source: [2] (accessed: November 16, 2007)

Further reading

  • Dowman, Keith. (1984). Sky Dancer: The Secret Life and Songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyel. Routledge & Kegan Paul, Boston, Mass. ISBN 0-7100-9576-7.
  • Gyalwa Changchub, and Namkhai Nyingpo. (1999) Lady of the Lotus-born: The Life and Enlightenment of Yeshe Tsogyal. Translated by the Padmakara Translation Group. Shambhala, Boston & London. ISBN 1-57062-384-8.
  • Allione, Tsültrim. (2000) Women of Wisdom, Publisher : Snow Lion Publications, ISBN 1559391413, EAN 9781559391412
  • Tibetan Buddhist Center Ati Ling Story Lion-Faced Dakini Guru Rinpoche remained in Tibet for 111 years and in his 73rd year there he gave many teachings on the Eight Command Deities and also on the Lion-faced Dakini. The practice was transmitted to Yeshe Tsogyal, who is an emanation of the Lion-faced Dakini, and with her siddha of infallible memory, she recorded the text in dakini script and concealed it, to be revealed later by tertons.
  • Vajra Love—Essays from the Sites of Keith Dowman

External links

ru:Еше Цогьял

simple:Yeshe Tsogyal