March 8 2014 Buddhism Newsletter
It's Women's History Month, and International Women's Day today. To celebrate I will be focusing on Buddhist women authors and teachers this month, as well as on the feminine principle as it is expressed in Buddhism. My first offering this month is a review of Into the Heart of Life by one of my favorite American Buddhist teachers, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo:
Into the Heart of Life - Book Review
Into the Heart of Life is a beautiful book of teachings by Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, one of the first Western women to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun. She first came to prominence as the subject of Cave in the Snow, a book about her 12 years in solitary retreat.
At my blog I've also posted a collaborative post on feminine power - a collection of poems, artworks, blog posts and more, some of them Buddhist inspired:
This post includes links to a guest article here at Bellaonline by a friend on Embodied Forms of Feminine Power in Buddhism:
I hope you will explore the feminine principle in your own way within your practice this month. Of course awakened mind is not gendered, but on the relative level of the world and our practice within it, a great rebalancing is now taking place, bringing the feminine principle more deeply into our hearts and minds.
To aid you in this process, I'll leave you with a wonderful passage from Judith Simmers-Brown, author of Dakini's Warm Breath, about the different levels of the dakini - the dominant feminine archetype within Tibetan Buddhism - as it manifest in our mind and world:
“On a secret level, [the dakini] 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 Vajrayana 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, visualized as the personification of qualities of buddhahood. 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.”
- from Dakini's Warm Breath, by Judith Simmers- Brown
Lisa Erickson, Buddhism Editor
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