Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby LionelChen » Mon May 13, 2013 4:01 am

Well since this thread has taken a turn toward Kamakhya and animal sacrifice (guess i'll have to make an alternate Dakini thread later :) )

So some vidoeo resources:

1.) Kamakhya - Tourist Edition

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YubnjhWCSjw

2.) Youtube had this documentary called "Shakti: The Performance of Gendered Roles at Kamakhya" which throws a little light on the situations described previously.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MEgEtpbun8

3.) And finally, a little bit about the Aghori Sadus who show up for Ambubachi Mela.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEpJdHS1pV0

After to watching that bit, I began to wonder about the original quote i put up. I've always found Indian Mela's to be rather interesting. If the carnival/circus type atmosphere existed way back when...well perhaps the true danger of Kamakhya is that it would be an awfully loud place to meditate. :D
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby Konchog1 » Mon May 13, 2013 5:21 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cENNCJRKOhE

The Aghori and Buddhist HYT must be related.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby Karma Dorje » Mon May 13, 2013 6:25 am

Adamantine wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:I'm not entirely sure I agree with you. Phabongkha Rinpoche says that karma is created like this:

Basis
Intention
*Recognition
*Motive
*Delusion
Deed
Final Step

In the case of murder: The basis is the target. The recognition is knowing them to be, in this case, an animal. The motive is the intent to kill. The delusion is one of the three poisons. The deed is the murder. The final step is the animal dying.

So all the steps are present for someone sacrificing an animal or for a butcher. But a farmer killing worms and the like by tilling his field and so forth would be missing the recognition, the motive, and the delusion.

Therefore, the farmer would not create any negative karma.


Right, and to paraphrase something Thinley Norbu Rinpoche said once when a very worried little kid asked him about accidentally stepping on a bug: when a bird is flying through the air with it's mouth open, and a bug accidentally flies into it's mouth-- there is no karma of killing on the part of the bird. That is the bug's own karma that led it to that circumstance.


I don't think it is accurate in either case to say that there is no result to such actions. Rather, these factors are required for a fully complete karma. Typically as well, after one has completed the action one must be satisfied with the result or it is not fully complete. Let's take an example. A man plans to shoot and kill his enemy. When he fires the gun, his aim is poor and so he ends up killing his enemy's pregnant girlfriend. You can't say that because the target does not die there is no karmic result whatsoever. What of someone who places an IED or drops a bomb from an airplane. They similarly do not identify a specific target but it's quite clear that there is a result to causing harm to others.

All farmers know they are killing beings by tilling the soil. You learn that very early on, and it doesn't take very much imagination to extrapolate from past experience to current actions. Pesticide quite clearly kills specific species. It's irrelevant whether one has a specific target in mind.

There is no question that animal sacrifice is a fully complete karmic action. There is no question similarly that slaughter of an animal for food or commerce is also fully complete. The two are equivalent from that perspective. Neither is worse than the other. Arguing that animal sacrifice should be banned and yet modern slaughterhouses be permitted does not seem a coherent viewpoint. I can certainly understand a vegetarian making the argument against both.
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby Adamantine » Mon May 13, 2013 6:32 am

Karma Dorje wrote: Arguing that animal sacrifice should be banned and yet modern slaughterhouses be permitted does not seem a coherent viewpoint. I can certainly understand a vegetarian making the argument against both.


Well, I am a vegetarian.. does that clarify things for you? :smile:
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Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby Karma Dorje » Mon May 13, 2013 6:40 am

Adamantine wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote: Arguing that animal sacrifice should be banned and yet modern slaughterhouses be permitted does not seem a coherent viewpoint. I can certainly understand a vegetarian making the argument against both.


Well, I am a vegetarian.. does that clarify things for you? :smile:


Yes, that's wonderful of course. I think however that there is far more suffering caused in India as in our own countries by the commercial farming of animals than by the relatively few animal sacrifices, yet commercial meat production won't be outlawed any time soon.

And regardless of whether there is a karmic result to the production of a vegetarian diet, there is no question that it causes immense suffering to others. It's just the sad, horrible, unavoidable fact of samsaric existence that others must suffer for us to live. I applaud your decision to minimize the suffering you cause.
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby Adamantine » Mon May 13, 2013 11:14 am

Karma Dorje wrote:
Adamantine wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote: Arguing that animal sacrifice should be banned and yet modern slaughterhouses be permitted does not seem a coherent viewpoint. I can certainly understand a vegetarian making the argument against both.


Well, I am a vegetarian.. does that clarify things for you? :smile:


Yes, that's wonderful of course. I think however that there is far more suffering caused in India as in our own countries by the commercial farming of animals than by the relatively few animal sacrifices, yet commercial meat production won't be outlawed any time soon.

And regardless of whether there is a karmic result to the production of a vegetarian diet, there is no question that it causes immense suffering to others. It's just the sad, horrible, unavoidable fact of samsaric existence that others must suffer for us to live. I applaud your decision to minimize the suffering you cause.


Well unfortunate as it is, the systematic slaughtering of animals for food at least has the temporary by product of nourishing precious human rebirths and sustaining lives. I would never argue for it's necessity however. On the other hand, regarding sacrifice, I am most familiar with the Nepali festival of Desai in October, when hundreds of thousands of animals: from water buffalo to sheep, goats , ducks and chickens-- are all killed simultaneously. There is no way all these animals are able to be consumed for food afterwards. It is a mass murder in the mistaken macabre belief they are pleasing a goddess through killing.
90% of the educated Hindus from other regions will exasperatedly explain this is a wrong interpretation of their religion and tradition, a mistaken degenerate practice.
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby LionelChen » Mon May 13, 2013 6:20 pm

Konchog1 wrote:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cENNCJRKOhE

The Aghori and Buddhist HYT must be related.


Oh definitely - at the very least in terms of the externals although their doctrines and practices already point to a view of non-dualism.
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby Konchog1 » Tue May 14, 2013 3:00 am

I’ve been discussing the Mahamaya Tantra with Ryan Damron who translated the text for the 84000 Project and is the Director of Education at Rangjung Yeshe Gomde California. Our discussion fits into this thread so here: In reference to the lyrics of a song sung by Dakinis he said:

“As you noticed in the footnote, the original verse was composed in an obscure Prakrit dialect. Rather than being in Sanskrit as the rest of the Tantra originally was, this verse is meant to render the vernacular language spoken by the dakinis. This verse is not exclusive to the Mahāmāyā Tantra; it can be found with major or minor variations in a number of works associated with the Yogini Tantras.”

I replied:

“Usually, we read about the Dakinis having their own language and writing system. So would you hypothesize that the Dakini language is Prakrit? Or is Prakrit merely used to illustrate that the song is not of human origin?

By chance, I'm currently discussing the origins of the Dakinis on a web forum. Orissa and Assam are the leading contenders for the area of origin. Was Prakrit spoken in Orissa or Assam?”

He replied:

“Though people (including me in my earlier email) speak of Prakrit, its much more accurate to speak of prakrits, plural. The prakrits are a class of literary languages that are derived from Sanskrit and are found in most genres of literature in pre-modern South Asia. Many works are entirely in a prakrit, but just as often prakrit passages are incorporated into Sanskrit texts, as in the case of the Mahāmāyā Tantra. It has become clear that the vast majority of these were not spoken languages (though some were probably close to spoken languages) but were used primarily in the composition literature. The prakrits found particular use in Sanskrit dramatic literature where upper class men all speak in Sanskrit but women, foreigners and the lower castes speak in a form of prakrit.

There are also distinct forms of prakrits that are reserved only for semi-divine beings like kinnaras, pishacas and dakinis. Dakinis are certainly not only found in Buddhist literature. They had been part of the pantheon of semi-divine South Asian deities for hundreds of years before they found their way into Buddhist tantric literature. When they do appear in Sanskrit narrative literature and poetry they speak in some form of prakrit, but I don't think there is only one form of prakrit that is specific to them. Many of the texts in which dakinis speak are not scriptural works, but are part of the secular canon with historically identifiable authors. These authors used whatever form they felt was most aesthetically appropriate or popular for the time and region. It is also clear from the frequent appearances South Asian literature that they were prominent in the popular cultural imagination and were not primarily of tribal origin as many people think.

Thus I think the attempt to associate the language of the dakinis, and thus the dakinis themselves, with any specific regions, especially tribal ones, is bound to fail. And I think you’re right in suggesting that the use of Prakrit was intended to point to the non-human nature of dakinis. Dakinis were likely never thought to originate anywhere specifically. There is certainly nothing in the vast body of South Asian literature that suggests the people of South Asia thought they were anything but semi-divine. They are traditionally considered liminal beings who frequent the margins of the social world. They derive their power from this liminality, which is why they have always been considered both powerful and dangerous. The structure of a Buddhist Yogini Tantra mandala with a wrathful male deity at the center surrounded by a horde of dakinis/yoginis encodes the traditional notion that it takes an extremely powerful person (most frequently male) to tame the dakinis and gain their power.

The suggestion that the dakinis originated in Assam or Orissa is probably based on the outdated notion that tantra itself is of tribal origin. This idea has been widely discredited because it is obvious from reading tantric literature that even the most transgressive, unorthodox practices are constructed upon long-established religious and non-religious practices of mainstream South Asian culture. This is true for tantric literature as well.

That was a lengthy answer, I hope it was at least somewhat clear. I don't pretend to be an expert on these things, this is just my understanding after years of studying, translating and practicing in this tradition.”
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby LionelChen » Tue May 14, 2013 4:30 am

Konchog1 wrote:I’ve been discussing the Mahamaya Tantra ......



:good:

Thank you for that most enlightening bit of scholarship Konchog!

It does make a lot of sense when put into that context. And does solve a lot of possible problems rather neatly too.

If you remove Robert Davidson's idea of a tribal origin or admixture which formed tantric literature off the table, then it becomes less of a problem of origin and more of an issue of association between the notion of Dakini with sites or regions that emphasize shakti or the feminine power.

That's how you can have Dakinis associated with a bunch of different Sakta sites all over the place - from Assam to Swat to Sri Lanka. And it all fits.

I guess Kamakhya gets labelled as a fearful place due to its association as the Yoni of the Goddess. If there's any place where a dakini, enlightened or otherwise, would be dangerous it would be there!
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby Konchog1 » Tue May 14, 2013 4:51 am

Since Dakinis (both kinds) are powerful magical females, it's natural that they would travel to and live in sites of magical feminine power.

It's likely the same in reverse with Dakas.

Oddiyana is said to be home to many Dakinis. Perhaps Oddiyana isn't their origin, but simply a place of power they abide in because of that power. Does anyone have a quote to prove or disprove this assumption?

If the origin site of dakinis isn't on earth, or if they originate everywhere in the same manner as humans, then it follows that Dakinis live all around the world.

Still, the question of how and why Dakinis became part of Buddhism remains.

Also, why the Dakinis of Tibetan myth are far kinder and conventional than the ones of Indian myth.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby LionelChen » Tue May 14, 2013 5:44 am

Konchog1 wrote:Still, the question of how and why Dakinis became part of Buddhism remains.

Also, why the Dakinis of Tibetan myth are far kinder and conventional than the ones of Indian myth.


Perhaps this is an incorrect assumption, but for those daknis who aren't some sort of emanation body of a Bodhisattva or Buddha, I always thought that the reason why they are 'kinder" is simply the fact that...well.. they accepted the Dharma.

Somebody must have taught it to them at some point.

I make that assumption because well, I make that assumption regarding a lot of lokapalas who have also accepted the Dharma.

At some particular point in time, they weren't Buddhists. Then something happened - maybe they heard a teaching in the Sambhogakaya realm and were moved to take refuge in the three jewels.

I know in the specific case of Guan Yu, its often related that after his death he wandered as a spirit until encountering ZhiYi and requested a teaching from him. He converted after it was finished.
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby Konchog1 » Tue May 14, 2013 5:55 am

LionelChen wrote:Perhaps this is an incorrect assumption, but for those daknis who aren't some sort of emanation body of a Bodhisattva or Buddha, I always thought that the reason why they are 'kinder" is simply the fact that...well.. they accepted the Dharma.

Somebody must have taught it to them at some point.
This could be it. Kukuripa and Khanapa had Dakini companions who were kind. Presumably, this is because they practiced the Dharma.

In Tibet, unlike India, almost everyone is Buddhist. Naturally it would follow that all the spirits are as well.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby LionelChen » Tue May 14, 2013 6:08 am

Konchog1 wrote:In Tibet, unlike India, almost everyone is Buddhist. Naturally it would follow that all the spirits are as well.


Hmm.. not sure i'd say "all." After all, you got those gyalpos running around making a mess of things at times. ;)

The other thing in the Tibetan case, is that Padmasambhava (and others) may have converted some...but they subdued others.

I vaguely recall, but isn't there some sort of worldly protector out there who prophesied that if he was released from his vows he'd overturn monasteries, despoil women, etc. etc.

Its the one who can't listen to the Epic of King Gesar.
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby Konchog1 » Tue May 14, 2013 6:20 am

LionelChen wrote:I vaguely recall, but isn't there some sort of worldly protector out there who prophesied that if he was released from his vows he'd overturn monasteries, despoil women, etc. etc.

Its the one who can't listen to the Epic of King Gesar.
I don't know, but now I want to know more too.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby LionelChen » Tue May 14, 2013 6:23 am

Konchog1 wrote:
LionelChen wrote:I vaguely recall, but isn't there some sort of worldly protector out there who prophesied that if he was released from his vows he'd overturn monasteries, despoil women, etc. etc.

Its the one who can't listen to the Epic of King Gesar.
I don't know, but now I want to know more too.


Just ran a quick check through my files.

It's apparently Pehar?! The protector of the Gelug sect.

I find it hard to believe, but...

It is true that the oracle god has sworn an oath of loyalty, but it is — in the lamas’ opinion — by no means ruled out that he may one day break this and unleash his full vengeance upon the Tibetans who defeated him in times gone by. He has in his own words explained to Padmasambhava what will then happen. He will destroy the houses and the fields. The children of the Land of Snows will have to endure famine and will be driven insane. The fruit of the and will be destroyed by hail and swarms of insects. The strong will be carried off and only the weak shall survive. Wars shall devastate the roof of the world. Pehar himself will interrupt the meditations of the lamas, rob their spells of their magic power, and force them to commit suicide. Brothers will rape their sisters. He will make the wisdom consorts (the mudras) of the tantra masters bad and heretical, yes, transform them into enemies of the teaching who emigrate to the lands of the unbelievers. But first he shall copulate with them. “I,” Pehar proclaims, “the lord of the temples, the stupas and scriptures, I shall possess the fair bodies of all virgins” (Sierksma, 1966, p. 165).
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby LionelChen » Tue May 14, 2013 6:43 am

Gaah.. This conversation is veering off course again.

Getting back to the previous topic.

I haven't seen much about Dakinis in the Hindu context, although their identification with minor female goddesses makes me wonder if they have any connection to the Yakshinis.

They both are dangerous female types filled with wisdom and knowledge.
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby Konchog1 » Thu May 23, 2013 1:39 am

Page 48 of Overview of Buddhist Tantra by Panchen Sonam Dragpa says:
It was taught in the place where most of the Highest Yoga tantras were taught, glorious Dhanyakataka.
A footnote attached to this says:
In a footnote to Gos Lo-tsa-wa's Blue Annals (p.754), George Roerich identifies Sri Dhanyakataka with the great caitya of Amaravati in the Sattenapalle Taluka of Guntur District, Madras.
Anyone know where this is?
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby LionelChen » Thu May 23, 2013 3:51 pm

Konchog1 wrote:Page 48 of Overview of Buddhist Tantra by Panchen Sonam Dragpa says:
It was taught in the place where most of the Highest Yoga tantras were taught, glorious Dhanyakataka.
A footnote attached to this says:
In a footnote to Gos Lo-tsa-wa's Blue Annals (p.754), George Roerich identifies Sri Dhanyakataka with the great caitya of Amaravati in the Sattenapalle Taluka of Guntur District, Madras.
Anyone know where this is?


If that's the same Amaravati as the one I know, then its in Andhra Pradesh.

Its also a major area of Shiva worship if I recall correctly, although he bears a different name or title there.
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Re: Kamakhya, Dakinis, and the Adivasi?

Postby tingdzin » Sun May 26, 2013 9:02 pm

There has been a lot of academic stuff written on the origin of "the dakini" in mantrayana. As most contributors have noted, dakinis in Indian folklore seem to have been largely witch-type, mostly malevolent creatures, with few of the transcendental qualities and multiple meanings that are implied in the Tibetan "khandroma" (for good treatments of the latter, Janet Gyatso's book on Jigme Lingpa is still IMO the best; one could also profitably read Judith Simmer-Brown's book on the subject). For a complete picture of the dakini's geographical origins, one should take into account David Templeman's article on similarities between the dakini and the peri of the Iranian world, which at the time of mantrayana's germination spread as far east as the Indus, including the areas modern scholars accept as Oddiyana. It's in one of those ridiculously expensive Brill volumes containing the papers of the IATS, but it probably can be accessed elsewhere.
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