The Lives and Liberation of Princess Mandarava

ISBN 0.86171.144.0

Samten Lingpa

The Lives and Liberation of Princess Mandarava

The Indian Consort of Padmasambhava

Wisdom Publications, 1998.
Paperback, 227 pages

Many Wise and Powerful Female Figures
are contrasted in this 20th century Treasure Text with only a few positively described male protagonists; Padmasambhava naturally excluded. It is this very fact, dwelled upon extensively in the translator's preface and in the introduction by Janet Gyatso, that makes this work one among few; placing it side by side with books about Yeshe Tsogyal, the ‘Tibetan Consort’ of Padmasambhava.

On the other hand, within the Tibetan tradition, there are more and different motivations to tell the story of Mandarava of Zahor (now in North Eastern India) and to elevate her to the same level as Yeshe Tsogyal; motivations that have little to do with gender. As Herbert Guenther has so clearly pointed out, a certain (large) segment of Tibetan Buddhists have always been disenchanted by the fact that Padmasambhava stems from Uddiyana, and that Yeshe Tsogyal is a local Tibetan. This group simply wants to accept only such (Buddhist) teachings that come from an Indian source; and hence Mandarava is valued highly.

Although this woman's lifestory in itself is a beautiful teaching tale and a pleasure to read, the serious student is advised to keep the above background in mind.

Review: RCC
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