Five Wisdom Dakinis

Tib., Ye-shes mKha-'gro lnga

The designation Wisdom Dakinis refers to five major Dakinis who appear in the Bardo Thödol during the first five days in the bardo, one on each successive day and each in inseparable union with one of the five Sambhogakaya Buddhas. Just who appears in union with who varies in different accounts.

Sometimes, with the Tibetan ye-shes translated as 'awareness' rather than 'wisdom', these goddesses are called Awareness Dakinis. They are regarded as emanations of Vajravarahi, who in turn is an aspect of the Vajrayogini.

On a human level, these dakinis are believed to have manifested as the five women who practiced the teachings together with Padmasambhava, including the most secret exercises. Erroneously and unfortunately, both these major goddesses and their human incarnations are often reduced in importance by simply calling them the Five Consorts.

  1. the Buddha-Dakini Akashadhatvishvari appears on the 1st day at the Center, in union with Vairocana. Her color is white and her element ether; she represents the Wisdom of Universal Law. (or with either Ratnasambhava or Akshobhya
  2. the Vajra-Dakini Locana appears on the 2nd day in the East, in union with Aksobhya. Her color is blue and her element water; she represents the Wisdom of the Mirror. (or with Vairocana in the East)
  3. the Ratna-Dakini Mamaki appears on the 3rd day in the South, in union with Ratnasambhava. Her color is yellow and her element earth; she represents
    the Wisdom of Equality. (or with Akshobhya in the Center)
  4. the Padma-Dakini Pandaravasini [Pandara] appears on the 4th day in the West, in union with Amitabha. Her color is red and her element fire; she represents
    the Wisdom of Distinction & Discernment.
  5. the Karma-Dakini Samayatara [Samaya Tara] appears on the 5th day in the North, in union with Amoghasiddhi. Her color is green and her element air; she represents the Wisdom of Action & Accomplishment.