Author: Mali Nandakumar

Female Deities In Vajrayana Buddhism

The primordial cosmic energy that pervades the universe is symbolised in feminine form as Shakti in Hinduism. Worshipping Shakti is integral to Hinduism. Shakti manifests herself in myriad forms. Though Buddhism emerged as breaking away from the tenets of Hinduism as practised then, one can see the influence of Hindu traditions in the forms that evolved later. This essay attempts to review all the female deities worshipped in Vajrayana Buddhism. In the earliest form of Buddhism, the Hinayana, Buddha’s teachings explained the path to liberation of the individual self. In the later form, the Mahayana, Buddha’s teachings explained how to attain complete enlightenment, or the Buddhahood for the sake of others. The Mahayana incorporated novel and complex systems and practices under the influence of Hinduism. Both these traditions flourished in India and later spread to other countries in Asia, including Tibet. Vajrayana evolved from Mahayana Buddhism and was prevalent in India. Popularised by the 84 Mahasiddhas who travelled around India Vajrayana flourished between the 9th and 12th centuries. Belonging neither to any specific monastic traditions …