Mar 08

Tara Mandala Celebrates International Women’s Day & Dakini Day

Dear Tara Mandala Sangha,

Today, on International Women’s Day which also happens to fall on Dakini Day, we celebrate all women and we reflect upon the importance of interdependence. As global awareness increases for equality, we honor all who identify as women, and we extend this intention through our thoughts and actions, on this and every day of the year. Ultimately, we hold all beings as precious and invaluable.

May Tara Mandala continue to be a place where we cultivate this view, enabling activity that brings us all toward this goal. May all those who identify as women find refuge, renewal, and a clear equitable path to realize our true potential.

“By women taking their power back and manifesting it in the world, our ecological situations will be subsequently transformed, bringing balance, generating healing, and producing a culture of peace.”

~ Lama Tsultrim Allione, from her book Wisdom Rising: Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine

As a Tibetan Buddhist retreat center founded by Lama Tsultrim Allione, a pioneering writer and teacher in the field of women in Buddhism, we celebrate all the women who have come before, who are here now, and who will come in the future. We celebrate the uniqueness of the perspectives and wisdom of the sacred feminine in her many forms.

For this reason, we have curated some books that have been written by or about women on the topic of women in Buddhism. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a good broad survey of the deep work that has already been done. We carry some of these titles in our new Dakini Store (links provided when applicable).

Enjoy and please share with others!

Tibet: My Story

by Jestun Pema

The younger sister of the Dalai Lama, and a cabinet officer of Tibet’s government in exile, recounts her experiences growing up in Tibet, and shares the culture and traditions of her native land. Read more »

Love and Liberation: Autobiographical Writings of the Tibetan Buddhist Visionary Sera Khandro

by Sarah Jacoby

Love and Liberation focuses on the autobiographical and biographical writings of one of the few Tibetan Buddhist women to record the story of her life. Sera Khandro Künzang Dekyong Chönyi Wangmo was extraordinary not only for achieving religious mastery as a Tibetan Buddhist visionary and guru to many lamas, monastics, and laity in the Golok region of eastern Tibet, but also for her candor. This book listens to Sera Khandro’s conversations with land deities, dakinis, bodhisattvas, lamas, and fellow religious community members whose voices interweave with her own to narrate what is a story of both love between Sera Khandro and her guru, Drimé Özer, and spiritual liberation. Read more »

Women of Wisdom

by Tsultrim Allione

Women of Wisdom explores and celebrates the spiritual potential of all women, as exemplified by the lives of six Tibetan female mystics. These stories of great women who have achieved full illumination, overcoming cultural prejudices and a host of other problems which male practitioners do not encounter, offer a wealth of inspiration to everyone on the spiritual path. Read more »

Himalayan Hermitess: The Life of a Tibetan Buddhist Nun

by Kurtis R. Schaeffer

Himalayan Hermitess is a vivid account of the life and times of a Buddhist nun living on the borderlands of Tibetan culture. Orgyan Chokyi (1675-1729) spent her life in Dolpo, the highest inhabited region of the Nepal Himalayas. Illiterate and expressly forbidden by her master to write her own life story, Orgyan Chokyi received divine inspiration, defied tradition, and composed one of the most engaging autobiographies of the Tibetan literary tradition. Read more »

My Journey to Lhasa

by Alexandra David-Neel

An exemplary travelogue of danger and achievement by the Frenchwoman Madame Alexandra David–Neel of her 1923 expedition to Tibet, the fifth in her series of Asian travels, and her personal recounting of her journey to Lhasa, Tibet’s forbidden city. Read more »

Herstory, Teachings, Poetry and More by Women Authors

First Buddhist Women: Poems and Stories of Awakening

by Susan Murcott

First Buddhist Women is a readable, contemporary translation of and commentary on the enlightenment verses of the first female disciples of the Buddha. The book explores Buddhism’s relatively liberal attitude towards women since its founding nearly 2,600 years ago, through the study of the Therigatham, the earliest known collection of women’s religious poetry. Read more »

Wisdom Rising: Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine

by Lama Tsultrim Allione

Through her own story of loss and spiritual seeking, paired with mandala meditations and rituals, bestselling author of Feeding Your Demons Lama Tsultrium Allione teaches you how to embody the enlightened, fierce power of the sacred feminine—the tantric dakinis. Read more »

The Deepest Peace: Contemplations from a Season of Stillness

by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel

A beautiful glimpse into the daily practice of a modern contemplative, The Deepest Peace reveals moments of stunning clarity from the eyes of a Zen priest. Through silence, stillness, and practice, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel transmits how it is possible to cultivate and experience peace. Read more »

The Force of the Mamos: Messages from the Divine Wrathful Mother

by Sangye Khandro

This is a small book published by our very own Machig Publications at Tara Mandala, which is a transcription of teachings given by Sangye Khandro in 2020 on the force of the Mamos, which are expressions of the divine wrathful feminine as they relate to the five elements of earth, water, fire, air, and space. Read more »

Stars at Dawn: Forgotten Stories of Women in the Buddha’s Life

by Wendy Garling

A contemporary and provocative examination of the life of the Buddha highlighting the influence of women from his journey to awakening through his teaching career–based on overlooked or neglected stories from ancient source material. Read more »

Women in Buddhism: Images of Feminine in the Mahayana Tradition

by Diana Y. Paul

In seeking to explore the interrelationships between, and mutual influence of varieties of sexual stereotypes and religious views of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, Women in Buddhism succeeds in drawing our attention to matters of philosophical importance. Paul examines the ‘image’ of women which arise in a number of Buddhist texts associated with Mahayana and finds that, while ideally the tradition purports to be egalitarian, in actual practice it often betrays a strong misogynist prejudice. Read more »

Buddhism Beyond Gender

by Rita Gross

At the heart of Buddhism is the notion of egolessness—“forgetting the self”—as the path to awakening. In fact, attachment to views of any kind only leads to more suffering for ourselves and others. And what has a greater hold on people’s imaginations or limits them more, asks Rita Gross, than ideas about biological sex and what she calls “the prison of gender roles”? Yet if clinging to gender identity does, indeed, create obstacles for us, why does the prison of gender roles remain so inescapable? Gross uses the lenses of Buddhist philosophy to deconstruct the powerful concept of gender and its impact on our lives. In revealing the inadequacies involved in clinging to gender identity, she illuminates the suffering that results from clinging to any kind of identity at all. Read more »

To find a list of our Tara Mandala online retreats and courses focusing on women and the divine feminine within Buddhism with Lama Tsultrim Allione, Osho Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Lopön Karla Jackson-Brewer, Magyu Dorje Lopön Charlotte Rotterdam, Lopön Ellen Booth Church, Miranda Shaw, Ranjini George, Dorje Lopön Chandra Easton, and many more, please visit the Calendar page on our website.

Header photo by J. Brownlee.
gold geometric divider