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Dakinis - artelino

Red Dakini.Dakinis are difficult to describe. They are a kind of female demon category. A Dakini is not just one character. Dakinis can take different appearances and come in all kinds of colors - from the lion headed Dakini to a Dakini with the head of a pig to an all red and naked human looking Dakini.

A Dakini can be wrathful or peaceful. But even if peaceful, these odd female demons do never look friendly but really scary.

Dakinis - the Sky Walker Women

Sky Walker Woman - Red Dakini.

Dakini means "she who can fly". They can walk in the sky like Luke Skywalker and thus transform themselves at the speed of lightening from one place to another. The origin of this character is presumably in old shamanistic beliefs that were widespread during the Himalayas before the advent of Buddhism.

Dakinis - Imported by Padmasambhava?

Dakini - gold-plated statue.

And just as Christian missionaries integrated some of the old pagan beliefs into Christianity, so did Buddhist missionaries when being confronted with the old Bön religion.

Padmasambhava was one of these Buddhist missionaries who had to cope with all these demons, sorcerers, black magic and super-natural things. Tibetan mythology is full of legends of fights against evil demon forces who then were subdued. Those who were subdued and behaved like a tame little pussy cat, got a kind of second chance. All they had to do was to vow that from now on they would protect Buddhism. They got a new job but could keep everything else including their scary outer appearance.

That is basically the reason why the Tibetan mythology has so many scary looking beings who at first sight do not seem to have any connection with the peaceful teachings of the Buddha.

The Naked Red Dakini


One can read pages over pages about Dakinis. And you do not understand anything nor does it become more feasible nor does it make any sense unless you intend to become an expert in this field. If you however just want to become a bit knowledgeable to recognize the major deities on Tibetan or Himalayan art objects, just remember this nearly naked scary looking red Dakini.

You will see this red Dakini always in the same standing pose. With her left hand she is holding a skull cup out of which she is drinking blood. In her right hand she is holding a cleaver. She is decorated with human skulls and her nearly naked body has a sexually explicit look. With her two feet she tramples on two humans, enemies of the true faith. And on her forehead she has a third eye which enables a Dakini to see the past, the present and the future.

Dieter Wanczura, June 2010.

The Lion Head Dakini.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 November 2010 23:45  

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