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Yeshe Tsogyal was born in the 8th Century in Tibet. Yeshe means Wisdom and Tshogyal, Lake Queen. Her birth caused a nearby lake to double in size and therefore, given the name, Lake Queen. By the time she was 10, she had matured to a beautiful woman. Tales of her beauty spread throughout Tibet and into China and Nepal.

Yeshe Tsogyal

She was violently taken in marriage by a powerful minister. She tried to escape but was captured by another. King Thrisong Detsen heard about the conflict and took her as his wife although imperial records do not include her in the list of the King’s wives.

Some years earlier, Trisong Detsen had invited Guru Padmasambhava to come to Tibet and establish Buddhism. Padmasambhava requested a woman committed to the Dharma to assist him in his practice of the secret teachings. The king gave him Yeshe Tsogyal, who was then sixteen years old. Guru took her across Himalayas giving her secret teachings and initiations.

Guru and Yeshe Tsogyal

Having had all the initiations passed, she found a cave near the snow line and settled down to meditate. She attained enlightenment overcoming numerous troubles. She traveled far and wide across Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, China and India, spreading the teaching.

Yeshe Tshogyal trained thousands of monks and nuns. Many attained enlightenment and a number became equal in power to herself. She transcribed Padmasambhava’s teachings and hid them as treasures across Himalayan landscape, to be revealed by treasure revealers in times to come.

Footprint of Yeshe Tshogyal

Her departure is much debated subject. Some believe she lived for 100 years while some say she lived for 200 years. However, practiced Dharma under Guru’s supervision and later spread his teachings far and wide.

Taktshang where Guru and
Yeshe Tsogyal meditated

Today, Yeshe Tsogyal is honored as the Mother of Tibetan Buddhism. She is also considered a manifestation of Saraswati and sometimes identified the reincarnation of Buddha’s Mother, Maya. She is also considered to be an emanation of Samantabhadri, Prajnaparamita and Vajrayogini.

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