When Buddha Was A Woman

Upcoming Events

The Innermost Heart of Freedom: Dzogchen Meditation Retreat

With Pema Khandro

August 20 - 25, 2019
Dakini Mountain ~ This is a meditation retreat for the wired and weary to settle into focused calm, to rest into the nature of mind and tap into profound depths. This is the fourth Annual Dzogchen Retreat, five days of Buddhist meditation practices that will surprise you with the wonderful power and expansiveness of mind [...]
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Ngakpa Seminary, Level 2

With Pema Khandro

August 21, 2019
The Ngakpa Training offers in-depth study of Vajrayana Buddhism. The five year curriculum focuses on a study of Vajrayana Buddhist history, philosophy and practice, focusing on the Inner Tantras of the Nyingma Tradition, also known as MahaYoga, AnuYoga and Dzogchen. These studies alternate with one on one dialogues with the Lama in phone classes, private […]
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Ngakpa Seminary, Level 1

With Pema Khandro

August 28, 2019
The Ngakpa Training offers in-depth study of Vajrayana Buddhism. The five year curriculum focuses on a study of Vajrayana Buddhist history, philosophy and practice, focusing on the Inner Tantras of the Nyingma Tradition, also known as MahaYoga, AnuYoga and Dzogchen. These studies alternate with one on one dialogues with the Lama in phone classes, private […]
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Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

August 28, 2019
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

Skillful Means

With Pema Khandro

September 11, 2019
Closed Retreat, for Vajra Sangha Members. Free for Sustainer Members and Above, or $30 Love offering [...]
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Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

September 11, 2019
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
Closed

Meditation Instructor Training

With Pema Khandro, Aruna Rig'dzin and Satya Shiva

September 14 - October 4, 2019
The Meditation Instructor Training supplies the fundamental knowledge and experience necessary to lead meditation classes and one-day meditation intensives [...]
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Ngakpa Seminary, Level 2

With Pema Khandro

September 18, 2019
The Ngakpa Training offers in-depth study of Vajrayana Buddhism. The five year curriculum focuses on a study of Vajrayana Buddhist history, philosophy and practice, focusing on the Inner Tantras of the Nyingma Tradition, also known as MahaYoga, AnuYoga and Dzogchen. These studies alternate with one on one dialogues with the Lama in phone classes, private […]
Closed

Ngakpa Seminary, Level 1

With Pema Khandro

September 25, 2019
The Ngakpa Training offers in-depth study of Vajrayana Buddhism. The five year curriculum focuses on a study of Vajrayana Buddhist history, philosophy and practice, focusing on the Inner Tantras of the Nyingma Tradition, also known as MahaYoga, AnuYoga and Dzogchen. These studies alternate with one on one dialogues with the Lama in phone classes, private […]
Closed

Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

September 25, 2019
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

Vajra Sangha Retreat

With Pema Khandro

October 4 - 9, 2019
Closed Retreat ~ The annual Vajra Sangha retreat is a private weekend retreat full of deep practice of meditation and study of Dzogchen, Buddhism’s esoteric philosophy. It is a celebratory reunion of the Vajra Sangha from all over the world. The retreat is led by Pema Khandro Rinpoche at her headquarters in Virginia, Khandro Ling.
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Virginia Open Teaching, Chod Empowerment

With Pema Khandro

October 4, 2019
Taught by Tibetan Buddhist teacher and scholar, Lama Pema Khandro Rinpoche, this evening will be a lecture and discussion on Tibetan Buddhist principles. This teaching is open to the public […]
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Laughter of the Dakinis – Chod Retreat

With Pema Khandro

October 5, 2019
This meditation retreat focuses on Buddhism’s esoteric practice for transforming the most difficult experiences into opportunities for awakening. It is a method which harnesses the heroic energy of enlightened intent to change neurotic mind patterns and heal from traumas.….[…]
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Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

October 9, 2019
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
Closed

Group Leader Training II

With Pema Khandro

October 11 - 13, 2019
The Group Leader Training Program serves the need for training leaders who will serve their local communities, to connect them with the tools for meditation practices and for studying fundamental Buddhist views. Click Here For More Details and Pre-Requisites [...]
Contact Register@BuddhistYogis.org for More Information

Ngakpa Seminary, Level 2

With Pema Khandro

October 16, 2019
The Ngakpa Training offers in-depth study of Vajrayana Buddhism. The five year curriculum focuses on a study of Vajrayana Buddhist history, philosophy and practice, focusing on the Inner Tantras of the Nyingma Tradition, also known as MahaYoga, AnuYoga and Dzogchen. These studies alternate with one on one dialogues with the Lama in phone classes, private […]
Closed

Ngakpa Seminary, Level 1

With Pema Khandro

October 23, 2019
The Ngakpa Training offers in-depth study of Vajrayana Buddhism. The five year curriculum focuses on a study of Vajrayana Buddhist history, philosophy and practice, focusing on the Inner Tantras of the Nyingma Tradition, also known as MahaYoga, AnuYoga and Dzogchen. These studies alternate with one on one dialogues with the Lama in phone classes, private […]
Closed

Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

October 23, 2019
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

Bodhisattva Training

With Pema Khandro

October 30, 2019
Bodhisattva Training is an online class with Pema Khandro Rinpoche held on the 5th Wednesdays of the month. Prerequisite Completion of at least one module of Bodhisattva Training. Tuition $30 Free for Snow Lion Members and above.
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Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

November 13, 2019
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
Closed

Ngakpa Seminary, Level 2

With Pema Khandro

November 20, 2019
The Ngakpa Training offers in-depth study of Vajrayana Buddhism. The five year curriculum focuses on a study of Vajrayana Buddhist history, philosophy and practice, focusing on the Inner Tantras of the Nyingma Tradition, also known as MahaYoga, AnuYoga and Dzogchen. These studies alternate with one on one dialogues with the Lama in phone classes, private […]
Closed

Public Program

With Pema Khandro

November 21, 2019
San Diego, Ca ~ Public Program
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Ngakpa Seminary, Level 1

With Pema Khandro

November 27, 2019
The Ngakpa Training offers in-depth study of Vajrayana Buddhism. The five year curriculum focuses on a study of Vajrayana Buddhist history, philosophy and practice, focusing on the Inner Tantras of the Nyingma Tradition, also known as MahaYoga, AnuYoga and Dzogchen. These studies alternate with one on one dialogues with the Lama in phone classes, private […]
Closed

Open Teaching Webcast

With Pema Khandro

November 27, 2019
A 30 minute guided meditation and online teaching with Pema Khandro. Free and open to the public. Click Here to Register What is Dakini Day? The Dakini (known in Tibetan as Khandro) is the principle of spacious dynamic wisdom in Tibetan Buddhism. This is a monthly class to support your meditation practice and meet the […]

Dzogchen Day Webcast

With Pema Khandro

December 11, 2019
Guided meditation and discussion with Pema Khandro. This 30 minute online class is free and open to Buddhist Yogis Sangha Members only. Click Here to become a Member Join online for this monthly class to practice meditation and discuss esoteric Buddhism with Pema Khandro. This class is a joyful opportunity to connect with the Buddhist Yogis […]
Closed

Ngakpa Seminary, Level 2

With Pema Khandro

December 18, 2019
The Ngakpa Training offers in-depth study of Vajrayana Buddhism. The five year curriculum focuses on a study of Vajrayana Buddhist history, philosophy and practice, focusing on the Inner Tantras of the Nyingma Tradition, also known as MahaYoga, AnuYoga and Dzogchen. These studies alternate with one on one dialogues with the Lama in phone classes, private […]
Closed

New Years Retreat ~ Vajrasattva

January 20, 2020
Begin the New Year with a Day-long meditation retreat. You will practice Vajrasattva meditation, the practice cherished by Tibetan Buddhists for clearing past karma and restoring confidence and awakening compassion wisdom of your innermost mind. This retreat will be held in Los Angeles, Seattle, Santa Cruz, Grass Valley and Berkeley led by the Buddhist Yogi’s Sangha’s Meditation Instructors and Group Leaders [...]
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Buddhist Women Who Made History

In the Past Lives of the Buddha

In the Buddha’s past life he was a woman, according to several medieval Pali texts.[1] These texts, containing collections of the Buddha’s past life stories, portray how enlightened intention can develop through lifetimes. The stories are known as Jataka tales. They illustrate how altruistic aspiration and heroic conduct led the Buddha, through successive lifetimes, to fully awaken and finally become the person who was the father of Buddhism – and the Buddha of this aeon- Siddhartha Gautama (For his life story see my video series). Containing pithy lessons, these Jataka tales account for the activities of the Buddha, before he was a Buddha, and what it was that led him to become the Buddha over trillions of years and a hundred thousand aeons. In this way they serve as models for ideal attitudes and conduct that lead the individual to awaken and relieve others from suffering. In one of these tales, the Buddha first formulated his aspiration to be fully awakened when he was a female.

When Buddha Was A Woman

Early on in his succession of lives, in the third lifetime, the Buddha was a born a princess who was also the sister of the Buddha of previous aeons, Buddha Former Dipankara. During that life this princess made an offering of white mustard oil to an old monk. She gave this to this monk so that the oil could be used to light butter lamps as an offering for the Buddha of that time. When she made this offering, she also declared an aspiration. She wished that in a future life, for the sake of all sentient beings, that she would become a Buddha. When the monk told the Buddha of that aeon of the princess’s aspiration, he responded with a prediction. He foretold that in the future, she would be told that she would be the Buddha of the next aeon (our present age), the Buddha Gotama, aka Siddhartha Gautama, the founding figure of Buddhism.

The Birth of Enlightened Intentionality

In Buddhism, one’s intention is the defining factor of one’s karma, one’s quality of life and one’s rebirths. Even when the actions we take do not turn out the way we intend them to, if the intention is altruistic, then it is a beneficial action. The cultivation of the highest intention possible is a deliberate practice featured in most Buddhist prayers and rituals. The wish is made not just to be happy, or have a better life, but that oneself and others would reach their highest potential, to be fully awake and to be free from suffering, to actualize buddha-nature. This wish is also known as Bodhichitta, enlightened intentionality and it is the motivation that drives a Buddhist’s life. This story of the Buddha’s lifetime as a female is an important pivotal story in the succession of lives because this it feature’s a woman making the enlightened intention that lays the foundation for the future attainment of Buddhahood.

For a full translation of this story and its commentary, see the fascinating essay by Karen Derris, “My Sister’s Future Buddhahood; A Jataka of the Buddha’s Lifetime As A Woman,” chapter one in Eminent Buddhist Women Edited by Karma Lekshe Tsomo.

[1] This story comes from Karen Derris’s translation and commentary based on the stories appearance in the Sotathakimahanidana (Bangkok: Privately printed, 2526/1983); Mahasampindanidana, unpublished transcription by Venerable Nanavasa; S.P. Buddhadatta, ed., Jinakalamali (London: Pali Text Society, 1962); The Sheaf Garland of the Epochs of the Conqueror, trans. N.A. Jayawickrama (London: Pali Text Society, 1968); P.S. Jaini, ed., Pannasa, 2 vols. (Oxford: Pali Text Society, 1981-1983), and P.S. Jaini, trans., Apocryphal Birth Stories, vol. 2 (London: Pali Text Society, 1986), pp. 396-402).


Pema Khandro
Pema Khandro is a Tibetan Buddhist scholar, humanitarian, and teacher in the rare lineage of Tibet’s Buddhist Yogis. Raised in the west, ordained in the Nyingma lineage, enthroned as a tulku and trained as an academic, Pema Khandro presents both a traditional perspective and a modern voice. Read more at: https://www.pemakhandro.org/pema-khandro-extended-biography/