Sparks flew when the Emperor introduced the abused feminist and the enlightened magician; sparks of love between one of history's most interesting couples.
Yeshe Tsogyal was born into Tibetan royalty, but that didn't explain why an earthquake, a rain of flowers, and dakinis singing in the clouds accompanied her birth. Padmasambhava (Padma) arrived on Earth on a giant lotus as a child. Both knew it was their destiny to meet each other, for they had made that commitment in the realm of light.
Yeshe bolted when her parents insisted that she accept an arranged marriage. She vowed to follow the buddha-dharma and find the man she had dreamed of all her life-Padma, the Buddha incarnate.
Emperor Trisong Detsen rescued Yeshe from incarceration by a would-be suitor and took her for a wife. The Emperor protected her and joined her in the study of the dharma.
The Emperor had a powerful dream that compelled him to build the most spectacular temple and monastery in the country, but troublesome entities thwarted the progress. He sent for Padma, who swiftly dispatched the spirits of place. Trisong Detsen learned that Padma knew a practice that could deliver enlightenment in one lifetime. In exchange for the spiritual cleansing and the enlightenment training, he offered all his riches and his wife, Yeshe. Padma accepted Yeshe and made no guarantees.
Initially, Yeshe was Padma's disciple and assistant. They ultimately became lovers and collaborators. Padma taught timeless and essential practices, but there was a problem: The Ministers of the Emperor's Court wielded substantial political power and were dismayed that Padma and Yeshe had gained influence. They made two unsuccessful assassination attempts and continued to plot attacks.
The couple spent some time in exile. Yeshe and Padma's love affair deepened as their sexuality merged with the lessons of secret tantras.
The Emperor called for a Magic Competition between students of the Buddha and the Ministers with their Wizards. The winner would advise the Emperor on spiritual matters; the loser would accept defeat.
The followers of buddha-dharma prevailed, but the Ministers did not accept defeat. They conjured a powerful missile and launched it toward the new temple. Yeshe intercepted the weapon and sent it back to the Ministers' quarters. No one died, but the explosion destroyed the Ministers' property.
Padma and Yeshe had some special powers, siddhis, which included transmuting poisons, subduing attacks with words or songs, flying, and time travel. I'll leave the reader to discover the related stories.
Padma and Yeshe continued their work in Tibet, Nepal, India, and Bhutan. They developed a system of hiding terma-sacred texts and objects-to discover at the appropriate time and location. They hid some terma in physical places, and some they planted deep in the minds of individuals in the future. Thus they preserved irreplaceable teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and Dzogchen.
Yeshe Tsogal lived a human life with a rich spiritual core. Famed in Tibet as the precious mother of enlightenment, she was also a thoughtful and dignified woman of the Eighth Century. She was a fierce feminist who spoke out and took action when she encountered misogyny. She led practitioners of the Divine Feminine. She taught meditation and self-defense, as well. She spread inspiration throughout this place she called 'The Sphere.' Yet Yeshe was very much a woman with deep emotions.
I enjoyed a priceless opportunity to know a handful of unique beings and examine their relationships. I overflow with gratitude for Yeshe Tsogyal and her friends as they provided a glimpse into their extraordinary world.