Professor Anne C. Klein (Rigzin Drolma)

Being Human and a Buddha Too: Dialogues with Yeshe Tsogyal

The Tibetan practice texts known as sādhana are an exceptional genre. Sādhanas capture with utmost economy the essence of Buddhist logic and mythos, philosophy and poetics, sounding and silence. Even a single line can be an echo chamber for millennia of textual traditions, multivalent voices and vibrant vision. My talk explores how such elements surface in a recently revealed Yeshe Tsogyal sādhana. I take special interest in the conversations that sādhanas precipitate between the humans and buddhas involved. Such dialogues, I propose, echo early Buddhist tales of Shakyamuni talking with his students. They also mirror interactions reported in renowned Tibetan visionary encounters, such as Jigme Lingpa’s with Longchenpa, or Sera Khandro’s with Yeshe Tsogyal. All address the predicament and promise of being human and a buddha too. With this in mind, I connect reflections from Longchenpa and Jigme Lingpa with key lines from this sādhana, especially in connection with the womb of reality, or dharma-dhātu. I also ask how this Yeshe Tsogyal differs from, yet resonates with, the storied Yeshe Tsogyal of her autobiographies.