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One Buddhist Dakini originating from the country of Uddiyana is the goddess Kurukulla. But there were at least three Indrabhutis and this is most likely the second one. Moreover, there exists a sadhana text attributed to him for the red Kurukulla in her eight-armed form. Most modern scholars believe this indicates that Kurukulla was originally a tribal goddess, much like the Hindu goddess Durga had been in India, who later, because of her popularity, became associated with the Buddhist great goddess Tara.
More than any other figure in the Buddhist pantheon, Kurukulla becomes the Buddhist goddess of love and sex, corresponding to the Western gooddesses Aphrodite and Venus. She is depicted as a voluptuous and seductive nude sixteen year old girl. Among the attributes she holds in her four hands, four arms being her most common manifestation, are the flower-entwined bow and arrow, reminiscent of the Western Eros and Cupid, although as the goddess of witchcraft, she is more akin to Diana.
It may appear strange and ironic to us that Buddhism, originally the religion of celibate monks, should give birth to this attractive and seductive sex goddess.
Buddhism as a spiritual path is ultimately concerned with enlightenment and liberation from Samsara. This ultimate goal is known as the supreme attainment or siddhi mchog gi dngos-grub.
But not all Buddhist practitioners are celibate monks living in semi-permanent meditation retreat isolated from the world.
Like everyone else, Buddhists must deal with the practical circumstances of life and society. Sadhana or deity invocation is a meditation and ritual practice where the practitioner in meditation assumes the aspect or form of the deity, who is regarded as a manifestation of the enlightened awareness of the Buddha, and then invokes the spiritual powers and wisdom and capacities of that particular deity as an aid to realizing liberation and enlightenment.
The meditation image of the deity visualized by the practitioner in sadhana, being an archetype or manifestation of enlightened awareness, and this radiant image opens a channel and acts as a receptacle for receiving the grace or blessings of the Buddha for a specific purpose. The process of visualization in meditation is a method of accessing and focusing spiritual energy, like using the lens of a magnifying glass to focus the rays of the sun in order to kindle a fire.
The image of the deity is something that is concrete and accessible to human consciousness. In his own nature as the Dharmakaya, the Buddha is beyond conception by the finite human mind. The meditation deity, however, makes the unmanifest manifest and therefore accessible to consciousness. In the same way, Christians might have visions of angels that might make the grace of God manifest, but in Buddhism there are both male and female meditation deities, and Kurukulla is certainly an example of the latter.
But also associated with many sadhanas are karma-yogas or action practices aimed at achieving more worldly goals. At the popular level, this greatly added to the appeal of Buddhism. The psychic powers developed through sadhana practice are known as ordinary attainments or siddhis thun-mong gi dngos-grubalthough to us Westerners, with our historical conditioning, psychic powers hardly seem very ordinary. To our Western consciousness, such actions appear miraculous, even supernatural, but in the Buddhist view, psychic manifestations are part of the natural order.
There is nothing supernatural about them. It is just that our modern view as to what constitutes the nature of reality is too limited. White Tara is an example of a deity that specifically has this white function.
Kurukulla Unification Sadhana
Vasundahara and Jambhala are examples of deities with these functions. Hence they are yellow in color. This is the primary function of Kurukulla and hence her red color. This is ssadhana specific function of many wrathful manifestations such as the Dakini Simhamukha who is dark blue in color.
True Buddha Dharma-character Treasury – Kurukulla
These four functions are allotted to the four gates of the mandala palace, namely, the white or pacifying function in the east, the yellow or increasing function in the south, the red or enchanting function in the west, and the black or destroying function in the north.
With each of these four magical functions there exists an elaborate system of correspondences. But generally, in the West, there is a prejudice against magic, especially in Protestant Christian cultures, which makes it difficult for people to understand the ancient Indian and the Tibetan approach to these matters.
This is compounded as well by our four hundred years of the scientific world-view, which admits mechanistic causality as the only possible natural cause of events.
Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar: Kurukulle Sadhana
Magic principally relates to our dimension of energy, and this energy, according to the traditional way of thinking, is intermediate between the mental and the physical, just as the soul is intermediate between the spirit and the flesh. Ritual is simply one way to access and direct energy. Although mind or spirit is primary, the other dimensions of energy or soul and body are important. Western tradition speaks only of two kinds of magic: The former comes from God and his angels and the latter from the Devil and his minions.
But the Buddhist distinction between white and black is according to function and not intention; the intention of the Buddhist practitioner in practicing magic is always compassionate and aims at preventing evil acts, to help others and alleviate suffering, whereas the Western understanding of black magic involves the deliberated attempt to harm and injure.
Therefore, in Buddhist terms, the motivation in these four magical actions is always white. Without the presence of the Bodhichitta, the thought of compassion, no action or ritual is considered kuruiulla be genuinely Buddhist. But where we find sadhana or theurgy, that is, high magic, we also find low magic or goetia, that is, common witchcraft. Kurhkulla the Tibetan view, these practices are not necessarily black, no more sinister than kurukula lucky numbers for betting on the horses, or making love potions or amulets for protection, and so on.
For kueukulla common practices of folk magic, it is not even necessary to enter into meditation and transform oneself into the ukrukulla. Nevertheless, Kurukulla kurukilla also the patron of such activities. She is pre-eminently the Buddhist Sadhaa of Witchcraft and Enchantment. In a real sense, she represents the empowerment of the feminine in a patriarchal milieu. In general, Tibetans take a very clear-eyed and practical view of life, without sentimentalizing spirituality as we tend to do in the West.
They do not rigidly separate this world, with its practical concerns, from the world of the spirit.
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Just as Tara in her usual green form may be called upon by Buddhists to protect them from various dangers and threats, in particular the eight great terrors and the sixteen fears, so in her red form as Kurukulla, she may be called upon to exercise her powers of enchantment and bewitchment to bring under her power dbang du bsdud those evil spirits, demons, and humans who work against the welfare of humanity and its spiritual evolution.
She, together with Manjushri and Sarasvati, might even be called upon when a student faces a difficult examination in school. A text like the Arya Tara Kurukulla Kalpa contains many ritual practices of lower magic to accomplish specific goals, for example:. In one Kurukulla Sadhana found in the Sadhanamala No.
Khadga-siddhi ral-grithe power to be invincible in battle with a sword khadga. Anjana-siddhi mig-rtsithe power to remove ordinary lack of sight by using a magical ointment that enables the user to see Devas, Nagas, and other spirits. Rasayana-siddhi bcud-lenthe power of rejuvenation and long life through obtaining the elixir of life by way of an alchemical process.
Bhuchara-siddhi zhing-spyodthe power to move freely through the earth, mountains, and solid walls; and. The above were not the usual concerns of monks. And these recipies are very reminiscent to folk magic practices, for example, in Afro-American traditions like Voodoo, Houdou, and Santeria.
Just as a practitioner of Santeria would first invoke Allegua or Eshu before engaging in a magical rite, here the Tibetan practitioner would invoke Kurukulla. However, the Buddhist Goddess of Witchcraft, is not our familiar stereotype of the witch as an old crone in a pointed hat and a wart on her hooked nose, but she is a beautiful naked sixteen year old girl.
According to the texts, Kurukulla is sixteen years old because sixteen is the ideal number that signifies perfection, four times four. Her face is beautiful and her body voluptuous and alluring, as well as being red in color, because of her magical function of enchantment and magnetism. She has a single face because she embodies non-dual wisdom beyond conventional distinctions of good and evil. She is naked because she is unconditioned by discursive thoughts.
She has four arms because of the four immeasurable states of mind, namely, love, compassion, joy, and equanimity. She holds the bow and arrow entwined with flowers because she can give rise to thoughts of desire in the minds of others.
In her other two hands she holds the hook that attracts and summons them into her presence and the noose by which she binds them to her will. The ornaments of human bone she wears signify the five perfections, whereas she herself embodies the sixth perfection, that of wisdom.
She wears a necklace of fifty freshly severed human heads dripping blood because she vanquishes the fifty negative emotions. She is dancing because she is active and energetic, her compassionate activity manifesting in both Samsara and Nirvana.
She dances, treading upon a male human corpse because she enchants and subjugates the demon of ego. She stands upon a red sun disc because her nature is hot and enflamed with passion and upon a red lotus blossom because she is a pure vision of enlightened awareness.
Kurukulla in the Nyingmapa Tradition. The practice of Kurukulla is found in all four Buddhist schools, especially in rituals associated with the enchanting or subjugating magical function. Indeed, in the Tangyur there are found a number of sadhana texts for Kurukulla besides that composed by king Indrabhuti.
In them her name is usually not translated into Tibetan, but given in the variant form Ku-ru-ku-lle. The latter was largely responsible for introducing the cult of the goddess Tara into Tibet in the 11th century.
In the Nyingmapa Terma tradition, she occurs in her two or four-armed form.
In the Terma cycle of Chogyur Lingpashe appears in her conventional four-armed form. In the Terma of Apong Tulku, one of the sons of the famous 19th century Terton Dudjom Lingpa, she occurs in a two-armed form, sitting at ease, appearing much like the more sdhana form of Green Tara.
She holds in her right hand a vase filled with amrita nectar and in her left hand before her heart the stem of a lotus and on the blossom itself by her ear is a miniature bow and arrow.
In this guise she is specifically called Red Tara sgrol-ma dmar-mo. Moreover, it is interesting that in many Nyingmapa Terma texts, including Chogyur Lingpa and Dudjom Lingpa, the Hindu god Mahadeva or Shiva and his consort Uma are closely associated with Kurukulla as guardian deities srung-ma with the magical function of enchantment. But Kurukulla is also very popular among the Newer Tantric schools.
These teachings are called Golden Dharmas gser chosnot only because they represent very precious teachings, but because in those days 11th century Tibetan students had to pay a lot of gold for the teachings obtained from Indian masters. Tibet was famous for its rich gold deposits. Moreover, in the large Sakyapa collection of sadhanas known as the sGrub-thabs kun-btus are found five sadhanas for Kurukulla in the Sakyapa tradition. She is known as Hevajra-krama Kurukulla and appears in the usual four-armed form.
As it says in this Tantra Part I, chapter 11, vv. Previously, this had been explained extensively in the twelve parts of the larger version of the Tantrabut here it is condensed in brief. She is red in color and has four arms. Her hands hold the bow and arrow, as well as the utpala flower whose stem is a noose and the iron hook. She is mentioned in two other places in the second chapter of Part I v.
In their midst, from the syllable PAM appears a red lotus blossom. From this syllable emanate rays of light like hooks and nooses, which make offerings to all the Exalted Ones, thereby establishing all sentient beings in the state of Our Holy Lady. She is red in color, with a single face and four arms.
One pair draw a bow entwined with flowers and an utpala-tipped arrow at her ear.