Research Project Winter 2004
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I am currently involved in an exciting collaborative writing project with a young scholar and teacher from Tibet, who was recognized as a reincarnated Lama in his childhood and educated in the Tibetan monastic system. Tulku Thubten Rinpoche is a fresh and iconoclastic teacher of Vajrayana and Dzogchen practices, as well as Tibetan Astrology. I met Tulku at Pema Osel Ling, the Vajrayana center down the road from my house, three years ago when he was the main Lama for the Youth Camp which my son Aaron Eagle attended. Since then Tulku and I have connected around our common love of Thröma, the Black Dakini (whose picture graces the cover of my 1991 book, Shakti Woman: Feeling Our Fire, Healing Our World) and the liberating path of Dzogchen.

In our interesting cross-fertilization, Tulku Thubten and I are sharing my research into the links between the Maenads ("wild women") of Greece, Iron Age Amazons, "crazy yogis" and Tibetan Dakinis; his research and knowledge of Tibetan Buddhist Tantrayana and Dzogchen (the path of instant enlightenment); and contemporary feminism. Unlike many Buddhist teachers and practitioners in the west, Tulku embraces radical feminism as an organic expression of the Black Wrathful Female Deity, whose name (Thröma) he translates as "angry woman." He describes feminism as the voice of more than half the world which we cannot ignore, and he sees the purpose of the feminist movement as education of the people about "the woman's dignity and sacredness," what he calls her "Dakininess,"because women are divine. "Woman is Goddess, actually."

Besides the fascinating scholarly connections we are making between Greece and Italy (the whole Mediterranean area including northern Africa) and Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, we are also working on a comparison of Dzogchen (the "path of no path," the instantaneous awakening) with radical feminism (also a path of instant awakening to enlightenment). Since I have had personally (and written at length about) both types of "aha" experiences, we are using some of my autobiographical information (as well as quoting from radical feminist theologian Mary Daly) to compare with the teachings and knowledge contained in the written and oral tradition of Dzogchen, in which Tulku Thubten is an authority.

You can learn more about Tulku Thubten, his Tibetan Buddhist center, Vajrayana Foundation, and his schedule of teachings and travel by going to his website: vajrayana.org.

Here Tulku Thubten and Vicki Noble are examining and discussing a figurine of the famous Snake Goddess of Bronze Age Crete

 

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