Yeshe Tsogyel – a biography

Yeshe Tsogyel is a striking and emotional female figure, and his life is a source of confidence and aspiration for those who want to have an authentic and tangible purpose in their existence.

She was an accomplished tantric master, one of the main mystical consorts of the great Padmasambhava.

Tibet was governed by 40 kings, and both these and their consorts contributed to the welfare of the country.

There are 4 great Tibetan Buddhist traditions, with many yogic disciples (men and women alike) and masters of these paths.
All teachings of Tibetan Buddhism appear presented in the legend of Yeshe Tsogyel’s life. Shakyamuni taught Buddhism in India, and prophesied that the future would see the birth of a great teacher in Danakosha, what is now Afghanistan.

This great master was Padmashambhava.

In his prophecy, the Buddha stated that the teacher would have a special influence, and respect the tantric tradition.

Before the tantric teachings of Padmashambhava, this spiritual path was practiced by few followers. Only after that did it become widespread. It is said that Shakyamuni Buddha taught mostly after the sutras, and Padmashambhava taught mostly after tantras. Since then, both types of spiritual teachings have become widely distributed throughout the world.

Yeshe Tsogyal Song – Mitak – Impermanence from Milarepa by Sema Sonam Palzome, daughter of HE Namkha Rinpoche.

According to Buddhism, there are 4 great ways beings can be born into this world: from a woman’s womb, from an egg, from a heat outbreak, or in a miraculous way.

Padmashambhava was miraculously born amid a lotus flower.

At that time there reigned a king named Indrabodhi, who had no sons. He had made many donations to the poor in order to earn the right to have a son. Indrabodhi was blind, and prophecies circulating in his day claimed that with the coming of his son, he would gain his sight. When the king heard that Guru Padmashambhava was born in the heart of a lotus, he cheered and went to the place with his entire retinue to invite Padmashambhava to his palace, proposing to adopt him as his son. Making this gesture, the king began to see. Padmashambhava succeeded Indrabodhi, and served the people for 108 years. Then the Tibetan king Trisong Detsen invited him to his court, and Padmashambhava went to spread the sacred teaching. Trisong Detsen was an emanation of Manjushri, and had come to bring Buddhism to Tibet.

Yeshe Tsogyel is considered to be an incarnation of Dorje Phagmo and was also born to support the spread of Buddhism in Tibet.

She was born in Taiyespa.

Being already a boddhisattva, Yeshe could be in any place and in any form he wished to assume.
To help Trisong Detsen, Yeshe was born in Tibet. Many auspicious signs accompanied her birth. Then, once in the world, she was fed through a sandalwood tree trunk, which was shaped like a breast. Yeshe grew much faster than other children, developing, like in fairy tales, in a month as others did in a year.

When she played with children her age, Yeshe left her palms and soles on the rocks.

She knew how to read without anyone having taught her.

When her father asked her how she did this, she replied, “I am Yangchenma.”

He had realized the necessity of escaping Samsara and had reached a supermental consciousness.

Yeshe showed great compassion by helping poor people. His mind was sharp and allowed him to understand anything he set his mind to. However, his character was peaceful, calm. Yeshe used to meditate a lot. Through meditation, she perceived the true nature of existence.

At the age of 7 or 8, Yesheprays for the well-being and happiness of all beings. She wanted to attain that knowledge and wisdom that would allow her to help others as much as possible. Her spirit was very compassionate and around her, everyone became calm and happy.

At the age of 13, many nobles from the kingdom began to come to propose to her. But her parents, aware of their daughter’s extraordinary fate, did not accede to any suitor’s request.

All Yeshe wanted was to attain the wisdom of a Buddha.

Her popularity, birthmarks, and great compassion gradually began to be known throughout Tibet. Eventually, they also reached Trisong Detsen’s ears. He sent one of his ministers to Yeshe Tsogyel’s parents’ house with a request to bring the girl to court.

Hearing this, Yeshe left the house in a hurry and took refuge in a deserted place, where he took out all his jewels and threw them into the dust of the road, scattering them in ten directions. She implored the Buddhas and boddhisattvas to remove every obstacle to her enlightenment.

As she prayed like this, a 16-year-old suddenly appeared beside her, telling her that crying or throwing away jewelry was of no use.

On the contrary, to achieve her desired goal, an unswerving will was required, and the boddhisattvas and Buddhas were constantly begging.

“Your prayers will be heard and your wishes will be granted,” he said.

“Come with me, and I will show you the way to enlightenment.”

Then he took Yeshe’s hand, and they instantly traveled to a remote, deserted place in Tsang. It was a green and beautiful place.

The boy, a manifestation of Guru Padmashambhava, taught Yeshe Tsogyel certain teachings about life and Samsara (illusory world). He advised her to stay in that place.

Yeshe asked him how to practice after he left; The young man taught her the way to practice, as well as everything necessary for her to know about the nature of the mind. Then she asked him who he was and where he had come from.

The boy replied that he came from Dharmakaya and insisted that she practice everything she had learned from him. Yeshe begged him to allow her to remain with him forever in order to continue receiving his teachings. But the young man replied: “There will come that time, when we can be together. Now, however, I can’t stay too long, because I’m just an apparition.”

Then he made himself invisible.
Yeshe Tsogyel felt both sad and happy at the same time.

She wondered if it had all been a dream or if it had actually happened. Then she thought it couldn’t be a dream because she was awake. The enchanting place where he was was brought much happiness to his soul.

But, Yeshe thought, there was neither food nor clothing there. Then he saw some wild animals and thought, “If they can live here, so can I.” So she survived in that place, feeding on plants and quenching her thirst with creek water.

At the same time, Yeshe continued to practice, and as time passed, he reached the threshold of a certain knowledge. If it rained, Yeshe would take shelter in a cave, where he could meditate. If the weather was nice, she lived in the middle of nature.

During this time, her parents were looking for her, worried about her fate. They held the minister who had come to visit them responsible for the girl’s disappearance, asking him to get involved in the search for her.

Instead, the minister returned to his king, telling him all he had seen and heard. The king sent many of his subjects to seek Yeshe throughout the kingdom, promising them great rewards.
Yeshe continued to meditate in her place of retreat.

One day, she was spotted by pilgrims passing by. They marveled to see such a young and beautiful girl meditating in a secluded place, so they asked her where she was from and what she was doing there. Yeshe thought that if he had told them the truth, those pilgrims would have taken her and taken her to his own.

So he told them he couldn’t remember who he was or where he came from. But the pilgrims did not believe her. They even accused her of being a nun who ran away from some monastery to evade the harsh rules there, and to practice as she pleased.
The pilgrims also asked Yeshe what she was eating, and were astonished to learn that wild plants were sufficient food.

But she taught them how worldly desires, including those for a chosen food, attach the soul, plunging it into Samsara, the world of illusion and suffering. He talked to them about how uncontrolled emotions foster ignorance, and are born out of ignorance.

The pilgrims, deeply astonished, offered him tsampa and tea. They begged her to receive their gifts, so that they too would gain some merit from this offering.

Then they left Yeshe, and went their way. However, they continued to talk everywhere they passed about this unusual girl.

The minister because of whom Yeshe had disappeared heard this news and also went to the place where he had heard that the special girl lived. When he found her, he proposed to Yeshe to come with him to the king, insisting that the king was not an ordinary man, but behaved and seemed like a god.

The minister then proposed Yeshe to be Queen of Trisong Detsen. But the girl put no price on his offer, and asked him to let her meditate in peace where she was. It was obvious to her that a life as queen would only bring her the accumulation of sins and sufferings. The practice of dharma in that lonely place seemed to him a much more appealing prospect!

The minister became angry, and further told her that she had arrived there with her parents’ approval. Then he dared to threaten her, that if she did not come willingly, he would have found other ways to force her to follow him. Seeing that the girl remained undeterred, the minister forcibly took her from his place of meditation, dragging her to the king’s face.

Yeshe was only 13 years old…

King Trisong Detsen had invited Shantarakshita and Guru Padmashambhava, as well as other great sages of India, to come to Tibet. Several intelligent and pure young men had been sent by the king to India to learn Buddhism and then preach it in Tibet.

To this end, he had also built the Samye Ling monastery, collected the Kangyur Buddhist texts and their commentaries, Tangyur, and translated them into Tibetan.

Day after day, more and more retreat centers and monasteries where Buddhist doctrine was taught began to appear on the territory of Tibet.

The king received the tantric teachings of Guru Padmashambhava and as a sign of deep gratitude, Trisong Detsen offered all his possessions and the queen herself to Padmashambhava.

He established eight retreat centers and chose nine disciples to teach his teachings and who had the ability to understand and propagate them.
The Tibetan tradition speaks of a certain form of divination, in which a disciple throws a flower on a mandala; If that flower falls, the disciple can receive the teaching related to that mandala.

Yeshe Tsogyel thus received the teaching of Vajrakilaya.

Padmashambhava told him to practice it, gave him the secret spiritual name of Dechen Gyalmo and advised her to practice meditation in a secluded place. Then he predicted that he would achieve that extraordinary siddhi (paranormal power).

In his practice, Yeshe identified deeply with Vajrakilaya. Although she had already reached that realization, she continued to practice in thousands of other places of retreat to bless them and imbue them with holy resonance. Thus, future practitioners who meditate there will not face major obstacles in their way.

Yeshe also obtained the siddhi to remember all the oral teachings of Guru Padmashambhava. Also, through assiduous practice, she obtained the diamond body, the one that endures unchanged by the passage of time.

Having attained enlightenment, Yeshe devoted all his actions to the goal of saving other beings. The first thing he did in the service of others was to free the evil minister from bad karma, who had left the physical world and been reborn in an inferno.

Yeshe projected himself into that hellish world and released not only that former minister from there, but other beings there.

Then Guru Padmashambhava sent her to Nepal to rescue an acharya, a scholar. It was a journey that at that time was particularly difficult.

On her way, Yeshe met 7 robbers, who, seeing her, planned to attack her and steal her belongings. As they approached her, Yeshe visualized them as deities, and saw herself offering them jewelry. Thus, keeping this attitude, she gave them what little she had.

When the robbers heard her pleasant voice and saw her beautiful appearance, they thought of raping her. In her great compassion, Yeshe allowed sexual relations with them. As a result, those robbers were freed from all their obscure behaviors and negative karma. When they realized Yeshe’s compassion, they deeply regretted their actions and begged her to forgive them. Then those robbers really set out on the path of virtue.

When a being receives a spiritual investiture, it is like the nectar of the gods. This does not mean that that being immediately attains liberation, but is brought to that moment on the path to liberation. In the same way, when we meet a great Master, we are immediately brought on the path to liberation.

While Yeshe was wandering around Nepal, she met a young man who asked her if she was looking for him. Then Yeshe thought that he was the scholar he was looking for. So she accompanied the boy to his parents, and asked them to receive her in their home.

The boy’s parents only allowed him to stay in a tent near the house. Then, when those people heard her sublime voice and perceived her benevolent nature, their souls were filled with devotion to Yeshe, and asked her if she was a human being or divine. They added that it was dangerous to move around on her own.

The boy’s parents noticed that their son had some type of karmic connection with Yeshe, and They begged her to remain in their home as their son’s wife. She did not object, but argued that it was the boy who was supposed to follow her to Tibet, to receive the teachings of Grand Master Padmashambhava.

The boy’s parents did not accept this condition. Yeshe insisted, saying, “The boy should come with me to Tibet. This is my master’s command, and I obey it. You can keep all my possessions. Guru Rinpoche never told me to stay here, and therefore, I will not stay. If your boy comes with me, he will conquer the state of enlightenment, and you too will be freed from suffering.”

Then his parents told him: “If you can give us as much gold as our boy weighs, then you can take him with you to Tibet.” They thought this was impossible for Yeshe. But she agreed, and told them that they, too, would have to keep their promise.
Then Yeshe went in search of gold. On her way, she met a family whose son had just died, and they were carrying her body to be consumed by fire.

Yeshe felt great compassion for those grieving parents, and thought about how he could help them. He went to them and said, “If I do something to restore life to your son, what can you give me in return?” The father of the deceased boy lit up his face, and replied to Yeshe that he was ready to give anything for his boy’s life.

Yeshe asked for the weight of that young man’s body in gold, and the father agreed. Then Yeshe meditated at length and prayed at Padmashambhava, and finally the body of the young man who had left this world became animated: beads of sweat appeared on his body, the color returned to his cheeks, and finally the young man opened his eyes, calling his parents.

Overwhelmed with happiness, they granted Yeshe’s request, giving him the gold he needed.

Meanwhile, news of her gesture to restore life to that young man had spread throughout Nepal. When she returned with the promised gold to young acharya’s parents, they fell at her feet and told her that they were giving it to her son, without claiming the gold. “It was not greed for riches that made us ask you for this gold, but too much love for our son, which I didn’t want alienated. So keep the gold and take our son with you!” they said.

As a reward, Yeshe asserted that being born as a human being was far more precious than gold, and so she had no reason to keep that gold.

Then she said goodbye to the parents of the learned young man, and took him with her. Together they went to Guru Padmashambhava, who gave them all the tantric teachings which, practicing together, they were able to achieve enlightenment.

After this, their fame grew so much that Brahma himself is said to have been amazed. He heard that a second Buddha had been born, and he and his consort were teaching spiritual teachings. He wanted to see if this couple was spreading the teachings out of compassion, or with some interest.

Thus, Brahma decided to test Yeshhe Tsogyel’s mind. He came down to earth, disguising himself as a leper, and came near the cave where she was meditating.

Yeshe heard the leper’s cries, and her heart throbbed with compassion. She told him:

“I look at your wounds, and I realize how much it hurts you.

But shouting doesn’t help; More important is to look for the cause of the pain, which lies in your previous, negative actions. The three poisons are the cause of your suffering, and you must avoid them. You must confess the errors of your past, and I will seek a way for you to overcome these sufferings.

Brahma replied, “I have met many people who promised me help, and were unable to give it to me. So I don’t think you’ll be able to help me. Better let me!”

Yeshe further said, “I want to help you, not cause you pain, so why should I leave you?” Brahma continued, “I want you to leave, because my ex-wife looked exactly like you; She passed into the underworld a year ago. Your image makes me suffer both physically and mentally. My pain can only be overcome if I am given a patella. But no one is going to sacrifice a part of their body, so there’s no point in staying around me.”

Yeshe felt endless compassion for that leper. She told him, “You should realize that Samsara is suffering, and you will free yourself from it. If you realize that your sufferings come from your previous actions, and you repent, all your negative karma will be canceled. But if giving you a kneecap can really help, I’ll give you my own.” The leper said, “The fact that you offer to give me your kneecap makes me really happy!” Then, crying, “Your kneecap can make me overcome physical pain, but how can I overcome the heartache caused by the loss of my wife?”

Yeshe Tsogyel replied, “Once a being passes into the underworld, it can no longer be touched; That’s why it’s better to forget your wife.”

The leper replied, “Since you look so much like her, if you wanted to become my wife, it would cancel out my heartache. But since you wouldn’t do that, you’d better go away now and leave me as I am.”

Yeshe, in her boundless compassion, agreed to be his wife.

The leper rejoiced greatly. He first asked her to give her the kneecap. Taking off his kneecap, Yeshe fainted. But when she recovered and opened her eyes, she saw Brahma in his divine form before her. She asked him where the leper had gone.

Then Brahma, very pleased with her attitude, asked her forgiveness for the test he had subjected her to. He fell at Yeshe’s feet, telling her that he was ready to do whatever she asked of him to help the other beings. Yeshe then asked him to remove obstacles to enlightenment, which could thus become accessible to all beings.

Yeshe Tsogyel kept hidden the secret treasures of Padmashambhava, and always showed beings eager for perfection the way to enlightenment. Yeshe lived 200 years. At the end of this period, she transformed into light, and passed directly into the Pure Realm of Guru Rinpoche.

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