In particular the images of the Dakini here come from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and seen out of context they are open to misinterpretation. When I was creating the site I did consider that their superficial viewing by the uninitiated could cause confusion and even repulsion. Obviously this is not my intention.
For hundreds of years many of the images which are now freely available on this site were closely guarded aids to meditation. Most were never meant to be viewed out of the context of a meditative practice. However these images can now be seen in gift shops, decorating greeting cards and they can be easily seen and used by anyone. In many ways this is a shame, and there are doubtless many sincere practitioners who lament this situation.
It is my belief however that if one has a sincere wish to understand the Dakini and is open to Vajra Yogini the viewing of her form alone can bring great benefit and can cause a being to transform her life in a positive manner.
Superficially the Dakini embodies the spirit of female wrath, she appears to dance in a wild frenzy, bent on destruction chaos and transformation. She is naked except for a necklace of skulls around her neck. The skulls are those of her slain victims. In her right hand she holds a vajra or knife. In the left she caries a skullcup, it is filled with blood which she drinks. In most images of the Dakini she is seen dancing on the corpse of a human.
Initially the images may appear repulsive and violent. For those beings who are not attracted to or excited by violence they may legitimately ask themselves what they are doing as a central part of one of the oldest world philosophies which takes very seriously the concept of compassion and loving kindness.
For those beings who find violence and anger attractive and are attached to such states they may mistakenly see in the Dakini a glorification of wrathful violence, particularly as manifest in the female form. To view the Dakini on either level is to miss her teaching.
The Dakini are not bent on mindless destruction or chaos for its own sake The wrath they embody is towards their own states of anger, greed and delusion, which they and their practitioners seek to cut out and transform. Great energy and determination is needed to achieve this and the violent imagery used shows the energy necessary to cut out the roots of ignorance, greed and delusion.
Just as St George cuts the head of the dragon in icons throughout Christendom, so the Dakini severs the heads of beings who are none other than her own demons. To see the Dakini as a being who revels in anger or violence for its own sake is to misunderstand the imagery. Hers is not a glorification of anger and violence but a transformation of it.
Dakini are also known as Sky Dancers, and they appear in many different guises. The concept of the Dakini is highly developed in Tibetan Buddhism and many images and stories of the Dakini come from that culture. However the spirit of the Dakini is trans-cultural and is not tied to any historic period.
This site is intended to offer a glimpse into the mystery that is the Dakini. It is not intended to offer any guidance, advice or to be an authoritative guide to Dakini practice. It was largely created because of my own wish to share with others some images of the female state, as manifest in the Dakini which I have found inspiring, and to which I have been drawn to throughout my life.
Anyone who is seriously interested in Dakini practice should find a suitably qualified teacher and endeavour to study with them. Please again, bear in mind as you view the images that they were, and indeed are still used as aids to a well defined and well supported religious practice. As you view the Dakini look beyond what you are seeing on a purely visual level and allow yourself to dance with her.
Tibetan Buddhist images, including Dakini