The Dakini’s Warm Breath

We are studying A Dakini’s Counsel by Sera Khandro Dewai Dorje during our Wednesday evening practices. This is a rarity in the dharma book realm. Sera Khandro was a rarity herself having left home at the age of fourteen to follow a group of Buddhist pilgrims to eastern Tibet. Her life was difficult and very short but in that time she became one of the most awakened and revered women in our lineage. Her writing style was very direct and somewhat sassy.

It is refreshing to experience the words of a woman inside the enclave of a male dominated world who nonetheless broke the glass ceiling of her time to take the seat of an acknowledged sage. She often referred to herself as a “beggar lady” and would end her teaching with self deprecating words like these: A beggar lady who is faulted in all ways wrote these lies…But they don’t suit anyone, and they make me tired. This is just crazy talk, deceptive words that have nothing to do with the Dharma. Ha, ha, ha!

This teaching style pulls the rug from under our feet and somewhere between losing our balance and crashing to the floor, we just might wake up. One could say that life is like this. We constantly receive lessons that require us to surrender our habitual ways of looking at things and see them for the first time. But we have to occasionally fall down and skin our knees—scars of our dawning wisdom. We may eventually listen to our dakini nature, the spacious uncontrived wisdom that is the ground of our existence, and fall down less often. 

Our dakini nature whispers to us through every experience which is sometimes referred to as listening to “the dakini’s warm breath.” Sera Khandro was born with an innate understanding of this whisper but had to endure many challenging circumstances. I am grateful she remained steadfast in her thirst for the Dharma to benefit all of us.

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