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Buddhadharma : Winter 2015
80 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly winter 2015 personifications and names for Method, gendered male, and Wisdom, gendered female, the nondual components of full enlightenment in Vajrayana Buddhism. Sera Khandro’s greatest inspira- tion was drawn from conversations with dakinis, especially Yeshe Tsogyel, whom, she writes, frequently visited her in apparitions and dreams to encourage and console her. Though male tertons also reported visits from dakinis, includ- ing Yeshe Tsogyel, few of them recount having such extensive conversations. Jacoby suggests that this visionary aid from the dakinis was probably espe- cially important to Sera Khandro, who had little support or camaraderie from other women; in fact, they were often as hostile to her as the men. As tempting as it is for Western feminist practitioners of Vajrayana Buddhism to look to exemplars such as Sera Khandro as role models and to riTa M. gross is professor emerita of comparative studies in religion at the university of Wisconsin, eau claire, and a dharma teacher appointed by Jetsun khandro rinpoche. she is the author of Religious Diversity: What’s the Problem? and A Garland of Feminist Reflections. an appropriate consort. Although many of the men who became renowned teachers and tertons had female con- sorts, we know very little about these women, who neither recorded their own stories nor were acknowledged by their male partners. Most commenta- tors have seen the female consort as a necessary tool or adjunct to the male’s spiritual achievements rather than as a competent practitioner in her own right, though Jacoby says one cannot verify or refute this claim based on Sera Khan- dro’s writing. Although traditionally in consortship one partner serves the other and mutuality is not sought or expected, Sera Khandro wrote of an intense degree of mutual fulfillment, joy, and respect in her relationship with Drime Ozer. They regarded themselves and each other not as human beings in sexual partnership but as the “divine” Hay- agriva and Vajravarahi, two common revieWs books such as this one for solutions to our present-day inequities, we would do well to remember the old feminist slogan: “There are no adequate models in the past”—or in another culture, for that matter. We still are going to have to construct a Buddhism fully adequate for our time, place, and situation. One of the meanings of nontheism is that we have to do our own homework; there is nothing and no one out there able to solve our issues for us. Nonetheless, Love and Liberation offers a rare look into the world of early twentieth-cen- tury Vajrayana in Tibet and at a path that can inspire, even as we carve our own here in the West. 137 S. Easton Road Glenside, PA 19038 Master of Applied Meditation Studies Certificate in Contemplative Psychotherapy Certificate in Buddhist Pastoral Care WON INSTITUTE OF GRADUATE STUDIES Visit us online at www.woninstitute.edu