Updated: Sep 21
Vajrayogini is a fierce female Tantric Buddhist deity in Vajrayana Buddhism with its mantra, practices, sadhanas, and secret empowerments. She is the one who represents the path leading to female Buddhahood.
Vajrayogini is a Dakini who is the essence of all buddhas. A Dakini is a sacred female spirit/deity in Vajrayana Buddhism. The term can also be applied to women with a certain amount of spiritual development.
Vajrayogini Depiction: Thangkas and Statues
Thangka is a religious scroll painting that is used by Vajrayana practitioners for transformative purposes.
Despite her importance in Vajrayana Buddhism, Vajrayogini does not figure as the main deity of tantric teachings. However, she is often depicted on the various thangkas.
She is usually depicted in a terrifying form, red in color, with one face and two hands holding a curved knife (she cuts all defilements) and a skull (with the nectar of “the great bliss”), her right leg stretched out, the left one slightly bent.
Vajrayogini sometimes appears alone or in sacred union with Heruka (who, when he is united with Vajrayogini, is known as Hevajra). But she always carries a khakkhara staff on her shoulder which is the symbolic form of the male deity.
She is surrounded by cremation grounds, indicating that the ordinary world has become dead in contrast to the rich world of inner life and its vision of reality without distorting fiction.
Tibetan Buddhist Practice of Vajrayogini
Vajrayogini sadhana is a sacred practice of Vajrayana Buddhism. Although the practices themselves are secret, discussing the benefits of the practice is not. Vajrayana deity practices are widely available online, however just because they are available does not mean they should be practiced without authorization or empowerment from a qualified teacher.
Vajrayogini helps to overcome the obstacles of our degenerate times. While in a Tibetan Buddhism temple one can make offerings and praise Vajrayogini.
His Holiness Sakya Trizin explains, in summary why Vajrayogini practice epitomises Vajrayana:
“The main method that is used in Vajrayana is to stop seeing things as ordinary. So you should see all these things as transcendental wisdom and oneself in the form of a deity, and all sounds as mantra, and every thought that comes as transcendental knowledge. Although at the moment you are just visualizing, you are just imagining, gradually your attachment to the ordinary vision loosens and you strengthen your path in the Vajrayana tradition.”
Vajrayogini’s practice requires empowerment, initiation and instruction from a qualified teacher.
om om om sarva buddha dakiniyé benza warnaniye benza bairotsaniyé hung hung hung phat phat phat soha
This mantra is the heart essence of all the dakinis residing within the mandalas of body, speech, and mind. According to the Vajrayarahi Tantra, once a practitioner understands this, if he/she would recite this mantra thirty-six times every day for benefits in this and future lives.
Vajrayogini mantra like any other mantras in Tibetan Buddhism is a powerful tool for inner healing, transformation, and liberation from samsara.
Vajrayogini Day in 2023, 2024, 2025
Dakini Day celebrated on the 25th day of each lunar month in Vajrayana Buddhist traditions, celebrates the feminine energy of wisdom.
In 2023 Vajrayogini Day falls on January 17th.
In 2024 Vajrayogini Day falls on January 6th.
In 2025 Vajrayogini Day falls on January 25th.
Before any major sacred empowerment in Vajrayana Buddhism, a practitioner requires to complete Ngondro or preliminary practices first. Completing Ngondro during a retreat might take around 3-6 months while practicing a couple of hours a day -- might take up to 6 years.
And even after completing Ngondro, before receiving Vajrayogini empowerment one has to receive one of either Chakrasamvara or Hevajra empowerments, complete Six Yoga of Naropa, Highest Yoga tantra and only then start practicing Vajrayogini meditation.
One may, however, receive the empowerment and teachings before completing ngondro to receive the blessing and prepare for later practice, and to build a strong dharma connection with Vajrayogini.
What is Vajrayogini Meditation?
The Vajrayogini meditations are skillful methods from Vajrayana Buddhism. Vajrayogini meditation is practiced by all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism because it is considered a key to the esoteric contemplative experience.
About Vajrayogini Meditation (excerpt from Pema Khandro’s explanation)
Vajrayogini meditation demonstrates that emptiness is not a nihilistic void but a vivid and visceral open presence. It is a body, speech and mind meditation of generating one’s own field of experience within the dimension of Vajrayogini’s body and mind. Vajrayogini’s visage is the domain through which innate wisdom is disinhibited. Every element of her appearance invokes a way of being that is the indestructible vehicle. Her left leg is straight and her right leg is bent in warrior posture, demonstrating her relentless ability to show up to present moment with fierce compassion. She is dancing with an aura of flames, an apocalyptic fire that transforms everything into bodhichitta, the altruistic enlightened intent. She holds a hook knife, demonstrating her ability to separate delusion from wisdom…
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