The 84 Mahasiddhas represent all those who have, within a single lifetime, attained direct realization of the Buddha’s teachings. Their life stories represent what they have accomplished and what they did for others upon gaining realization from their practice. By reading their stories, we know that through effort and practice of the Buddha’s teachings, we too can gain liberation.
The lives of these 84 mahasiddhas have a similar pattern… the siddha-to-be experiences some sort of preliminary discontent or a life-crisis leading to the appearance of the guru. Their personal encounter with a spiritual teacher turns out to be a turning point in their lives. The siddhas-to-be are given an initiation by their respective gurus, and the guru will skilfully give them instructions. This is usually something that they can put to immediate use.
The students gradually (or some immediately) acquire great faith and place a high level of commitment to their teacher. They do not hold back in any possible aspect. Any instruction from the guru is of great importance to them, and they practice it diligently as it is the vital link to the highest attainment.
The mahasiddhas are people who come from all walks of life. There are men and women, kings and beggars, young and old, monks and laymen. It proves to us that no matter what our initial state is, it is possible to reach the highest human condition within one lifetime.
Below is a list of the 84 mahasiddas and of Vajradhara. There is a photo and a short description on the side.
I have always love to read the stories of these Mahasiddhas. They brought tears, joy, amazement, faith, wonder, awe, and laughter when reading about them. They always inspire great inspiration towards the Dharma and blesses me to do more. To realize peseverance and diligence does produce results. Each of them had their particular attachments, delusions and hang ups. In each of them, we can find ourselves or something similar. It makes us realize, before they became attained, they were just like you and me. That means, we can be eventually just like them if we apply ourselves!
Vajradhara is the primordial Buddha, who represents the essence of the historical Buddha’s realization of enlightenment and the formless Dharmakaya. He is also the quintessence of all the Buddhas of the three times.The color of Vajradhara’s body is like a deep blue empty sky, which symbolizes the vastness and limitlessness of an enlightened mind, called the Dharmakaya. Vajradhara’s two arms are crossed in front of his chest. His right hand holds a vajra which symbolizes skillful means while his left hand holds a bell which symbolizes wisdom. These two Dharma instruments are the ultimate representations of the “ultimate non duality” and the “non duality of existence.”
1) Mahasiddha Saraha: The “Arrow Shooter”/”The Great Brahmin”
The teacher of Nagarjuna.
Saraha, the son of a Dakini, was born in the east of India in Roli. He observed the laws of the Brahmins by day, and he received instruction in the tantric mysteries from Buddhist masters by night. However, Saraha enjoyed spirituous liquors which were forbidden by Brahmin law. Eventually, this was discovered and they were outraged by his behavior.
They brought this up to King Ratnapala and demanded he be deprived of his caste status. However, the king was a reasonable man, and decided to investigate the matter himself. When asked by the king, Saraha replied “I do not drink. If you doubt me, gather together the Brahmins and all the people and I’ll prove it.” And so, a large crowd gathered, and Saraha announced a series of trials to prove his innocence. He placed his hands in hot oil and drank a bowl of molten copper, but he was unharmed. Later he jumped into a tank of water stating the liar will sink, and true enough the Brahmin that jumped into the tank with him sank. Then to clear more doubt, he ask for the two of them to be weighed and the lighter of the two was the liar. When weighed, the Brahmin who was twice the size of Saraha, was much lighter than Saraha.
At this point, the king stepped in, pointed to Saraha and said, “If this venerable being drinks, then may he continue to do so for all time.” And with that, the king prostrated before Saraha, followed by all the Brahmin.
Saraha then took a 15 year old girl as his consort and moved to a distant land, where he practiced his sadhanas in isolation. One day, he told her to cook him radish curry. However, he began meditating which continued for 12 long years. When he woke to the outside world, he bellowed “Where is my radish curry?” So astonished was his dakini consort that Saraha decided to move to a mountain hermitage to continue his meditation properly, but his consort questioned him, saying that if he awoke from Samadhi and still possessed an undiminished desire for radish curry, what good would the isolated mountains be for him? She then continued “The purest solitude is one that allows you to escape from the preconceptions and prejudices, from the labels and concepts of a narrow, inflexible mind.” He listened carefully and began to devote himself to ridding his mind of conceptual thoughts and belief in the substantiality of objective reality. In time, he attained the supreme realization of Mahamudra and spent the remainder of his life in service to others. Upon death, Saraha and his consort ascended to the bliss of the Paradise of the Dakinis.
2) Mahasiddha Nagarjuna: “Philosopher and Alchemist”
Nagarjuna was a Brahmin youth with dazzling intellectual powers and the magical gift of invisibility. However, he grew bored of scholarly life and threw himself into a life of sensual pleasure. One day, he devised a plan to slip into the king’s palace with 3 friends. They were discovered, and Nagarjuna escaped by standing invisible, but his 3 friends were beheaded.
The entire district was in an uproar, Nagarjuna, now filled with self-disgust went willingly into exile. Frustrated and dissatisfied with life, he set out on a spiritual quest. He journeyed to the Cool Garden Cremation Ground where he was given initiation into the doctrine of the Buddha. Then he travelled to the famous monastic academy of Sri Nalanda, where he studied the 5 arts and sciences until he could recite the entire library from memory. But spiritual dissatisfaction arose again and books were no longer sufficient. So he began to practice a mediataion propitiating Tara, and when she appeared to him, he left the security of monastic life and took up life as a mendicant monk.
Later he decided to go into retreat in Rajagrha and began propitiating the Twelve Consorts of the Supreme Elemental. For seven days, disaster stroked the place but it was unable to overwhelm the meditator. Acknowledging Nagarjuna’s mastery, the female Elemental said to him, “Ask and you shall receive.” Nagarjuna replied “I don’t really need anything except, perhaps, a daily supply of food to sustain me through my retreat.” So for 12 years, the Elementals brought him 4 handfuls of rice and 5 handfuls of vegetables and by the end of his sadhanas, all 108 Elemental consorts were under his control.
Renewed with purpose, Nagarjuna had the clear intention of serving all sentient beings. His first act was his attempt to turn Gandhasila Mountain into pure gold. However before he could do so, the Bodhisattva Manjushri questioned him as to what good a gold mountain would be to sentient beings besides causing conflict and strife. Nagarjuna acknowledged the wisdom of Manjushri and abandoned the plan.
Next he came to the bank of a road river near Sri Parvata Mountain. When he asked some herdsmen for safe passage, they led him to the most dangerous part of the river, but they insisted it was the safest place to cross. A herdsman took pity on Nagarjuna and decided to carry him across the crocodile-filled river. Once safely across the river, the yogin said the herdsman could have anything he desired, and so he was made a king and came to be known as King Salabandha.
But after some time, King Salabandha too was dissatisfied and went in search for his guru with the intention to stay by Nagarjuna’s side. However, he was rejected and Nagarjuna gave him a Precious Rosary to protect him and his kingdom, then sent him back to his people for another 100 years. Salabandha’s kingdom prospered and during these happy years, Nagarjuna spread the teaching of the Buddha far and wide.
However, the evil spirit, Sundarananda grew jealous of the king, and unleashed many disasters on the kingdom. The King interpreted these omens as a sign that his guru was in mortal danger, and so he rushed to search for his guru Nagarjuna and to sit at his feet. Just like what the king feared, Nagarjuna began giving away all his worldly goods and prepared for death. The great god Brahma in the guise of a Brahmin came to beg for the master’s head, and when Nagarjuna agreed, out of grief the King laid his own head at his guru’s feet and died. Nagarjuna then took a stalk of kusha grass, beheaded himself and handed his severed head to the Brahmin. All things withered, and the virtue and merit of men faded. Eight yaksis, the female Elementals came to stand guard over Nagarjuna’s body until today.
After the master’s death, a great light entered the body of Nagabodhi, Nagarjuna’s spiritual son and successor. When the teachings and loving kindness of Maitreya, the Buddha Yet to Come, encompass the earth, Nagarjuna will rise again to serve us all.
3) Mahasiddha Vyalipa: “The Courtesan’s Alchemist”
Vyali was a very wealthy Brahmin, obsessed with immortality. He began to practice alchemy to discover the secret to eternal life, and at much material expense, he bought a rare alchemical manual and all the needed ingredients listed. He prepared the elixir carefully, however, he was still lacking one ingredient of which, without it the potion is useless. In fury and now penniless after 13 years of worthless pursue, he throw the manual into Mother Ganga, and became a wandering beggar.
One day, while begging, he met a courtesan and a conversation formed. She told him that she found a book while she was bathing in the river. When she showed the book to Vyali, he laughed uncontrollably as it was the very book he threw away and he told her of his tale. The courtesan, desperate to preserve her beauty, begged the yogin to continue his research and offered him 30 pounds of gold as an incentive. He accepted her offer and began formulating the potion once again, but still lack the one crucial ingredient, the red myrobalan.
Another miraculous event took place again while the courtesan bathed in Mother Ganga. A beautiful red flower floating down the river wrapped itself around one of her fingers. She didn’t notice it until she went hopefully to check Vyali’s progress and when she shook the flower off her finger, a drop of nectar fell into the potion and the air was filled with miraculous signs – a wheel of 8 auspicious symbols spinning clockwise appeared in the sky over their heads.
Out of greed, they both agreed to never tell anyone of the potion, and after conducting tests on the potion’s safety, they toasted each other’s eternal life and drank the potion. Instantly they achieved mundane siddhi and the power of deathlessness. However, they were still selfish and when they ascended into the heavens the gods rejected them. So the two immortals went to live in the land of Kilampara where they made their home in the shade of a lone tree on top of a rock one mile high.
Possessing the power of flight, Arya Nagarjuna vowed to recover the secret of immortality which was stolen from all mankind. Cleverly, he removed one of his shoes before taking to the air. When he arrived at the top rock, he prostrated himself to the mortal pair. They were startled to see him and desired his power of flight. When they questioned Nagarjuna on his remarkable gift, he told them it was the power of the one shoe he was wearing. Vyali then offered to trade him the recipe of the elixir of life for the remarkable shoe. The barter done, Nagarjuna returned to India with the precious formula. However, the secret of flight is still unknown to Vyali and the courtesan.
To this very day, he continues his practice for the sake of all sentient beings on top of Sri Parvata Mountain. And to those who find the path to realization, he grants the secret of the magic elixir of life.
4) Mahasiddha Samudra: “The Beach-comber”
There lived a pearl diver in the land of Sarvatira, estranged from his family. He sustained himself through the sale of pearls he found in the ocean. There was a day he was despaired because he failed to find a single pearl to earn money for food.
As he wandered to the cremation ground dejectedly and ranted about his unfortunate state, the yogin Acintapa met him there. The yogin heard Samudra’s fate and gave him advice. The yogin pointed out that all sentient beings in samsara are bound to suffering due to one’s past karma. The yogin further made it clear to Samudra that he had endured severe pain in his past life and in his present life he would continue to suffer, without even a moment of bliss.
Samudra begged the yogin to show him the path out of suffering and he received an initiation from the yogin in return. He was given instructions of the four boundless states of mind and the four internal joys. Samudra took the instructions to heart and meditated for three years. At the end of his meditation, he attained siddhi and was known as the Guru Samudrapada. He then worked selflessly to benefit the others with his realization and attained the Dakini’s Paradise with eight hundred disciples.
5) Mahasiddha Lakshimikara… Laksminkara: “She Who Makes Fortune”/”The Mad Princess”
In the Dakini realm of Oddiyana, King Indrabhuti ruled Sambhola, and to cement the friendship with his neighboring kingdom, Lankapuri which was ruled by King Jalendra; Indrabhuti betrothed his sister Laksminkara at age 7 to the son of Jalendra. Laksminkara was an extraordinary being, blessed with the qualities of the elect. Time passed and at age 16, she was escorted to the Kingdom of Lankapuri. After her sheltered upbringing, she was terrified of entering the mundane world, when all she wished to do was continue with her practice.
Due to the delay of her departure, the royal party arrived later than expected and was denied entry to the palace because according to them, it was an inauspicious day. So the princess and her retinue had to wait until the following day. She grew uneasy of her new environment and fell into depression. And when she languished outside the palace observing the life of the city around her, her depression deepened. It was quite clear that the people of the city had never heard the message of the Buddha.
When she finally entered the palace, she locked herself in her chamber and refused to see anyone for 10 days. Determined that her only escape from this life was to pretend to be insane, she tore the clothes from her body and smeared oil on her body until she looked like a wild woman. But all the while in her heart she was concentrating on her sadhanas. The prince despaired when he saw her, and all the royal physicians sent to attend her could not cure the princess. She continued the act, until one day, she was able to escape from the palace and made her way to a cremation ground where she lived as a yogini for 7 years. A sweeper of the king’s latrines served her faithfully during this time, and when she gained realizations she gave him initiation. He quickly attained Buddhahood without anyone knowing of this achievement except his preceptress.
One day, King Jalendra got separated from his hunting party, and while he circled aimlessly in the forest, he saw Laksminkara, seated upon a jeweled throne, her body glowing with golden radiance. Faith blossomed in the king’s heart, and he remained there all night watching the event in the magical cave.
The next day, the hunting party found King Jalendra and they went back to the city, but the king could not keep himself from returning to the cave time after time. Finally, he entered the cave and prostrated himself before the yogini. Initially, she was quite doubtful of his intentions, but the king spoke so movingly of his belief in her as a Buddha, and he begged so humbly for instructions. She then told him he could not be her disciple as his guru should be one of his own sweepers. He was told to observe closely to find out who his guru should be.
The King did as Laksminkara advised, and not long after that he discovered the indentity of the sweeper-guru and invited him to his throne room, where he seated his guru on the throne and prostrated himself before his guru, and requested instruction. The sweeper-yogin gave him initiation by the transfer of the guru’s grace and then taught the king the creative and fulfillment stages of the sadhanas of Vajra Varahi.
For many years thereafter, Laksminkara and the sweeper performed many miracles before they both ascended into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
6) Mahasiddha Mekhala: “The Elder Severed-Headed Sister”
7) Mahasiddha Kanakhala: “The Younger Severed-Headed Sister”
They are both known as the headless sisters. In Devikotta, an elderly widower was burdened with 2 unmarried daughters. It wasn’t that bad, but the 2 girls were infamous for their playfulness and mischievous tricks. Eventually the girls were married into a fisherman’s family, and miserable their husbands were. Finally, the younger one suggested that they run away, but Mekhala, for the first time spoke wisely to her sister, “You know, I suspect that we deserve what we get. We bring it on ourselves. I hate to tell you this, but we’re going to have to stay – it isn’t going to be different anywhere else because we take ourselves with us.”
At that very moment, the guru Krsnacarya passed by with 700 dakas and dakinis in attendance. Impulsively, the sisters threw themselves at his feet and begged for his instruction. Krsna gave them initiation and instructed them in the Vajra Varahi path that unites vision and action.
The 2 sisters meditated diligently for 12 years and successfully attained their goal. They then decided to visit their guru and seek further instruction. When they found him, they humbly prostrated themselves and walked about him in reverential circles. The guru received them kindly, but it was quite obvious he did not know who they were. The sisters then said they were the 2 unhappy married sisters that he initiated 12 years ago.
The guru then bellowed, “ if I gave you initiation, then why haven’t you brought me any offerings!” In reply, the sisters said they were at his service and asked what the guru would like. Krsnacarya said “your heads!”
Without any hesitation, the sisters pulled a sword of pure awareness and decapitated themselves and as they made their offering to their guru, the severed heads sang a beautiful song for their guru. Krsnacarya then replaced their heads perfectly and the sisters came to be known as the Headless Yoginis.
In gratitude, the sisters knelt before their guru and touched his feet in reverence. No sooner had they done so than they attained Mahamudra-siddhi. For many years thereafter they worked selflessly for the benefit of all sentient beings and were assumed bodily into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
8 ) Mahasiddha Kumbharipa… Kamparipa/Kamari: “The Potter”
Kumbharipa was a potter in Jomanasri. One day, when he thought he could no longer bear to continue his work, a yogin passed by, begging for food. Kumbharipa shared his humble means and opened up to the yogin, saying he could not stand even another minute at the potter’s wheel. Gazing at the potter’s wheel, the yogin gave it a spin and said, “Don’t you understand that all beings on the wheel of rebirth never find a moment of true happiness? From time before time there has only been suffering. Don’t get trapped in your own little misery. All human joys and pleasures are but fleeting shadows.”
Upon listening to the yogin, he begged for a sadhana, whereupon the yogin gave him initiation and instructed him in creative and fulfillment meditation with this verse:
From the soil of unknowing and ignorance
Comes the clay of passion and thought
To be turned on the wheel of greed and grasping
Fashion six pots from the six realms
Of samsaric ignorance and delusion,
Then fire the pots in the flame of pure awareness.
The potter understood his guru’s guidance, and meditated for only 6 months before all the defilements of his mind were erased. As he sat in meditation, the wheel spun by itself, and pots sprang from it. When people heard he had the power of the Buddhas, they sat at his feet, ready for instruction. After many years of service, he was assumed into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
9) Mahasiddha Sarwatripa… Caparipa
One day, in the city of Magadha, the head of the family of a wealthy herdsman passed away. To honor the deceased man, his son held a great feast which lasted for many days. On one occasion when everyone went to bathe in the River Ganges, except for the young man’s wife who stayed home with her 3 year old child to watch over things. During this time, the guru Caparipa appeared and asked for food. The woman was honest and expressed she may be scolded for doing so. In reply, Caparipa said to find him in the forest if anyone became angry. She listened to the guru and offered him food and drinks.
When her mother-in-law returned and saw most of the food was gone, she was scolded, and out of anger, she carried her child and fled to the yogin. When she arrived, the yogin said “Very good!” and sprinkled mantra water which turned both mother and child into stone – so that they would not need anything else anymore. When the relatives realized she was missing, one by one came in search for her only to be turned into stone, in total, there were about 300 of them.
The child of that woman had certain qualities: the siddhis of the dakas, the power to transform things into gold and even produce the elixir of immortality. The family became famous, and the king of Campaka, out of faith, built a temple to the three: the child, and the husband and wife. He then built another temple to the other 300 called “Many-named.” Those who have ill thoughts cannot enter the temple; if they do, the images will beat them or worse.
This temple became a center of practice, and it is said that even now, many yogins reside there as the place hasten one’s practice results. One can attain the worldly siddhis there, and while waiting for the appearance of the Victorious One, Maitreya, one can work for the benefit of living beings.
10) Mahasiddha Manibhadra: “She of the Broken Pot”/”The Model Wife”
Manibhadra was the daughter of a wealthy family in Agarce. As was their custom, she was betrothed at the age of 13 to a man of her own caste, but lived with her parents until old enough to take up her wifely duties. One day, while in her mother’s kitchen, the guru Kukkuripa came to her house begging for food. She welcomed him and served him with her own hands, then asked why he chose to be as he is now and not lead a comfortable life with a family. At that, the yogin laughed and explained the preciousness of a human birth as an opportunity to make spiritual progress and to free himself from the wheel of rebirth. Manibhadra’s faith was kindled and her trust of the yogin made her beg for him to show her the way to liberation. The yogin told her she could find him in the cremation grounds if she wanted more information, which was what she did that night.
Although she had never gone out alone at night, she walked fearlessly through the streets to the cremation ground, and when she came upon the yogin’s hut, he welcomed her in. Recognizing the maturity of her mind and her sincerity, he gave her initiation and empowerment. Then he instructed her in the practice of creative and fulfillment meditation. She remained in his hut alone for 7 days while she established herself in the practice of her sadhanas. However, when she was no where to be found, her family grew frantic, and when she finally returned, her parents beat her. With great calm, she defended herself stating that pure bloodline and fine reputation would not free her from samsara, and she had been with her guru, who taught her how to practice a sadhana of liberation. At that, her parents were so impressed that they didn’t argue any further, on top of that, they allowed her to practice her sadhanas one-pointedly.
A year passed and it was time for her fiancé to claim his bride. The family was worried she would not fulfill her obligations, but she accompanied her husband to her new home with no complaint or resistance. She became a model wife, doing all and more than what was expected of her with a good attitude. In time, she gave birth to a son, and later, a daughter.
Twelve years passed in perfect harmony, and on the 13th anniversary of meeting with her guru, a tree root tripped her, causing her to break the water pitcher she was carrying. For the rest of the day, she was nowhere to be seen. Her family searched for her and eventually found her at the place she fell. When her husband spoke to her, she seemed totally unaware of his presence; she only had her eyes fixed on the broken bits of the pitcher.
Manibhadra remained immobile and silent until nightfall. Then she looked up, surprised to see so many people gathered around her. She then sang a song of realization:
From the beginning of time, sentient beings
Have broken their vessels, and their lives end.
But why do they then return home?
Today, I have broken my vessel.
But I am abandoning my samsara home
For the realms of pure pleasure.
How wonderful is the guru
If you desire happiness, rely on him.
Manibhadra levitated into the sky and remained there for 21 days, giving instruction to the people of Agarce. Then she bid farewell to her family and friends, and was assumed bodily into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
11) Mahasiddha Udhelipa… Udhilipa: “The Flying Siddha”
Udhilipa was a wealthy man from Devikotta who desired to fly after discovering masses of clouds in five colors and an infinite variety of shapes. One day, the guru Karnaripa came to his door to beg for food. Udhilipa welcomed him and offered the best food his kitchen could provide. Confessing his deepest desire, he asked the yogin if he could be taught to fly. The guru said there is a way, but it is a long and arduous one. After convincing the guru that he would follow the instructions to the letter, Karnaripa gave him the initiation of the Catuspitha-mahayogini Tantra and advised him to visit the 24 great power centers where he must find where the 24 panaceas were hidden by propitiating the 24 dakinis who guarded the panaceas by reciting each of their mantras 10,000 times.
Udhilipa set forth on his journey that very day. In time, he accomplished the task and then sought out his guru for further instruction. The guru then instructed him to prepare an elixir that would allow him to fly, an alchemical sadhana which took him 12 years to succeed and gain mahamudra-siddhi. His realization gave him the power to fly. After serving humanity selflessly, he flew into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
12) Mahasiddha Tsalukipa… Caluki/Culiki: “The Revitalized Drone”
Celuka was born of low caste in Mangalapur and had always been idle in his action and thoughts, blaming it on lethargy all the time. Nevertheless, he had been frightened by the nightmare of samsaric existence. As he was sitting beneath a tree one day, yogin Maitripa passed by him and asked him what he was doing. Celuka revealed to the yogin that he intended to obtain a sadhana to escape samsara sufferings. However, he lacked a master who could instruct him the proper methods and paths and was lazy to search for one. He then made a request to the yogin for advice to overcome his laziness.
Yogin Maitripa suggested that Celuka take an initiation to dispel his laziness and granted him the initiation and empowerment of Samvara. Celuka was instructed the methods and significance of the meditation. Celuka was to meditate on his body, speech and mind and through keeping his psychic energies in the central channel of his body, he would eventually overcome his idle mind and attain enlightenment. Celuka meditated as told for nine years, dispelling his ignorant mind.
13) Mahasiddha Kalakala… Kilakipala: “The Exiled Loud-Mouth”
Kalakala was born into a low caste family and was very talkative due to his previous karma. The town people disliked him and therefore ostracized him, leading him to feel rejected and he finally went to live in a cemetery.
There, a yogin came along and Kalakala shared his story. After listening to his tale, the yogin asked if he would like to use a method of liberation from the misery of the world. When Kalakala indicated that he would, the yogin initiated him into the Guhyasamaja tantra and gave him instructions.
Following instructions, Kalakala meditated and lost the sound of other people’s anger in the sound of his own voice; his own voice was lost in a rain of flowers; he lost the idea of flowers in the emptiness of the sky; and through this he gained the siddhi of Mahamudra. Kalakala worked for the benefit of many living beings, and with 300 followers, he went to the realm of the Dakas.
14) Mahasiddha Kantalipa… Kantali: “The Tailor”/”The Rag Picker”
Kantali was born to a miserable trade of stitching rags together into reusable cloth. One day, he accidentally jabbed his finger and it bled profusely on the cloth he worked on for hours. Driven beyond endurance, he ran out to the forest, began to roll on the ground tearing at his hair and howling like a wounded animal.
The dakini Vetali took pity upon him and appeared to him as an old woman. He told his tale to the dakini, and she replied, “what your story tells me is that you have suffered some great pain in your past life. And I fear that in your next life and the next and the next that pain will hound you like your shadow hugs your heels. There is nothing but pain to be found on the Wheel of Rebirth.” In despair, he begged the dakini to show him how to avoid such terrible fate and promised nothing would hinder him from following the instructions. There and then the dakini gave him the Hevajra initiation and empowerment. She instructed him on the four boundless states of mind and taught him the yoga of identification with the guru as well as fulfillment yoga.
Kantali returned home and did his best to follow, but his mind kept wandering back to work again and again. Once more the dakini appeared to him and sand a song of guidance to him:
Envision the rags you pick and stitch as empty space
See your needle as mindfulness and knowledge
Thread this needle with compassion
And stitch new clothing
For all the sentient beings of the three realms
Kantali returned to his work in great peace and realized the emptiness of all the elements of experience. When he understood that compassion and emptiness were one, he gained mahamudra-siddhi. Working selflessly for others for many years, in time, he ascended to the Paradise of the Dakinis.
15) Mahasiddha Dhahulipa… Dhahuli / Dekara (rtsva thag can): “The Man of the Grass Rope”
Dhahuli was from a low caste family in Dhakara, who made a living by making ropes out of grass. One day, while tying the ropes, a large and painful wound appeared on his hands. A yogin came along and asked what was bothering him. In reply, the rope-maker told him what happened. The yogin then told him if he couldn’t handle such a small wound, then what he would do if reborn into an unpleasant state in the next life? At that, Dhahuli requested a method to free himself and was given the initiation which transfers spiritual strength and was given instructions to practice the path of realization.
After meditating for 12 years with faith and vigor, he obtained siddhi and became famous everywhere. For 700 years he worked for the benefit of many beings. When he departed for the realm of the Dakas, he had 500 followers who followed him.
16) Mahasiddha Medhenapa… Medhina / Medhini (thang lo pa): “The Man of the Field”
Medhina was a low-caste man from Saliputra. One day while laboring in the field, he suddenly stopped and stood there. A yogin came along and asked if he would like to get away from this pain and suffering through Dharma. Medhina showed much interest and so the yogin gave him instructions on the Developing Stage and the Perfecting Stage, and then set him to meditating. But the thought of plowing the fields interrupted him, making Medhina lose his desire to meditate. He went back to his guru and expressed his concern, where upon his guru gave him instructions that were more consistent with his thoughts.
Mendhipa continued meditating accordingly to his guru’s instructions for 12 years, and having stopped various kinds of worldly conceptions, he obtained siddhi. He ascended a tree which grew 7 talas up into the sky.
Mendhipa worked for the benefit of beings in Saliputra and then went to the realm of the Dakas in this very body.
17) Mahasiddha Dhokaripa… Dhokaripa / Tukkari (rdo ka ri): “The Man Who Carries a Pot”
Dhokaripa was a man of low-caste from Saliputra who always carried a pot which he filled with whatever alms he managed to get through begging. One day, having nothing in his pot, he chanced a meeting with a yogin. He told the yogin he didn’t have anything to offer on that day, but in reply the yogin asked if he could use the Dharma. Dhokaripa was interested, but he said he had not met any spiritual friend. At that, the yogin initiated him into Hevajra and gave him instructions to the Developing Stage and the Perfecting Stage.
Dhokaripa meditated and in 3 years, he obtained siddhi. After this, when he was seen carrying his pot around, people would ask him what his pot contained. And he would answer:
I carry the vessel of the Great Emptiness
I am collecting the fruit of the fruit of the Great Bliss
Dhokaripa has what he desires
Is this not known by the fortunate?
He worked for the benefit of many beings and finally went to the realm of the Dakas in this very body.
18) Mahasiddha Zoghipa… Yogipa / Jogipa (dzo gi pa): “The Candali Pilgrim”
Yogipa was from Odantapuri of the candela caste, and his guru was Savaripa. Although he made great effort, he still had little wisdom. One day, his guru came to him and initiated him into Hevajra with instructions for the Developing Stage and the Perfection Stage, then sent him off to meditate. However, Yogipa was still unable to understand the meaning of the instructions, so he went back to his guru to express his concern, and made a request to perform meritorious acts by just using body and speech.
So his guru taught him the recitation of Vajra-Heruka and told him to consummate his practice by going to the 24 great places. Yogipa practiced diligently for 12 years, and eventually purified the stains and obtained the siddhi of Mahamudra. For 5 years he aided the various purposes of living beings, and then went to the realm of the Dakas in this very body.
19) Mahasiddha Gandrapa… Ghandhapa / Vajraganta / Ghantapa (rdo rje dril bu pa): “The Man with the Bell and Dorje”/”The Celibate Monk”
Darima, out of greed, accepted the king’s challenge and set off to send her beautiful daughter to ensnare the monk. Much like the king, Darima visited the yogin everyday, prostrating to him for 9 days offering him nothing but devotion. On the 10th day, she begged him to allow her to be his patron during his summer monsoon retreat. Ghantapa refused, but Darima was persistent, returning again and again for a month. Finally, seeing no harm, Ghantapa agreed. When the rain came, the yogin retreated to a little hut Darima had constructed for him at the far edge of her property. Warily, the monk insisted only male servants bring him food, which Darima agreed. However, on the 15th day, she sent her daughter to the hut. Surprized, Ghantapa insisted the girl leave immediately, but it began to rain heavily, so the monk agreed to share his hut with the girl until the rain stopped. Unfortunately the rain continued until sunset, with the excuse of being afraid she would be mugged by thieves, the monk allowed her to sleep outside the hut. But during the night, she became frightened and began to beg for his protection. With a sigh of resignation, Ghantapa allowed her to come inside the hut.
The hut was very tiny. Inevitably, their bodies touched. Then their limbs intertwined. Before long, they had passed through the 4 levels of joy and traversed the path of liberation to its ultimate fulfillment. In 6 previous lives, this very girl was the cause of the monk’s downfall, but in this life, such defilement had long since dissolved, and he had gained the true path. In the morning, he asked the girl to remain with him and she agreed. They became yogin and consort, and because of her service to him for 6 lives, the defilements of Ghantapa’s consort’s mind were also purified. One year later, their child was born.
Darima never told any of this to the king, and finally at the 3rd year, when she thought the time was right, she informed the king. The king was overjoyed for the monk’s downfall and said he will visit the monk and the girl in 3 days time.
When they heard the news, the girl was very fearful. When Ghantapa asked if she wanted to stay and face them down, or leave Pataliputra, she begged him to flee with her, and he agreed. However, as they were leaving, they came face to face with the king and his followers. The king, looking down at the fleeing pair demanded answers for what he saw before him. The monk simply replied, “I’m carrying a jug of liquor, I have my son under my robe, and this is my consort.
When the king kept on repeating the accusations of what appeared to be Ghantapa’s fault, Ghantapa hurled both his son and the jug of liquor onto the ground. This so frightened the earth goddess that she trembled with fear. The ground gaped open and a geyser of water began to flood the entire space. The child was instantly transformed into a thunderbolt and the jug into a bell. Whereupon the yogin, bearing thunderbolt and bell, levitated with his consort into the sky, where they become the deities Samvara and Vajra Varahi joined in father-mother union.
The drowning people screamed, declaring they would take refuge in the master, but Ghantapa remained adamant in his Samadhi of immutable wrath. Suddenly, the Bodhisattva of Compassion appeared. Avalokitesvara placed his holy foot over the source of the flood and the water immediately flowed backward into the ground, and as if by magic, a stone image of the Bodhisattva appeared where his foot had trod. It remains there to this very day.
Everyone was saved. Prostrating themselves, they begged for forgiveness. Still hovering above the assemblage, Ghantapa said “Moral concepts practiced without understanding can be the greatest of obstacles to fulfilling the Bodhisattva’s vow of uncompromising compassion. Do not cultivate virtue and renounce vice. Rather, learn to accept all things as they arise. Penetrate the essence of each experience until you have achieved the one taste.”
At this, everyone was illuminated and their self-righteousness and petty prejudice vanished. Faith was born in the lotus of each heart. Ghantapa’s fame rang out to all the corners of the earth. Possessing the power and virtue of a Buddha, the yogin ascended into the Paradise of the Dakinis with his consort.
20) Mahasiddha Sankazapa… Pankaja / Sankaja (‘dam skyes): “The Lotus-Born Brahmin”
Pankaja was the son of a Brahman, and was named so because he was born from a lotus in his parent’s peaceful garden of lotuses. His siddhi came from Avalokitesvara. A short while after his birth, an image of Avalokitesvara was placed near the pond of lotuses, and for 12 years Panjaka made offerings of flowers there 3 times a day by placing them on top of the head of the image, believing it was Mahadeva.
One day, Nagarjuna came and offered a flower. The image accepted it and placed it upon its own head. Upon seeing that, Pankaja became angry and thought to himself, “For twelve years, I made offerings and the image did not accept them.” Then out of the mouth of the image, it said: “Your thoughts were not pure. I was not pleased with your actions.”
Feeling remorse, Panjaka prostrated himself before Nagarjuna and respectfully asked to be his student. Nagarjuna initiated him and instructed him in the integration of vision and activity.
Understanding this, Pankaja practiced and in 7 days he obtained siddhi. He benefitted many living beings with his compassionate gaze and instructions on methods. Finally in this very body, he went to the realm of the Dakas.
21) Mahasiddha Dhamapa… Dharmapa – (tos pa can): “The Man of Dharma”
Dharmapa means ‘the Man Who Has the Wisdom Gained by Study’. In Vikramasura, there lived a Brahman who studied diligently but was without the wisdom of critical reflection or meditation. One day, he met a yogin who said he must have much Dharma in his mind since so much studying had been done. However, he replied that he was not able to practice what he had learned and begged the yogin to teach him a way to retain what he learned.
There and then, the yogin gave him the initiation which transfers spiritual power. He then gave him instructions on how to integrate the many themes of the Dharma.
As Dharmapa listened to the instructions the yogin gave, he understood what it all signified. As he realized the unified wholeness of the many doctrines he had heard, he obtained the siddhi of Mahamudra. When his time came, he went to the realm of the Dakas in this very body.
22) Mahasiddha Kuzepa… Kucipa / Kujiba (ltag lba can): “The Man with a Neck Tumor”
Kucipa was from a low caste family and earned his living by working in the fields. One day, a tumor began to grow on his neck. It became so large and painful that he went to lonely places so that no one could see him. There, he met the holy Nagarjuna. Kucipa took faith in him and greeted him, then asked for teachings to free him of torment he was experiencing due to previous karma, as he was unhappy due to the pain.
After confirming Kucipa’s sincerity to practice, Nagarjuna initiated him into the Guhyasamaja tantra and gave him the instructions on the Developing and the Perfecting Stages. Kucipa followed Nagarjuna’s instructions carefully, and the tumor eventually disappeared. Nagarjuna then asked if he was happy now that the tumor was gone. In reply, Kucipa said he was happy, and so Nagarjuna gave these instructions:
Pain and pleasure arise from the being and non-being
When free from the notions of these two extremes,
How can there be pain and pleasure?
Existing things themselves are empty of inherent nature.
Kucipa came to excellent realization and obtained the siddhi of Mahamudra without mental constructions. For 700 years he worked for the benefit of living beings, and when the time came, he went to the realm of the Dakas with 700 followers.
23) Mahasiddha Dharmapa… Dharmapa (thos pa’i shes rab bya ba): “The Man of Dharma”
Dharmapa was a scholar in Bodhinagara who preached without practicing. When he grew older and was losing his sight, a thought occurred to him: “Would it not be fitting that I meet with a guru?” Later, a dakini spoke to him in a dream, giving him encouragement and initiation together with instructions.
For 5 years he recited mantras and practiced the precepts which developed into realized knowledge, and his body became like that of an 8 year old. He worked for the benefit of living beings until finally he went to the realm of the Dakas.
24) Mahasiddha Rahulagupta… Rāhula (sgra gcan ‘dzin): “He Who Has Grasped Rahu”
Rahula was born in Kamarupa into a low caste family. When he became an old man, he was severely ill treated by his family. He was very unhappy and began to think of his next birth, so he went to a cemetery where he met a yogin and shared his tale. Upon listening to the old man’s tale, the yogin then asked shouldn’t he be practicing the Dharma as provision for death? In reply, Rahula said “O guru, give the Dharma to me. Even though I am old and without wealth, please give me the Dharma.” And to that phrase, the yogin replied:
The natural mind is without old age.
Your nature is not dependent on wealth
If, with devotion, you are able to practice the holy Dharma,
I will take care of you.
The yogin then gave Rahula initiation which transfers spiritual powers, and these instructions:
Eclipse the concepts of which you have taken hold
By the Rahu of non-dual experience.
At the great bliss at the top of your head,
The profound seed-point will arise.
By the continuous integration of emptiness and bliss,
You will overcome the enemies, the skandhas.
The qualities of the Buddhas will arise,
And lo, there will be unceasing wonders.
The old man received these instructions and practiced it for 16 years, gaining the siddhi of Mahamudra. He trained living beings in Kamarupa, and having narrated his experiences, he went to the realm of the Dakas in this very body.
25) Mahasiddha Zaledarapa… Jālandhari / Dzalandara (dra ba ‘dzin pa): “The Man Who Holds a Net”/”The Chosen One”
Jalandhara was a Brahmin from Turkhara City who was of great spirituality, and the more refined his consciousness became, the more disgusted he was for the life he saw around him. At last, he left everything behind and went to live in a cremation ground. There, he sat under a tree and began to meditate. Soon, he was absorbed into a blissful state in which he heard a dakini speaking to him from the skies. When she spoke to him, he was overjoyed and prayed to his dakini-guru until she manifested before him. She gave him the Hevajra initiation and empowerment, and instructions to gather all perceptions and place them in the subtle planes of body, speech and mind. She further instructed him to meditate upon the indivisibility of appearances and emptiness.
Jalandhara meditated for 7 years according to the instructions and at last he gained mahamudra-siddhi. Many years later, after working selflessly for untold beings, he was assumed bodily into the Paradise of the Dakinis with 300 disciples.
26) Mahasiddha Dhingipa… Tengipa / Tinkapa (‘bras rdung ba): “The Rice Thresher”
Tengipa was the minister to the King of Indrapala in Saliputra. He and the king became disgusted with samsara, so they travelled to the cemetery where Luyipa lived where they submitted their bodies as an initiation fee. Luyipa initiated them into the mandala of Cakrasamvara.
The three, master and students then begged alms in Odissa, where the king was sold (The story of Darika). Two weeks later, Luyipa and the minister arrived at Juntapura. Here, the minister was sold for 300 gold coins to a wine-seller.
The Brahman carried out his duties as a wine-seller, and eventually became the chief of the woman’s household. One day, after finishing his chores, he was not brought his food because the wine-selling woman forgot to bring it over. When finally she remembered, she sent someone to bring food to him only for the person to see 500 divine maidens making offering to the Brahman, whose body was shining. When she received the news, she repented of what she had done and went over to the minister and apologized for making him work for 12 years under her. She then offered to make up for her mistake by asking him to be her object of reverence for 12 years. He did not accept the offer but preached the Dharma to the wine-selling woman and the people of Jintapura, he gave them instructions for practice. He then went to the realm of the Dakas with 700 followers.
Because he worked as a rice-husker, he became known as Tengipa. He was sold to the wine-seller because of his considerable attachment to being a Brahmin; the wine-selling woman, having taken him in, cut down his pride in caste.
27) Mahasiddha Kambala… Kambala / Khambala (ba wa pa / lva ba pa): “The Yogin of the Black Blanket”
Kambala was crowned king of Kankarama after his father passed away and at the same time, his mother disappeared. Despite his double loss, Kambala ruled his kingdom with great wisdom and virtue, and within a short time, the kingdom prospered. After 2 years, his mother returned and instead of being overjoyed with his great success, she began to cry. Sadden to see his mother cry, the king asked what was his mother upset about, and she said she was sad to see her son engaging in the wretched business of government. Upon hearing that, the young king gave his throne to his younger brother and took up residence in a monastery.
After sometime, his mother came to the monastery, again she cried when she saw him, saying she was disappointed to see him still living like a king and ordered him to leave the luxury of the monastery and go into the jungle alone and meditate.
Kambala followed her instruction. He entered the jungle and took residence there, but the local villagers soon aware of his presence, visited him and gave a lot of offerings. Once again his mother wept when she saw his condition. At that, he abandoned the jungle and took the path of a yogin, wondering from land to land. His mother appeared yet again, however this time she was floating above him in midair and he recognized at last her true dakini form. She gave him the Samvara initiation and instructed him in meditation, then vanished from sight.
The yogin king wondered for 12 years, sleeping in cremation grounds and practiced his sadhanas until he attained mahamudra-siddhi. He levitated into the sky and there he saw his mother, eyes swollen from weeping for he has not used his gifts for the benefit of others. The yogin then came back down to earth with the intent of selfless service, he set a residence in the cave on the Panaba cliffs.
However, when he took residence in the area, the dakini witches and their queen Padmadevi felt their power threatened by his presence and caused much problem for him.
One day, dressed in the black blanket that was his sole covering, he went to town to beg for food. There, he met Padmadevi who asked him to lend his blanket to her, which he gave out of kindness. Wanting the power of the siddha, the queen tear the blanket to tiny pieces, and the dakini witches ate a piece of the blanket until only one small piece was left, which they threw into the fire. On the way back, Kambala asked if he may have his blanket back, but the queen tried to give him a new blanket instead which he refused. They even offered him gold, but again he refused. Furious, he returned to town to complain to the king and insisted for the witches to return his property. However, despite all effort the king couldn’t do anything.
So the yogin went back to his cave and meditated. The witches then plotted to defeat the master, but Kambala got wind of their intention and hatched a counterplot, chanting a powerful mantra and turned them into a flock of sheep. The war between the master and the witches brought the business of the kingdom to a halt. Finally, the king decided to put an end to this and summoned both of them to his court. But when the witches still remained unrepented, the master, in a voice like thunder said “Vow to protect the truth or I will send you this very instant to Dharmaraja, Lord of Death.”
In fear, the witches vowed to do as they were told. The master then warned if they were to break their vow, they will be transformed into a cart horse. The witches then took refuge in Buddha, swearing to abide by his precepts. When they were given a ceremony of purification they all vomited up scraps of the master’s blanket. Happy to have his one piece of clothing returned to him, he gathered the scraps and sewed them back together, except for the small part which was burnt is forever gone.
After many years of peaceful, selfless service to humanity, he was assumed bodily into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
28) Mahasiddha Kukuripa… Kukkuripa (ku ku ri pa): “The Dog Lover”
Kukuripa, a Brahmin from Kapilavastu who was puzzled over the problems of existence came to place his trust in Tantra, and in time chose the path of renunciation. He began his itinerant career by beffing his way slowly toward the caves of Lumbini.
One day, on his journey, he heard a soft whining in the bushes. When he investigated, he found a puppy so starved that she could no longer stand. Taking pity of the creature, he carried her with him on his journey, sharing the contents of his begging bowl, and watching with delight as she began to grow strong and healthy.
The two were often each other’s company and while Kukkuripa was in the continuous recitation of his mantra, the 12 years passed so quickly. The yogin then attained the magical powers of prescience and divine insight. The gods of the 33 Sensual Heavens noticed and invited him to their paradise to celebrate his achievements. He accepted the invitation and embarked upon a ceaseless round of self-indulgent feasting and pleasure.
While on earth, his faithful dog waited patiently for Kukkuripa, finding food only places close to the cave. On Kukkuripa’s side, despite all the luxury, he has not forgotten his loving companion and misses her dearly. Again and again he told the gods he had to return but they kept persuading him to stay. One day, he looked down from the heavens and realized his loyal dog was pining for him. Kukkuripa’s heart ached for her and immediately, he descended from paradise to rejoin her in the cave.
The dog was filled with joy when she saw Kukkuripa, but as soon as he sat down and begin to scratch her favorite spot, she vanished. There before him, stood a radiantly beautiful Dakini. She praised him for overcoming temptation and taught him how to achieve the symbolic union of skillful means and perfect insight. He soon attained the state of supreme realization, and for a long time he engaged in selfless service. In due time, he ascended to the Paradise of the Dakinis with a vast entourage of disciples.
29) Mahasiddha Tantepa… Tandhepa / Tandhi (cho lo pa): “The Dice Player”/”The Gambler”
Tantepa was a compulsive gambler. Most of the time he managed to break even, but then he met a fateful losing streak. He continued gambling even then, lost everything he had and even continued on credit. Eventually, he had to run away, but his creditors found him and beat him half to death.
After the beating, at nightfall, he managed to crawl away to a cremation ground to hide. There, he met a yogin who shared his meal with Tantepa. When asked if he was robbed, Tantepa said he have robbed himself for being a compulsive gambler. Having nothing else to lose, the yogin asked if he wanted to try meditation. Tantepa replied if there’s a meditation he could practice without giving up gambling, then he may try. At that, the yogin gave the gambler initiation and empowerment, and gave him instructions to visualize the three realms and see that the nature of the mind as emptiness, like his pocket is now.
Tantepa meditated diligently on his guru’s instruction and as he did, all of this thoughts and beliefs about the nature of the 3 realms dissolved into the true reality of their own empty spaciousness. He became a renowned teacher and the very last song he sang to his disciples was:
Had I not knkown sorrow and remorse,
How could I have entered the path to release?
Had I not placed my trust in a teacher,
How could I have attained the ultimate power?
Than he levitated to the height of seven palm trees and entered the Paradise of the Dakinis
30) Mahasiddha Bhendepa…Bhandhepa / Bade / Batalipa (nor la ‘dzin pa): “He Who Holds the God of Weath”
Bhandhepa was from the land of Sravasti, an icon-painter and his guru was master Krsnacari. One day, while he was abiding in the sky, he saw a holy arhat walking through the sky dressed as a monk, radiant and majestic. Bhandhepa was amazed at this sight, and when asked who the wondrous man was, Visvakarman told him the man is a holy arhat who has abandoned the defilements.
Bhandhepa, inspirted to be just like the arhat, returned to Jambudvipa to request the Dharma from Krsnacari, who initiated him in the Guhyasamaja and gave him instructions on the Four Immeasurables as methods of yogic protection.
After developing compassion, happiness, friendliness, and equanimity in meditation, he purified all the poisons of delusions and wrong views. He then obtained Mahamudra siddhi. For 400 years Bhandhepa worked for the welfare of living beings in the six great realms of Sravasti. Then went to the realm of the Dakas with 400 followers.
31) Mahasiddha Khanapa… Kānhapa / Krsnācharya (nag po pa): “The Dark Master”/”The Dark-Skinned One”
Kanhapa showed early promise and took ordination in Somapuri where he was initiated into the mandala of the deity Hevajra by his guru Jalandhara. After 12 years of practice, he was rewarded with the vision of Hevajra. Inflated with pride, he was certain he gained his goal; but a scolding dakini appeared and warned him that his vision was part of the preliminaries. Chastened, he continued his practice.
However, he could not resist testing his achievements from time to time, and everytime he does it, the scolding dakini will return to send him back to meditation. But on the fourth occasion that he roused himself from his meditation, seven royal canopies floated above his head while 7 damaru skull drums filled the air with sound. He then told his disciple that no one can tell him he haven’t reached his goal and took off for the island of Lankapuri with 3000 disciples. When they reached the straits, he decided to show off his prowess and began skipping across the surface of the water thinking “even my guru cannot do this.” But no sooner had he spoken the fateful words than he sank beneath the surface of the waters. The waves soon deposited him on the edge of the sand and as he turned over his back to spit sand out of his mouth, he saw his guru Jalandhara floating in the sky above him.
To his guru, Kanhapa confessed his pride and its consequences. Jalandhara laughed and instructed him to go to Pataliputra in search of one of his pupil, a weaver, and to do everything the student of his asks.
Kanhapa then went to Pataliputra, there he left his disciples outside the city to look for the weaver with his penetrating gaze. Soon he located the weaver, and begged the yogin to teach him the ultimate truth. After he promised to do whatever the weaver say, the weaver then asked Kanhapa to eat a piece of flesh from a fresh corpse. Kanhapa took out his knife and began to cut the body, but the weaver scolded him and then transformed into a wolf himself and began feeding on the corpse. “You can only eat human flesh in animal form,” he told his astonished pupil.
Next, the weaver squatted down and defecated. He then took one of the 3 pieces of excrement and asked Kanhapa to eat it. Kanhapa however refused, whereupon the weaver ate one piece himself, gave the second to the celestial gods, and the third to the Naga serpents.
Then they returned to the city, where the weaver bought 5 pennies worth of food and liquor, and invited all 3000 of Kanhapa’s disciples to eat. Although the food was barely enough for one person, but as if by magic, endless quantities of food appeared. The feast lasted for 7 days and still there was no end in sight to the offerings. The weaver then gave them instructions, but Kanhapa refused to listen.
He traveled on and on, and at the outskirts of Bhadhokora he met a young girl beneath a tree laden with ripe fruit. He greeted the girl and asks if he might pick some fruits, but the girl refused to allow. However he became angry and plucked the fruit with his powerful gaze. No sooner had the fruit fallen than the girl sent it directly back to its proper place with her equally powerful gaze, revealing her true dakini nature. But Kanhapa, instead of propitiating the dakini, he cursed her with a mantra so powerful that she began bleeding profusely from every orifice. When a crowd gathered and muttered how wrong the doing was, he realized his mistake and undo the curse, but the girl already uttered a counter curse upon him. He fell to the ground vomiting and bleeding violently. He then called his faithful dakini companion Bhande and begged her to bring him a certain herb to cure him.
Bhande rushed off to find the herb and travelled for 7 days, but on her journey home, she met an aged crone weeping by the side of the road. Unfortunately Bhande failed to recognize the crone, whom was the seductress that cursed her master, and was lead to believe that Kanhapa has died. Upon hearing the news, Bhande threw away the herb, and continued on her way. She expected to see smoke of the funeral pyre, but instead, she found her master still alive but near death. Bhande began to weep and told Kanhapa how she was tricked.
Kanhapa prepared for death, knowing he only had seven days to instruct his disciples before he left for the Paradise of the Dakinis. He taught them the sadhanas that is now known as the Beheaded Vajra Varahi.
After Kanhapa breathed his last, Bhande searched for the mundane dakini and when she discovered the dakini, she cursed her with a spell so terrible the dakini remained in a mordant state forever after.
32) Mahasiddha Dombhipa… Dombipa / Dombipāda (dom bhi he ru ka): “He of the Washer Folk”/”The Tiger Rider”
Dombipa, the king of Magadha, was initiated by the guru Virupa into the meditation rites of the Buddha-deity Hevajra. This practice gave him much magical power, yet he kept them hidden. Magadha through him, what was once a place ravaged by war, poverty, famine, and crime turned into a prosperous kingdom. Many years later, a troupe of low-caste wandering minstrels performed for the king. Through out the entertainment, the king could not take his eyes off a young girl, the 12 year old performer who was untainted by the world. She had all the qualities of a lotus child, a padmini, and the king decided then and there to make her his spiritual consort. Although a union with a low-caste was not allowed, the king paid no attention to that and paid for the girl, her weight in gold. For many years, their mystic union was hidden, but in the 12th year their secret was discovered, and the king and his consort were forced to leave, disappearing into the jungle where they devoted themselves to the practice of tantric yoga.
When Dombipa left, the kingdom of Magadha began to decline. In despair, the new king (Dombipa’s son) ordered a council and accumulatively they decided the old king should be asked to return, and a search team was dispatched to find him. They looked high and low for Dombipa for weeks, and finally one day when they were about to return home in failure, they saw Dombipa and his consort in a tranquil environment in the forest. Afraid to intrude upon the royal solitude, they rushed back to report what they witnessed, and another team was sent, this time more properly equipped with messages, pleas, and prayers to invite the king to return. When the king received their message, he agreed to return in 2 weeks. On the day of his return, thousands of people lined the route to greet him, and the king, brandishing a deadly snake as a whip, emerged from the jungle riding with his consort on the back of a pregnant tigress. Frightened, the people fell their knees and begged him to govern their country once again.
However, the king replied, “How can I possibly do as you ask? You drove me away because I had lost my caste status by consorting with a woman of low birth. Casteless, I cannot rule.” The people began to wail, but the king took pity on them and ordered them build a funeral pyre, where he and his consort shall be burnt and their rebirth will be absolved. For seven days it perfumed the air and for seven nights it lit the sky as brightly as the sun. The fire mysteriously disappeared on the 8th day, and hovering in the air was a lotus-shaped cloud where the king, in the guise of the Buddha-deity Havajra in ecstatic union with his consort sat.
The king then said to all, “if you can find it in your hearts to do as I have done, I will stay to govern you.” However, he was met with protests. Disappointed, the king sighed deeply and his form began to be increasingly transparent. His last words were, “My only kingdom is the kingdom of truth.” Whereupon he dissolved into perfect awareness and pure delight, to dwell forever in the Paradise of the Dakinis.
33) Mahasiddha Kankana… Kankana / Kikipa (gdu bu can): “The Bracelet Wearer”
Kankana was the King of Visnunagara whose kingdom was fully developed and did not lack any desirable qualities. One day, a yogin came to the place asking for alms. When the king met the yogin, he asked for a method of practicing the Dharma which does not force him to give up everything thing, or wearing patched clothes and eating alms.
The yogin then said there is a method, so the yogin instructed the king to give up his pride and attachment to the shining bracelet on his arm, and to combine the unattached mind and the light of the jewels into one, and meditate.
The king then directed his mind to the bracelet on his left arm and meditated. Having experienced the mind itself through these objects of desire, he obtained siddhi in 6 months. When his assistants say a circle of countless divine maidens around the king, they requested instructions from the king. He preached his court and to various people of Visnunagara. After 500 years, he went to the realm of the Dakas in this very body.
34) Mahasiddha Dhubipa… Dombipa / Dombipāda (dom bhi he ru ka): “He of the Washer Folk”/”The Tiger Rider”
In Saliputra, there lived two men of the washerman caste, father and son, who made their living by washing clothes. One day, a yogin came along and begged food from them. They gave alms to him and also asked if they could wash his clothes. The yogin then replied there is no good to him to wear clothes cleansed only by an external washing if he do not purify the stains of the three inner poisons. The two men then asked for instructions at which the yogin initiated them into Cakrasamvara and gave them the instructions, and blessed them with mantras, mudras, and samadhis. They meditated for 12 years, purifying their bodies by mudras, their speech by mantras, and the stains of their minds by Samadhi.
Having meditated on the mind as inseparable from the Developing and Perfecting Stages, they purified body, speech and mind. When they attained the siddhi of Mahamudra, the clothes were cleansed by themselves without the men having to wash them. When the people saw this, they realized that the washermen had perfected these qualities. The two men worked for the benefit of sentient beings, and after 100 years, went to the realm of the Dakas.
35) Mahasiddha Karnarepa… Karnaripa / Āryadeva (‘phags pa lha): “The One-Eyed”/”The Lotus Born”
At birth, Aryadeva sprang magically from the pollen filled heart of a lotus flower. Soon he was ordained in Sri Nalanda and in time, became the abbot of the monastery. However, after many years of selfless service, he grew restless and feels that he had not realized his own perfect potential. Finally, he decided to search for the guru Nagarjuna in hope to gain ultimate knowledge. On his journey, he chanced a meeting with a humble fisherman whom he recognized as the Bodhisattva Manjusri. Aryadeva prostrated and presented him many offerings. When Manjusri offered to grant him a favor, the abbot asked if he could tell him where Nagarjuna was.
Manjusri pointed him the direction and Aryadeva set of to search for Nagarjuna. Soon he came upon a humble hut of woven grass. There he saw Nagarjuna and prostrated himself before the master. Nagarjuna sensed an extraordinary presence and agreed to his pupil’s desire for instruction. He gave him initiation in the mandala of Guhyasamaja and taught him the accompanying precepts and allowed Aryadeva to remain with him to practice his sadhanas.
Each day, the two masters journeyed to a nearby town to beg for food, but Nagarjuna had the greatest difficulty getting offerings while Aryadeva would come back with a feast. After awhile, Nagarjuna grew cranky told Aryadeva to eat only what he can lift with the point of a pin. Aryadeva obeyed, but soon the women of the town prepared cunning little barley cakes and balanced on the point of a pin, which he offered to his guru. However, the guru grew suspicious and forbade him to enter town. From then on, Nagarjuna would beg for them both.
The next day when the master went to town, a beauteous tree nymph appeared bearing a feast for Aryadeva. When Nagarjuna returned, his pupil told him about the visit and the master called out for the nymph asking why she have not appeared before him but to his disciple. The tree nymph chastised the guru, and said because Aryadeva is free and pure while Nagarjuna have traces of passion embedded. The guru reflected on that.
That very day, Nagarjuna perfected his elixir of eternal youth and anointed his tongue with a few drops. But when he handed the bowl to his disciple, Aryadeva threw the contents to a dead tree which immediately sprang into full blossom. Shocked, Nagarjuna asked his pupil to replace the contents of that bowl, and obedient as ever, Aryadeva took a bucket of water and peed into it. Then he stirred the contents with a twig and handed it to his guru. Stating that he have made too much, Aryadeva splashed half the contents onto another dead tree and it also restored to radiant life.
Nodding his head, Nagarjuna said, “it’s quite obvious to me that you’re already fully realized. Why do you insist on staying in samsara?” whereupon, Aryadeva was infused with ecstasy and levitated to the height of 7 palm trees. Fully liberated from birth, as are all the lotus-born, he needed only a word from his guru to convince him of what he had been too innocent to see before.
He began teaching the Buddha’s message to all beings, aiding them to bring their minds to maturity. And when he finished his labors, he turned the soles of his feet to the sky, placed his palms together in adoration and prostrated himself before his guru. And as the heavenly host gathered to shower flowers down upon him, he simply vanished.
36) Mahasiddha Santipa… Sāntipa / Ratnākarasānti (a kar chin ta): “The Academic”
Santipa is a renowened preceptor from Vikramasila. When King Devapala ruled Magadha heard of his fame, the king sent a royal messenger along with a bountiful offering to invite Santipa to his kingdom. After some contemplation, Santipa decided it was his duty to go and so took sail with 2000 monks along with many scriptures. His arrival was celebrated and in Sri Lanka the great teacher remained for 3 years, teaching many doctrines and techniques of the tripitaka to the king and his subjects.
When Santipa left, he decided to take the longer route home. It was here where he met Kotalipa who became his disciple. When he reached the monastery, everything returned to normal. Time passed and Santipa grew old. When he reached his 100th birthday, he retired and began a 12 year period of contemplation.
During those same 12 years, Kotalipa too entered retreat. While Santipa was practicing discursive contemplation, Kotalipa was absorbed in the essential nature of reality, and his nondiscursive, thought-free meditation led directly to mahamudra-siddhi. In time, Santipa returned from his retreat and was much acclaimed by his students.
When Kotalipa attained mahamudra-siddhi, Indra, lord of the gods came to celebrate and invited him to enter the 33 sensual paradises. But the yogin can only think of his guru and refused the invitation. In his invisible awareness body, Kotalipa transported himself into the presence of Santipa, and prostrated himself before his guru, but no one could see him, not even his guru, so he materialized his physical body and repeated his homage.
However, his guru had no memory of him, but when Kotalipa mentioned on how they met, Santipa recalled the incident and then kindly he asked, “what results have you obtained from your meditation?” The student told Santipa that through his great instruction, he attained mahamudra-siddhi and the existential mode of pure awareness and emptiness.
A great realization dawned upon Santipa. He realized that during all those years of teaching he had neglected true spiritual discipline. He said that he have never experienced the perfect reality he taught all those years and asked his student to demonstrate the results of the meditation. Thus it was that student become teacher, and teacher become student. Kotalipa took Santipa to a retreat and revealed to him the many qualities of the dharmakaya, thus returning the gift of instruction.
Santipa spent another 12 years in meditation, and then, he attained mahamudra-siddhi. With the attainment of true bliss, he realized that all his book learning and all the gifts he received were hollow. The years remaining to him he spent in faithful service to others and in the end, he too gained the Paradise of the Dakinis.
37) Mahasiddha Vinapa… Vīnapa / Vīnapāda (pi vang pa): “The Lute Player”/”The Music Lover”
Vinapa was the only son of the King of Gauda who loved the sound of music. He pestered the court musicians until they agreed to teach him to play the tambura, a four string instrument; and later the vina, a seven string instrument. He loved playing the vina so much that he could hardly bear to set it down to take a few morsels of food. However, his obsession worried his parents and the court for he is the heir to the throne. His parents then summoned a highly trained yogin called Buddhapa in hopes he could wean the prince away from music.
At their first meeting, the prince recognized Buddhapa as his master and prostrated to the yogin. They then sat down to speak deeply about life and death and all that lies between and beyond. Knowing that the prince is ready for spiritual training, the yogin asked if the prince was ready to take a sadhanas. The prince replied, “My music is my sadhanas, venerable yogin. Nothing matters to me but my vina and the sound of the tambura. The only sadhanas I would practice is one that I could learn without abandoning music.” So Buddhapa taught the prince a musical sadhanas whereupon he initiated the prince and instructed him to meditate continuously upon the sound of the instrument but he must free himself of all distinction between the sound that is struck and what the mind perceives, to cease all interference with the sound, conceptualizing, critical and judgemental thought, and to contemplate only on pure sound.
The prince practiced the percepts he had been taught for 9 years and attained the state of mahamudra-siddhi.
He performed wondrous deeds. He could foretell the future, read people’s thought, and appear in more than one place at the same time. It was said that he had gained his siddhi directly from the deity Hevajra himself. All his long life he taught multitudes of beings how to find release from the bonds of existence, and when he completed his task, he was assumed into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
38) Mahasiddha Khadgapa… Khadgapa / Pargapa / Sadgapa (ral gri pa): “The Swordsman”/”The Master Thief”
A son was born into a low-caste family of farmers in Magadha was a joyous event, however, it turned sorrowful when the boy grew up to be a thief. One day, wanting to escape from harmful pursuers due to his misdeeds, he hid himself in a cremation ground for several days. While he was there he chanced to meet the yogin Carpati practicing his sadhanas. When the boy asked Carpati what he was hiding from, the yogin replied, “I’m trying to dodge the repetitive cycle of birth and death on the Wheel of Existence. So I’m meditating.” Out of curiosity, he boy asked what was the purpose of such practice, the yogin said there’s a big payoff, one which the boy can achieve too if he practice the Buddha’s teaching. However, the boy had no interest in meditating but instead asked if the yogin know a siddhi of invincibility that can protect him when he steals. Carpati said he does, and so gave the thief initiation, empowerment, and instructed him to circle around the statue of Avalokitesvara in the temple Gauri-sankar located in Magadha for 21 days, non-stop day and night. He also said at the end of the 21 days, a large snake will glide out between the feet of the statue and the thief must seize it by the head without fear to gain the siddhi he desires.
The thief then took off for the temple, and followed the guru’s instruction to the letter and at the end of the 21st day, a large black snake glide slowly across the floor. Fearlessly, the thief seized it by the head, and then there came a ferocious thunderclap and a blinding flash of light. And there, held in Khadgapa’s fist, the most beautiful sword that glowed radiantly. Suddenly, all the defiling delusions of Khadgapa’s mind were made as palpable, and as he beheld these shadows of the mind, the cutting edge of the light severed them from his being. He was then free of defilement and gained the siddhi of the sword, one of the eight great magical powers. For the next 21 days, the former thief taught the Buddha’s message to all the people of Magadha. He then expressed his realization and was assumed into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
39) Mahasiddha Tsamarepa… Camaripa / Tsamaripa (lham mkhan): “The Leather-worker”/”The Divine Cobbler”
There once lived a humble cobbler in eastern India in the town of Visnunagar. He worked all day long, making and repairing shoes while thinking he wasn’t meant to be a cobbler all his life. One day, he chanced a meeting with a monk, throwing down his tools; he dashed to the street and prostrated himself to the holy man.
Camaripa said to the monk, “I am sick and tired of this life of endless toil, passion, and stupidity. I have always wanted to follow the Buddha’s path but have never had the chance before. Please, venerable sir, teach me something that will benefit me in this world and the next.” The kind monk, said he would be pleased to instruct him, and with joy Camaripa agreed and invited the holy man for dinner. He then rushed home and told his family, they began cooking and cleaning the house to prepare for the arrival of the honored guest.
When the monk arrived, with respect the family begged the monk to be seated and washed his feet. The humble feast was served and afterward, the cobbler’s wife and daughters offered him every comfort, including a massage. The monk was delighted with the generous welcome, and gave both the cobbler and his wife initiation and instructed the cobbler to visualize his shoemaking as his sadhanas.
So, for 12 years, the cobbler practiced his sadhanas, forming out of his meditation and as all impediments vanished from his mind, he attained mahamudra-siddhi.
Visvakarman, the god of arts and crafts came to the shoemaker’s shop with his rentinue. As the cobbler sat looking on, detached from all worldly things, the god himself took up the tools and leather lying on the workbench and began making shoes. When the people of Visnunagar heard of this miracle, they came to see it for themselves. They then prostrated at the feet of the cobbler-yogin and begged him for instruction. He taught them about the indispensible benefits of the guru’s instruction and then explained the workings of many different doctrines and techniques. In due time, he ascended in his own body to the Paradise of the Dakinis.
40) Mahasiddha Tantipa… Tantipa / Tantipāda (thags mkhan): “The Weaver”/”The Senile Weaver”
There was once a fine weaver who lived in Sendhonagar. He worked very hard and managed to build a prosperous trade, a skill he later imparted to his many sons that brought greater wealth to the family. As time passed, at the age of 89, the old man’s wife passed away. Deeply sadden from his lost, he aged swiftly and became senile, unable to care for himself. His daughters-in-law began looking after him for quite some time, however, the constantly complain and eventually banished him from the household into a grass hut out in the garden which they built for the old man. Although they continued to care for the old man’s basic needs, he grew bitter and angry.
One day, the guru Jalandhara passed through Sendhonaga and among those he approached for food was the weaver’s eldest son. The family invited the holy man and treated him well, but when invited to stay the night, Jalandhara refused, saying that it was not his custom to sleep on comfortable beds indoors. Jalandhara then went out to the garden, and as he was about to fall a sleep, he heard an old voice speaking to itself. A conversation started and soon, Jalandhara spotted the hut and at the old man’s invitation he entered the hut, sat down, and listened to the old man’s tale of woe on how hollow life’s promises are.
The guru thought for a moment and replied, “everything we make or do is but a passing show. Everything that enters into existence enters into suffering. Everything is hollow illusion. Only in nirvana can peace and happiness be found. Would you like me to give you the instruction that prepares one for death?” With a firm and sure voice, the old man replied “Yes. The guru then initiated him into the mandala of Hevajra, and thought him how to meditate.
For the next 12 years, he practiced diligently. During this time, he attained certain powers but it remained secret until one day, during a family celebration, the wife of his eldest son went to his hut to send the old man a platter of food. When she entered the hut, she was the old man suffused in a lamp-like radiance, sitting in a circle of fifteen beautiful girls, each feeding the weaver of the most sumptuous food. By morning, the entire city heard of the amazing tale and people came to stare, some even prostrated themselves before the hut.
When the weaver emerged from his hut, he was no longer a senile old man, but had transformed into a 16 year old boy, radiating such magnificent bright like, and a body that was like a highly polished mirror. He came to be known as the guru Tantipa, for numerous years he spent it on selfless acts and later assumed into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
41) Mahasiddha Putalipa
Putali was a man of low caste in Bengal. One day, a yogin begged for alms, and he brought the yogin food and drinks, and taking faith in him as his guru. He was initiated into Hevajra and given instructions. The yogin also gave him a thanka of Hevajra and asked him to practice and use the thangka as he beg for alms from city to city.
Putali practiced for 12 years and attained siddhi, though he did not have complete realization. One day, Putali went to the king’s palace. The king saw him painting and a challenge came up. The yogin said to demonstrate his god will be the god of gods, he will paint the king’s god above and place the Buddhist deity below, but soon the Buddhist god will be on top. In reply to that, the king said he will become a Buddhist if that occurs. So, it happened and when they looked at the painting, the king’s god had left its place and the other one was there instead. Astonished, the king took the yogin as guru and entered the Dharma. For 500 years Putali worked for the benefit of living beings. Finally, with 600 followers, he went to the realm of the Dakas.
42) Mahasiddha Dharikapa… Dārika / Darikapa (smad ‘tshong can): “Slave-King of the Temple Whore”
The Guru Darikapa was once the King of Pataliputra, known as Indrapala then. One afternoon, the king passed by the market on his return from hunting and all the people bowed down before him. Among the crowd, the kind recognized the siddha Luipa. The king admired Luipa as a fine handsome man so much so that the king wanted to offer him a good life in the kingdom. The king intended to treat Luipa by fulfilling all his desires. The king even went to the extent of suggesting that Luipa was to be given the kingdom and even marriage to the king’s daughter if he wishes so.
However, Luipa was not tempted by the material goods and rebuked the king’s offer. The king felt a sudden revulsion for his hedonistic life upon reflection of Luipa’s act. The king then decided to renounce his possession of material goods, status and power and to turn to the Dharma. The king’s minister crowned the king’s son to the throne to settle the kingdom’s affairs and with the king, both of them journeyed to Luipa’s residence.
Upon arrival at Luipa’s residence, the king and the minister were granted the initiation of the mandala of Samvara. However, the king and minister had nothing in return to Luipa for the initiation hence both of them were made slaves to serve their Guru, Luipa. They accompanied their Guru to Orissa and settled at the land for a while, begging for food. Later on, they arrived at Jantipur, a densely populated city.
In Jantipur lies a great temple that housed seven hundred dancing girls performing worships. Luipa seek the mistress of the temple, Darima and asked if she was willing to buy a male slave. Darima inspected the king’s appearance and took a liking. She offered one hundred tolas of gold to buy him as a slave. The trade came with imposed conditions that granted the king a space to sleep alone and to be freed once he had paid his debts. Luipa received Darima’s payment and departed with the minister.
At the temple, the king served Darima conscientiously for twelve years. He became respected as the master of servants. One day, a king, Kunci came to the temple with a fortune to spend on worldly pleasures. One night, as Kunci took a stroll outside the temple for a rest from the pleasures in the temple, he spotted the slave-king sitting upon a throne, served by fifteen girls. He then realized the concealed, true status of the slave-king and swiftly informed Darima.
Darima was immediately filled with shame of her treatment of her slave and showed proper respect of prostration to the slave-king. She begged for his forgiveness and in return she promised to venerate the slave-king for twelve years. The slave-king turned down the request but Darima, Kunci and the girls in the temple became his disciples instead.
The slave-king became known then as the famous Guru Darikapada and he attained the Dakini’s Paradise.
43) Mahasiddha Sorangipa… Courangipa: “The Limbless One”
Courangi was a prince whose limbs had been cut off. He was given initiation and instructions on the vase-breathing technique by Acinta. His guru told him “When you obtain siddhi, your body will become as it was before you were harmed.” Courangi meditated as he was told.
12 years later, a group of royal merchants carrying many precious things, travelled through the area Courangi was residing. The area was well known for robberies, so the merchants were extremely careful. At night fall, Courangi heard the sounds of the merchants’ footsteps and called out “Who is it?” The merchants, afraid that Courangi could be a robber replied, “We are coal dealers.” The prince then replied, “So be it.”
When the merchants arrived to their destination, to their surprise, all their precious items has turned to coal. They tried to think how such a thing could happen. Finally, they recalled on their meeting with Courangi and decided to return to the woods where Courangi resides. There, they met the limbless prince and told their story to him, requesting him to remove his words of truth. The prince said he had not intended for their items to turn to coal, and may whatever precious things there were return to as it was before.
The merchants returned home and saw that all their precious things have returned as before. They returned to the prince with gifts and told him what has occurred. The prince then told them the words of his guru, Acinta, and then said, “Let my body resume its former state.” With that, the prince became whole again.
The prince attained all the power of siddhi and performed miraculous things. But his doctrines were too important to give to men, so he gave them instead to the tree he meditated under for the past 12 years. The tree became immortal, and it still exists.
44) Mahasiddha Goraksa… Goraksa (ba glang rdzi): “The Immortal Cowherd”
Goraksa was the son of a poor incense seller, who was employed as a cow herder. It was a simple life, but Goraksa enjoyed the countryside and the company of the animals. One day, Minapa appeared to Goraksa and pointed into the distance and told him, the vultures circling in the distance is awaiting the death of a young prince who was gravely wounded from the lost of all his limbs. Minapa then asked “who would care for the prince?” Immediately, Goraksa replied he would and went to save the prince while Minapa helped him watch after the herd. Goraksa cleaned and bound the wounds with bandages torn from his own clothes and made the prince feel as comfortable as he could, then returned to Minapa to report what was seen and done.
Minapa ask, “Will you find a way to feed him?” and Goraksa replied he will share half of the food and drinks he receive from the owner of the herd every morning and evenings. Minapa was happy with the boy and instructed him on how to care for the prince, which is to provide him the four basic functions of life: eating, drinking, sleeping, and defecating.
Upon that instruction, Minapa went back to the prince and build a comfortable shelter with branches and leaves. Each day thereafter, Goraksa shared his food and drinks, bathed the prince, cleaned away the excrement, and did all that was needed for the prince’s comfort. 12 years later, the prince, to whom Minapa thought the yoga for the regeneration of limbs, regained his mobility through his regenerated limbs, and to repay Goraksa’s kindness, he offered to reach Goraksa how to meditate. Goraksa was touched, but declined as he already have a Guru of which he has been following instructions from.
When Minapa returned, Goraksa updated him on all that has happened. Very delighted of his student’s diligence and faithfulness, he gave Goraksa initiations and empowerments, and carefully instructed him in the precepts he should follow.
Goraksa then travelled to practice meditation according to Minapa’s instruction and attained a more mundane level of awareness. Minapa appeared before him again, and told him he can only attain awakening by liberating one hundred million beings.
Filled with enthusiasm, Goraksa began initiating anyone who would stop and listen to him, however, he neglected to make careful assessment of his students’ ripeness for instruction. This upset the Great God Mahadeva, who appeared before Goraksa to warn him to only instruct those who come to him and request teachings. From then on, Goraksa thought only to those whose karma had prepared them for initiation and to this very day, he continues to teach to those who are pure in mind and ready for instructions.
45) Mahasiddha Nigunapa… Niguna / Nirgunapa (yon tan med pa): “The Man without Qualities”/”The Enlightened Moron”
Niguna was the son of a low caste householder in Purvadesa. He was very lazy and was indifferent to what others considered good or evil. In such a state, he went to a quiet place where he met a yogin. The yogin invited him to the city to ask for alms, but he merely replied negatively if they didn’t get anything. Out of compassion, the yogin gave food to him and as he ate, the yogin asked if he was frightened of death. Niguna said he is afraid, but have no way to deal with it, and if there were a method, he would practice during the time he sleeps. So, having a method, the yogin initiated Niguna and gave him instructions on conjoining emptiness and appearances.
Listening to his guru’s instructions, while gathering alms, Niguna practiced. When he produced the realization of Total integration and the clear light, he attained siddhi. He demonstrated the path which does not split appearance and emptiness. Then, he wiped out all the marks of delusion and attained the siddhi of Mahamudra, and then went to the realm of the Dakas.
46) Mahasiddha Kiralawapa… Kirava/Kilapa (rnam rtog spang ba): “He Who Abandons Conceptions”/”The Repentant Conqueror”
Kirava was the king of Grahara, who enjoyed an extensive domain which led him to pillage the realms of other kings and enjoy them as well. One day, he led his army to another land. Everyone fled away except the women, who were unable to get away. When the king heard the women wailing, he asked his ministers about it. Upon hearing the straightforward answer from his ministers, he grew sad and compassion arose in him. He instructed to let the women be reunited with their families. He also gave many gifts to those who had no food, then reflected that he need to practice the Dharma. While he was having such thought, a yogin came to ask for alms. The king gave the yogin an abundance of food and drinks, and received a teaching on the Four Immeasurables. The king then asked for more teachings, and the yogin initiated him into Cakrasamvara and set him to meditating on the Developing and the Perfecting Stages. However, his meditation was interrupted by his thoughts of his army and kingdom, so he was given another instruction on how to overcome them.
After 12 years, the kind envisioned and experienced the truth and obtained siddhi. When he realized his queen and court had obtained siddhi as well, he ordered a great ceremony, saying:
For sentient beings practicing the Four Immeasurables,
Obsessions can be abandoned
Even by acts which look like desire.
The hero, by what looks like great fury,
Can destroy all enemies.
For 700 years, he worked for the benefit of living beings, and with a circle of 600 followers, he went to the realm of the Dakas.
47) Mahasiddha Kapalapa… Kaphalapa / Kapalipa (thod pa can): “The Skull Bearer”
An epidemic fever swept the city of Rajapuri. The beloved wife and his 5 sons died of the fever. Grief-stricken, he sat at the cremation ground beside what had once been his loving family. The guru Krsnacarya appeared and sat down with him to offer comfort. The poor man said that nothing is left for him as all his happiness is taken away from him and so he wishes to remain there next to his family until he die too.
The yogin replied, “All beings of the three realms live under a cloud of death. This suffering has not come to you alone. But since you feel you can no longer be of use to yourself or others, why not practice a sadhanas?” Kapalapa begged for his teachings and the yogin initiated him into the mandala of Hevajra, then instructed him in the creative and fulfillment stages of meditation.
The yogin carved the ornaments of the 5 Dhyani Buddhas (crown, earrings, necklace, bracelets, and belt, and the trident of the dakini) from the bones of his sons, attaching a sacred thread. Lastly, he fashioned a skull bowl from his wife’s corpse. Handing all these to Kapalapa, the yogin said, “Visualize this skull as the form of creative meditation. See emptiness it contains as fulfillment meditation.”
Kapalapa meditated in this fashion for nine years until he achieved his goal. After that, he worked selflessly for others for 500 years. When the time came, he ascended into the Paradise of the Dakinis with 600 disciples.
48) Mahasiddha Nagabhodhi… Nāgabodhi (klu’i byang chub): “The Red Horned Thief”
Many years ago, Nagarjuna was residing at the Suvarna Vihara. Every night a feast was provided for him and served upon plates of purest gold. One day, a Brahmin saw the gleaming golden service and decided to steal it. Yet before he can devise a plan, a golden chalice came flying out of the house and landed in his hand. Thinking it’s his luck; he took it and retreated hastily. The same thing happened when he planned to steal at night, and at the 3rd time, all the remaining plates came racketing out the door and piled at his feet.
Nagarjuna then said “My wealth is yours, no need to steal anything… stay as long as you like, and when you’re leaving take whatever you want.” Astonished, the thief had supper with the saint. The conversation they had settled tall the thief’s doubts and awakened his faith and implicit trust in the guru. In the end, all he took with him was the guru’s golden instruction on how to meditate upon greed and find the path to self-liberation.
For 12 years he practiced, but an enormous horn grew of the top of his skull. Nagarjuna then appeared to him and gave him further instruction which made Nagabodhi realize the emptiness of the nature of being. Deeply absorbed in this awareness, within 6 months, his red horn disappeared and attained liberation.
Nagabodhi was appointed the successor and master of the lineage of Nagarjuna and was to remain on Sri Parvata Mountain to work selflessly for all sentient beings until he received the revelation of the arrival of Buddha Maitreya.
49) Mahasiddha Sarwabaksa… Sarvabhaksa (thams cad za ba): “He Who Eats Everything”/”The Empty Bellied Siddha”
Sarvabhaksa was a man with an enormous appetite. One day, his appetite overreached his ability to fill it. In despair, he retreated to a cave to bemoan his obsession with food. The guru Saraha found him and asked what caused his distress. He then told his tale to Saraha of which the guru asked what will happen if he reborn as a hungry ghost, and gave further explanation about beings of that realm.
The glutton was shaken, so he prostrated himself before Saraha and begged the guru to teach him a way to release. So the guru initiated his disciple into the path of Bhusuku and gave him instructions. The glutton practiced with great devotion, and through the advice of his guru to visualize everything he eat as absolute nothingness, he understood the indentical nature of appearances and emptiness, and thus attained his goal.
After 15 years of practice, he attained mahamudra-siddhi. For 600 years thereafter he served humanity with compassion and generosity. Accompanied by a thousand disciples he entered the Paradise of the Dakinis.
50) Mahasiddha Sakarapa… Saroruha / Sakara / Pukara / Padmavajra (mtsho skyes): “The Lake-Born”/”The Lotus Child”
Indrabhuti was the great king of Kanci. However, he did not have a son, so he prayed to both the worldly and the transmundane deities for a son to be born to him. One day, a being took residence in his wife’s womb and thoughts of joy arose in her. She had many miraculous signs and when asked the scholars and Brahmans, they said it was the sign that a Bodhisattva will be born.
Nine months later, in the waxing forthnight, a child was born in the center of a lotues, on a great lake. There fell a rain of desirable things in the area. Everyone was amazed, and then realized that it was the power of the child. After this son was born, there came two other sons. When the mother and father died, the people gave the kingdom to the eldest, but he gave it to the younger sons and became a monk.
He then went to Sridhana. On the way, Avalokitesvara appeared to him in the form of a monk, so the prince did not recognize him. The monk then asked if he would like to meet with the Sambhogakaya. At that, the prince did reverence and asked for instructions. Avalokitesvara then manifested his true form and initiated the prince, and then gave him instructions.
When he reached Sridhana, he met a man desiring to be a yogin. The man wished to serve the prince, but he requested to be given instructions once the prince attained siddhi. The prince agreed, then went to a cave and practiced for 12 years.
During this time, a great famine struck the land, and many people died. Afraid he would disturb his guru, the servant lived on the leftovers of the guru’s food. One day, when there was no food left to be found, he went to the palace where he managed to get a bowl of rice gruel. Being weak from no food, he fell in front of the cave and spilled some of the rice. At last, the servant was forced to tell his guru about the famine. The guru then said he have a method of alleviating hunger.
He collected a large amount of rice and made a torma beside a river. He stirred up the eight great nagas by meditating on their symbols and mantras, then brought these nagas overhead by the power of his thoughts. The guru then instructed the nagas to rain down food on the first day. On the second day, grain. On the third day, rain down jewels, and then finally, rain down water. The nagas did what he had instructed and people were free from their sufferings. The people took faith in him.
Saroruha then initiated his former servant, whose name was Rama, and gave him instructions whereby he obtained the worldly powers of siddhi. The guru then instructed his disciple to work for the benefit of living beings and to go to Sriparvata. The guru then went to the realm of the Dakas. Rama brought the daughter of a king to the neighborhood of Sriparvata with his power. They both built temples and finally went to the realm of the Dakas themselves.
51) Mahasiddha Sahanapa… Panaha
Panaha was a low caste from Sandhonagara who made a living by making boots. On day, he saw a yogin with great mystical powers begging for alms. He immediately took faith in the yogin and followed the yogin into a quiet cemetery.
The guru then asked why Panaha had followed him to the cemetery, in reply, the bootmaker requested for the teachings of Dharma. So the yogin preached the misery of samsara and the benefits of liberation. When the bootmaker asked for a method of liberation from samsara, the yogin gave the initiation which transfers blessings, and gave instructions to take desirable objectives as the path.
Panaha understood his guru’s instructions and started meditating on it. 9 years passed, and he the stains which obstruct the path of sight, then attained siddhi. He became a famous teacher of the path through narrating his experiences. After working for the benefit of living being for 800 years, he went to the realm of the Dakas with 800 disciples.
52) Mahasiddha Patsaripa… Pacari / Pacaripa (‘khur ba ‘tsong ba): “The Pastry-Seller”
Pacaripa is a simple man. He received a simple Mahayana sadhana to practice, which is the taking of refuge in the Triple Gem. Once, he has wronged his previous employer and he went to the temple of Avalokitesvara to seek help. He was indeed given salvation of his problem.
Innocently, he looked upon Arya Avalokitesvara as his Guru. Knowing that the Bodhisattva lived in Potala Mountain, he set off for the mountain in an attempt to reach the Bodhisattva’s physical abode. One his journey he passed through a thick forest of thorns and was injured by the points. He let out a great cry to Avalokitesvara, who appeared to him at the sound of his cry. Avalokitesvara confirmed Pacaripa’s conviction that he was indeed his Guru and instructed him to abandon his journey to Potala. Instead, Pacaripa was to return to his town, Campa to lead his disciples.
Pacaripa heeded the orders and the people flocked to him for teachings. Pacaripa became known as Guru Pacaripa and he taught the indivisibility of appearances and emptiness. Finally, he rose bodily into the Dakini’s Paradise.
53) Mahasiddha Gorurapa… Godhuripa / Gorura / Vajura (bya ba): “The Bird Man”/”The Bird Catcher”
Godhuripa was a bird catcher from Disunagar. One day while catching some songbirds in the jungle, he met a yogin on his way into town to beg food. When the yogin saw him with his nets filled with tiny birds, the yogin asked why he was doing such a cruel thing. Godhuripa said “I know it’s wrong. I suppose the many evils of my past lives have forced me into this violent trade in order to live. I’m ashamed of this miserable existence, but its all I know how to do.”
In reply, the yogin said he’s only making his karma worse by plying this trade. Depressed, Godhuripa sat down under a tree and began to weep. He then looked at the yogin and begged for help. He released the songbirds from his net, and the yogin granted him initiation through a transfer of grace. Then the guru instructed him in the meditation that concentrates all attention on one dominant image, and he was to visualize all the sounds in the world as his memory of birdsong, until sound and birdsong become one.
Godhuripa meditated until all sound had become one sound, inseparable from emptiness. After 9 years, all the defilements of his perception vanished and he gained mahamudra-siddhi.
He remained in the world for another 100 years working for all sentient beings, and then, with 300 disciples, he arose bodily into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
54) Mahasiddha Nandhipa… Jayananda: “The Crow Master”
Jayananda was a Brahman minister to the king of Bengal who secretly practices the Dharma. In the course of time, he made many torma offerings which were reported to the king. He was caught and put to prison, the king refused to release him despite his pleas.
Because the Brahman was accustomed to give torma offerings, many birds appeared. Not finding the offerings, the birds gathered on the king’s palace. The palace guards tried to remove the birds, as the people watched and wonder. As the amount of birds increased, a man who had the ability to understand the voice of birds heard them say: “That Brahman, who was like a mother and father to us, has been condemned by the king.” He told this to the king, in reply, the king said he will release the Brahman to a lonely place if the birds to leave. The message was passed to the birds, and they left. The king took faith, and every day he gave the Brahman 20 bushels of rice to make torma offerings.
The minister came to be known as Jayananda and for 700 years, he worked for the benefit of beings, then he went to the realm of the Dakas.
55) Mahasiddha Lutsekapa… Lucika / Luncaka (lu tsi ka pa): “The Man Who Stood Up After Sitting”
Lucika was a Brahman from the eastern part of Bengal. When he realized the universality of death, his mind had a revulsion against samsara, so he went to a quiet place to practice the Dharma. However, he was without instructions, so all he did was think sadly that he had not met a guru to show him the path.
One day, a yogin came there, extremely happy, Lucika gave reverence to the yogin. Puzzled, the yogin asked what he wanted, so he told his tale of seeking a guru for instructions. The yogin then gave him initiation into Cakrasamvara and gave him instructions on the Developing and the Perfecting Stage.
Lucika meditated, and in 12 years he was able to join the Developing and the Perfecting Stages, thus gaining siddhi. He then went to the realm of the Dakas in this very body.
56) Mahasiddha Toktsepa… Kotali / Kotalipa / Togcepa (tog rtse pa / stae re ‘dzin): “The Ploughman”/”The Peasant Guru”
Kotalipa is a peasant ploughing land in the mountain. His village people had been driven from home due to the ongoing battles between the kings. They came to a mountain to seek safety and to make a living out of it.
One day, as Kotalipa was working the land, the master Santipa met him while he was on his way back to Magadha from Sri Lanka. The master asked Kotalipa about his life and Kotalipa relayed it to the master. The master had a relevant mantra for Kotalipa in mind and he questioned him if he was willing to practice the mantra for digging mountains. Kotalipa agreed to practice it and was taught the mantra.
Kotalipa was given an interpretation of the Mahayana practice of the six perfections to contemplate on as long as he was ploughing the land. Moreover, Kotalipa was given explicit instructions regarding Guru devotion. Kotalipa meditated on the nature of the mind for twelve years before he attained siddhi. He too, performed various selfless acts and he obtained the Dakini’s Paradise eventually.
57) Mahasiddha Tsampakapa… Campaka / Tsampala (tsam pa ka): “The Flower King”
The Kingdom of Campa was a beautiful place, filled with flowers, and riches and pleasures of all sorts bloomed for all of King Campaka’s subjects. The king enjoyed his power and good fortune to the fullest, not giving thought over the future.
One day, a yogin came to the palace begging for alms. The king received him in his summer house where he washed the yogin’s feet and made the holy man as comfortable as he can. The King than sat back and listen to the yogin’s discourse. He was so impressed that he asked the yogin to remain with him and become his priest, at which the yogin agreed.
While the king gave the yogin a tour around the palace and gardens, he asked if the yogin have met any kingdom or a king like him. The yogin said that Campa is one of a kind, but the yogin also said, “because of the heedless manner in which you live, the odor of your own body is far from agreeable. And yes, your kingdom far surpasses many others, but what does it matter when even you must exit this world empty-handed?”
The king was stunned, and for the first time in his life, he began to think beyond the pleasures of the day, and questioned himself about life, death, and rebirth.
A few days later, Campaka went back to his guru and begged for further instruction that would destroy all attachment; here he was taught about karma and was given initiation into the path of creative and fulfillment yoga. The king went off to meditate, but he constantly had the doubt if he was doing it correctly and often, the scent of the flowers would distract him. In despair, he went back to the yogin for assistance, and his guru devised a way to help him use the distraction as a stepping stone on the path.
Campaka meditated upon the flower of pure reality for 12 years. In time, he realized the truth of his guru’s words. Instinctuvely, he grasped that the reality of his own mind was totally inseparable from the peak experience that he sought and thus attained his goal. The king instructed his court and consorts in the dharma for many years before he was assumed bodily into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
58) Mahasiddha Bhichanapa… Bhiksanapa / Bhekhepa (so gnyis pa): “The Man with Two-Teeth”/”Siddha Two-Teeth”
A long time ago, a man of low caste inherited a small fortune from a deceased relative. He had wanted so many things for a long time, so he went on a shopping spree, buying and spending according to his desire. It didn’t take long for his fortune to finish, and he was then left penniless.
One day, when he failed to get hold of a few scraps of food, saddened, he wondered to a lonely spot in the jungle. A Dakini took pity on him and appeared to him.
The Dakini told him she have the means to fulfill his desires, at which he begged her to teach him. Having nothing to offer for the teaching, he had a bizarre idea whereupon he bit down, fusing an upper and lower tooth. Then he knocked out all his remaining teeth and presented them as an offering to the dakini. She then gave Bhiksanapa initiation and instruction in the two-in-one union of skillful means and perfect insight.
After 7 years of meditation, he saw the truth. He continued to roam from village to town begging for food, but now he did it for the sake of those ready for instruction. After many years, he was assumed into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
59) Mahasiddha Dhelipa… Telopa / Dhilipa (mar nag ‘tshong mkhan): “The Seller of Black Butter”/”The Epicure”
Dhilipa was a wealthy merchant, whose business was pressing oil from sesame seeds. His business was so lucrative that soon, he was as wealthy as Kubera, the god of wealth. He indulged himself in the joys of good living, but he was most attached to delicious food, and so, soon he was eating like the king himself.
One day, the pandita Bhahana arrived at Dhilipa’s house at suppertime and was invited to share a meal. After the meal, the pandita spoke on the pain and frustration of the Wheel of Existence and the means of escaping it. The merchant was so impressed that he begged Bhahana to remain and become priest to his entire household. The pandita agreed.
On one occasion, while the merchant was pressing oil from the sesame seed, the guru remarked that while what the merchant is doing brings great wealth, it will not bring liberation. Dhilipa was struck by the remark, stopped the press, wiped his hands, and sat down at the feet of his guru, asking how he can acquire liberation. The pandita gave him initiation and instructed him in the method of deconditioning the mind from the constructs of the conventional world.
After 9 years of meditation, Dhilipa succeeded in uniting creative and fulfillment meditation. When he attained his goal, a golden radiance began to pour from his being until it illuminated the sky. People flocked to Dhilipa for instruction, and to each he gave an instruction that exactly filled the person’s nature and abilities. After many years of selfless service, he ascended into the Paradise of the Dakinis with a vast retinue.
60) Mahasiddha Kamparipa… Kamparipa / Kamari (ngar pa): “The Blacksmith”
Kamparipa was a blacksmith from the land of Saliputra. One day a yogin came by to ask for alms, as he ate, the smith and his wife was happy that the yogin was willing to accept alms from someone of low-caste like them. The yogin then asked if they would practice the Dharma, but feeling inferior, they never thought anyone would teach them. The yogin then gave initiation which transfers spiritual power, also gave the instructions on the visualizations of the three mystic veins.
The smith, having great faith, meditated, and in 6 years he obtained the siddhi of Mahamudra. He benefitted many living beings and then went to the realm of the Dakas.
61) Mahasiddha Anangapa… Ananga / Anangapa (ana ngi): “The Handsome Fool”
Ananga was born in Gahura into a low caste family. Due to his past life karma, he was born very handsome, and because everyone admired him, be became proud. One day, a monk came to his place to ask for alms. Ananga invited the monk and asked the monk to return everyday to be served by him. When the monk came back, as Ananga promised, he looked after the monk. A conversation began, and it leads on until Ananga requested the monk to give him a method to develop the qualities of faith. Ananga gave up his worldly activities and promised to meditate, where upon the guru initiated him into the Cakrasamvara and gave instructions on how to clarify the six sense fields.
He meditated and gained siddhi in 6 months. He worked for the benefit of living beings and finally went to the realm of the Dakas.
62) Mahasiddha Indrabuti… Indrabhūti / Indrabodhi (dbang po’i blo): “He Whose Majesty Is Like Indra”/”The Enlightened King”
Indrabuti ruled the kingdom of Sambhola, one of the two kingdoms in the land of the dakinis, Oddiyana. The sole difference between the two kingdoms was that King Indrabhuti’s family worshiped the Buddha, while King Jalendra worshiped the King Brahman. Although peace was maintained, they realized that this harmony would be strengthened profoundly if a propitious marriage unites the 2 kingdoms. So the betrothal of Princess Laksminkara, the sister of King Indrabhuti, with the son of King Jalendra took place.
When the princess was 16 years old, she was escorted to her new home. However, she had been practicing her sadhanas and was loath to enter her new duties. In fact, the moment she arrived in the unlightened kingdom of Lankapuri, a great revulsion for all the things of the world overcame her. She fled from the palace one night, and went into the mountain to live in a cave. There, she gained mahamudra-siddhi, and began teaching the Buddha’s word to King Jalendra’s latrine sweepers and the other outcastes of his kingdom.
Back in the days when Laksminkara first arrived in her new home, he outrageous behavior caused much problem. King Jalendra immediately sent messengers to King Indrabhuti to enlist his aid in reasoning with his sister. However, Indrabuthi’s response was surprising for the news of his sister made him realize and felt almost ashamed for living a life surrounded by ease and comfort; and while his sister understood the very mystery of existence, he merely ruled his country. The king then resolved to follow his sister’s path.
After the coronation of his son, Indrabhuti retired from the world and went to live in a small palace where he practiced his sadhanas for 12 years, secretly gaining mahamudra-siddhi.
One day, his son, accompanied by those who loved the old king dearly, came to visit the king. As they were about to enter the palace, a load voice rang out directly over their heads. Looking up, they saw Indrabhuti floating in the air, seated on a magnificent throne. The visitors prostrated to Indrabhuti, and for 7 days the king remained floating in the air, instructing his son and friends on the doctrine of “inconceivable profundity and immensity.” On the 8th day, accompanied by 700 disciples, he was assumed bodily into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
63) Mahasiddha Mekopa… Mekopa / Meghapāda (me go pa): “The Wild-Eyed Guru”
Mekopa was a food seller in Bengal. He was a kind hearted man that he often fed the poor for free. This did not escape the notice of a certain yogin whom Mekopa also feed daily. The yogin asked why he is being so generous. In reply, with laughter, Mekopa said, “perhaps I’m storing up merit for a better rebirth.”
The yogin then offered to teach him a sadhanas that will guarantee such an outcome, which Mekopa was more than delighted to receive. The yogin then gave him the initiation that transfers grace and instructed him in the nature of mind.
Mekopa meditated, and he eventually came to realize the truth of his guru’s words: that all phenomena are figments of the mind’s workings; that the mind itself is vastness without end, where there is neither coming nor going. For 6 months he remained within the realization of the nature of his own mind.
However, the intense contact with profound truth caused him to roam the cremation ground like a madman. People began calling him Guru Crazy Eyes. His profound teachings changed many lives, and in time he rose bodily into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
64) Mahasiddha Shantideva… Bhusuku / Shantideva (zhi lha / sa’i snying po):”The Lazy Monk”
The younger son of a royal family came to the monastery Sri Nalanda to be ordained in the mahasanghika order. But as a pampered child, he was difficult and unreasonable, he never studied or meditated. His laziness was so much that he annoyed most of his peers and was branded Bhusuku, “The shiftless one.” Finally, Bhusuku’s behavior earned him a severe warning from the abbot that unless he mended his ways and took his turn to sit upon the temple throne to recite his memorized portion of the sutras like all the other monks; he would be expelled from the monastery. His turn was the following morning, and having not memorized anything, many of his peers imagined the event of the following day would be amusing. However, the abbot was a very kind man, and at night fall, he visited Bhusuku to give advice. Being desperate, Bhusuku said he’d do anything so that he will not fail the next morning. So the abbot told him to spend the whole night reciting the mantra of Manjusri and gave Bhusuku the secret precepts of Manjusri’s sadhanas, and the blessing of the mantra, then he left.
Knowing his own weakness well, Bhusuku tied the collar of his robe to the ceiling in case he nod off during the night, and all night long he recited the mantra over and over again. At dawn, Bhusuku jerked awake and here he was, not wiser than he’d been the night before. Just then, a great voice boomed from the ceiling: “What do you think you’re doing!”
Bhusuku looked up and saw an enormous figure floating in the air above his head, he said he have been invoking the aid of Lord Manjusri to help him recite a sutra on that very morning and proceeded to ask who the floating person was. In reply, the unusual guest said “That’s a foolish question. You’ve been invoking me half the night.” Startled, Bhusuku finally realized he was talking to Manjusri himself! And immediately pressed his palms together in the gesture of supplication and begged for the power and realization of every quality of perfect insight.
Bhusuku then went to the great hall and mounted the temple throne before his audience, then he levitated into the air above the throne and his body blazed with great radiance. He then began to compose and recite the sublime and profound discourse that came to be called the Bodhicaryavatara, “The Pathway to Enlightenment.” After he completed the 10th and last chapter he rose into the sky to the height of 7 palm trees. Here he was renamed the monk Santideva. People began placing flowers where his feet touched and the pundits humbly requested a commentary of his discourse of which Shantideva obliged. But he refused to be the abbot when asked.
That night, after leaving his robes, begging bowl and all his sacred artifacts on the altar as offering, he left secretly. He travelled and came to the town Dhokiri where he made a wooden sword painted in gold, and requested a position as swordsman with the palace guard. He served the King for 12 years until on day when one of the guards saw Shantideva’s sword was actually made of wood. The guard reported to the King and so he was summoned to the throne room. The king demanded to see Shantideva’s sword, although was warned of the harm it will bring, the king insisted. So, after convincing everyone in the room to close one eye, he took out his sword and a light as intense as 10 suns filled the room, blinding each unprotected eye. Everyone fell to their knees, entreating the yogin’s forgiveness and mercy. Santideva then began to rub his healing saliva onto each injured eye, magically restoring the lost sight.
Shantideva left Dhokiri that very day and took up residence in a cave and practiced his sadhanas for some time. One day, a royal huntsman came to court with rare game for the king’s table and told the king he saw Shantideva. Immediately, the king set for the mountains with a large entourage, there they saw Shantideva sitting on a deerskin meditating in front of what appeared to be a blank rock wall. The king told the yogin all that he had heard and asked why does he harm living beings. In reply, Shantideva said he do not kill, but heal. “Understanding that all things are but insubstantial figments of the imagination, projections of the mind. Enter the path of liberation.” Shantideva then converted the king of Dhokiri, and set all his people upon the path of truth. He served them faithfully for 100 years before ascending to the Paradise of the Dakinis.
65) Mahasiddha Nalinapa… Nalina / Nili / Nali (pad ma’i rtsa ba): “The Lotus-Root”
Nalina was a very poor man from Saliputra, who made a living by gathering lotus roots from the lakes. One day, he met a yogin who preached the ills of samsara and the qualities of nirvana. Instantly, Nalina experienced a revulsion against samsara and ask the yogin to give him the method to gain liberation. The yogin then initiated him into Guhyasamaja and gave instructions which use one’s own body as method.
Nalina meditated accordingly. The four joys of meditation manifested in the four chakras, and through meditating, he was no longer bound by samsara. After 9 years, he realized the meaning of his meditations, purified the stains of his delusions and obtained the siddhi of Mahamudra. For 400 years he worked for the benefit of living beings and ascended to the realm of Dakas with 550 followers.
66) Mahasiddha Mahalapa… Mahipa / Makipa (ngar rgyal can): “The Braggart”
Mahipa was from Magadha, born into a low caste. He had great bodily strength, but was always controlled by his pride, thinking he could not be challenged by any living being. One day a yogin came by and a conversation started. When Mahipa became a believer, the yogin told him to purify the stains of his arrogance, at which Mahipa requested to be taught the way. The yogin gave him the initiation which transfers spiritual power and was taught the instructions which take contradictions as path. Mahipa held on the path and obtained siddhi,
For 300 years, he gave powerful instructions to countless beings in Magadha, and with 250 followers, he entered the realm of the Dakas in this very body.
67) Mahasiddha Thaganapa… Thaganapa / Thagapa (rtag tu rdzun smra ba): “He Who Always Lies”/”Master of the Lie”
Thaganapa was born in eastern India and since an early age, he showed criminal tendencies and depended on exploitation and deception. One day while sitting on a log ad the edge of a town plotting a con job, a wise monk passed by and asked why he was in such deep thoughts. Thaganapa was about to tell a lie when the monk interrupted and told him if he’s about to tell a lie and create a habit out of it, when the karma matures he will be reborn in hell. Thaganapa turned pale, and the monk continued to educate him about the physical effects of lying.
Listening to the monk speak of the doctrine of karma made complete sense to Thaganapa, so when the monk asked if he is capable of practicing a sadhanas, he agreed. The monk began to give Thaganapa instruction in the yoga called “removing water in the ear by means of water”. Next he gave him the initiation that matures the immature mindstream, and then he was taught these precepts: “All that you see, hear, tough, think you perceive with the six senses, indeed, all that you experience, is nothing but a lie.”
For 7 years Thaganapa meditated and gained the understanding that all experience of the phenomenal world is a fiction. Gaining detachment, he acquired the qualities of clarity, control, and equanimity. He then searched for his guru for confirmation, and the monk said, “Experience is neither deception nor truth. Reality is uncreated, indeterminate. Now you must meditate upon your experience of all things as emptiness rendered empty by its very nature.”
Thaganapa obeyed his guru and returned to his practice, eventually gaining siddhi. After many years of selfless service, he was assumed into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
68) Mahasiddha Acinta… Acinta / Atsinta (bsam mi khyab pa / dran med pa): “He Who is Beyond Thought”
There lived a poor man in Dhanirupa whom constantly fantasize of being rich. He was so tormented of his obsession that he couldn’t bear anyone interfere with his dreaming, so he moved away to isolation.
One day, the yogin Kambala met the hermit and they shared a frugal meal. Acinta told the yogin of his obsession. Kambala asked if after escaping from men and their chattering, and if his thinking improved since then. Acinta said he was still possessed by the desire for riches, and if only he can rid of it, his mind would be perfectly empty. He then asked if the yogin know of any way to free him of this foolishness. The yogin then gave him the Samvara initiation and sang him a song of instruction. The hermit meditated according to his guru’s instruction, and when the glittering radiance of the stars filled his mind, there was no room left for thoughts of gold. His obsession vanished and became thought free.
He then searched for his guru to tell him that his mind had become empty, and Kambala sang to him:
What is the nature of the sky?
Can you make something of it?
How can you desire it?
How can you think about it all?
When the hermit realized the deep meaning of the verse, he achieved mahamudra-siddhi and was known as the guru Acintapa. For 300 years he selflessly taought his countless disciples how to realize the ultimate nature of being. And when the time came, they all accompanied him into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
69) Mahasiddha Babehepa… Babhahi / Bapabhati (ch las ‘o mo len): “The Man Who Gets Milk from Water”
Babhahi was from Dhanjura of the Ksatriya caste, who was attracted to all the advantages of kingship. One day, a yogin came to ask for alms, so the ksatriya offered him food and drinks, and then took faith and asked for the Dharma.
The yogin said, “Faith is the root of the entire Dharma. The guru is the root of all siddhi.” Then gave him the initiation which transfers spiritual power and instructions on the nadis, prana, and bindu.
Taking the instructions into his mind, he purified the stains obstructing his vision and in 12 years, he obtained siddhi. He benefitted many living beings from his training, saying:
As the king of geese
Separates milk from water,
The instructions of a revered guru
Draw out the elixir of enlightenment.
He then went to the realm of the Dakas in this very body.
70) Mahasiddha Luyipa… Lūyipa / Luipa (nya’i rgyu ma za ba): “The Eater of Fish Intestines”/”The Fish-Gut Eater”
When the King of Sri Lanka died, his second son was appointed to rule the kingdom. However, the young prince loath to ascend the throne, and after much difficulty, he managed to escape from the palace and set out for Ramesvaram to begin life as a yogin. He wondered through India until he reached Vajrasana and later he journeyed to Pataliputra. One day, through his karmic destiny, he met with a dakini incarnate. After paying homage to her, she told him “Your four psychic centers and their energies are quite pure. However, there is a knot of arrogance about thve size of a pea in your heart”. She then poured some putrid food into his begging bowl. As he left, he threw the inedible slop into the gutter, whereupon the dakini replied “How can a gourmet attain nirvana?”
He then realized that he still perceived some things are more desirable than others. Set to destroy such flaws, for the next 12 years he dwelt on the banks of the Mother Ganga, begging his supper from the fisherman and all he would accept for them was what they normally tossed to the dogs. To the yogin, the food he received was the nectar of pure awareness through which he discovered that the nature of all substances is emptiness.
71) Mahasiddha Saktrapa… Catrapa / Chatrapāda (tsa tra pa): “The Beggar Who Carries the Book”
Catrapa was a beggar in Sandhonagara who carried a small dictionary. One day he met a yogin and a conversation developed and ended in the beggar receiving the initiation into Hevajra and detailed instructions with commentary from his guru because he expressed his lack of understanding.
After receiving the instructions, he meditated accordingly. In 6 years, he attained the siddhi of Mahamudra and became to be known as the guru Catrapa, together with 500 followers, he went to the realm of the Dakas.
72) Mahasiddha Bhadrapa… Bhadrapa / Bhadrapāda (bzang po): “The Auspicious One”/”The Snob”
Bhadrapa was a very conservative and wealthy Brahmin. He never consume pork or strong drinks, no menstruating women were allowed near him, and will never risk his ritual purity by manual labour or coming into contact with filth or excrement. However, despite his wealth and position in society, he constantly worries about how he appeared in the eyes of others and was obsessed with maintaining his image untarnished.
One day, when he was alone in the house, a yogin appeared on his doorstep begging for food. Forced to speak to the yogin himself, he hurried to the doorstep to rid the yogin from him house before anyone saw him, because he perceived the yogin unclean due to the holy man’s humble outlook.
The yogin then replied, “This is not unclean. The visciousness in speech, mind, and action – that is unclean.” The yogin sang:
Neither priest nor king is the highest of beings,
Only the Bodhisattvas
No amount of scrubbing
Can cleanse body, speech, and mind
Only the precepts of the lineal guru
Give matchless purity
No rich man’s feast of milk, cheese, and curd
Tastes the most sublime,
Only desirelessness sets the best table.
The Brahmin gained confidence in the yogin and begged him for instructions. The yogin said he would be glad to teach if the Brahmin gave him food. The Brahmin agreed, but he was afraid he would be seen by his neighbors. After much debate, it was agreed that the Brahmin was to bring pork and liquor (which he acquired by disguising as a low-caste) to the yogin’s house in the cremation ground at night.
When night fall, the guru welcomed him, prepared the supper and insisted the Brahmin share it with him. Afterward, the guru initiated the Brahmin into the mandala of thanksgiving with a transfer of grace. Then began a series of practices designed to break the Brahmin’s pride of caste, which was done by the Brahmin, ordered to clean, and fix the yogin’s hut. When all was done to his master’s satisfaction, the guru told him that all these acts symbolized the goal of practice. The Brahmin suddenly understood that vision, meditation, and action were all one and the same. Then and there, he forsook his caste and became a yogin.
After 6 years of meditation, he achieved mahamudra-siddhi and became renowned. For the remainder of his life he worked selflessly for others. And when the time came, the assumed into the Paradise of the Dakinis with 500 disciples.
73) Mahasiddha Naropa/Narotapa… Naropa / Nādapāda (rtsa bshad pa): “He Who Was Killed by Pain”/”The Dauntless Disciple”
Naropa came from Pataliputra. His father was a liquor seller but he had no intention to follow his father’s profession so he went into the forest to become a wood gatherer.
One day he heard the tale of the great sage Tilopa. Then and there he decided Tilopa was his uru and began to search for Tilopa. Unexpectedly, he chanced a meeting on a road to nowhere and as soon as he recognized his master, he prostrated himself and began dancing circles about him addressing him as “guru”
Tilopa stopped still on the road and gazed angrily to Naropa and shouted “Stop all this nonsense. I am not your guru. You are not my disciple. I have never seen you before and hope never to lay eyes on you again!” Then he trashed Naropa soundly with his walking stick .
But Naropa was not discouraged and his faith unshaken; he simply set off for the nearest town to beg food for the both of them. When he returned, Tilopa ate heartily without a word of greeting and beat him soundly again. Silent, Naropa contented himself with the leftover scraps. Naropa remained by Tilopa’s side for 12 years, begging food and serving him in all things. Not once did he receive a kind word but his faith never waver.
One day, Naropa was given a large helping of the most exquisite curry from wedding feast of a wealthy man’s daughter. When he returned to Tilopa and spread out the feast, an amazing thing happened. For the first time, Tilopa smiled at him and when he finished the serving, he asked “Where did you find this, my son? Please return and fetch me some more.”
Naropa was delighted that Tilopa called him ‘my son’. So he rushed to the celebration to ask for more. This happened several times, but on the 5th time, Naropa was ashamed to show his face, and a great inner struggle raged within him. Finally unable to face his guru’s displeasure, he decided to steal the entire pot.
Tilopa praised him for lowering himself to such a level of humiliation, further commending him for all his years of perseverance. He than bestowed the initiation and blessing of Vajra Varahi upon Naropa and gave instruction in meditation.
Within 6 months Naropa gained mahamudra-siddhi. After many years of devotion to his countless disciples, he was assumed bodily into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
74) Mahasiddha Shalipa… Shalipa / Syalipa (spyan ki pa): “The Jackal Yogin”
Shalipa was a laborer from Bighapur. He was so poor that the only place he could afford was one right on the edge of the cremation ground. Every night, packs of jackals would roam the cremation ground searching for food, and night after night, the howls terrify the man. He grew more afraid by the day and the few hours he managed to sleep, he would dream of them.
On day, a monk came to Shalipa’s hut to beg for food. Shalipa welcomed him and shared with his guest all that his humble circumstances would allow. The monk was very appreciative of his kind host, and began explaning about the kind of rewards that generosity attracted. Shalipa was interested to listen, but night came, and the howls of the jackals began to terrify him. The monk then said he have teachings and a mantra that can help him over come the fear. Shalipa was so grateful that he offered the little amount of money he managed to save as the initiation fee. Whereupon the monk gave him empowerment and instructed him in the practice called “the fear that destroys fear”
The monk then instructed his student to build a hut at the middle of the cremation ground, and there, he must meditate upon the jackals’ howls as the root of all sound and he must come to hear no difference between the howls and any other sound. Although terrified, Shalipa obeyed. Through his practice, he began to be more detached from his fear, and after 9 years of practice, he attained mahamudra-siddhi. For many years he taught his innumerable disciples the practices concerning the oneness of appearances and emptiness. Finally, he rose bodily into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
75) Mahasiddha Tilopa… Tilopa / Prabhāsvara (snum pa / til bsrungs zhabs): “The Sesame Grinder”/”The Great Renunciate”
For many years, Tilopa performed priestly duties for the king of Visnunagar. Grateful for the sage’s effort, the king rewarded him 500 gold sovereigns a day. Despite the success of his work and the handsome offerings, he was very uneasy and distracted; thinking his life is meaningless and that he is yet to discover an essential teaching which cannot be found in luxurious surrounding, he wanted to leave to seek enlightenment by living as a yogin. However, whenever Tilopa attempted to resign, his disciples refused him permission to leave.
Finally, one night, he left in guise of a beggar’s torn clothes. By dawn, he arrived on a cremation ground where he lived quietly for some time, practicing his sadhanas and begging for food in town. One day, on the road he met Naropa, who became his faithful and devoted servant.
After years of practicing, the defilements that troubled Tilopa vanished and he attained mahamudra-siddhi. He acquired the siddhis of Body, Speech, and Mind, and became universally renowned. After setting innumerable beings on the path of enlightenment, he ascended to the Paradise of the Dakinis.
76) Mahasiddha Menapa… Mīnapa / Vajrapāda / Acinta (nya bo pa): “The One Swallowed by a Fish”/”The Avaricious Hermit”/”The Bengali Jonah”
Menapa the fisherman on the Bay of Bengal was swallowed by the Leviathan while he was at sea. However, due to his beneficent karma, he survived and set up house in the belly of the great fish. Being swallowed by the Leviathan was most fortunate for Menapa, as deep down in the depths of the sea, Umadevi, Divine Consort of Siva Mahadeva has constructed an underwater hermitage for Mahadeva to instruct her in his dharma. The Leviathan took up residence in the neighbourhood, enabling Menapa to listen to the precious words spoken by Mahadeva through the flesh walls of the great fish. Not long after, Mahadeva discovered Menapa in the Leviathan’s belly, whom at the time was already a faithful pupil. Mahadeva took him as a disciple and gave initiation to Menapa, it is here that Menapa took the vow, and began a 12 year sadhanas.
At the end of the 12th year, the Leviathan was hunted by fishermen from Sri Tapari, and when they hacked the fish’s belly open, Menapa emerged. Menapa then told the tale of his capture and initiation, at this, the gathered crowd worshiped him and held a great feast right there, where Menapa had emerged from the sea. As Menapa danced, he sang:
The source of my magic is twofold;
It arises from the good fortune that accrued
From the virtue of my past lives,
And also from my steady devotion
To the great teachings I have heard.
Ah, my friends, what a precious jewel
Is one’s own mind.
Menapa worked selflessly for others for five hundred years, and through this time, he came to be known as Vajrapada, or Acintapa. At last, his labours done, he arose bodily into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
77) Mahasiddha Kangkalipa… Kankaripa / Kankālipāda (kanka ri pa): “The One Holding the Corpse”/”The Lovelorn Widower”
Kankaripa was a commoner that was drowned in sexual bliss. He became a sensualist, swearing that this world alone could fulfill all his desires. However, when his beloved wife passed away, he was unable to comprehend this total loss that he refused to surrender the corpse in his arms to the flames in the cremation ground.
A yogin passed by and adviced the widower, “All life ends in death, just as every meeting ends in parting. All compounds disintegrate. Clasping that corpse is no different from clasping a lump of clay. Everyone in this samsaric would suffers. Suffering is the nature of existence. Instead of bewailing your fate, why don’t you practice the dharma and rise above pain?” Unable to think clearly, Kankaripa asked the yogin for help; in reply he said “The guru’s instruction is the path to enlightenment.” Kankaripa then requested for the teaching and so the yogin initiated Kankaripa and empowered him in the percepts of the insubstantial seed essence that has neither center nor circumference. The widower was instructed to meditate upon his wife as a dakini, the emptiness, the indivisible pleasure that has no substance or self.
For 6 years, Kankarip was in deep contemplation and attained the state of mahamudra-siddhi. During the years before he ascended to the Paradise of the Dakinis, he opened many hearts and minds to the word of the Buddha
78) Mahasiddha Dukhandhipa… Khandipa / Dukhandi (gnyis gcig tu byed pa / rdo kha do): “He Who Makes Two into One”
Khandipa was of the sweepers’ caste and a beggar in Ghandapura. He made his clothes by collecting scraps and patching them together. One day, he chanced a meeting with a yogin who asked how he cound live in such misery and poverty, and wouldn’t he rather practice the Dharma. However, the beggar never thought anyone would teach him the Dharma, at which the yogin gladly obliged and initiated the beggar into Cakrasamvara. The yogin gave him instructions on the Developing Stage, the Perfecting Stage, and their Total Integration.
The beggar tried to meditate by was constantly distracted by the thought of sewing clothes, so went to his guru, expressing his problem and the thought of giving up meditation. The yogin then gave instructions which would take these thoughts as path:
Existing things are in suchness;
There is no sewing or things to be sewn.
The gods and mantras are like that;
And the realization of this is the Dharmadhatu.
When the beggar meditated on that instruction, he lost all distractions and realized his initial instructions. In 12 years, he obtained the siddhi of Mahamudra and worked for the benefit of countless living beings until he went to the realm of the Dakas.
79) Mahasiddha Ajokipa… Ajokipa / Āyogipāda (le lo can): “He Who Does Not Make Effort”
Ajokipa was fat and lazy, and lying down was all he did. Due to this, his family eventually chased him out of the house. He then came to a cemetery, and there he met a yogin while he was lying down. When the yogin saw Ajokipa, he gave the young man food and drinks which he obtained from the city, but Ajokipa would not get up even to eat. Looking at Ajokipa’s laziness, the yogin asked if he could practice the Dharma while lying down. In reply, Ajokipa said he could, but doubted anyone would teach a person like him the Dharma. However, the kind yogin gave him the initiation of Hevajra, with instructions to meditate on the Upper Doors, meditate condensing the three world systems into a drop, the size of a white mustard seen on the tip of the nose.
Ajokipa meditated this way for nine years, and he obtained the siddhi of Mahamudra. After working for the benefit of living beings, he went in this very body to the land of the Dakas.
80) Mahasiddha Kalapa… Kalapa / Kadapāda (smyon pa): “The Madman”/”The Handsome Madman”
Kalapa’s good karma was written all over him as he possesses a beautiful physical form. However, all the attention he got only made him feel pain and embarrassed, and eventually he left town and retire to a cremation ground.
Later he met a yogin who also lived on the cremation ground and the 2 struck friendship. When the yogin learnt about Kalapa’s tale, he said that he know a sadhanas that might help Kalapa through this predicament. Kalapa was eager to learn, and his guru gave him the Samvara initiation and instructed to practice both the creative and fulfillment modes of meditations. Soon he was able to practice both meditations together and soon he was free of all prejudices and emotional attachments, without restraint or concern for social niceties.
The people of Rajapur, who had no notion of what it was like to experience reality directly, were dismayed. Kalapa then levitated into the sky to the height of 7 palm trees, he demonstrated his control over all the elements by performing many wonders. In due time, he assumed bodily into the Paradise of the Dakinis.
81) Mahasiddha Virupa… Virūpa / Dharmapala (bi ru pa): “The Wicked”/”Master of Dakinis”
Virupa entered the Buddhist monastic academy of Somapuri when he was young, here he studied and meditated, and received the initiation and empowerment of the dakini Vajra Varahi. For 12 years, he recited her mantra twice 10 million times; however he never received any sign of progress. Disgusted of him, he threw his rosary. In that evening, Vajra Varahi appeared before him and gave him a carved rosary and said:
“Child of Happiness, why are you so troubled? Keep up your practice, for you are blessed by me. If you would see clearly that things are neither this nor that, you must let go your wandering, critical thoughts. Strip your mind of illusion!” Deeply inspired, he renewed his practice for another 12 years and gained the realization of mahamudra. As he attained power over the duality of life and death, he saw no contradiction in eating meat or drinking alcohol, and when the abbot of the monastery found out he ate a pigeon pie, he was ordered to leave the monastery. He prostrated before the Buddha images and left, treading lightly from lotus to lotus on the lotus-filled lake. Upon witnessing his amazing feat, the monks prostrated to Virupa and begged him to return, they ask him why did he killed the pigeons. He replied, “That was simply an illusion, like all temporal phenomena” He then took scraps of the pigeon wing, held them and with a snap of his fingers the pigeons came back to life.
Virupa then left the monastery and became a yogin, and wherever he went, people would tell tales of his miraculous doings. One such miraculous deed was when he travelled to Devikotta in eastern India and was imprisoned by flesh-eating ghouls. In the abandoned temple where he was imprisoned, he met a young Brahmin boy who was scared and began to weep, but Virupa comforted him and blessed him with a powerful mantra of protection. At moonrise, two thugs came to fetch the boy but were unable to lift him off the ground, and so they decided to take Virupa instead. Unable to move as he was under their spell, Virupa watched the drunken ghouls brandishing their ritual knives in readiness for slaughter. Virupa then burst into laughter. Surprised, but amused, the ghouls began laughing louder, but their glee soon turned into horror when Virupa’s terrible twelve-tone bellow – the laughter of Heruka – became louder and louder until the ghouls begged him to stop. Virupa told them he would do so only if they vowed to devote themselves to the teachings of the Buddha, and when his deafening laughter rang once again, they prostrated themselves before him and swore to do his bidding. He then rose, in his right hand appeared an enormous razor-sharp discus, and behind him stood the horrific presence of the Demon of the North. Virupa then said “should you entertain the slightest thought of not renewing your pledge to the Buddha every day, expect to lose a cup of blood each day you fall from the path. And should you turn away entirely from the Buddha’s law and worship some other god, this discus will fly from the heavens and sever your head from your neck, and the Demon of the North will suck your veins dry.”
The great dakini master was not to attain ultimate liberation until he had lived seven hundred years, and at last completed, Virupa ascended to the Paradise of the Dakinis.
82) Mahasiddha Lilapa… Līlapa / Līlāpāda (sgeg pa): “He Who Loved the Dance of Life”/”The Royal Hedonist”
There was once in the south of India, a king who valued his pleasures and treasures more than anything else. However, the king also enjoyed intelligent conversation, so occasionally scholars are invited to the royal chambers. One day, a wise yogin came to the court and was granted audience. When the king saw his tattered clothing, he was filled with pity and said the yogin must have lead a difficult life. However, the yogin replied that he has no complains and instead he felt much pity for the King instead because of the constant worries and lack of freedom the king have to live with.
Upon hearing the words of the yogin, the king developed faith on the spot and requested the yogin to teach him how to meditate while remaining on his throne in his palace, the king also begged the yogin to remain long enough to teach him.
The yogin agreed by initiating the king into the meditative practices of the deity Hevajra. The king practiced and meditated ceaselessly until he achieved the one-pointed trance of Samadhi and the realization of mahamudra. He achieved all these while seated upon his throne, reclining on cushions of silk, surrounded by his queens and ministers, and entertained by musicians. He became knowh for his wonderful acts of selflessness, and in the end entered the Paradise of the Dakinis.
Lilapa’s story shows us that when the karmic learning and aspirations of the disciple blend harmoniously with the guru’s teachings, there is no need to renounce the pleasures of this life in order to attain liberation.
83) Mahasiddha Kokilapa… Kokalipa / Kokilipa / Kokali (ko la la’i skad du chags): “The One Distracted by a Cuckoo”
Kokalipa was the king of Campara who could not endure heat. So he stayed in the shades and the luxuries of the palace. While enjoying his kingdom, a monk came to his garden and was invited by the king, thereupon he gave the monk food and provisions. The king then asked if the monk’s Dharma be as happy as his. The monk then replied that all a wise man would see is poison, and then explained to the king about the three poisons. The king, whom was spiritually inclined, took the monk as his guru and requested for instructions. He was initiated into Cakrasamvara.
However, unable to renounce his previous mode of life, the sound of the cuckoo birds in the asmra trees distracted him, so he asked for instructions to be free of distractions. His guru then gave him instructions of which he meditated on and attained siddhi in six months. After that, he worked for the benefit of living beings and at the end, he went to the realms of the Dakas in this very body.
84) Mahasiddha Shawaripa… Savaripa / Shavaripa / Sabaripāda (ri khrod dbang phyug): “The Peacock Wing Wearer”/”The Hunter”
Savaripa, a savage hunter from the Vikrama Peak, was a man trapped in a vicious karmic cycle of killing to live and living to kill. However, one day, he was noticed by Lokesvara, a bodhisattva of compassion. Out of pity for Savaripa, the bodhisattva decided to release Savaripa from his karmic curse. Lokesvara then assumed the form of a hunter, and when the two met they had a conversation which later turned into a hunting challenge. When the bodhisattva let fly a single arrow, a hundred deer fell dead. The bodhisattva then asked Savaripa to help him carry one of the fallen deer home, however despite using all his strength, Savaripa failed to lift the deer. With all his pride gone and deeply embarrassed, Savaripa asked the bodhisattva to teach him to use the bow as well as he did. Lokesvara agreed, but only on condition that Savaripa and his wife abstain from eating meat for a month. Savaripa agreed.
Later, the bodhisattva returned and added another stipulation to their agreement for Savaripa to meditate upon loving-kindness and compassion for all living creatures. The hunter agreed. After a month has passed, Lokesvara returned and was greeted by the hunter. Lokesvara then drew a mandala on the dirt floor and scattered it with flowers, he then ordered Savaripa and his wife to look deep in to the drawing. As they gaze at the drawing, they turned ashen because they saw themselves burning in the eight great hells.
Lokesvara explained, “If you foreshorten the lives of others, you can expect your own life to be cut short before its time. Why not give up hunting altogether and devote your life to the search for enlightenment? As the desire to kill diminishes, you will begin to accumulate immense merit and virtue.” At this, Savaripa and his wife vowed to follow the path of the Buddha.
Savaripa began his practice, instructed by the Bodhisattva, and meditated upon the correct way to escape the suffering inherent in the revolutions of the Wheel of Life, and after 12 years of sublime thoughts, he attained the supreme realization of mahamudra. When he sought out his Guru for further instruction, Lokesvara told him to remain upon the Wheel of Rebirth out of compassion for those bound by it as he will save an infinite number of souls. Savaripa willingly agreed, and so until today, he still teaches those fortunate enough to understand his message through song and dance, sound and symbol; and it will continue untili the day when Maitreya, the Buddha of Love, begins teaching the gospel of the New Age.