Home Events Archive - Shang Shung Institute UK Light of Kailash Lecture 16: The Life-Story of Princess Mandarava

Light of Kailash Lecture 16: The Life-Story of Princess Mandarava

The Life-Story of Princess Mandarava

With Cristiana De Falco

*** Online Via Zoom and On Site at Merigar West, Italy *** (18:30 local time – 17:30 UK time)

The Indian princess Mandarava is considered to have been one of the two main disciples and consorts of Padmasambhava, the Great Guru who introduced Tantrism in Tibet, the other one being the Tibetan queen Yeshe Tsogyal.

This lecture, mainly based on the book The Lives and Liberation of Princess Mandarava, will take us on a journey through Mandarava’s compassionate rebirths, and we will learn about this inspirational woman, who is a central figure for Tibetan Buddhists, about her extraordinary adventures and achievements, despite her father’s fierce and violent opposition towards the spiritual path she chose to embark on, and about her significant role in longevity practices.

About princess Mandarava

The Indian princess Mandarava, from Zahor (East India), is considered to have been one of the two main disciples and consorts of Padmasambhava, the Great Guru who succeeded in introducing Tantrism in Tibet, the other one being the Tibetan queen Yeshe Tsogyal.

The context of Tantrism implies using every facet of human experience as the path to liberation, in a way that nothing is actually avoided or rejected, so the term ‘consort’ refers to sexual practice as well as to mutual companionship and support over a journey that is never free of hardship and even danger.

The Tibetan word for ‘biography’ is ‘namthar’ (rnam thar), meaning ‘complete liberation’. This relates both to the fulfillment of the practitioner’s goal, i. e. reaching complete liberation, and to the strong example and inspiration that the life-stories of such exceptional beings represent for the reader.

Mandarava is renowned for realizing the long-life practice (tshe sgrub) together with Guru Padmasambhava in the Maratika cave, in Nepal, and for this reason in Tibetan iconography she is depicted as holding the two main symbols of long-life, the vase (bum pa) and the arrow (mda’ dar).

Our journey throughout Mandarava’s life-story is based on the book  The Lives and Liberation of Princess Mandarava – The Indian Consort of Guru Padmasambhava, Wisdom Publications, Boston 1998 (Za hor rgyal po’i sras mo lha lcam man dha ra ba’i rnam par thar pa rin chen phreng ba, in Bsam-gtan-gliṅ-pa Phrin-las-‘gro-‘dul-las-rab-bde-ba-rtsal, The Life Of Lady Mandarava, the Indian consort of Padmasambhava), with referrals also to the main biographies of Padmadambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal.

About the speaker

Cristiana De Falco majored in Tibetan Language and Literature at the University of Naples “L’Orientale”. Her thesis on Taranatha’s biography of Guru Padmasambhava was later published as The Life of Padmasambhava (Shang Shung Publications, 2005).
She has translated from Tibetan into English and Italian, and edited Chögyal Namkhai
Norbu’s books: The Stairway to Liberation and Kumar Kumari. Among her English-Italian
translations are  Chögyal Namkhai Norbu’s The Crystal and the Way of Light, Rainbow
Body
, and The Light of Kailash. Beyond translating and editing written text, on numerous occasions Cristiana has also translated Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and Yeshi Namkhai’s live and webcast retreats.

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