Wisdom Rising – The Practice of the Five Dakini’s

Jo Haight Surling and I in front of her Cocoa Beach House

I am in Florida right now till end of March. One of the things I am working on is a Tantric Buddhist meditation/mandala from over a 1000 years ago. The Five Dakini’s comes from the practice of a female enlightened master named Machig Lapdron. She is also famous for another practice called Feeding the Demons. I have been working with Lama Tsultrim Allione’s book “ Wisdom Rising” A Journey into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine. In the Shaiva Tantric Traditions and their cousins the Tantric Buddhists there are stories of many enlightened female teachers. ( Goddess K, the Chummas, Lala etc) Unfortunately, information and the actual practices of the feminine practitioners are few and far between and what is available is partial and cryptic.
An exception to this are the practices of Machig Lapdron which has come down to us today through Lama Tsultrim Allione. She has made it her life’s work to bring us these practices. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1970. I first heard about her in tne 1980’s when her book “ Women of Wisdom” was published. I read it then and have carried the knowledge ( from that book/ stories of 5 female practitioners). The biggest takeaway for me was that the spiritual journey of a woman can be very different from that of a man. For instance giving birth and being a mother is part of the evolution and real parts of the enlightenment process ( you will never hear a man teacher discussing this) Over time, the Patriarchal attitudes of almost all cultures have minimized and swept under the rug, women’s ability to evolve spiritually. Women have been demonized, called witches, whores, tramps sluts, we’re burned at the stake and the stories of their lives changed and minimized.
Now more than ever, I am guided to learn and understand whatever information I can get about female practices.
So that takes me here to Florida where I met up with Jo Haight Surling, a woman I met through many retreats and teachings with Tantrika Institute and Christopher Wallis. Another member of the Tantrika gang named Dave Cook and his wife Joana arrived nearby on thier small 28’ sailboat ( they are on month 4 of a long distance sailing journey from CT to parts South ). We have been meeting to practice together. We are calling it our Tantric mini retreats. We have practiced, Three Bindu, Ham Sah from the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, Paradevi/Kali from Chapter 5 Abinavagupta’s Tantrasara and as a group started exploring the practices of the Five Dakini’s from the “ Wisdom Rising” book by Lama Tsultrim Allione.
So this is completely amazing , powerful, dynamic and so sweet.
I am interested in possibly expanding this, presenting or working in a circle/mandala with some of the Five Dakini’s practices in the future with others perhaps in a study group or some zoom calls. I post here that if you are interested in these feminine empowerment practices and have the Wisdom Rising Book please let me know.
The Five Dakini’s practices work with transforming encumbered energies ( Samskaras) such as procrastination, neediness, envy, jealousy, anger, fear etc into “The Wisdom Energies of the Dakinis evolved unencumbered view”. The mandala/circle, elemental energies, directional energies, visualization, seed syllables, Uccara, etc are used in the Dakini practices. Ultimately, the absolute level is beyond gender, how on a relative level men and women get to the ultimate level may be very different paths. Women have long thought they have to act like men to attain anything in this world. The cultural messages truly effect and disempower women on so many levels. The Dakini is a messenger of spasciousness, a force of truth, a transitional primal power, a fierce compassion for change and upliftment. I believe the recognition of feminine empowerment holds a key to cultural evolution and that awareness of practices line the Five Dakini’s or Feeding the Demons is so important. Please let me know if you have studied this, want to study it or just plain interested in this type of study group.
Please note: the 5 Dakini’s artwork surrounding a meditating yogi in a hut with rainbow light. Each Dakini carries a trident Khatvangha staff which represents her inner masculine and support, her skull cup at the heart holds the transformational non dual energy of change, she has a curved knife to cut the bonds/attachments and she is dancing with wisdom flames surrounding her.

Published by Melissa Abbott Yoga & Meditation Podcast

A lifelong meditator, learner and seeker, Melissa started her journey with a Hatha Yoga class in 1970 at age 17. Later after a stint in Art School and extensive travel, Melissa became a resident at Shree Muktananda Ashram in upstate NY studying Siddha Yoga meditation practices and is a disciple of Gurumayi Chidvilasananda and the Siddha Lineage Of Swami Muktananda and Bhagwan Nityananda. There she became acquainted with Shaiva Tantra Meditation from Kashmir, while studying with Dr. Paul Mueller Ortega, Dr.Douglas Brooks, Sally Kempton aka Swami Durgananda and many other teachers residing there at that time. Melissa also studied Tibetan Buddhist Practices of the Sakya Lineage with Luding Khenchen Rimpoche. Melissa has had a 40+ year meditation practice receiving many initiations and transmissions from many great contemporary teachers. Currently, since 2017 Melissa has been studying with Christopher Wallis a Sanskrit Scholar Phd covering “The Recognition Sutras”, “Vijnana Bhairava”, “Spanda Karikas”, and “Tantraloka”. Melissa is an avid reader, studying with the scholarly works of Christopher Wallis PhD, Alexis Sanderson Phd.Oxford University , Christopher Tompkins PHd Candidate University Of CA Berkley, and James Mallinson from SOAS in London. A member of Academia.org, Melissa keeps up with the latest translations of historic Yogic Writings by contemporary scholars. On the Hatha Yoga front, Melissa has studied Iyengar and Anusara Hatha Yoga in the 1990’s and later took her first hot yoga class 10 years ago with Suzanne Elliott in Merritt Island, FL, becoming a Raja Hot Core Hatha Yoga 500 hour Teacher in 2016 with Craig Villani. In 2017 she became a USA Yoga Coach and started judging video submissions in 2019. In 2018 Melissa studied with Jimmy Barkan Level 2 Hot Vinyasa Training in Ft Lauderdale and 2019 Adi Westerman’s Teaching 26/2 Plus Training. A member of the Original Hot Yoga Asso OHYA and a Hot Yoga Teacher at Steam House Hot Yoga & Pilates in Epping NH www.steamhousenh.com and Blue Yoga Group in Swampscott, MA. “Melissa Abbott Yoga and Meditation” has a weekly Visionary Tantric Yoga & Yoga Nidra Podcast available on Spotify, ITunes Podcasts, Podbean and YouTube.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: