DAKINI POWER

Extraordinary Women Shaping the Transmission of Buddhism in the West

Dakini Power honors contemporary female Buddhist teachers and practitioners.

Sangye Khandro (Nanci Gay Gustafson)

The notion that Vajrayana is male-oriented is mistaken.
— Sangye Khandro
Sangye Khandro ©David Gordon

Sangye Khandro

©David Gordon

"Enlightenment is a full-time job"

 

Sangye Khandro has translated and mastered some of the most profound Buddhist teachings. In her late fifties, she is strikingly beautiful by any definition, but you will likely first notice her vibrant, spacious blue eyes. Many times I have heard her translate some of the most complex topics from the Tibetan language with a seemingly effortless grace. One of her renowned translator colleagues says she might be the Western woman who has received more teachings and transmissions than anybody else. She lives on the beautiful 100 acres of Tashi Chöling, a retreat and teaching center in the mountains near Ashland that she founded together with her husband and teacher, Gyatrul Rinpoche. She has translated for the finest Tibetan teachers, including Dudjom Rinpoche, Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, Penor Rinpoche, and Khenpo Namdrol Rinpoche. Despite receiving many invitations, she rarely agrees to teach, preferring a reclusive lifestyle focusing on translations and retreats. Together with her partner, Lama Chönam, she has founded the translation committee Light of Berotsana. Among her many published translations is the biography of Mandarava, the Indian consort of Padmasambhava who is credited with establishing Vajrayana Buddhism in Tibet. In Dakini Power, she speaks candidly about her personal path, her relationships with her teacher, what it takes to translate the teachings authentically and "the mistaken notion that Vajrayana is male-oriented."

 

 

Sangye Khandro speaks about her beginnings as a translator: 

Sangye Khandro about women in Tibetan Buddhism :

Sangye Khandro about her role model,  Sangyum Kusho Rigdzin Wangmo

Advice for translators by Sangye Khandro: