Sep 22 2023
Life and 'Soul' of Yeshe Tsogyel: Woman, Disciple, Consort and Dakini. Interview with Dr. Jue Liang.
In Episode 5 of Dakini Conversations, Adele Tomlin interviews Dr. Jue Liang, a female scholar and translator originally from China, whose PhD in 2020, from the University of Virginia, was on the life of highly-realised Tibetan yogini, female lineage holder and famous consort of Guru Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyel. Dr. Liang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Case Western Reserve University and is currently completing her first book, entitled Conceiving the Mother of Tibet: The Early Literary Lives of the Buddhist Saint Yeshé Tsogyel based on her PhD. Although there are now a few English-language publications about Yeshe Tsogyel, Liang is one of the very few PhDs that considers Tsogyel’s life and legacy to the standards of academic research. In that respect one could say that Dr. Liang is one of the foremost scholar-translators in the world today on Yeshe Tsogyel. She is also working on a second project, tentatively titled Thus Has She Heard: Theorizing Gender in Contemporary Tibetan Buddhism. In particular, Liang has written about the Tibetan nuns based at Larung Gar, in Tibet and the institution of the Khenmo programme there and their views of gender and biology, as Buddhist practitioners. She is also interested in the theory and practice of translation in general, and translating Tibetan literature in particular. Outline/Chapters 00:00:00 Introduction to Jue Liang 0:01:57 Life and studies in China 0:03:49 Buddhist Influence 0:05:44 Challenges of living in the USA and doing a PhD 0:07:25 Inspiring meeting with the nuns at Larung Gar in Tibet, 2014 0:09:35 New collection on Women's biographies and unpublished life-stories of Tsogyel 0:12:52 The soul of Yeshe Tsogyel at sacred places in Tibet 0:18:12 The crucial experience of embodied presence in places/geography 0:21:13 The aspect of Tsogyel as woman/female and three-fold category of gender/biology 0:26:10 The Tibetan textual sources on Yeshe Tsogyel 0:29:40 Hidden Treasure revealed texts as a source on Tsogyel 0:32:22 The names of Yeshe Tsogyel 0:35:02 Yeshe Tsogyel as disciple and the zhu-len (Q&A) textual tradition 0:41:11 A sympathetic reading of the 'inferiority' of women's bodies 0:43:30 Yeshe Tsogyel as teacher and 'mother' (as senior 'caretaker') 0:44:54 Tsogyel as consort (1): Deal with your Ex before you become a consort 0:49:43 Captured and sexually assaulted by a suitor, and calling out to the Guru and exchanging of rings 0:51:10 Tsogyel as a consort (2) celibate/nun/renunciant and sexual assaults 0:55:19 Goals of consort practice: liberation, revelation and healing 0:56:57 Yeshe Tsogyel as Dakini: the meaning of the term dakini/khandroma 0:59:43 Tibetan mythology of dakinis: wrathful ogress and the demoness land Tibet that needed to be tamed 1:01:39 Fuzzy Femininities and Muddled Myth 1:03:48 Larung Gar monastery, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsog and female practitioners 1:06:59 The institution of the female Khenmo programme at Larung Gar 1:10:43 The Aryatare publishing initiative and the Great Treasury of Dakini Teachings collection of women's biographies1:14:33 Khenmo Yonten and her commentary on the five great texts1:17:43 Tibetan nuns' views of gender, biology and the 'inferior' female body1:21:51 The concept and idea of 'mother' as inseparable from women/female and as 'superior'1:24:05 The reason behind the success of the nuns at Larung Gar1:26:25 Future book on Tsogyel 1:27:58 Personal view of Tsogyel's relevance and inspiration For more on Dr. Jue Liang's work and publications, see here: https://jueliang.work/ For more on Adele Tomlin's writing about female lineages and Yeshe Tsogyel, see: https://dakinitranslations.com/buddhist-female-teachers-lineages/