Female Deities


Thousand Armed Guan-yin at Lashan, China
Photo Credit: Mike Byu
via Flickr.

There are many types of female deities in Buddhism.  The term “deity” does not refer to a worldly god, but to a Buddha or bodhisattva. Sometimes it also refers to historical figures, dakinis, yidams, and Dharma protectors in peaceful, semi-wrathful or wrathful form.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. We'd love to hear from you.

Female Deities

  • Achi Chkyi Drolma - Dharmapala
  • Dorje Yudronma - Dharmapala
  • Ekajati (Ralchigma) - Dharmapala
  • Ekajati - Yidam
  • Kurukulla - Yidam
  • Lamanteri - Dharmapala & Yidam
  • Machig Labdron - Yidam & historical figure
  • Mahamaya - Yidam
  • Mandarava - Yidam & historical figure
  • Marici - Yidam
  • Mayadevi - historical figure
  • Nairatmya - Yidam
  • Niguma - Guru and Yidam
  • Palden Lhamo (Sri Devi) - Dharmapala
  • Prajnaparamita (Yum Chenmo) - Guru & Yidam
  • Samantabhadri (Kuntuzangmo) - Guru & Yidam
  • Sarasvati - Yidam
  • Simhamukha (Sengdongma)- Yidam
  • Sukkhasiddhi - Guru & Yidam
  • Tara, Green (Drolma) - Yidam
  • Tara, Red - Yidam
  • Tara, White (Drolkar) - Yidam
  • Troma Nagmo - Dharmapala
  • Tseringma - Dharmapala
  • Ushnisha-sitatapatra - Yidam
  • Ushnisha-vijaya - Yidam
  • Vajrayogini / Vajravarahi (Dorje Naljorma/ Dorje Phagmo) - Dharmapala & Yidam
  • Yeshe Tsogyal (Dechen Gyalm) - Yidam, Guru & historical figure

Types of Deities

  • a Yidam - an enlightened meditational deity who embodies the union of wisdom and compassion, yet is not separate from the meditator.

  • a Guru - usually the founder of a lineage; a fully realised being whom one identifies wholly with one's spiritual guide.

  • a Dharmapala - usually portrayed as an enlightened being in wrathful form, a Dharma Protector's primary function is to eliminate the spiritual obstacles hindering the practitioner.

  • a Historical Figure - someone who lived as a female human being on this earth and can be placed historically according to tradition.

  • Guan Yin Bodhisattva
    Guan-yin Bodhisattva
    Photo Credit: Jason Chamberlain
    via Flickr.

    What is a Thangka?

    A thangka (pronounced TONG-ka) is a Tibetan painting on cloth, stored scroll-fashion when travelling. For those who wish to learn more about thangkas visit the Dharmapala Centre in Bremen, Germany English-language site.

    thangka of Green Tara from Shankar Gallery
    Green Tara Thangka from Shankar Gallery

    Language Resources

    Déités féminines (French)
    Weibliche Gottheiten (German)

    About

    Working at the grassroots level, Sakyadhita provides a communications network among Buddhist women internationally. We promote research and publications on Buddhist women's history and other topics of interest. Our members strive to create equal opportunities for women in all Buddhist traditions. Read More

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