Why is this series called “Emptiness and the Great Mother”?
Numerous real life women, not only female deities, have played a powerful role in the spiritual lives of Buddhist communities around the world from the time of the Buddha until now. In the course “Emptiness and the Great Mother“, Lopön Chandra Easton will introduce you to some inspiring women and goddesses and guide you through an integrative experience of their wisdom teachings.
Emptiness or śūnyatā in Sanskrit, comes from the word “śūnya” which means “empty,” combined with the suffix “tā” signifying “ness.” Together they form “emptiness.” Yet, śūnyatā can also be translated as “openness,” or “open dimension of being.” The great Indian Buddhist, Asaṅga, states that śūnyatā is an “aesthetic continuum with all possibilities.” It is found extensively in the early Mahāyāna Buddhist literature called The Perfection of Wisdom Sūtras which date from the first and second centuries C.E.
It is these very Sūtras (texts) that ushered in the Mahāyāna (Great Vehicle) movement in Indian Buddhism, and where we find śūnyatā articulated as the womb of totality, the Mother of the Buddhas, called Prajñā Pāramitā (Perfection of Wisdom), and Yum Chenmo (Great Mother) in Tibetan. In the beginning, she was a philosophical principle, then later she became a female Buddha in the Tantric era, she is the first instance in which the feminine principle is attributed the utmost stature in Buddhism. From here it just gets better for real women and female deities. For example, texts and practices began to emerge that were devoted to figures such as Āryā Tārā, Sarāswatī, Vajrayōginī, various Dākiṇīs, Yōginīs and many others, and more positions of respect and influence were given to women teachers and practitioners. It is these traditions that were brought to Tibet beginning in the 7th century.
This four class series will include dharma talks, guided meditation, pranayama, and mantra recitation.
English with German translation.