Yeshe Tsogyal-
the Mother of Tibetan Buddhism

The il­lus­tra­tion was car­ried out by the need of Taipei Namkha Gyepa Bud­dhist As­so­ci­a­tion to have a poster for pro­mot­ing the fundrais­ing for the es­tab­lish­ment of the In­dian Bud­dhist Col­lege. Yet while de­sign­ing, I found it hard to find the por­trait of Yeshe Tso­gyal with qual­ity that is suit­able to be printed into A1 poster size. Ad­di­tion­ally I want to bring a touch of mod­ern into the de­sign. So I de­cided to il­lus­trate the por­trait.  

The process of the il­lus­tra­tion con­sist­s early re­search in in­for­ma­tion such as the rit­ual ob­jects and jew­els and later out­line-sketch­ing and de­tail-craft­ing.
Who is Yeshe Tsogyal?
Yeshe Tso­gyal is the pre­em­i­nent lady of Ti­betan Bud­dhism. While most—if not all—of what we know about her life is highly mythol­o­gized, she is revered by Ti­betans as a fore­most dis­ci­ple and con­sort of Pad­masamb­hava, the eighth-cen­tury tantric mas­ter cred­ited with a sem­i­nal role in es­tab­lish­ing Bud­dhism in Ti­bet. In her well-known namthar, or story of “com­plete lib­er­a­tion,” which was re­vealed by the sev­en­teenth-cen­tury tertön Tak­sham Nuden Dorje, Yeshe Tso­gyal is por­trayed as a gutsy woman striv­ing for en­light­en­ment. She faces var­i­ous tri­als while prac­tic­ing med­i­ta­tion in moun­tain soli­tudes: scorn from vil­lagers, tor­ment by demons, star­va­tion, and even rape. Through these tri­als, she is shown trans­form­ing ad­ver­sity into fuel for her prac­tice and gain­ing re­al­iza­tion. More­over, in her namthar, one finds the strik­ing state­ment by Pad­masamb­hava that a woman with strong de­ter­mi­na­tion has a greater po­ten­tial for at­tain­ing en­light­en­ment than a man. In this way, Yeshe Tso­gyal serves as an im­por­tant ex­am­ple of a woman who tra­versed the Bud­dhist path
ac­cord­ing to li­on­
How does Yeshe Tso­gyal look like?
At the cen­tre stands the dakini Khan­dro Yeshe Tso­gyal, who is naked and ra­di­ant white in colour, with a slightly wrath­ful ex­pres­sion, two eyes and two arms. She stands up­right with her two legs straight upon the white moon disk of her pink lo­tus-seat, with her left foot flat and her right foot slightly raised. Her nu­bile body is beau­ti­ful and youth­ful like that of a six­teen-year-old, and half of her long black hair is bound up into jew­eled top­knots, while the other half hangs freely about her shoul­ders and back. She wears a golden tiara adorned with flow­ers and three jew­els; golden ear­rings; bracelets, arm­lets and an­klets; short, medium and long neck­laces; a bone apron; bone bracelets and arm­lets; a long gar­land of red and blue flow­ers, and a long green silk scarf that loops and bil­lows about her body. With her raised right hand she cir­cles a va­jra-han­dled curved knife to­wards the ten di­rec­tions to ter­rify all ob­struc­tive demons, and with her left hand she holds a skull-cup full of swirling blue nec­tar at the level of her hip. Her rain­bow-like aura ra­di­ates with the scin­til­lat­ing golden light rays that em­anate from her body, and she is en­cir­cled by a pro­fu­sion of flow­ers.
ac­cord­ing to ti­beta­
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