會議地點：越南胡志明市；時間：2009.12.18 - 2010.01.03；大會主題：傑出的女性修行者與典範=Eminent Buddhist Women
Niguma was a Kashmiri woman who seems to have lived some time in the 11th century. She is known as the main source of the teachings that became the core praxis of the Shangpa lineage, one of the "Eight Great Practice Lineages" of Tibet. Her numerous pithy works are found in some editions of the Tibetan Buddhist canon. Yet much of Niguma’s influence can be attributed to the spiritual visions of later Tibetan adepts. Even the founder of the Shangpa tradition, Khyungpo Naljor, was admittedly under the influence of either dream or vision during his encounter with Niguma in the charnel grounds of India. He later wrote down all that he learned from her and it is this that comprises her body of work. Can we find an actual woman who is the subject of her own story? Or is she only the beautiful embodiment of the yogin’s epiphanies – the feminine voice of his wisdom?
This paper attempts to find Niguma through research and analysis of the few known details of her life and teachings. It examines her brief biography and other lineage stories, which are translated in the paper, as well as the various yogic visionary accounts. Niguma’s birthplace, time, teachers, and relatives are all illusive, yet provide tantalizing hints. I will dispel the western insistence that she was the consort of the great Naropa, who is clearly identified as her brother in all Tibetan accounts. Then I will explore those qualities that identify her and others like her as “dakinis of timeless awareness,” such as the ability to receive instructions directly from Buddha Vajradhara, to manifest the rainbow body and dwell on the purely spiritual levels. Using Niguma as an example, this paper pursues the mystery of the Tibetan lore of the dakini and the so-called feminine principle in Tibetan Buddhism.
Finally, I will provide examples of what might be Niguma’s own voice, including one or two short translations of her teachings. This paper will ultimately form part of the introduction to a book of Niguma’s collected works in translation. The main, and only, treatise attributed to her is called “Stages in the Path of Illusion.” This theme – illusion (maya) – is the one thread that runs through everything that Niguma said and everything that we know about her, and is the consistent thesis of this paper.