Ekajati is a principal wrathful female protector or mahakali primarily within the Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism to which the artist belonged. Living in England in the late 1960's, Chögyam Trungpa encountered many obstacles to presenting the teachings of Buddhism and the practice of meditation to Westerners. During that formative time, he wrote a number of poems to Ekajati, calling on her to aid him in overcoming difficulties and presenting the genuine contemplative tradition of Buddhist practice. When in the early 1970's he established his first rural practice centre in North America, Karmê Chöling in Barnet, Vermont, he made Ekajati the protector there, and the original of this portrait of her hung in the shrine room for many years.
Ekajati is considered to be an emanation of Samantabhadri, the female primordial buddha, and she also manifests as Vajrayogini, a pre-eminent female deity or yidam. The iconography of Ekajati is itself unusual, in that she has a single eye on her forehead and a single fang in the middle of her mouth, shown in this painting projecting down below the rest of her teeth.
The invocation to Ekajati that Chögyam Trungpa wrote is today still chanted by practitioners at Karmê Chöling.
Printed at its original size on uncoated archival-quality paper.
Image copyright Diana J. Mukpo. Please do not reproduce this image.