According to legend, Yeshe
Tsogyal (ཡེ་ཤེས་མཚོ་རྒྱལ / ज्ञानसागर, Jñānasāgara /
"Victorious Ocean of Knowledge", "Knowledge Lake Empress") was born in the same manner as the Buddha (बुद्ध).
Α mantra (मन्त्र) sounding as her mother gave birth painlessly.
She is considered a reincarnation of the Buddha's own mother, Maya (महामाया).
Her name," Wisdom Lake Queen" (ཡེ་ཤེས་མཚོ་རྒྱལ), derives from her birth causing a nearby lake to double in size.
Her spiritual inclinations were present from a very young age and Yeshe Tsogyal (ཡེ་ཤེས་མཚོ་རྒྱལ / ज्ञानसागर) wanted to pursue a life of Dharma practice (धर्म), rather than marry.
She felt so strongly about this, that she ran away and had to be brought back by force.
At the age of sixteen, she was compelled into an unwanted arranged marriage with the then-Emperor of Tibet, Trisong Detsen (ཁྲི་སྲོང་ལྡེ་བཙན, 742-797 AD).
- Trisong Detsen (ཁྲི་སྲོང་ལྡེ་བཙན) was the son of Me Agtsom (ཁྲི་ལྡེ་གཙུག་བརྟན, 704-755 CE) and the 38th Emperor of Tibet.
He ruled from 755 until 797 or 804 AD.
Trisong Detsen (ཁྲི་སྲོང་ལྡེ་བཙན) was the second of the Three Dharma Kings (धर्म) of Tibet.
He played a pivotal role in the introduction of Buddhism (ནང་བསྟན། / बौद्ध धर्म) to Tibet and the establishment of the Nyingma (རྙིང་མ་, སྔ་འགྱུར་རྙིང་མ། / 寧瑪派, 宁玛派) or "Ancient" school of Tibetan Buddhism (ནང་བསྟན།).
It was after their marriage, that Trisong Detsen (ཁྲི་སྲོང་ལྡེ་བཙན) invited Padmasambhava (པདྨ་འབྱུང་གནས། / पद्मसम्भव / 莲花生大士, 蓮花生大士 / गुरु रिनपोचे, Guru Rinpoche) to come to Tibet from India and propagate the Buddhist teachings.
Yeshe Tsogyal (ཡེ་ཤེས་མཚོ་རྒྱལ / ज्ञानसागर) was given by Trisong Detsen (ཁྲི་སྲོང་ལྡེ་བཙན) to Padmasambhava (པདྨ་འབྱུང་གནས།) as an offering.
Padmasambhava (པདྨ་འབྱུང་གནས།) freed Yeshe Tsogyal (ཡེ་ཤེས་མཚོ་རྒྱལ / ज्ञानसागर), and she became Padmasambhava's (པདྨ་འབྱུང་གནས།) main disciple and consort.
When she herself asked about "her inferior female body" (a common theme in the biographies of female spiritual practitioners), Padmasambhava (པདྨ་འབྱུང་གནས།) advised Yeshe Tsogyal (ཡེ་ཤེས་མཚོ་རྒྱལ / ज्ञानसागर) that far from being a hindrance to enlightenment, as was generally accepted, a woman's body is an asset:
"The basis for realizing enlightenment is a human body.
Male or female, there is no great difference.
But if she develops the mind bent on enlightenment the woman's body is better".
After many years of serious study and meditative practice, Yeshe Tsogyal's (ཡེ་ཤེས་མཚོ་རྒྱལ / ज्ञानसागर) level of spiritual awakening, enlightenment, was equal to that of Padmasambhava (པདྨ་འབྱུང་གནས།).
Yeshe Tsogyal (ཡེ་ཤེས་མཚོ་རྒྱལ / ज्ञानसागर) is also known to have spent many years in isolated meditation retreat.
She accomplished several different cycles of tantric spiritual practices that she received from Padmasambhava (པདྨ་འབྱུང་གནས།) and various wisdom beings including the practices of Tummo (གཏུམ་མོ / चण्डाली), Vajrakilaya (वज्रकील), Karmamudra Sadhana (कर्ममुद्रा साधना) and Zhitro (ཞི་ཁྲོ).
- Tantra (तन्त्र / " loom, weave, warp") denotes the Esoteric traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, that developed in India from the middle of the 1st millennium CE onwards.
The term Tantra (तन्त्र), in the Indian traditions, also means any systematic broadly applicable: " text, theory, system, method, instrument, technique or practice".
A key feature of these traditions is the use of mantra (मन्त्र), and thus they are commonly referred to as Mantramārga (मन्त्रमर्ग / " Path of Mantra") in Hinduism or Mantrayāna (मन्त्राना / " Mantra Vehicle") and Guhyamantra (गुह्यमंत्र / " Secret Mantra") in Buddhism.
- Η Tummo (གཏུམ་མོ / चण्डाली) is the fierce goddess of heat and passion in Tibetan Buddhist tradition (ནང་བསྟན།).
In her practice or the practice of the Yidam (इष्टदेवता, Ishtadevata), they use kīla (ཕུར་པ).
Kīla or phurba (ཕུར་པ, ཕུར་བ / कील) is a three-sided peg, stake, knife, or nail-like ritual implement traditionally associated with Indo-Tibetan Buddhism (ནང་བསྟན།), Bön (བོན་) and Indian Vedic traditions (वेदः).
- Vajrakīla or Vajrakīlaya (वज्रकील / རྡོ་རྗེ་ཕུར་པ་, Dorje Phurba) is Meditational Deity.
- Karmamudrā (कर्ममुद्रा / "action seal", "desire seal") is a Vajrayana Buddhist technique of a union practice with a physical or visualized consort.
- Sādhanā (སྒྲུབ་ཐབས་ / साधना /修行) spiritual discipline (often including spiritual exercises) of Yoga (योग).
- Zhitro (ཞི་ཁྲོ) refers to a cycle of teachings revealed by the terton Karma Lingpa (ཀརྨ་གླིང་པ་,1326 -1386) and traditionally believed to have been written by Padmasambhava (པདྨ་འབྱུང་གནས།).
All of these practices brought Yeshe Tsogyal (ཡེ་ཤེས་མཚོ་རྒྱལ / ज्ञानसागर), to awakening.
Among lay Tibetans, she is understood as a fully enlightened Buddha (बुद्ध) who takes the form of an ordinary woman so as to be accessible to the average person, "who, for the time being, do not see her Vajravarahi form as a fully perfected deity".