Ekajati (San. “single twisted lock of hair”) is a dharmapali, described as a wrathful mamo or dakini, who is an especially important protectress of the ati teachings. She is dark blue, with a single topknot, one eye, one fang, and one breast. She wears a skull crown and bone ornaments, with a tiger skin around her waist. Enveloped in clouds, she holds a heart in her right hand and emanates wolves from her left.

BHYO: The seed syllable of Ekajati and of other female deities.

suchness (San. tattva): Things as they are; synonymous with dharmata.

primordial insight: Awareness and intelligence without reference point, without an origin or an end. This is the essence of Ekajati and of all existing phenomena.

before the first kalpa: A kalpa is an extremely long aeon. “Before” indicates a time before the notion of time has ever occurred.

the great lord: Samantabhadra, the primordial buddha in the Nyingma tradition. Traditionally depicted naked, he symbolizes the formlessness and simplicity of the dharmakaya. Dark blue in color, he wears a topknot and holds his hands in the meditation mudra. He is in union with his consort, Samantabhadri.

Samantabhadri: The female consort of buddha Samantabhadra, who symbolizes the primordial feminine principle, emptiness and dharmadhātu. Here, Samantabhadri is used as another name for Ekajati.

protector of mantra: Here, mantra refers to mantrayana, another name for vajrayana. Ekajati is the protector of the teachings of ati or dzokchen, which is the highest level of realization in the Nyingma tradition.

Lord of Secret: An epithet of Vajrapani, the deity entrusted with protecting the vajrayana teachings.

seventeen tantras: There are seventeen major tantras of the oral-instruction section of the ati yana.

castle of cosmic miracles: A symbol of dharmadhatu (San. “space or realm of dharmas”), which is all-encompassing space, the unconditional totality—unoriginated and unchanging—in which all phenomena arise, dwell, and cease.

mamos (Tib.): Wrathful goddesses, usually pictured as furious, ugly women. They can be dakinis acting as protectors. Ekajati is their queen. If reacted to negatively, mamos appear to be fickle, causing all sorts of chaos. However, if understood positively, they serve as a reminder of awareness, almost at the level of discursive thought. Mamos as a class of deities are quite numerous. Some prominent dharmapalis, such as Dorje Pernakchen’s consort Palden Lhamo, are considered mamos.

Mara (San. “death”): The tempter of Shakyamuni Buddha, who appeared just prior to his attaining enlightenment. More generally, maras are difficulties that the practitioner may encounter on the path. There are four types of maras:

Skandha-mara is misunderstanding the five skandhas, or the aggregates which make up the individual and his experience, as an ego.

Klesha-mara is being overpowered by the kleshas, or identification with one’s emotions as real.

Mrityu-mara is death, which interrupts one’s practice unless the yogin knows how to make it part of the path; fear of death or losing ground, which is at the root of all neurosis.

Devaputra-mara is seduction by worldly pleasures or by the blissful experiences of meditation.

three jewels: the Buddha, dharma, and sangha.

three sanghas: The practitioners of the hinayana, mahayana, and vajrayana teachings.

tantras: The texts of the vajrayana teachings; also the teachings themselves. Tantra is a synonym for vajrayana. In Sanskrit, tantra means “continuity,” referring to the continuity of buddha nature throughout the ground, path, and fruition of the journey.

dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, nirmanakaya: The three kayas (San. “ bodies”)  of  buddhahood. They are three different ways in which enlightened energy manifests.

dharmakaya (San. “dharma body”): Enlightenment itself, wisdom beyond any reference point; unoriginated, primordial mind.

luminosity: The brilliance of appearance which arises within, and is inseparable from, emptiness.

sambhogakaya (San. “enjoyment body”): The environment of compassion and communication associated with the enlightenment. Symbolically, its brilliance is represented by the five wisdom buddhas, the yidam deities, and the protectors.

Vajrayogini: The principal female yidam of the Karma Kagyü lineage. She is semiwrathful, red, with one face and two arms, young and beautiful, but enraged against the maras, wearing charnel ground ornaments of human bones. She represents the transformation of ignorance and passion into emptiness and compassion.

nirmanakaya (San. “emanation body”; Tib. tülku): A buddha who actually lives in this world.

outer, inner, and secret offerings: These are three types of offerings made by the practitioner. Outer, or material, offerings are anything desirable in the world. Inner offering is giving up the attachment to one’s body. Secret offering is surrendering the ego reinforcement that we derive from dualistic emotions. Sometimes a fourth offering is added: recognizing the inseparability of the offerer, the offering, and the recipient.

fourth abhisheka: An abhisheka is a ceremony in which a student is ritually entered into the mandala of a particular tantric deity by his vajra master. In anuttarayoga tantra, there are four principal abhishekas: vase abhisheka, secret abhisheka, prajna-jnana abhisheka, and fourth abhisheka. In the fourth, the guru demonstrates the essence of mind to the student—beyond words or concepts.

SAMAYA HOH: An exhortation to keep the samaya, or pledge, to protect the practitioners and the teachings.

MAHA-AMRITA-RAKTA-BALIM TE PUJA HOH: This mantra can be translated as “Here is an offering for you of great amrita, blood, and food.”

DHARMADHATU EVAM: This is an offering of dharmata, or the basic sanity of mind. Dharmadhatu is the space of all phenomena (see “castle of cosmic miracles” above). In the Sanskrit word EVAM, E is the seed syllable for the feminine principle—emptiness or prajna; VAM is the seed syllable for the masculine principle—form or upaya. Therefore, EVAM is the union of the two.