Simhamukha, aka Sinhamukhi, aka Simhavaktra, is regarded as one of the principal fierce manifestations of Padmasambhava. As such, she is connected with many ceremonies of the Dzogchen tradition. A fierce Dakini, she is also one of the Bardo Thödol's Phramenma; a group of Female deities most likely of Bön origin.
Simhamukha ( Sanskrit: Simhaṃukhã) or Senge Dongma (Tibetan: Seng-gdong-ma) is a female Buddha, a fully-Enlightened being in the Vajrayana practice path as a Yidam or meditational deity.
Origin and Lineage
Simhamukha first began to appear in Buddhist practice in India during the rise of the Tantric movement. According to Miranda Shaw there was "considerable mutual influence" between the Hindu and Buddhist tantric groups with the closest Hindu cultural parallels to this lion-headed Buddha being found in the Kaula strand of Hindu Tantra where animal-headed yoginis appear in the Mandala retinues of Kali and Bhairava. In Orissa and Madhya Pradesh archaeological remains from the 9th to 11th Centuries depict these lion, tiger, boar, snake and bird-headed Dakinis.
Simhamukha is viewed as a Dakini Form of Padmasambhava, the founder of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. The Lion Headed Dakini, Sengdoma in Tibetan, was one of the principal teachers of Padmasambhava. Her nature embodies the wrathful force of Anger redirected as Joy, i.e. Enlightenment. Even the most realized teachers do not immediately recognize the Dakini, whose ambiguous, semiotic quality accounts for the richness and variety of her lore.
Simhamukha is usually a dark blue figure although she also appears in a red Form. She is similar to Vajravarahi, or the "diamond sow", in appearance and ornaments. Like her, she has a curved knife in her right hand and a skullcap or Kapala in her left, however her face is that of a lion, whereas Vajravarahi's face is human, with a sow's head appearing over her right ear.
The Dakini Simhamukha is a female meditational deity with a lion face. In the Sarma traditions (Sakya, Kagyu, Gelug) she arises out of the Chakrasamvara cycle of Tantras and belongs to the Anuttarayoga 'Wisdom' classification. In the Nyingma 'Treasure' tradition she is one of the many forms of Padmasambhava, specifically a secret Form of Guru Rinpoche. The Sarma tradition Simhamukha is unrelated to the deity of the same name and appearance in The Nyingma Tradition.imhamukha is a wrathful deity.
The Simhamukha, is a deity from the Sakya, Kagyu, and Gelug traditions and resides in the "Lotus Family" of deities, but in the Nyingma tradition it is held that she is one of many Padmasambhava manifestations. She is in the form of a Red Simhamukha (Tibetan: seng ge dong ma chen mar mo) — with the face of a lion, is fierce by nature, possessing three piercing eyes, the bite of an angry lioness, and wild red fur — she tramples a corpse of ignorance.
The "Padma" (or Lotus) Family" resides in the Western "Pure Land." Simhamukha and the other Lotus family members (with the primary figures being Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara, Amitayus and in certain schools, the Red Tara. She is in the color associated with this Padma family, having the element of fire, and a mental symbolism that contends with such matters as desire and lust.
When fully appreciating the benefits of this wrathful wisdom deity (according to the Nyingmapa tradition), it is important to understand that, regardless of her exceedingly wrathful appearance and ferocious animal head, she is not a guardian spirit rather, she is the principal Dakini teacher of Padmasambhava. Padmasambhava in Sanskrit meaning "lotus-born", founded the Tibetan school of Buddhism in the 8th century.
"Arising from the state of the dharmadhatu, Mother of all conquerors, Queen of all the numberless dakinis; With magic powers smashing to dust hindrances and enemies. Homage to Simhamukha."—Nyingma text.
The practice of Simhamukha was founded by Jetsunma Lochen.
“…the Wisdom Dakini Simhamukha, with a Body blue-black in colour, one face, two hands; three eyes, red, round and glaring; bared fangs and a curled tongue. The right hand holds aloft to the sky a curved-knife marked with a Vajra. The left a blood filled Skullcup to the Heart, carrying a three-pointed khatvanga staff in the bend of the left elbow. Orange Hair, eyebrows and beard flowing upwards, with five dry human heads as a crown and fifty wet, blood dripping, as a necklace. With five bone ornaments and a tiger skin as a lower garment; standing on the left leg with the right drawn-up, in the middle of a blazing Fire of pristine awareness.
She is usually depicted as a maroon, smoke- or wine-colored lioness associated with the direction East.
As Simhavaktra, this goddess is also an attendant of Lha-Mo, in which case she is deoicted as carrying both a Kapala and a kartrika.