On Meeting the Great Bliss Queen

an interview with Anne KleinMichele Martin

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SINCE 1971, religion scholar Anne Klein has been studying Buddhist philosophy and practice in various Asian traditions. She was a student of Gelugpa scholars at Drepung Monastic University in Southern India and studied with Nyingma teachers in Kathmandu and Dehra Dun. Currently, she is a Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University in Houston, Texas; she also teaches meditation practice. Klein's books include Knowledge and Liberation; Knowing, Naming and Negation, and Path to the Middle: Oral Madhyamika in Tibet In Meeting the Great Bliss Queen, recently published by Beacon Press, she puts Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and meditation in conversation with feminist theory. This interview was conducted for Tricycle by Michele Martin, a longtime student of Buddhism and a translator of Buddhist texts and oral teachings from Tibetan.

bliss 1Tricycle: Who is the Great Bliss Queen?

Klein: The Great Bliss Queen is a title that one Nyingma lineage gives to Yeshey Tsogyel, an enlightened teacher and the central figure of certain tantric practices. In a conflation of history and hagiography, she is described as a Tibetan queen but also the consort, student, and spiritual equal of Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Tibet in the eighth century. According to legend, she buried Padmasambhava's writings so they could be discovered later.

Tricycles Why is she blissful?

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