Dombi Heruka or Dombipa was one of the eighty-four mahasiddhas and student of Virupa. He is usually depicted riding a tiger and holding a snake.

Mahasiddhas – The Siddhi of perfection

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is a term for someone who embodies and cultivates the “siddhi of perfection”.

Definition of a siddha

A siddha is an individual who, through the practice of sādhanā, attains the realization of siddhis, psychic and spiritual abilities and powers.

Mahasiddhas were practitioners of yoga and tantra, or tantrikas.

Vajrayana traditions & lineages

The Mahasiddhas are the founders of Vajrayana traditions and lineages such as Dzogchen and Mahamudra.

There is a symbiotic relationship between Tantric Buddhist communities and the Buddhist monastic university such as Nalanda which flourished at the same time.

Mahasiddhas in the Vajrayana pantheon

This is a list of influential Mahasiddhas in the Vajrayana pantheon.

Mahasiddha

Mahasiddha is a term for someone who embodies and cultivates the “siddhi of perfection”. A siddha is an individual who, through the practice of sādhanā, attains the realization of siddhis, psychic and spiritual abilities and powers. Mahasiddhas were practitioners of yoga and tantra, or tantrikas. Their historical influence throughout the Indian subcontinent and the Himalayas was vast and they reached mythic proportions as codified in their songs of realization and hagiographies, or namtars, many of which have been preserved in the Tibetan Buddhist canon. The Mahasiddhas are the founders of Vajrayana traditions and lineages such as Dzogchen and Mahamudra.

Nagarjuna

Nāgārjuna is widely considered one of the most important Buddhist philosophers. Along with his disciple Āryadeva, he is considered to be the founder of the Madhyamaka school of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Nāgārjuna is also credited with developing the philosophy of the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras and, in some sources, with having revealed these scriptures in the world, having recovered them from the nāgas. Furthermore, he is traditionally supposed to have written several treatises on rasayana as well as serving a term as the head of Nālandā.

Nāgārjuna is widely considered one of the most important Buddhist philosophers. Along with his disciple Āryadeva, he is considered to be the founder of the Madhyamaka school of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Nāgārjuna is also credited with developing the philosophy of the Prajñāpāramitā sūtras and, in some sources, with having revealed these scriptures in the world, having recovered them from the nāgas. Furthermore, he is traditionally supposed to have written several treatises on rasayana as well as serving a term as the head of Nālandā.

Milarepa

Milarepa Thangka

Jetsun was a Tibetan siddha, who was famously known as a murderer when he was a young man, before turning to Buddhism and becoming a highly accomplished Buddhist disciple.

He is generally considered one of Tibet’s most famous yogis and spiritual poets, whose teachings are known among several schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

He was a student of , and a major figure in the history of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.

He is also famous for the feat of climbing Mount Kailash.

Naropa

Nāropā was an Indian Buddhist Mahasiddha. He was the disciple of and brother, or some sources say partner and pupil, of Niguma. As an Indian Mahasiddha, ’s instructions inform Vajrayana, particularly his six yogas of Naropa relevant to the completion stage of anuttarayogatantra.

Tilopa

Tilopa (988–1069) was born in either Chativavo (Chittagong), Bengal or Jagora, Bengal in India. He was a tantric practitioner and mahasiddha. He practiced Anuttarayoga Tantra, a set of spiritual practices intended to accelerate the process of attaining Buddhahood. Naropa is considered his main student. At Pashupatinath temple premise, greatest Hindu shrine of Nepal, there are two caves where Tilopa attained Siddhi and initiated his disciple Naropa.

Shantideva

was an 8th-century Indian Buddhist monk and scholar at Nalanda. He was an adherent of the Madhyamaka philosophy of .

Aryadeva

Āryadeva, was a disciple of Nagarjuna and author of several important Mahayana Madhyamaka Buddhist texts. He is also known as Kanadeva, recognized as the 15th patriarch in Chan Buddhism, and as “Bodhisattva Deva” in Sri Lanka.

Virupa, also known as Virupaksa and Tutop Wangchuk, was an 11th or 12th century Indian mahasiddha and yogi, and the source of important cycles of teachings in Tibetan Buddhism.

Marpa Lotsawa

Marpa Lotsawa, sometimes known fully as Marpa Chokyi Lodro or commonly as Marpa the Translator, was a Tibetan Buddhist teacher credited with the transmission of many Vajrayana teachings from India, including the teachings and lineages of Mahamudra. Due to this the Kagyu lineage, which he founded, is often called Marpa Kagyu in his honour.

Indrabhuti

is a name attributed to a number of individuals that have become conflated in Vajrayana Buddhism. One Indrabhuti, considered a Mahasiddha, was a disciple of .

Saraha

, Sarahapa, Sarahapāda, or in the Tibetan language The Arrow Shooter, was known as the first sahajiya and one of the Mahasiddhas. The name Saraha means “the one who has shot the arrow.”. According to one, scholar, “This is an explicit reference to an incident in many versions of his biography when he studied with a dakini disguised as a low-caste arrow smith. Metaphorically, it refers to one who has shot the arrow of non duality into the heart of duality.” He is also often referred to as The Great Brahmin.

Gorakhnath

Yogi was a Hindu yogi and saint who was the founder of the Nath tradition. He is considered as one of the two notable disciples of Matsyendranath. His followers are found in India at the place known as Garbhagiri which is in Ahmednagar in the state of Maharashtra. These followers are called yogis, Gorakhnathi, Darshani or Kanphata.

Kanhapa

Kānhapā, Kanha or Kanhapada or Krishnacharya was one of the main poets of Charyapada, the earliest known example of Assamese, Bengali, Maithili and Odia literature. He was a tantric Buddhist and a disciplle of Jalandhar. Kanhapada is also a prominent siddhacharya to Nath Sampradaya after and Gorakhnath. His poems in Charjyapad are written in a code, whereby every poem has a descriptive or narrative surface meaning but also encodes tantric Buddhist teachings. Some experts believe this was to conceal sacred knowledge from the uninitiated, while others hold that it was to avoid religious persecution.

Shavaripa

Śabara in Sanskrit or in Tibetan is Indian Buddhist teacher, one of the eighty-four Mahasiddhas, honored as being among the holders of the distant transmission of Mahamudra. He was a student of Nagarjuna and a teacher of Maitripa. He is one of the forefathers of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

Luipada

Luipa or was a mahasiddha siddhacharya from eastern India. He was a poet and writer of a number of Buddhist texts.

Ratnākaraśānti was one of the eighty-four Buddhist Mahāsiddhas and the chief debate-master at the monastic university of Vikramashila. At Vikramashila he was instructed by Nāropa, and taught both Atiśa and Maitrīpa. His texts include several influential commentaries to Buddhist tantras, as well as works of philosophy and logic.

Lawapa

Lawapa or Lavapa was a figure in Tibetan Buddhism who flourished in the 10th century. He was also known as Kambala and Kambalapada. Lawapa, was a mahasiddha, or accomplished yogi, who travelled to Tsari. Lawapa was a progenitor of the Dream Yoga sādhanā and it was from Lawapa that the mahasiddha Tilopa received the Dream Yoga practice lineage.

Dampa Sangye

was a Buddhist mahasiddha of the Indian Tantra movement who transmitted many teachings based on both Sutrayana and Tantrayana to Buddhist practitioners in Tibet in the late 11th century. He travelled to Tibet more than five times. On his third trip from India to Tibet he met Machig Labdrön. Dampa Sangye appears in many of the lineages of Chöd and so in Tibet he is known as the Father of Chod, however perhaps his best known teaching is “the Pacification”. This teaching became an element of the Mahamudra Chöd lineages founded by Machig Labdrön.

Kukkuripa

(Bengali: কুক্কুরিপা) was a mahasiddha who lived in India. He became interested in tantric Buddhist practice, and chose the path of renunciation. During his travels, he found a starving dog in a bush. Moved by compassion, he fed the dog and took care of her. The two stayed together and eventually found a cave where Kukkuripa could meditate in peace. When he went out for food, the dog would stay and guard the cave.

Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol

Shabkar Tsokdruk Rangdrol (1781-1851) was a Tibetan Buddhist yogi and poet from Amdo. Shabkar's yogic and poetic skill is considered second only to Milarepa.

(1781-1851) was a Tibetan Buddhist yogi and poet from Amdo.

Shabkar’s yogic and poetic skill is considered second only to Milarepa.

Maitripada

Maitrīpāda, was a prominent Indian Buddhist Mahasiddha associated with the Mahāmudrā transmission. His teachers were Shavaripa and Naropa. His students include Atisha, Marpa, Vajrapani, Karopa, Natekara, Devākaracandra, and Rāmapāla. His hermitage was Mithilā, somewhere in northern Bihar and neighboring parts of southern Nepal. He was influential as the major source of the teachings of mahamudra for Tibetan Buddhism.

Khadgapa

was an Indian Buddhist mahasiddha who lived during the Pala rule of East India and has been placed in the first half of the tenth-century. He is revered by practitioners of tantric Buddhism in India and Tibet.

Mekhala and Kanakhala

Mekhala “The Elder Severed-Headed Sister” and Kanakhala “The Younger Severed-Headed Sister”) are two sisters who figure in the eighty-four mahasiddhas of Vajrayana Buddhism. Both are described as the disciples of another mahasiddha, (Krishnacharya). They are said to have severed their heads and offered them to their guru, and then danced headless. Their legend is closely associated with the Buddhist severed-headed goddess Chinnamunda.

Tenzin Phuntsok Rinpoche

, also called Tenzin Nyudrup, is the recognised reincarnation of the Tibetan Mahasiddha Geshe Lama Konchog, who died in 2001.

Kukuraja

was a mahasiddha within the lineages of Esoteric Buddhism and he was contemporaneous with Indrabhuti of Sahor in Oddiyana and Kambalapada.

Tiphupa

was an Indian Buddhist teacher from the 11th and 12th century who was considered to be the rebirth of Darma Dode, son and student of Tibetan lama Marpa Lotsawa. When young Darma Dode died in an accident his father with the special abilities of a realized lama, managed to prolong his son’s life for a while. It was enough time for Marpa to teach him how to transfer his consciousness into a dead body – in this case the body of a dead pigeon. Following the detailed instructions of the teacher, the pigeon flew to India and died next to a sixteen-year-old boy who had recently lost his life. Transferring again his consciousness, this time to the young boy’s body, gave life to the Indian teacher Tiphupa. When the boy returned home it was evident that Tiphupa was very different from who he had been before. He kept taking care of his aging parents as a normal son and they considered him as a guru. Tiphupa intensively practiced the methods taught by Marpa and others, and methods he received in India from Naropa’s students and other masters with the result that he reached realization as a mahasiddha. He became a famous teacher himself and gave numerous teachings to Milarepa’s student Rechungpa. Probably the most important of them for the future of the Kagyu lineage was the “nine-fold cycle of the formless Dakinis”.

Matsyendranatha

Matsyendranātha, also known as Matsyendra, Macchindranāth, Mīnanātha and Minapa was a saint and yogi in a number of Buddhist and Hindu traditions. He is traditionally considered the revivalist of hatha yoga as well as the author of some of its earliest texts. He is also seen as the founder of the natha sampradaya, having received the teachings from Shiva. He is especially associated with Kaula Shaivism. He is also one of the eighty-four mahasiddhas and considered the guru of Gorakshanath, another important figure in early hatha yoga. He is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists and is sometimes regarded as an incarnation of Avalokiteśvara.

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