Masters of Mahamudra

Songs and Histories of the Eighty-Four Buddhist Siddhas

By Keith Dowman

Subjects: Buddhism
Series: SUNY series in Buddhist Studies
Paperback : 9780887061608, 472 pages, August 1986
Hardcover : 9780887061585, 472 pages, August 1986

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction and Notes

Songs and Legends of the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas


1. The Mahasiddha Luipa, The Fish-Gut Eater
2. The Mahasiddha Lilapa, The Royal Hedonist
3. The Mahasiddha Virupa, Dakini-Master
4. The Mahasiddha Dombipa, The Tiger-Rider
5. The Mahasiddha Savaripa, The Hunter
6. The Mahasiddha Saraha, The Great Brahmin
7. The Siddha Kankaripa, The Lovelorn Widower
8. The Mahasiddha Minapa, The Hindu Jonah
9. The Nath Siddha Goraksa, The Immortal Cowherd
10. The Nath Siddha Caurangipa, The Dismembered Stepson
11. The Siddha Vinapa, The Musician
12. The Mahasiddha Santipa (Ratnakarasanti), The Complacent Missionary
13. The Mahasiddha Tantipa, The Senile Weaver
14. The Siddha Camaripa, The Cobbler
15. The Siddha Khadgapa, The Fearless Thief
16. The Mahasiddha Nagarjuna, Philosopher and Alchemist
17. The Mahasiddha Kanhapa (Krsnacarya), The Dark Siddha
18. The Mahasiddha Aryadeva (Karnaripa), The One-Eyed
19. The Siddha Thaganapa, The Compulsive Liar
20. The Mahasiddha Naropa, The Dauntless
21. The Siddha Syalipa, The Jackal-Yogin
22. The Mahasiddha Tilopa, The Great Renunciate
23. The Siddha Catrapa, The Lucky Beggar
24. The Siddha Bhadrapa, The Exclusive Brahmin
25. The Siddha Dukhandhi, The Scavenger
26. The Siddha Ajogi, The Rejected Wastrel
27. The Siddha Kalapa, The Handsome Madman
28. The Siddha Dhobipa, The Wise Washerman
29. The Siddha Kankana, The Siddha-King
30. The Mahasiddha Kambala (Lwa wa pa), The Black-Blanket-Clad Yogin
31. The Mahasiddha Dengipa, The Courtesan's Brahmin Slave
32. The Siddha Bhandepa, The Envious God
33. The Siddha Tantepa, The Gambler
34. The Mahasiddha Kukkuripa, The Dog-Lover
35. The Siddha Kucipa, The Goitre-Necked Yogin
36. The Siddha Dharmapa, The Eternal Student
37. The Siddha Mahipa, "The Greatest"
38. The Siddha Acinta, The Avaricious Hermit
39. The Siddha Babhaha, The Free Lover
40. The Siddha Nalinapa, The Self-Reliant Prince
41. The Mahasiddha Bhusuku (Santideva), The Idle Monk
42. The Mahasiddha Indrabhuti, The Enlightened Siddha-King
43. The Siddha Mekopa, Guru Dread-Stare
44. The Siddha Kotalipa (Tog tse pa), The Peasant Guru
45. The Siddha Kamparipa, The Blacksmith
46. The Mahasiddha Jalandhara, The Dakini's Chosen One
47. The Mahasiddha Rahula, The Rejuvenated Dotard
48. The Siddha Dharmapa (Gharbari), The Contrite Pandita
49. The Siddha Dhokaripa, The Bowl-Bearer
50. The Siddha Medhini, The Tired Farmer
51. The Siddha Pankajapa, The Lotus-Born Brahmin
52. The Mahasiddha Ghantapa, The Celibate Bell-Ringer
53. The Siddha Jogipa, The Siddha-Pilgrim
54. The Mahasiddha Celukapa, The Revitalized Drone
55. The Siddha Godhuripa, The Bird-Catcher
56. The Siddha Lucikapa, The Escapist
57. The Siddha Nirgunapa, The Enlightened Moron
58. The Siddha Jayananda, Crow-Master
59. The Siddha Pacaripa, The Pastrycook
60. The Siddha Campaka, The Flower-King
61. The Siddha Bhiksanapa, Siddha Two-Teeth
62. The Siddha Dhilipa, The Epicurean Merchant
63. The Siddha Kumbharipa, The Potter
64. The Nath Siddha Carbaripa (Carpati), The Petrifier
65. The Yogini Siddha Manibhadra, The Happy Housewife
66. The Yogini Siddha Mekhala, The Elder Severed-Headed Sister
67. The Yogini Siddha Kanakhala, The Younger Severed-Headed Sister
68. The Siddha Kilakipapa, The Exiled Loud-Mouth
69. The Siddha Kantalipa, The Ragman-Tailor
70. The Siddha Dhahulipa, The Blistered Rope-Maker
71. The Siddha Udhilipa, The Bird-Man
72. The Kapali Siddha Kapalapa, The Skull-Bearer
73. The Siddha Kirapalapa (Kilapa), The Repentant Conqueror
74. The Mahasiddha Sakara (Saroruha), The Lotus-Born
75. The Siddha Sarvabhaksa, The Glutton
76. The Mahasiddha Nagabodhi, The Red-Horned Thief
77. The Mahasiddha Darikapa, Slave-King of the Temple Whore
78. The Siddha Putalipa, The Mendicant Icon-Bearer
79. The Siddha Upanaha, The Bootmaker
80. The Siddha Kokilipa, The Complacent Esthete
81. The Mahasiddha Anangapa, The Handsome Fool
82. The Yogini Mahasiddha Laksminkara, The Crazy Princess
83. The Siddha Samudra, The Pearl Diver
84. The Siddha Vyalipa, The Courtesan's Alchemist


Appendix I: Texts and Sources
Appendix II: The Siddhas' Geneology and Genealogical Tree
Notes to the Commentary
Glossary of Sanskrit Terms
Glossary of Numeral Terms
Abbreviations and Bibliography


In Tibetan Buddhism, Mahamudra represents a perfected level of meditative realization: it is the inseparable union of wisdom and compassion, of emptiness and skillful means. These eighty-four masters, some historical, some archetypal, accomplished this practice in India where they lived between the eighth and twelfth centuries. Leading unconventional lives, the siddhas include some of the greatest Buddhist teachers; Tilopa, Naropa, and Marpa among them. Through many years of study, Keith Dowman has collected and translated their songs of realization and the legends about them. In consultation with contemporary teachers, he gives a commentary on each of the Great Adepts and culls from available resources what we can know of their history.

Dowman's extensive Introduction traces the development of tantra and discusses the key concepts of the Mahamudra. In a lively and illuminating style, he unfolds the deeper understandings of mind that the texts encode. His treatment of the many parallels to contemporary psychology and experience makes a valualbe contribution to our understanding of human nature.

Keith Dowman's many publications include: Sky Dancer: The Secret Life and Songs of the Lady Yeshe Sogyel (Routledge & Kegan Paul) and The Legend of the Great Stupa (Dharma Publishing). He lives and practices in Kathmandu, Nepal.