Women’s day… a day for reflection on the role, status and achievements of women in our world. Though Tibetan nomadic society is mostly patriarchal and male influence pervades, women’s role in society benefits from the status accorded to the female deities, enlightened beings and Bodhisattvas that abound in the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon, protecting and aiding practitioners on the path to enlightenment. The core purpose of Mahayana Buddhist practice is to renounce one’s personal welfare and seek to release all sentient beings from suffering. Tantric Buddhism provides the fastest path through the cultivation of wisdom, the female element, and compassion, the male one, which united into one will cause the attainment of this ultimate goal.
Female deities are said to appear in realized being’s visions and dreams, appearing in their lives in the guise of ordinary humans. Many are just born as women and can be recognized and revered, or just remain hidden, revealing their powers only when they choose to do so.
This pervading presence of deified or holy human females that permeates the culture at the esoteric level becomes a natural channel for women breaking barriers in society, especially today, when they gradually gain independence from their families and establish themselves in the work environment. In Ritoma, the home of the Norlha Atelier has seen local women take charge of their lives, giving a chance to those who cannot rely on their immediate families for support, adding another layer to female presence and capability