In this image the khandro (mKha’ ’gro – dakini) is a yidam, which can be discerned by the fact that she is wearing a tiger skirt rather than a leopard skirt. She is holding a chain which symbolises overcoming the four philosophical extremes of eternalism, nihilism, monism and dualism. These are sometimes known as ‘the Four Denials’, being the philosophical extremes that Dharma denies.
Eternalism maintains that all circumstances unfold according to an unchangeable plan or design. This distorted view denies the emptiness of the possibility of change or chance. Nihilism distorts non-dual reality by maintaining that all actions are empty of meaningful value. Monism distorts non-duality by asserting that ‘everything is one;’ in denial of apparent distinctions and compassionate connections. Dualism denies non-duality by declaring that emptiness and form are divided.
This raven headed dakini is red, displaying her connection with the fire element, and the transformation of passion into compassion. She is draped in a human skin, one of the wrathful ornaments of the wrathful yidams. The thangka painter has depicted her wrathful ornaments in gold as an honorific. The ornaments are simplified because the yidam is quite small on the thangka.