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Lawapa or Lavapa (Tibetan: la ba pa; grub chen la ba pa; wa ba pa[1]) was a figure in Tibetan Buddhism who flourished in the 10th century. He was also known as Kambala and Kambalapada (Sanskrit: Kaṃbalapāda). Lawapa, was a mahasiddha, or accomplished yogi, who travelled to Tsari.[2] Lawapa was a progenitor of the Dream Yoga sadhana and it was from Lawapa that the mahasiddha Tilopa received the Dream Yoga practice lineage.

Bhattacharya [3] in discussing ancient Bengali Literature proffers that Lawapa composed the Kambalagītika (Tibetan: la ba pa'i glu)[4] and a few songs of realization in the Caryācaryavinizcaya.[5]

Simmer-Brown (2001: p. 57) when conveying the ambiguity of ḍākinīs in their 'worldy' and 'wisdom' guises conveys a detailed narrative that provides the origin of Lawapa's name:

...worldly ḍākinīs are closely related to the māras of India, who haunted the Buddha under the tree of awakening. In this role, they took whatever form might correspond to the vulnerabilities of their target, including beguiling and seductive forms of exquisite beauty. When that ruse failed, they again became vicious ghouls and demonesses. When the yogin Kambala meditated in an isolated cave at Panaba Cliff, the local mamo ḍākinīs plotted to obstruct his meditation. Noticing that he was particularly reliant upon a tattered black woolen blanket that also served as his only robe, they asked to borrow it. Sensing the power of the blanket, they tore it into shreds and devoured it, burning a final scrap in his cooking fire. In anger Kambala magically transformed the mamo ḍākinīs into sheep and sheared them, so that when they returned to their original forms their heads were shaven. Fearing the power of his realization, the mamos vomited up the shreds of blanket, and Kambala collected the pieces and rewove them. From that day, he was called Lvapa, or "master of the blanket".[6]


Nomenclature, orthography and etymology

Alternate English orthographies are Lwabapa, Lawapa and Lvapa. [7 ] An alternate English nomenclature for Lawapa is Kambala.[7 ]


The Hevajra Tantra, a yoginītantra of the anuttarayogatantra class, is held to have originated between the late eighth century C.E. (Snellgrove[8]), and the "late ninth or early tenth century" (Davidson[9]), in Eastern India, possibly Bengal. Tāranātha lists Saroruha and Kampala (also known as "Lva-va-pā, "Kambhalī", and "Śrī-prabhada") as its "bringers":

.. the foremost yogi Virūpā meditated on the path of Yamāri and attained siddhi under the blessings of Vajravārāhi,...His disciple Dombi Heruka..understood the essence of the Hevajra Tantra, and composed many śāstras like the Nairātmā-devi-sādhana and the Sahaja-siddhi. He also conferred abhiṣeka on his own disciples. After this, two ācāryas Lva-va-pā and Saroruha brought the Hevajra Tantra. ... Siddha Sarouha was the first to bring the Hevajra-pitṛ-sādhana[10]

A teaching story

In the "Blue Annals (Tibetan: deb ther sngon po): Book 9, The Contemplative Traditions of Kodrakpa and Niguma" it is narrated that Siddha khyung po rnal 'byor (Tibetan) went searching for [11], the sister of Naropa (1016-1100 CE), as she had seen Vajradhara. As Niguma had attained the 'Rainbow Body' (Tibetan: jalus) those with a pure mind might see her Sambhogakaya form where she had performed Ganachakra in Sosa Island, located in East India. When at Sosa Island, Khyungpo Naljor (Tibetan: grub thob khyung po rnal 'byor) (990-1139 CE)[12] had a dream about Niguma in which he received teachings from her:

He began to doubt that she [Niguma] was a ḍākinī of the flesh eating class, and while he was thinking so, she gazed skywards, and then numerous ḍākinīs gathered, and she created a maṇḍala, and bestowed on him the initiation of the illusory body[13] and the practice of dreams[14]. After that the dakini transported him to a distance of about three yojanas, and deposited him on the summit of a mountain of gold. There in a dream, rdo rje btsun mo[15] bestowed on him the Six Doctrines, and then again personally on three occasions the rdorje tshig rkan and the sgyu ma lam rim. Further, she expounded to him numerous Tantras and sādhanas. Niguma said to him: Except myself and Kambalapada no one else knows the precepts of the Six Doctrines. Till the seventh teacher of the Spiritual Lineage, this teaching should be transmitted down a single line (of teachers). These will be blessed by me, and I shall give them a prophecy.[16]


Principal teachers

The Tibetan Buddhism Resource Center[17 ] (2006) identifies three principal teachers of Lawapa:

  • Anangavajra (Sanskrit; Tibetan: yan lag med pa'i rdo rje)
  • (Tibetan: Deng ki pa)
  • Vajravarahi (Sanskrit; Tibetan: rdo rje phag mo).[18]

Principal students

The Tibetan Buddhism Resource Center [17 ] (2006) identifies two principal students of Lawapa:

  • (Tibetan: nag po spyod pa)
  • (Tibetan: indra bhu ti).[18]

See also


  1. ^ "Wa ba pa" (Tibetan) holds the semantic field "the one with goitre". Source: [1] (accessed: January 30, 2008).
  2. ^ Dharma Dictionary (2008). la ba pa. Source: [2] (accessed: January 29, 2008)
  3. ^ Bhattacharya Bhattacharya (2005: unpaginated)
  4. ^ Source: [3] (accessed: January 30, 2008)
  5. ^ Bhattacharya, Tanmoy (2005). Literature in Ancient Bengal. Source: [4] (accessed: January 30, 2008)
  6. ^ Simmer-Brown, Judith (2001). Dakini's Warm Breath: the Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism. Boston, USA: Shambhala. ISBN 1-57062-720-7 (alk. paper): p.57
  7. ^ a b Simmer-Brown, Judith (2001). Dakini's Warm Breath: the Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism. Boston, USA: Shambhala. ISBN 1-57062-720-7 (alk. paper): p.57; p.311
  8. ^ Snellgrove, D.L.(1959). The Hevajra Tantra: A Critical Study. (London Oriental Series, Vol. 6) London: Oxford University Press. p.14 (Volume 1)
  9. ^ Davidson, Ronald M.(2005). "Tibetan Renaissance: Tantric Buddhism in the Rebirth of Tibetan Culture." Columbia University Press, NY. p.41
  10. ^ Chattopadhyana, Debiprasad (ed.)(1970). Taranatha's History of Buddhism in India. Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Simla. p.245-246
  11. ^ Niguma
  12. ^ Siddha Khyungpo Naljor
  13. ^ Tibetan: sgyu lus
  14. ^ NB: these ¬are two sections of the Six Doctrines of Nāropa.
  15. ^ Vajrayośi, Vajravārahi, here Niguma
  16. ^ Blue Annals (Draft). Source: [5] (accessed: January 30, 2008)
  17. ^ a b Tibetan Buddhism Resource Center
  18. ^ a b The Tibetan Buddhism Resource Center (2006). kambha la pa. Source: [6] (accessed: January 30, 2008)


  • Dudjom Rinpoche and Jikdrel Yeshe Dorje. The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: its Fundamentals and History. Two Volumes. 1991. Translated and edited by Gyurme Dorje with Matthew Kapstein. Wisdom Publications, Boston. ISBN 0-86171-087-8
  • Dargyay, Eva M. (author) & Wayman, Alex (editor)(1998). The Rise of Esoteric Buddhism in Tibet. Second revised edition, reprint.Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt Ltd. Buddhist Tradition Series Vol.32. ISBN 81-208-1579-3 (paper)


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