The Five Long-life Sisters(Auspicious
Mistress of Long-life-Five Sisters)
Tibetan: ta shi tse ring ma che nga. English: Auspicious
Mistress of Long-life - Five Sisters.
The central figure, Tseringma, is white in colour with
one face and two hands. The right holds upraised a gold vajra and
the left placed at the heart cradles a gold long-life vase. Youthful
in appearance, adorned with gold ornaments and various coloured
garments, she rides the mythical white snow lion of Tibet; white
with a green mane and fringe.
In the upper left corner is 'Miyo Lozangma' (Immovable
Noble Mind), yellow in colour, offering savory foods with the right
hand and holding a gold bowl filled with foodstuffs in the left
- riding on a large young tiger. At the right is 'Chopen Drinzangma'
red in colour holding a treasure chest in the right hand and a wish-fulfilling
jewel in the left - riding on a hornless stag.
At the bottom left is 'Ting gyi Shal Zangma' (Fair Blue-faced
One), blue in colour, holding a mirror in the right hand and a stick
with fluttering silk streamers in the left - riding on a wild ass.
At the right is 'Tekar Drozangma' green in colour clutching a bunch
of 'durva' grass in the right hand and a snake lasso in the left
- riding on a blue dragon which grasps wish-fulfilling jewels in
These five together are known as the Five Long-life
Sisters; all attired in variously coloured silk garments and gold
As Tibetan mountain spirits living on the Tibet-Nepal
border the Five Long-life Sisters belong to the 'sman' class of
worldly deities. Subjugated by Guru Padmasambhava in the 8th century
they became avowed protectors for Buddhism. They traveled to India
and received further Buddhist instruction in the 'Dark Noisy' charnel
ground from the teacher 'Lobpon Chog gyi Gocha' and mahasiddha Kanha.
In the 11th century, wishing to test the resolve of the great yogi
Milarepa they created apparitions for the purpose of distracting
him from meditation. Unable to cause any real harm due to the vows
made to Guru Rinpoche they failed and three days later returned
and humbled themselves before the yogi Milarepa. Again vowing to
protect the Buddhist Dharma they offered up their life-essence in
the form of mantras. Requesting teachings, he bestowed the 'Enlightenment
Thought,' and various Vajrayana practices along with candali and
mudra yoga; the two special practices of the Hevajra Tantra. Some
months later, at the same location, the Tseringma sisters returned
and requested detailed instructions on the practice of 'Karma mudra'
which Milarepa consented to give. These are the three encounters
between Milarepa and Tseringma. From the students of Milarepa arose
many diverse lineages of practice which have permeated through all
the schools of Tibetan Buddhism down to the present day.