Troma Nagmo: The Female Deity of the Dharmapala Pantheon

The Troma Nagmo Practice

Troma Nagmo literally means the Black Wrathful Lady. She is included in the Dharmapala pantheon as a form of Vajravarahi. She is also the feminine embodiment of wisdom. In the Dudjom Tersar lineage, Troma Nagmo is the innermost secret aspect of its khandro practice. The Cho practice of Troma Nagmo provides us with the means to create a paradigm shift. It helps us cut through the dualistic clinging of the mind.

After this root of suffering is eliminated, it would reveal our inherent wisdom nature, since Troma means the enchanting urge to be true to our nature by virtue of the formidable darkness.

The Revelation of Troma Nagmo by Guru Rinpoche

The compassionate Guru Rinpoche had foreseen the difficulties that would arise in the future. This prompted him to reveal the rare teaching of The Black Wrathful Dakini to his chief consort Yeshe Tsogyal. The Tibetan queen then later concealed this as a Terma. 

One of the reincarnations of Padmasambhava’s twenty-five disciples, Khye'u Chung Lotsawa, was supposed to discover the treasure at an appropriate time. He reincarnated as Rigdzin Duddul Dorje, the great revitalizer of the Katok Monastery lineage. And then later he reappeared as the meditation master and terton Dudjom Lingpa (1835-1904).

There were a series of visions of Machig Labdron, Saraha, Padampa Sangye, and others, through which Dudjom Lingpa received the direct transmissions of the Troma Nagmo.

Before he actually taught the practice, he kept it a secret for a while.

Through the practice of Troma Nagmo, least thirteen of Dudjom Lingpa's disciples attained rainbow body.

The Iconography of Troma Nagmo 

  • Troma Nagmo is either blue or black, with one central face and a small brown pig head on the crown looking to the right.
  • Her facial expression is ferocious.
  • She has three piercing red eyes, a gaping mouth, sharp teeth and fangs, and a twisting red tongue.
  • She also has intimidating red facial hair that blazes upwards like fire.
  • Her tawny-orange hair-locks swirl upwards above her five-skull tiara.
  • The wrathful black head of a squealing pig that gazes up into the sky protrudes from the crown of her head.

Troma Nagmo's face represents her single potential and the 'relative truth.' And, the sow's face represents her perception of emptiness as the 'absolute truth'.

troma nagmo

Why is She called a Black Wrathful Lady?

Her black color indicates her unchangeable nature. And her sow’s head and dakini’s head show the transformation of ignorance into wisdom, or pristine awareness respectively.

Her three eyes perceive the three worlds and times. Her four sharp canine teeth liberate the four maras or demonic obstructions. Her twisting red tongue indicates that she leads beings from cyclic existence. Her blazing facial hair indicates her triumph over hopes and fears. And her two legs represent the ultimate purity of both samsara and nirvana.

With her right hand, she wields aloft the vajra-handled curved knife of the dakinis. She circles it towards the ten directions to terrify all obstructive demons. She holds a skull-cup full of swirling fresh blood in front of her heart in her left hand. Resting in the crook of her left arm is the long shaft of her tantric staff or khatvanga. It represents the male essence of Heruka, as well as her ability to perform all kinds of method activities or skillful means. The top of her khatvanga is adorned with different paraphernalia.

There is a golden crossed-vajra, a golden nectar vase, a billowing white silk ribbon, a freshly-severed head, a decaying head, a dry white skull, and an iron trident. A blazing mass of awareness fire emanates from her body. And right behind these orange-red flames appear the radiating golden light rays of her stunning blue aura. She stands on the left leg in a posture of dance atop a corpse, sun disc, and lotus blossom. And she is completely surrounded by the orange-red flames of pristine awareness.

The Actual Practice of Cho

In the Dudjom Tersar tradition, the practice of Tröma Nakmo contains the complete path of Vajrayana. It goes from the ngondro all the way through to the Dzogchen practices of Trekcho and Togal. According to Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche;

"The Troma Nagmo based practice of Cho removes obstacles, both for our short-term happiness and those hindering our ultimate enlightenment. It carries extraordinary healing power and through its practice, we can accumulate merit and wisdom in a vast and rapid way. Merely making a connection to Troma Nagmo practice brings great benefit and blessings."

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