Ayé Khandro

Ayé Khandro

born 1911

The first line drawing illustration in Spacious Passion, heading the chapter Awakening, is of A-yé Khandro.

A-yé Khandro Tsé-drüp Déchen Lhamo (A ye ’mKha’ ’gro Tshe grub bDe chen lha mo) is an important figure in the history of the Aro Lineage. She was the younger of the two sisters who were the sangyums of Aro Yeshé, the son of Aro Lingma who founded the Lineage. The older sister was called A-shé Khandro. The two girls were childhood friends of Aro Yeshé and they were given all the transmission which Khyungchen Aro Lingma gave to Aro Yeshé.

A-yé Khandro was fond of dogs. Several enormous black mastiffs with red felt collars used to keep her company when she went walking. She had good communication with the dogs, and when she was young she would ride the dogs like little horses. She took after Aro Lingma in terms of her dislike for wearing clothes. She would wander around the Gar naked, even as an adult (as would A-shé Khandro). This was quite accepted at the Gar, because people were used to practising sKu-mNyé and trül-khor (Tantric yogic exercises) together, but also because the two girls were regarded as Dakinis and therefore whatever they did was regarded as an inspiration.

The sisters had a way of looking at people which put them into a non-conceptual state – especially when both sisters gazed at a person at the same time. A-yé Khandro and A-shé Khandro were brought up very closely with Aro Yeshé, and received the same education he received with the prominent yoginis and yogis of the Aro Gar. These two girls were the first two to whom he transmitted the Aro gTér. Aro Yeshé received the entire body of the Aro gTér from Aro Lingma when she appeared to him in vision. She also appeared to A-yé Khandro and A-shé Khandro but they were able to see her with their naked eyes. Aro Yeshé passed the transmission of the Aro gTér to A-yé Khandro and A-shé Khandro, and they in turn passed it back to him from their own visionary experience.

Although it was Aro Yeshé who was the son of Aro Lingma – it was A-yé Khandro and A-shé Khandro who actually passed the teachings on to the other disciples of Aro Lingma. Aro Yeshé himself taught very rarely because the transmissions were seen as more powerful if they were received from women – and particularly from A-yé Khandro – who was regarded as epitomising the Mind transmission of Aro Lingma. A-shé Khandro was regarded as epitomising the Speech transmission of Aro Lingma. Aro Yeshé epitomised the body transmission of Aro Lingma. When transmissions were given, A-yé Khandro would hold up the mirror, A-shé Khandro would give the cryptic introduction to the nature of Mind, and Aro Yeshé would simply sit. Aro Yéshe sat in the centre, with A-shé Khandro on the right and A-yé Khandro on the left.