Simhamukha or Senge Dongma (Sanskrit:Siṃhamukhā; Tibetan:sen-ge’i gdong ma or senge-dong-chen) can be translated into English as Lion-Faced Dakini. This dakini and female tantric Buddha is regarded as one of the principal fierce manifestations of Padmasambhava, the 8th Century mahasiddha who was a founder of the Nyingma or 'Ancient School' of Tibetan Buddhism. As such, she is connected with many ceremonies of the Dzogchen tradition. A fierce dakini, she is also one of the Phramenma, a group of female deities from the Bardo Thödol, or 'Tibetan Book of the Dead'. When fully appreciating the benefits of this wrathful wisdom deity (according to the Nyingma tradition), she is the principal Dakini teacher of Padmasambhava. The female lama Jetsun Lochen (1865- 1951) founded a Simhamukha practice lineage. Simhamukha is iconographically represented as a wrathful deity who is usually depicted as a dark blue, or maroon, coloured lion-faced female and is associated with the direction East. As Simhavaktra, an alternate form of Simhamukha, she is also an attendant of the Dharmapala Palden Lhamo, in which case she is depicted as carrying both a kapala, or skullcap, and a kartika, or ritual knife.
Out of the immensity of the dharmadhatu, the mother of all the Buddhas You arise as chief of all the innumerable Dakinis, With your magical power and shakti pulverising obstructing spirits - Homage to the Dakini Senge Dongma.
Every Hindu temple has the face of lion at the apex entrance carved artistically. This lion-face appears at the top of the door, niche, and windows as well. The countenances of man and lion are fused and it is also know as Simhamuka or Simhalalata. It is supposed to lead worshippers to Supreme Reality.
Simhamukha usually indicates Rahu (eclipse). One of the nine planets, Rahu stands for a devourer. There is a Puranic story. During the fight between gods and demons for nectar or Amrita, Rahu, the demon, tried to get a sip of drink of immortality, stealthily. But he was caught in the nick of time by the Surya (the Sun God) and Chandra (the Moon God) and Lord Vishnu was informed instantly. He cut off Rahu's head. But the head became immortal, having tasted a drop of nectar. Rahu now tried to swallow Sun and Moon when they passed near him. During eclipses (grahana), this scene is repeated according to believers.
Rahu is son of Simhika or the lioness. She symbolizes destruction. Incarnation of Narasimha has this concept behind it.The earliest carving of Kirtimuka or Simhamukha is noticed in the stupa at Amaravati (2nd century C.E.) Dancers of Cambodia use Kirtimuka as headdress. Artifacts and any worship-worthy idols or mandaps carry this symbol.
"Arising from the state of the dharmadhatu, Mother of all conquerors, Queen of all the countless dakinis; With magic powers smashing to dust hindrances and enemies. Homage to Simhamukha." (Nyingma liturgical verse)
Within the Nyingma School, of the two divisions of Kama (Oral Teachings) and Terma (Revealed Treasures), Simhamukha belongs to the Terma. From the three general divisions of Terma: Root, Branch and Essence, Simhamukha belongs to the Dakini Cycle within the Root Terma class. Generally she is regarded as the secret form of Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava. In the Sarma Tradition the deity Simhamukha is found in the Chakrasamvara Cycle of Tantras and although similar in name and appearance is unrelated.
The dakini Simhamukha is a tutelary deity arising out of the Chakrasamvara cycle of Tantras and belongs to the Anuttarayoga 'wisdom' classification. The Sarma tradition Simhamukha is unrelated to the deity of the same name and appearance in the Nyingma 'terma' (treasure) traditions. In that tradition, of the many forms of Padmasambhava, Simhamukha is a secret form of Guru Rinpoche.
Gelugpa lineage: Vajradhara, Dakini Simhamukha, Vajrasana, Bari Lotsawa Rinchen Drag, Sachen Kunga Nyingpo (1092-1158) and the five Holy Superiors of Sakya, Rongpa Dorje Gyaltsen, Sanggye Yeshe, Yak De Panchen, Gyalwa Tsongkapa (1357-1419), etc.