A ḍākinī (Sanskrit: डाकिनी; Tibetan: མཁའ་འགྲོ་མ་, Wylie: mkha’ ‘gro ma, THL: khandroma; Mongolian: хандарма; Chinese: 空行母; pinyin: kōngxíngmǔ; lit

‘sky-going mother’; alternatively 荼枳尼, pinyin: túzhǐní; 荼吉尼, pinyin: tújíní; or 吒枳尼, pinyin: zhāzhǐní; Japanese: 荼枳尼 / 吒枳尼 / 荼吉尼, dakini) is a type of female spirit or demon in Hinduism and Buddhism

The concept of the ḍākinī somewhat differs depending on the context and the tradition

For instance, in earlier Hindu texts and East Asian esoteric Buddhism, the term denotes a race of demonesses who ate the flesh and/or vital essence of humans

In Hindu Tantric literature, Ḍākinī is the name of a goddess often associated with one of the six chakras or the seven fundamental elements (dhātu) of the human body

In Nepalese and Tibetan Buddhism, meanwhile, ‘ḍākinī’ (also wisdom ḍākinī) can refer to both what can be best described as fierce-looking female embodiments of enlightened energy and to human women with a certain amount of spiritual development, both of which can help Tantric initiates attaining enlightenment

In Japan, the ḍākinīs - held in the East Asian Buddhist tradition to have been subjugated and converted to Buddhism by the buddha Vairocana under the guise of the god Mahākāla (Daikokuten in Japanese) - were eventually coalesced into a single deity called Dakiniten (荼枳尼天, 吒枳尼天, or 荼吉尼天), who, after becoming syncretized with the native agricultural deity Inari, became linked to fox (kitsune) iconography associated with the latter