In our series looking at key women of the Buddhist scriptures, we look at the character of Mahapajapati Gotami. She was the Buddha's foster mother as well as his maternal aunt. Legend has it that at her birth an astrologer foretold that she would be the leader of a large following, and she was named Pajapati meaning "leader of a great assembly." It was further prophesised of her, as it had been of her older sister Maya, that she would be the mother of a great secular or religious ruler. When the Buddha's mother died, she took Siddhartha, the Buddha-to-be, and raised him as her own first child. Angela Robson talks to Judith Simmer-Brown, author of The Dakini's Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism andProfessor of Religious Studies at Naropa University in Colorado.