The Teachings of Tara: A Transgendered, Non-gendered Tale
by Aidan Nuccitelli
(This story is adapted from the tale of Tara as told to China Galland in
"Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna.")

	Many countless aeons ago, in another time altogether, of feminism
and queer rights, when we were defined by our gender, there lived a drag
prince named Yeshe Dawa, Wisdom Moon. 
	Ze made innumerable offerings to the spiritual assembly, in the
form of letters from hir psychiatrist, suicide threats, and a whole new
crossdressing wardrobe. As a result of this, ze grew very close to
becoming enlightened hirself, as ze had always dreamed. 
	The doctors saw ze wished to be freed from samsara, the world of
suffering, and told hir, "If you pray for a man's form, you will be
enlightened in this very lifetime." 
	But the spiritual upstart would have none of that. Ze didn't want
to trade one form of suffering for another, but to be free from hir gender
entirely. "Man, woman, the self, the person - all these phenomena have no
true existence," said Yeshe Dawa. "They only exist as projections of our
incorrect conception of the world."
	The doctors drew together in horror at hir theoretical rantings,
but Yeshe continuted. "In actuality, they do not exist in and of
themselves. They have no separate, independent existence, so there is no
need for me to change myself into a man. Ideas of 'male' and 'female'
always delude worldly people."
	One of the more open-minded doctors actually laughed, but was
quickly silenced.
 	"Many wish to gain enlightenment in a man's form, but few wish to
work for the benefit of sentient beings without form. Therefore I will
remain in my woman's form, but strip away the lies of gender until
reaching enlightenment. Thus I will turn the wheel of Dharma, working for
the benefit of all living beings, until the world of samsara is empty and
all suffering ended."	
	No doctor would have anything to do with Yeshe Dawa, prescribing
that ze meditate upon hir true gender and lead the normal life appropriate
to a woman. Instead, Yeshe Dawa spent many millions of years more
meditating on the six perfections of generosity, moral discipline,
patience, enthusiastic perseverance, concentration, and wisdom. 
	"You, Yeshe Dawa," the Buddha Bornstein prophesied, "will reach
enlightenment in the form of Buddha Tara." Just as the Buddha foretold,
ze became fully enlightened and worked to free all living beings from
the suffering of the world. Finally the peaceful activist reached the
state of mental concentration called free from samsara. As other
bodhisattvas and transgendered people, Yeshe Dawa was now invisible to
the world except for others of hir kind and those who needed to see hir.
	Each day, after this achievement, ze liberated millions of beings
from the sufferings of samsara through the power of her mental
concentration and teachings. Ze taught them how to have love, kindness,
and compassion; ze changed their minds from having anger to having
patience. Every day when Yeshe Dawa woke up, ze would not eat breakfast
until ze had freed over a million beings from suffering. And then ze would
not eat lunch until ze had freed at least another million beings. Then ze
would refuse dinner until at least another million were free, even if
night had fallen. 
	Because so many beings were rescued by Yeshe Dawa, they began to
call hir Drolma, the Rescuer, the Tibetan word for Tara. Tara is hir name
in Sanskrit. And thus Buddha Bornstein's prophesy came to pass, and Tara
became a source of comfort and guidance for all those seeking to be freed
from the samsara of their gender. 


Back to the queergendered fiction page
Back to Sphere