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.
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