Thursday, December 18, 2014

You can't make your own goddesses!

I. Rony, CC Liu, Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven, Crystal Quintero (eds.) Wisdom Quarterly; artist Andrea Abulencia (wanderingsoul39/; Ven. Tathaloka Theri (
Some hybrid-humans seem more deva than earthling ( Style Mag).
Devas in art as Greek and Roman gods and goddesses (
Not just Spidey, I can too!
Can you create a goddess? Like resuscitate the Christian God's wife, Asherah? No, you can't make comic book heroes and heroines to do what you want people to do. Well, they could in ancient Greece and Rome (and the more ancient Indus Valley Civilization and India), but we can't now.

Why not? It's just not on. It's a, it's a, it's a nonstarter! What next, a "super" man? A "captain" America? A Latin, originally lesbian "wonder" woman?

No, no, it's a slippery slope. Once we get started going down that road, it could lead to anything, even Kaos. And we need Control. It's a throwback, it's regressive, who in the h*ll does Ram Devineni think he is? (Devi-neni? odd name for a man who gives birth like God/Ram and draws a new goddess as needed by society).

Could I become a Kami (spirit)?
Imagine a world where all ephemeral qualities were anthropomorphized, make like human, in the image of ourselves. Good gosh, it could lead to anything. A cherubic infant could represent the New Year. A fat jolly redcoated Satanist could represent Xmas spreading materialism and consumer-capitalism throughout the land. No, NO, we have to put our collective foot down. This stops here. It may not stop now, but here.

Mary, Kwan Yin, Santa Muerte goddess stylized tattoo (
The Amazing Transformations of a Buddhist nun
Ven. Tathālokā Therī "The Amazing Transformations of Arahant Theri Uppalavanna" as inspired and subsequently re-edited by Wisdom Quarterly
The Buddha had two female chief disciples, foremost in wisdom and supernormal powers, Ven. Khema on his right and Ven. Uppalavanna Theri on his left (BreenJones/flickr).
Born in a blue lotus (BLHD)
As with so many ancient histories, the nun Uppalavaṇṇā’s is one of many twists and turns, spanning vast reaches of space over the three periods time, tangled in the web of rebirths -- human, animal, and divine -- in connection with the Buddha.

Hers has long been a popular tale, retold in multiple texts, fascinating generations of listeners and story-weavers for more than 25 centuries.

And for good reason, as it continues to serve as a catalyst for exploration, inspiration, and insight. According to the ancient Pāḷi-text commentaries written around the 5th century CE Uppalavaṇṇā Therī ["the female monastic elder Blue Lotus Beauty"] was born into the family of a wealthy merchant of Sāvatthi (Sanskrit Srāvasti). She was extraordinarily beautiful like the dark blue uppala lily after which she was named as a fulfillment of her past life aspirations as well as those of the Buddha to have such a disciple.

Blue lotus lily (
Her skin was said to be blue or golden like the calyx of the blue lotus, both colors associated with divine beauty and avatars -- incarnations of a deity into human form in this realm -- in Indian mythology.

Men lost their mindfulness when seeing her due to her extraordinary beauty and presence. When she came of age and began to consider marriage, such a stir began to occur that her father became afraid of civil conflict between powerful and wealthy suitors in competition for the honor of her companionship. Kings from all around India sent their proposals, such that he could think of no way to resolve whom to offer her to in marriage.

The idea came to him of her instead going forth into monastic life, to which she gladly and readily agreed, his idea falling on her ears as if it were an anointment of 1,000 times refined oil.

Ven. Uppalavanna rejects Mara.
Already familiar with the Buddha’s teaching, this exact aspiration was in her heart ardent and unfilled from the past finding a way to ripen in the present. She achieved enlightenment within a fortnight of her going forth into monastic life:

One evening, while the other nuns (bhikkhunīs) were out, she remained behind to practice the teaching. She lit a lamp to prepare the hall. She at down in meditation, concentrated her mind/heart on the fire element using a fire meditation-disc (tejo kasina). And all of her fetters (mental defilements) fell away. She realized the paths and fruits of an arhat, the pinnacle and complete fulfillment of the Buddhist Path.

Lakshmi/Uppalavanna, Saraswati, Radha (GWP)
"I have put down the heavy burden; everything that leads to continued rebirth has been rooted out. The aim for which one goes forth from the home to the homeless state, that aim has been attained by me -- all bondage is destroyed.

"My defilements are burned out; all [future] births are completely uprooted. Having severed my bonds like a she-elephant, I live without taints [of the heart]. Welcome, indeed, was meeting the Awakened One for me. I have attained the three knowledges. I have fulfilled the [goal of the] Buddha’s teaching." More

As beautiful as a budding flower calyx is the Buddhist nun Uppalavanna (chanyan).

No comments: