Buddhism is often erroneously described as atheistic, when in fact traditional Buddhist cosmology explicitly acknowledges the existence of countless gods or devas. (And yes, the devas are in fact considered to be deities, though not always in a way that monotheistic Westerners would recognize).
It would be more accurate to say that Buddhism is untheistic. It does not have deity-worship or the cultus of gods as its central focus for the most part, though there are important exceptions to this. Devotional activity does figure into Buddhism, and it actually has a larger part in Buddhist praxis than many Westerners would like to believe.
My status as LGBTQ+, autistic, nonbinary, and disabled has made me keenly aware that society has a “default” and it doesn’t look like me, even though my whiteness and class privilege makes it far easier to bend things into something resembling a shape I can use.
I got an important reminder from My Lady last night. I cannot see her because she is within me, not without me. But to feel her all I have to do is still myself and listen to the beating of my own heart.
To My Lady Saraswati
From the starry womb of Mother Night
The golden Sun will be born anew
I wait for the Moon in silent joy
To greet another year with you.
I’m a Buddhist in the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. If you want an idea of what that means, the most famous Gelugpa is unquestionably His Holiness The Dalai Lama.
HHDL as a boy, photographer unknown
I didn’t join the Gelug school because of His Holiness’s fame though. I joined because of the school’s long tradition of rigorous scholarship, and even better, the fact that a Gelug-affiliated Dharma center is about two miles from my apartment.
It’s early yet, and still dark outside. The predawn hours are my favorite time of day, especially if I’m the only human at home. I like to watch my cats and play computer games.
Another reason I enjoy this time though, is that in these still and quiet hours before the dawn comes, I can feel My Lady’s presence very clearly. No doubt my signal clarity is best when my mind is clearest, but I also like to think that She is an early riser…