Monday, June 11, 2007

The Bodhisattva Tara meets Saint Gertrude

Sister Wendy, of PBS fame, defines a bodhisattva as "a [Buddhist] saint who has passed through the 10 degrees of perfection necessary to achieve nirvana but who chooses not to become a buddha. Instead, he [or she (*tsk*)] elects to stay on earth and relieve the suffering of less enlightened others."

My favorite of these more enlightened others is Tara, who, like the recently demoted Saint Christopher, shares the ineffable mystery of being, like the square root of minus one, entirely imaginary. As saints go, just my cup of tea.

My other favorite from the category of obscure Catholic saints is Saint Gertrude of Nivelles, patron of cats, mice, plague, madness, pilgrims and blessed refuge to distracted travellers seeking lodging in Farmington, New Mexico during a 1992 miners' convention. Next stop, Chaco Canyon, as I recall. We missed the Anasazi Sun Dagger, though.

Maybe not so obscure. Gertrude's medals seem to be popular.



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