Seeking the ‘Bliss Queen’ in Philadelphia

I wanted so much to be the Queen’s concert.

But at what age? What stage of her life called out to me the most, as we, the audience members, watched her grow into a Spiritual goddess, one I desired to be like, to become with as One?

I watched her unfold, as playwrite and lead actress Joanna Rotté took me through 200 years of Tibetan life, when the Emperor not only chose her as his queen, but invited a guru, named Padmasambhava, to come to Tibet and show the “Middle Path” to his countrymen. And women. Women who became empowered by the words of the Śākyamuni Buddha by learning the Four Noble Truths:

  • Life is painfully troubling *
  • We can learn the cause of such pain *
  • We can detach ourselves from it (Dukkha) by following neither the rich nor the poor, the happy nor the sad, the good nor bad *
  • By choosing a Middle Path , we learn all phenomena is but a creation of a mind hell-bent on creating illusions. 
                 — (* liberally interpreted by Contoveros)

But to be a consort of such a woman! She spoke on the day she was born, announcing to her surprised family that she was a “Dakini,” a female embodiment of enlightened energy. Refused and suffered whip lashes to her back rather than marry just anyone, until running away to the woods where the Emperor heard of her. And, brought an end to the civil war rivals seeking her hand in marriage had threatened: the Emperor chose her as Queen.

And what a royal Queen she became. Magnificent in beauty and as lovely as the purest Lotus, according to her 18th century classic biography, “The Secret Life and Songs of the Tibetan Lady Yeshe Tsogyal.” What a “gift!” The Emperor gave her to the Guru when he requested the fairest lady in the land, and soon, she prostrated herself to this Lama, begging for enlightenment. This queen travelled many journeys, through the bad lands of India meetings brigands of whom she brought  loving kindness and “innerstanding” through her compassion. Even when raped seven times, she detached herself from her corporeal being and offered her spiritual self, thus bringing all muggers, murderers and “mahem-makers” closer to the Light.

All before my very own eyes! Courtesy of the Painted Bride‘s Philadelphia production of All Victorious_Ocean,” the Epic story of a woman’s journey to enlightenment, thanks in large part to the Philadelphia Shambhala Center, where the “vixen-like” spirit of Yeshe Tsogyal resides. I joined a small group from the Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia last night to see this absorbing and sensuous production. [Some — with uninitiated sensibilities —  may call parts of the play “disturbing” or “repulsive. Those of a Buddha Nature might see that as “liberating.”]

She slept with and married a Leper when his own wife turned her body away from him.

 She gave her possessions to the poor. Glady. “Take my kneecaps,” she ordered when learning the only way for another to walk was to replace his broken caps.

She learned that stripping naked outside of cave while wasting away to mere blood and bones was not the answer. For her. For anyone.

Consort to the queen. Take me, Break me, Make me.

Into your hands I commend my Spirit to climb higher than it has ever gone before. To be One with you, Oh My Bliss Queen. To be inseparable now and forever. Amen.

“From the mouth of a lotus was born
The swift goddess, heroic liberator
Who went forth in human form
Amid the snowy mountains of Tibet.”
(Jigme Lingpa quoted by Dro-drup-chen III in Gantok (1975)
(Katari Brown, Joanna Rotté pictured in photo, subject to copyright by All Victorious Ocean-production)

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