autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

on yidams and the notion of buddhism as demon worship

apparently, there is an entire segment of the united states who truly, honestly, and ignorantly believe that the wisdom deities of buddhism, yidams, (tibetan buddhism in particular) are demons and we’re all just satan worshippers.

for crying out loud, are there not enough things in the world about which to feel fearful and sad and angry and confused? do you really have to blindly embrace as many of them as you can so that, among the long, long list of ‘things to fear’ you will never have to add ‘running out of things to fear’?

the only thing worse than ignorance in this life is stupidity. for those who do not know the difference, ignorance is a lack of knowledge and stupidity is a decision to remain ignorant when you have another choice.

people who make pronouncements about the wisdom deities of buddhism based upon their personal perspective and without bothering to actually research them are ignorant.

people who believe such statements without bothering to research them are stupid.

for the record — the “deities” of buddhism, in any shape or form, are representations of the aspects of humanity that are needful of mastery, management, and skillful means of manifestation.

‘wrathful deities’ are enraged not at people, but at how the ignorance and stupidity of people occlude their potential to transmute and master themselves.

in fact, the issue is usually one of inadequate translation. deity is the most common translation for the context of ‘master’ or ‘teacher’ from the asian languages because those who did the translation had no context for the level of reverence they could see in the lama/student relationship and the only context they had to bring to bear was that of ‘worship’. the label/name suffered accordingly.

but their inability does not the system convict. it is merely an unfortunate application of ignorance as knowledge. think about it… does it not happen all the time?

as for yidams themselves, they look scary because they are the parts of us that are tasked with overcoming the ugliness in us and, let’s face it, you’d have to be that ‘bad ass’ to really manage it. or at least, this is the perspective from the outside.

if you look at an image of kurukulla and you don’t know what the symbols mean, she’s scary as hell. but if you do know what they mean, you appreciate the role she is intended to serve in your practice. she’s you, after all, not some demon trying to suck your soul out through your nostrils and take you to hell.


look… the underlying terma (law) of thought and process in buddhism is that we are all the same, we share all things, and we struggle through all things. we’re alike. not only are we alike, we’re always more alike than we are different. always.

the idea behind buddhism is that, once you really understand the above paragraph, you realize that spending your life trying to figure out all the differences, making a life of defining yourself and others by how you are different rather than how much you have in common just makes you feel misunderstood, angry, and alone.

you’re not alone. there’s no reason to be angry. even if someone can’t know precisely what’s in your head, they share in the commonality called ‘humanity’ and can, with time and effort and care, understand anything you want to have understood…. if you, too, have the time, effort, and care to help them do so.

i’m sure there are some people, somewhere in the world, who have taken the reality of the intent and hopefulness of buddhism and used it to enact their own, personal rodeo of fears and ugliness. heck, there are people all over the place who call themselves buddhists and show us every moment that they’re interested in anything but finding peace, contentment, and enlightenment.

the point here is, the behavior or choices of one or even a group do not overwhelm or change the fundamental nature, intent, or motivation of a system.

no, actually, the point here is even more simple — if you want to know something, learn it for yourself. trying to rely upon others for knowledge is somewhat like trying to ask someone else to breathe for you. you can put all the faith you want into their ability and knowledge of how to go about it, but ultimately, if you want to succeed at it, you have to do it for yourself.