Santa La Muerte

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Tenma
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Santa La Muerte

Post by Tenma » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:26 pm

What are the views of the "new saint," Santa La Muerte? Right now, people are putting up a statue of her in a park nearby and I would like to ask the Buddhist view of the personification of death. Is she worldly or Not? She personifies death, but is based off of an Aztec death goddess who seems to be similar to Yama's sister. Do these death deities like Yama give obstacles(apart from death) and are worldly? If so, what practice can I do to ward off this negative presence?
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Norwegian
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by Norwegian » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:32 pm

She either exists or she does not. If she does not, there's no need to worry. If she exists, she's worldly, so no need to get involved with her. As for practice, generate Bodhicitta and practice Lojong.

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The Cicada
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by The Cicada » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:55 pm

Tenma wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:26 pm
What are the views of the "new saint," Santa La Muerte? Right now, people are putting up a statue of her in a park nearby and I would like to ask the Buddhist view of the personification of death. Is she worldly or Not? She personifies death, but is based off of an Aztec death goddess who seems to be similar to Yama's sister. Do these death deities like Yama give obstacles(apart from death) and are worldly? If so, what practice can I do to ward off this negative presence?
Strange parallel between the Santa La Muerte phenomenon and the legendary "Thuggees" who were in devoted to Kali, in my view. I remember listening to a science podcast about experiments with random people placing pixels randomly through a web based medium where various images, including paintings like the Mona Lisa would somehow converge from the mental collective from these seemingly random interactions. I wouldn't dismiss this phenomenon as "nothing," in any practical sense.

That being said, warding off an influence is different from growing to understand it and making peace with it. ...Even "taming" it.

Ricky
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by Ricky » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:04 am

She is a worldly deity. Normally worshiped by drug dealers, prostitutes and other outcasts of society for protection.

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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by DNS » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:22 am

Santa Muerte es buena. Ex-convicts and addicts have found inspiration with their spiritual practice with veneration of her, so I think it's pretty cool, if it helps people.

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cyril
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by cyril » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:26 am

Tenma wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:26 pm
What are the views of the "new saint," Santa La Muerte? Right now, people are putting up a statue of her in a park nearby and I would like to ask the Buddhist view of the personification of death. Is she worldly or Not? She personifies death, but is based off of an Aztec death goddess who seems to be similar to Yama's sister. Do these death deities like Yama give obstacles(apart from death) and are worldly? If so, what practice can I do to ward off this negative presence?
She is not necessarily negative. She is just worldly, powerful and very, very possessive. Better not get involved with her in any way. Don't even think about trying wrathful practice & stuff like that. I would say, cultivate the four Brahmaviharas, Bodhicitta and so on...
"You have to make the good out of the bad because that is all you have got to make it out of."
- Robert Penn Warren -

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sun Dec 10, 2017 2:00 am

She was new to me so I looked her up. To save others the trouble:
Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte[pronunciation?] (Spanish for Our Lady of the Holy Death) or, colloquially, Santa Muerte (Holy Death), is a female deity (or folk saint depending on school of thought) in Mexican folk religion, particularly Folk Catholicism, venerated primarily in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. A personification of death, she is associated with healing, protection, and safe delivery to the afterlife by her devotees.[1] Despite condemnation by the Catholic Church, her cult has become prominent in the 2000s and 2010s, as a continuation of the Aztec goddess of death Mictecacihuatl or Mictlancihuatl (Nahuatl for "Lady of the Dead") clad according to Spanish iconography.[2]

Since the pre-Columbian era Mexican culture has maintained a certain reverence towards death,[3] which can be seen in the widespread commemoration of the Day of the Dead.[4] Elements of that celebration include the use of skeletons to remind people of their mortality.[5] The worship of Santa Muerte is condemned by the Catholic Church in Mexico as invalid, but it is firmly entrenched among an increasing percentage of Mexican culture.[6][7]

Santa Muerte generally appears as a skeletal female figure, clad in a long robe and holding one or more objects, usually a scythe and a globe.[8] Her robe can be of any color, as more specific images of the figure vary widely from devotee to devotee and according to the rite being performed or the petition being made.[9]

As the worship of Santa Muerte was clandestine until the 20th century, most prayers and other rites have been traditionally performed privately at home.[5] Since the beginning of the 21st century, worship has become more public, especially in Mexico City after Enriqueta Romero initiated her famous Mexico City shrine in 2001. ...

Our Lady of the Holy Death is a personification of death.[25] Unlike other saints who originated in Mexican folk religion, Santa Muerte is not, herself, seen as a dead human being.[25] She is associated with healing, protection, financial wellbeing, and assurance of a path to the afterlife.[12]

Although there are other death saints in Latin America, such as San La Muerte, Santa Muerte is the only female saint of death in either of the Americas.[12] Iconographically, Santa Muerte is a skeleton dressed in female clothes or a shroud, and carrying both a scythe and a globe.[25][3] Santa Muerte is marked out as female not by her figure but by her attire and hair. The latter was introduced by Enriqueta Romero.[15] ...
More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Muerte

YMMV but I can't see any value in engaging with such cults or beliefs.

:namaste:
Kim

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TharpaChodron
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by TharpaChodron » Sun Dec 10, 2017 2:55 am

Just my personal experience from living in South Central LA, she's a patron saint of the cartels, of drug dealers, of gangs, "Coyotes" and murderers. She can be converted to the Dharma, but as is, she is a dark figure.

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dzogchungpa
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by dzogchungpa » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:11 am

There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

fckw
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by fckw » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:04 pm

Norwegian wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:32 pm
She either exists or she does not.
Remember Nagarjuna's tetralemma?

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Vasana
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by Vasana » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:21 pm

There was also a short vice documentary on her. As Norwegian said, she's either made up or is worldly but has risen to prominence. In either case, continue your practice as normal and follow the standard protocols the teacher provides for dealing with this kind of thing.
You can spend your life pre-empting all kinds of supernatural conflicts or you can practice and reach realizations where such provocations don't occur or cause any trouble if they do. A lot of your posts, Tenma, seem to be concentrated on the supernatural and exotic aspects of the dharma with the exception of some very well said posts ( like the one in the advice you wish you knew when starring out thread) . Obsession with the supernatural is probably a stronger mara than any genuine encounter so bear that in mind long term.


'These gods and demons, like reflections in a mirror,
If they’re helpful that’s all right, if they’re harmful that’s all right.
Without perceiving my own hallucinations as the enemies,
May I constantly practice the Supreme Teaching.

...

The yogi’s experience, like a stream in summer,
If it expands that’s all right, if it recedes that’s all right.
Without chasing rainbows like a child,
May I constantly practice the Supreme Teaching.'


- THE HEART NECTAR OF THE SAINTS

A Prayer of Aspiration
That Condenses the Essence
Of the Oral Teachings

By

His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche
Jigdral Yeshe Dorje
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Dorje Shedrub
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:33 am

Many people pray to her to get something or someone they want. She is neither enlightened nor oath bound and she doesn't do something for nothing. Perhaps she us a gyalpo. I advise starring clear.
For as long as space endures
And for as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I, too, abide
To dispel the misery of the world.
- Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

Ricky
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by Ricky » Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:46 am

Dorje Shedrub wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:33 am
Many people pray to her to get something or someone they want. She is neither enlightened nor oath bound and she doesn't do something for nothing. Perhaps she us a gyalpo. I advise starring clear.
Could be a gyalpo. Many of her followers sacrifice animals. I've also heard of mexican drug cartels sacrificing humans.

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The Cicada
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by The Cicada » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:09 am

Dorje Shedrub wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:33 am
Many people pray to her to get something or someone they want. She is neither enlightened nor oath bound and she doesn't do something for nothing. Perhaps she us a gyalpo. I advise starring clear.
Tangentially related:

This makes me think of Kishimojin/Hariti, the "Mother of Demon Daughters" who appears on most Nichirenite objects of devotion. She's very important as a protector deity but praying to her separately is considered to be akin to practicing "black magic," more or less.

The story of how this Demon Goddess was tamed says that she went around killing the children of other women, like a shrike bird, to feed them to her own. In order to tame her, the Buddha did something that would otherwise be very cruel and used his powers to kidnap and hide her youngest child without her knowledge. Once Hariti was absolutely bereft and in anguish from losing her own child, she came to the Buddha to ask for help. The Buddha said that he could return her child to her, but only if she would promise only to attack evil people and never the followers of the Buddha. Because of the pain inflicted on her and because the Buddha could be skillful in doing even this, though she is a demon and destructive by nature, the Buddha was able to cause her to experience empathy for the individuals she had harmed and she agreed to serve the Buddha and protect the Dharma.

So even supernatural beings with destructive natures can be redeemed by the Buddha and his teaching, but their nature is still essentially destructive.

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Sennin
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by Sennin » Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:56 am

wordly, ambivalent and terrestial.
Go no paradigm! ;)

climb-up
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by climb-up » Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:03 am

She is NOT just for drug dealers and criminals.
These people do work with her because death looks equally on all, and she loves, protects and helps those who love and work with her.
She has negatively been associated with dangerous criminals, but she is just as much the patron of the poor, disenfranchise and marginalized. Many people who are marginalized for race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. have found love and support through Santisima Muerte.

Depending on your perspective, she is either a popular fad in some circles, or is a spirit on a mission who desires to be known more.
Or it could be both...
...the latter causing the former for example.

EDIT:
I thought that this was an odd post and then, after writing the above, I noticed who the OP was (that's not a slight, but it did make more sense).

Santísima Muerte is a fascinating spirit, very popular, but she is not Buddhist, nor is she worked with in Buddhist contexts (I mean, of course there are individual Buddhists, but...), so clearly from a Buddhist perspective she is a worldly deity.
Even if you have doubts about that, I think that asking on a Buddhist forum if a catholic folk saint is worldly or not is shades of the wrong questions.

If you want to learn about Santisima Muerte; be aware that she is not Buddhist,
be aware of what that means (or doesn't) to you and if you still want to work with her.
If you do:
probably go find some people who practice with her (and possibly learn Buddhist contexts for working with worldly beings).

[[The above edit is meant to be helpful and I hope that it comes across as such; genuinely not trying to be a d!ck]]
P.S. On the other hand, there have been some interesting answers so...
...maybe this is a better place for a conversation on the topic than I would have thought.

Soma999
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by Soma999 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:02 pm

I don't have much to say about this deity, but i would strongly suggest you to find a suitable teacher to guide you. It could be life saving, and avoid you many pitfalls.

Take time to learn and practice something linked with boddicitta, read good books also.

In the invisible realms, there are many pitfalls. Younger i tried everything, and i can tell you now i am a little more mature there are a lot of dangers, and two things i found a deep value :
- find when you can a real teacher
- focus first on "spiritual" things, and not materialistic and so on. The rest will come. Start with the most important : tame your mind, boddicitta.

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Mkoll
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by Mkoll » Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:48 pm

First thing that comes to mind is that creepy scene with Tuco's cousins in Breaking Bad.

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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The Cicada
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by The Cicada » Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:53 pm

Mkoll wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:48 pm
First thing that comes to mind is that creepy scene with Tuco's cousins in Breaking Bad.
:shrug:

What's creepy about it? I thought you said it was creepy.

climb-up
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Re: Santa La Muerte

Post by climb-up » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:54 pm

Mkoll wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:48 pm
First thing that comes to mind is that creepy scene with Tuco's cousins in Breaking Bad.

That seemed sweet to me,
but I haven't seen the show. I assume that they are bad guys and that, in context, it's creepy.

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