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-   -   Wandering Ponders and Interesting Discoveries with Green Tara (http://www.shirleymaclaine.com/encounter/showthread.php?t=186851)

Jade Jaguar 07-28-2002 11:44 AM

Wandering Ponders and Interesting Discoveries with Green Tara
 
I had been praying and asking for a way...guidance on my path which is ever unfolding before me...I was praying for guidance for my next transformation, as I feel as Spritual Beings we are always evolving/growing/changing...

I have been finding the use of Tibetan Mani (prayer wheel) very helpful in my personal meditation and times of silence. I found this website that offered these precious little wheels created by a Buhtanese student...created with love from recycled peanutbutter jars or carved from wood and painted with glorious happy colors.
I found myself drawn over and over to these...so I decided to place an order...during the process I was faced with a choice of mantras. I am familar with Om Mani Padme Hum...and I thought that was the one I would order..but I get finding myself clicking on the Green Tara Mantra.
After a few times, I figured...Ok..let's go with that...so I ordered...
It arrived...
and I sat with it...NOW What!!!
I meditated and turned the Wheel..and keep wondering what kind of difference I would sense using a different mantra...Om Tare Tutarre Ture Swaha...that mantra danced in my head. I was aware of using this mantra for healing and protection...but I felt like there was something I was not comprehending in my conscious self that needed to have confirmation.

So...I leaped into a search on the Web..and found so much information. And one thing I ran into, over and over again..were various webpages that recommended Strongly that the Tara Mantra would be exceedingly beneficial at this time.
Her energies are protection..yes..but she is also very powerful at times of Transformation. She is the emmination of the Feminine Buddha.. Fully Enlightened Awareness and carrying that feminine energy that is coming back to the planet.
Over and over, I saw various Lamas saying that the Green Tara Mantra was beneficial and dare I even say..crucial at this point in our planet's hisory.
I guess this thread is my personal call..to those who are feeling a connection to this...to those who feel drawn with the power of the Mantra to explore this with me. The energies connected with this deal with healing, transformation, calming fears, helping in times of War and assisting with the Chaotic energies that are generated during the end of one Age and the beginning of another....

To those who see this post and are connecting to this...
explore Green Tara information and see what "sings" for you.
I guess I see why I was drawn to click the Green Tara Wheel...sending the light that emminates from the written mantra over and over as the wheel freely and quickly spins..thousands of mantras per revolution...

Like Martha would say...
It's a Good Thing...
Jade
***Peace Be With You***

Jade Jaguar 07-28-2002 11:55 AM

Re: Wandering Ponders and Interesting Discoveries with Green Tara
 
Sharing a little information on the spiritual use of Tibetan Mani Wheels

In Solu Kumbu all the old men and women turn prayer wheels every day. When they are at home in the morning and in the evening before they go to bed, they hold a mala in their left hand, a prayer wheel in their right, and recite OM MANI PADME HUNG. And when they walk around, they constantly turn the prayer wheel and recite OM MANI PADME HUNG.

I often used to think, "How does turning of the prayer wheel become Dharma practice?" I had this question in my mind, simply because I was ignorant as to the benefits of the practice. I didn't know what an important practice it is and how beneficial it is in terms of purification. Just touching and turning a prayer wheel brings incredible purification and accumulates unbelievable merit.

At Lawudo I found many old manuscripts, handwritten texts by the Lawudo Lama. The previous Lawudo Lama was called Lama (Kunsang) Yeshe and some people think he has something to do with my life. The Lawudo Lama did not have a monastery, but lived in retreat in a cave. He put a lot of effort into copying texts of the practices of various Vajrayana deities. At that time such texts were very rare, so he wrote many out by hand. Because they had been stored in the cave which was very humid, the texts were damp, and I used to dry them in the sun. If you don't dry them, the texts grow fungus and are then destroyed by worms. The worms reincarnate among the texts and make some interesting holes in them.

One day when I was laying the texts out in the sun, I saw one old text with the title "Mani Kabum." It contains all the history of the evolution of the world, including how Dharma came into this world and how the sentient beings of Tibet, the Snow Land, became the particular objects to be subdued by the Compassion Buddha Avalokiteshvara. Amitabha and the Compassion Buddha are the same in essence and are very strongly linked. And for more than twenty years, the Compassion Buddha and Amitabha have guided not only Tibet and China, but also Western countries, especially by spreading Dharma.

In Mani Kabum I saw a short explanation of the lineage of the prayer wheel practice and a few lines on how to visualize and meditate when you do the practice. In Tibet, and generally wherever there are the Mahayana teachings of Vajrayana, the practice of the prayer wheel has spread. Nagarjuna gave the practice to Lion-faced Dakini, who gave it to Padmasambhava, who then brought it to Tibet. After reading this, I developed faith that the practice was not nonsense, but had valid references and was valuable and meaningful. From this text, I got some idea of how powerful the prayer wheel practice is in purifying the mind and in accumulating extensive merits.

In 1987, when I was at Chenrezig Institute in Australia, I noticed that the place had become incredibly peaceful. It felt so serene that you wanted to be there, to live there. Chenrezig Institute had not been like that before, and I wondered why it had changed. At that time, Geshe Lama Konchog was there. Geshe-la has done a lot of Dharma practice. After he escaped from Tibet, he spent many years in retreat in Milarepa's caves in the Himalayas. He did 2000 Nyung-nays, the intensive two-day retreat on the Compassion Buddha, that involves taking the eight Mahayana Precepts and doing many prostrations and mantras. Geshe Lama Konchog has trained his mind well in the path, so I thought that the serenity of Chenrezig Institute might be due to his Bodhicitta. However, one day near the end of my stay there, the thought came into my mind, "Oh, the change might be due to the prayer wheel -- it wasn't there before." The prayer wheel is much smaller than the one here at Land of Medicine Buddha, but it also contains many mantras on microfilm and is very nicely made.

Some time later, when I was in Brazil at the invitation of a meditation center there, a student gave me a book written by one of Tarthang Tulku's senior disciples about his experiences when he was in charge of building stupas and prayer wheels in Tarthang Tulku's centers. In one section he mentioned that after a prayer wheel was built, the area was completely transformed, becoming so peaceful, pleasant, and conducive to the mind. This confirmed my belief, based on my own reasoning, that Chenrezig Institute had become so peaceful because of its new prayer wheel. Learning about somebody else experiencing a similar effect from building a prayer wheel helped to stabilize my faith

From Lama Zopa, Rinpoche
www.dharmahaven.org

The little Green Tara Wheels I found are at
www.tibetantreasures.com
This is only place I have found that has the Green Tara Wheels..all others have been the om mani padme hum...
smile...
for those who are interested...



***Peace Be With You***

Jade Jaguar 07-28-2002 12:17 PM

Re: Wandering Ponders and Interesting Discoveries with Green Tara
 
The practice of Tara is said to have many different extraordinary powers of blessing, and is particularly effective in a wide variety of situations. For example, it is said that at the end of an aeon or cycle of time, when hardships and calamities may increase, the mantra and puja rituals of Tara are very essential. Anyone can recite the prayers of Tara and it brings great benefit.

As we recounted earlier, in a prior era at the beginning of our aeon, the Buddha Mahavairochana was the Guru, the spiritual guide, of Tara. Buddha Vairochana blessed Tara and prophesied to her that at the end of the aeon, in those lands and worlds where pujas, prayers, and rituals of Tara are recited, as a result of these prayers, the many diseases, troubles, and disturbances caused by evil spirits and by human beings would be pacified and resolved. I feel that the practice of Tara is the most important and essential of all practices in such times.

Other goddesses also very helpful in this regard is Marichi, or Ozer Jemma, and the well-known goddess of spiritual healing, Parna Shawari. Their prayers and mantras bring the same power and benefits as those of Tara. They are basically the same goddess, Prajnaparamita, in different manifestations.

Of Tara, is said that not only diseases and disturbances caused by evil spirits, but also fighting, wars, conflicts and arguments may also be pacified and resolved by the power of her practice. All such obstacles and related difficulties can be removed through the blessing of the prayers and mantras of these goddesses.



***Peace Be With You***

MysticHeart 07-28-2002 02:59 PM

Re: Wandering Ponders and Interesting Discoveries with Green Tara
 
Hi, Jade,

I went on a Tara search this past hour and then decided to come here and found your wonderful posts. Such incredible information of these female bodhisattvas.

I went to www.LotusSutra.net that has extensive links to other Buddhist traditions. When the homepage comes on, you'll see a monk chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Scroll down and it says "Enter Coffeehouse". It will take you to page with all sorts of possibilites. Click on the violet box that says "Mythical Women" and it will take you to links of Tara and Kuan Yin. You have to see the photos and paintings of Tara that are beautiful and powerful on many of these sites.

I have so much info for you. Will try to post some now and then tomorrow.

This is the perfect energy for these chaotic times.

Thanks for inspiring me on this search.

Peace and many blessings. Love,

Veronica :)


'In silence, sacred silence, we stand naked like trees in winter, all our secrets visible under our skin. And like winter's tree, we appear dead but are yet alive'--Joan Halifax

MysticHeart 07-28-2002 03:03 PM

Re: Wandering Ponders and Interesting Discoveries with Green Tara
 
[Main Menu] * [Dharma Online]

Amitabha Buddhist Centre


--- Dharma Online : The Practice of Tara ---


* Who is Tara and Why do we Pray to Her?
* The origin of Tara
* Why do we need to practise Tara?
* The Benefits of Tara Practice

* Green Tara and the Twenty-One Taras
* The Symbolism of Green Tara
* The Twenty-One Taras

* The Mantra of Tara

from a handout prepared by Ven Sangye Khadro

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Who is Tara and Why do we Pray to Her?

The origin of Tara
In the past, many eons ago, during the time of Buddha Dundubhisvara (Drum-sound), in the Universe called Manifold Light, there lived a princess by the name of Moon of Wisdom-knowledge. She was a very devoted disciple and would daily set out many offerings to the Buddha and His Sangha. Eventually she generated bodhicitta, the aspiration to attain Enlightenment and become a Buddha herself, in order to help all living beings.
Some bhikshus came to know of this, and urged her to dedicate the merits she had created to be reborn as a male. However, the princess rejected this advice, saying:


Here there is no man, there is no woman,

No self, no person, and no consciousness.

Labelling "male" or "female" has no essence,

But deceives the evil-minded world.
She went on to make the following vow:
"There are many who desire Enlightenment in a man's body, but none who work for the benefit of sentient beings in the body of a woman. Therefore, until samsara is empty, I shall work for the benefit of sentient beings in a woman's body."


From that time onwards the princess dedicated herself to winning full and complete Enlightenment. Once she accomplished that goal, she came to be known as Tara, the Liberator.
(from In Praise of Tara: Songs to the Saviouress by Martin Willson, Wisdom Publications.)
There is another story regarding Tara which tells that Chenrezig (Kuan Yin) had been working for a long time to help sentient beings. He had been able to help hundreds of thousands of beings become free from samsara, but then he checked and realized there were still so many more beings suffering in samsara. He began to cry, and from the pool formed by his tears a lotus arose and Tara appeared from the lotus, saying "Don't worry -- I will help you." Thus Tara is associated with Chenrezig, as well as with Amitabha Buddha (she has a tiny image of Amitabha Buddha on her crown.)
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Why do we need to practise Tara?
There are many inner obstacles to our mental development, and these inner obstacles can create external obstacles. To obtain success in our Dharma practice, to actualize the path to Enlightenment, we need to rely on a special deity or Buddha, for example, Tara. All actions of the Buddha manifest in the female form, Tara, to help sentient beings successfully accomplish both temporal and ultimate happiness.
(from Tara the Liberator by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Wisdom Publications.)
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The Benefits of Tara Practice
Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains that through practising Tara we can obtain the following benefits:

* - we can create a great deal of merit
* - we can avoid a suffering rebirth in the next life
* - we can quickly attain Enlightenment
* - we receive initiation from millions of Buddhas
* - all our wishes can be fulfilled, e.g. it can help us with our health, business, getting a job, having a child, etc.
* - it protects us from fear and dangers

It is said that Tara protects from the 8 fears, of which there are an internal and an external aspect:
The 8 external fears The 8 internal fears
1. floods 1. attachment
2. fire 2. anger
3. elephants 3. ignorance
4. snakes 4. jealousy
5. lions 5. pride
6. imprisonment/chains 6. miserliness
7. thieves 7. wrong views
8. ghosts 8. doubt

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------------------------------------------------------------------------


Green Tara and the Twenty-One Taras

The Symbolism of Green Tara
Green Tara is seated upon a lotus arising from the waters of a lake, just as Tara is said to have arisen from the compassionate tears of Avalokiteshvara. Her right hand is in the mudra of supreme generosity indicating her ability to provide beings with whatever they desire. Her left hand at her heart is in the mudra of bestowing refuge: her thumb and ring finger are pressed together to symbolise the united practice of method and wisdom, and the three remaining fingers are raised to symbolise the Three Jewels of Refuge - Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. In each hand she holds the stem of a blue utpala flower. Each flower consists of three blossoms indicating that Tara, the embodiment of enlightened activities, is the Mother of the Buddhas of the past, present and future.
Tara is dressed in the silken robes of royalty. She wears rainbow colored stockings, a white half-blouse and various jeweled ornaments. These symbolise her mastery of the perfections of generosity, morality and so forth. The tiara fastened in her black hair is adorned with jewels, the central one is a red ruby symbolic of Amitabha, her spiritual father and the head of her Buddha family.
She is seated in a distinctive posture, her left leg withdrawn to symbolise her renunciation of worldly passion and her right leg extended to show that she is always ready to arise and come to the aid of those who need her help.
With a warm compassionate gaze she looks down upon each sentient being as a mother regards her only child. Her emerald-green color -- related to the wind element and hence to movement -- signifies her ability to act swiftly and without delay to bring benefits to sentient beings.
(from Images of Enlightenment by J. Landaw and A. Weber, Snow Lion Publications.)
From the teachings of Ven Lama Thubten Yeshe:
Tara is known as the "Mother of all Buddhas." This is because she is the wisdom of reality, and all Buddhas and bodhisattvas are born from this wisdom. This wisdom is also the fundamental cause of happiness, and our own spiritual growth comes from this wisdom. That is why Tara is called the Mother. And Mother Tara has much wisdom to manifest many aspects, sometimes peaceful, sometimes wrathful, in different colours -- all to help sentient beings.

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The Twenty-One Taras
Tara has 21 primary emanations which perform different activities such as pacification, increase and so forth. The different colours of these 21 Taras correspond to the 4 different types of enlightened activity, as explained by Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche:
Tara is the female Buddha of Enlightened Activity (Tib: trinley), of which there are 4 types: pacifying, increasing, overpowering and wrathful. Each of these is represented by a different colour:
* White represents the Enlightened activity of pacifying, for example overcoming sickness, causes of untimely death and obstacles to success in one's life or one's practice.

* Yellow represents the Enlightened activity of increasing the positive qualities conducive to a long life, peace, happiness and success in one's Dharma practice.

* Red represents the Enlightened activity of power, or overpowering external forces that cannot be tamed through the first two activities, for example, removing obstacles to sickness, untimely death, etc., and forcefully accumulating conducive conditions for one's Dharma practice.

* Black represents the Enlightened activity of wrath, which involves using forceful methods for accomplishing activities for Enlightened purposes that cannot be accomplished through other means.
Below is a list of the 21 Taras, their names in English and Tibetan, and their colours:

* 1. The Swift Heroine (Nyur.ma.pa.mo) -- red.
* 2. Saraswati (Yang.chen.ma) -- white. This Tara is also known as "The Great Pacifier" because she pacifies negative obscurations.
* 3. The Giver of Supreme Virtue (S.nam.chog.ter.ma) -- yellow (with a slightly bluish hue). Also known as "Tara who Increases."
* 4. The All Victorious (Nam.gyal.ma) -- white. Also known as "Tara of Life Force."
* 5. The Giver of Intelligence (Rig.je.ma) -- red/yellow. Also known as "Tara who Resonates with HUM."
* 6. The Terrifier (Jig.je.ma) -- black with tinge of red. A.k.a. "Tara who is Victorious over the Three Worlds."
* 7. The Invincible (Shen.gyi.mi.tub.ma) -- black. A.k.a. "Tara who Crushes Others' Forces."
* 8. The Conqueror of Others (Shen.le.nam.par.gyal.ma) -- red/black. A.k.a. "Tara the Pulverizer of the Maras."
* 9. The Saviour of the Scented Forest (Jig.ten.sum.la.gyal.ma) -- white. A.k.a. "Tara who embodies the Three Jewels."
* 10. The Conqueror of the Three Worldly Realms (Jig.ten.sum.la.gyal.ma) -- red. A.k.a. "The Great Subduer."
* 11. The Giver of Wealth (Nor.ter.ma) -- red/yellow. A.k.a. "Tara who Eliminates Poverty."
* 12. The Auspicious (Ta.shi.dn.je.ma) -- red/yellow. A.k.a. "Tara Who Bestows Auspicious Conditions."
* 13. The Destroyer of Opposing Forces (Da.pung.som.ze.ma) -- red. A.k.a. "Tara Who Blazes in Flames."
* 14. The Wrathful (To.nyer.chen) -- red/black. A.k.a. "Tara of Wrathful Gaze."
* 15. The Very Peaceful (Rab.shi.ma) -- white. A.k.a. "The Great Pacifier."
* 16. The Blazing Light (Bar.w.od.chen.ma) -- red. A.k.a. "Tara Who Saves by Means of HUM."
* 17. The Subduer of Countless Harmful Forces (Pag.me.nn.ma) -- red/yellow. A.k.a. "Tara Who Causes the Three Worlds to Tremble."
* 18. The Peahen (Ma.ja.ma) -- white. A.k.a. "Tara Who Eliminates Poisons."
* 19. The Invincible Queen (Mi.pam.gyal.ma) -- white. A.k.a. "Tara Who Eliminates Conflicts and bad Dreams."
* 20. The Mountain-dwelling Mendicant (Ri.t.ma) -- red/yellow. A.k.a. "Tara Who Eliminates Diseases."
* 21. Rays of Light (d.zer.chen.ma) -- white. A.k.a. "Tara Who Accomplishes All Enlightened Activities."
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The Mantra of Tara

Tara's mantra is OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA.

OM represents Tara's holy body, speech and mind.
TARE means liberating from true suffering, the sufferings of samsara, our aggregates being under the control of delusion and karma.
TUTTARE means liberating from the 8 fears, the external dangers, but mainly from the internal dangers, the delusions, and also karma.
TURE means liberating from the ignorance of the absolute nature of the I; it shows the true cessation of suffering.
SOHA means "may the meaning of the mantra take root in my mind."
Also, in the context of the Lam Rim, TARE refers to the graduated path of the lower capable being; TUTTARE refers to the path of the middle capable being; TURE refers to the path of the higher capable being. So the meaning is that by taking refuge in Tara and doing Tara practice, we can achieve the fully enlightened state with the four Kayas, which is the state of cessation of, or liberation from, the two obscurations.
To practise reciting Tara's mantra, you can visualize Tara in front of you, with a white syllable OM at her crown, a red syllable AH at her throat and a blue syllable HUM at her heart. As you recite the mantra, visualize rays of light flowing from these three places, and striking your three places. These purify all negative karma and obscurations of your body, speech and mind created from beginningless time.
Alternatively, you can visualize Tara on the crown of your head, and do the visualization as above.
Recite as many mantras as you wish. At the end, pray to Tara to help you develop bodhicitta -- your practice of ethics, and your development of bodhicitta are what please Tara the most. This is the best offering you can make to Tara, and will bring you closer to her.
Then, Tara dissolves into light, which dissolves through your forehead (or crown) and into your heart. Feel "My body, speech and mind are now blessed to become Tara's body, speech and mind." Then dedicate the merit that you will become Enlightened -- like Tara -- in order to be able to help all sentient beings.
(from Tara the Liberator by Ven Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Wisdom Publications.)
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Tara & Chenresig Pictures by Bob Jacobson (Osel Shen Phen Ling Virtual Thangka Gallery)

[Feedback to fpmtsing@singnet.com.sg]

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------------------------------------------------------------------------

Amitabha Buddhist Centre




'In silence, sacred silence, we stand naked like trees in winter, all our secrets visible under our skin. And like winter's tree, we appear dead but are yet alive'--Joan Halifax

MysticHeart 07-28-2002 03:05 PM

Praises and Requests to the Twenty-One Taras
 

Praises and Requests to the Twenty-One Taras

from Ven. Thubten Chodron's Pearl of Wisdom, Book II
(used with permission)
Prepare for this practice by setting the proper motivation and reciting the preliminary prayers and practices.

Visualization

You are in your ordinary form. At your heart appears a white AH made of light. This transforms into a white moon disc. At its center appears a green syllable TAM, the essence of Tara's blissful omniscient mind of wisdom and compassion. Standing clockwise around the edge of the moon appear the letters of the mantra om tare tuttare ture soha, made of green light

From the TAM, rainbow-colored light goes out in all directions and invokes Tara to appear in the space in front of you. She is seated on a lotus and moon disc. Her body is made of emerald-green light, youthful and exquisitely beautiful. Her right hand on her right knee is in the gesture of giving; her left hand at her heart is in the gesture of refuge and holds the stem of a blue utpala flower that blooms by her ear.
Her left leg is drawn up and her right leg is slightly extended. Her face is very beautiful and she smiles with loving kindness at all sentient beings.
Surrounding her in space are twenty-one other Taras, as well as all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Surrounding you are all sentient beings. You lead them in reciting the prayers and requests to Tara

Homage to the Twenty-one Taras

OM I prostrate to the noble transcendent liberator.
1
Homage to Tara swift and fearless
With eyes like a flash of lightning
Lotus-born in an ocean of tears
Of Chenresig, three worlds' protector.
2
Homage to you whose face is like
One hundred autumn moons gathered
And blazes with the dazzling light
Of a thousand constellations.

3
Homage to you born from a gold-blue lotus
Hands adorned with lotus flowers
Essence of giving, effort and ethics,
Patience, concentration and wisdom.
4
Homage to you who crown all Buddhas
Whose action subdues without limit
Attained to every perfection
On you the bodhisattvas rely.

5
Homage to you whose TUTTARE and HUM
Fill the realms of desire, form and space.
You crush seven worlds beneath your feet
And have power to call all forces.
6
Homage to you adored by Indra,
Agni, Brahma, Vayu and Ishvara.
Praised in song by hosts of spirits,
Zombies, scent-eaters and yakshas.

7
Homage to you whose TREY and PEY
Destroy external wheels of magic.
Right leg drawn in and left extended,
You blaze within a raging fire.
8
Homage to you whose TURE destroys
The great fears, the mighty demons.
With a wrathful frown on your lotus face,
You slay all foes without exception.

9
Homage to you beautifully adorned
By the Three Jewels' gesture at your heart.
Your wheel shines in all directions
With a whirling mass of light.
10
Homage to you, radiant and joyful
Whose crown emits a garland of light.
You, by the laughter of TUTTARA
Conquer demons and lords of the world.

11
Homage to you with power to invoke
The assembly of local protectors.
With your fierce frown and vibrating HUM,
You bring freedom from all poverty.
12
Homage to you with crescent moon crown
All your adornments dazzling bright.
From your hair-knot, Amitabha
Shines eternal with great beams of light.

13
Homage to you who dwells in a blazing wreath
Like the fire at the end of this age.
Your right leg outstretched and left drawn in,
Joy surrounds you who defeats hosts of foes.
14
Homage to you whose foot stamps the earth
And whose palm strikes the ground by your side.
With a wrathful glance and the letter HUM,
You subdue all in the seven stages.

15
Homage to the blissful, virtuous, peaceful one
Object of practice, nirvana's peace
Perfectly endowed with SOHA and OM
Overcoming all the great evils.
16
Homage to you with joyous retinue
You subdue fully all enemies' forms
The ten-letter mantra adorns your heart
And your knowledge-HUM brings liberation.

17
Homage to TURE with stamping feet
Whose essence is the seed-letter HUM
You cause Merus, Mandara and Vindaya
And all three worlds to tremble and shake.
18
Homage to you who holds in your hand
A moon like a celestial lake
Saying TARA twice and the letter PEY
You dispel all poisons without exception.

19
Homage to you on whom the kings of gods,
The gods themselves and all spirits rely.
Your armor radiates joy to all
You soothe conflicts and nightmares as well.
20
Homage to you whose eyes, the sun and moon,
Radiate with pure brilliant light
Uttering HARA twice and TUTTARA
Dispels extremely fearful plagues.

21
Homage to you, adorned with three natures
Perfectly endowed with peaceful strength
You destroy demons, zombies and yakshas
O TURE, most exalted and sublime!

Thus the root mantra is praised
And twenty-one homages offered.

The Condensed Praise (recite in place of longer praises)



OM to the transcendent subduer, Arya Tara, I prostrate.
Homage to the glorious one who frees with TARE;
With TUTTARA you calm all fears;
You bestow all success with TURE;
To the sound SOHA I pay great homage.

Benefits of Reciting the Homage (optional)


Those endowed with perfect and pure respect for these goddesses--
The intelligent who recite these praises with most supreme faith
Both in the evening and upon waking at dawn--
Will have fearlessness bestowed on them by this remembrance.
After being purified of all evils completely,
They will attain destruction of all lower realms
And the seven million conquering Buddhas
Will quickly grant them every empowerment.
Thus they will attain greatness and so forth
To the ultimate state of supreme Buddhahood.
As a result all violent poisons--
Whether abiding within or spreading to others--
That they have eaten or drunk
By this remembrance will be completely removed
And they will eliminate quickly all afflictions by spirits, epidemics,
Poisons and all various sufferings.

If for oneself or for the sake of others,
These praises are read sincerely two, three or seven times,
Those wishing a child will have one
And those wishing wealth will attain this as well.
Without obstruction, all their wishes will be granted
And every single hinderance will be destroyed as it arises.

Visualization and Recitation

Visualize much radiant and blissful green light from the TAM and mantra at Tara's heart streams into you and into the sentient beings surrounding you. This light purifies the imprints of all negative actions and dispels sickness and harms from spirits. In addition, it brings inspirations and blessings from Tara, thus enabling you to realize the entire gradual path to enlightenment quickly. While doing this visualization, recite as much as possible Tara's peaceful mantra.
** om tare tuttare ture soha **

Requesting Prayer


O compassionate and venerable subduing goddess
May the infinite beings, including myself,
Soon purify the two obscurations and complete both collections
So that we may gain full enlightenment.
For all my lives, until I reach this stage,
May I know the happiness of humans and gods.
So that I may become fully omniscient,
Please pacify quickly all obstacles, spirits,
Obstructions, epidemics, diseases and so forth,
The various causes of untimely death,
Bad dreams and omens, the eight fears and other afflictions
And make it so they no longer exist.
May the mundane and supramundane collections
Of all excellent and auspicious qualities and happiness
Increase and develop and may all wishes
Be fulfilled naturally and effortlessly, without an exception.

May I strive to realize and increase the sacred Dharma
Accomplishing your stage and beholding your sublime face.
May my understanding of emptiness and the precious dedicated heart
Increase like the moon waxing full.
May I be reborn from an extremely beautiful and holy lotus
In the joyous and noble mandala of the conqueror.
May I attain whatever prophecy I receive
In the presence of Amitabha, Buddha of infinite light.
O deity, whom I have accomplished from previous lives
The enlightening influence of the three-time Buddhas
Blue-green, one face and two arms, the swift pacifier
O mother, holding an utpala flower, may you be auspicious!
Whatever your body, O Mother of Conquerors,
Whatever your retinue, life span and pure land,
May I and all others attain only these.
By the force of these praises and requests made to you,
May all disease, poverty, fighting and quarrels be calmed,
May the precious Dharma and everything auspicious increase
Throughout the world and directions where I and all others dwell.
Dedication and Auspicious Verses


Due to this merit may I soon
Attain the state of Arya Tara
That I may be able to liberate
All sentient beings from their suffering.
By whatever virtue I have collected
From venerating these subduing blessed ones,
May all sentient beings, without exception,
Be born in Sukhavati, the Joyful Pure Land.
You, who have abandoned all bodily defects and possess the signs and marks of a Buddha,
You, who have abandoned all defects of speech and possess a beautiful, sparrow-like voice,
You, who have abandoned all defects of mind and see all the infinite objects of knowledge,
O Brilliant Mother of Auspicious Glory, please bring your auspicious presence to us!Return to Prayers and Practices

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'In silence, sacred silence, we stand naked like trees in winter, all our secrets visible under our skin. And like winter's tree, we appear dead but are yet alive'--Joan Halifax

MysticHeart 07-28-2002 03:10 PM

The Eastern Tradition of KUAN YIN & The Tibetan Godess TARA
 

The Eastern Tradition of KUAN YIN
& The Tibetan Goddess TARA

In both Taoism and Buddhism Kuan Yin is the goddess of compassion, she is the Japanese Bodhisattva Kannon or Kanzeon, and is identified with the Indian Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, including all of the scriptures which apply to him. Kuan (Shih) Yin means "the one who hears the cries of the world and comes." John Blofeld says:

"Rocks, willows, lotus pools or running water are often indications of her presence. In the chime of bronze or jade, the sigh of wind in the pines, the prattle and tinkle of streams, her voice is heard."

Kuan Yin's earthly name is Miao Shan (Wondrously Kind One): the following story of how it was that Miao Shan came to be the Bodhisattva of Compassion is recounted in John Blofeld's "Bodhisattva of Compassion: The Mystical Tradition of Kuan Yin" (Boston: Shambala Publications, 1977).

"In the eleventh year of the Chin T'ien epoch (2590 BC), there was a king who, on account of demerits stemming from a former life, was denied the blessing of a son. Accordingly he sought husbands of rare accomplishment and fine presence for his three daughters, hoping to breed outstanding grandsons, the best of whom would be well suited to inherit his kingdom. His youngest daughter, however, rejected all talk of marriage and, on reaching puberty, begged permission to reside at the White Sparrow Convent, there to engage in a life of pious contemplation. 'Agreed!' laughed the king, thinking that this gently nurtured girl would soon long for deliverance from harsh monastic austerities and could then be given the choice of remaining where she was or marrying some well-chosen prince.
"Alas, the austere life suited her all too well and the king, his patience at an end, embarked upon a series of measures marked by increasing severity to bend her to his will. Rage mounting day by day, he finally had her dragged from the convent and imprisoned in a tower, there to be nourished on unspeakably revolting food. In vain! Drinking to drown his chagrin served only to increase it, until one day he shouted to his henchmen: 'A monstrous child so lost to filial propriety as to deny her father his dearest wish pollutes all under Heaven. The earth must be cleansed of this foul example of disobedience to loving parents, lest the fashion spread and corrupt future generations. See to it this night!'
"Sorrowfully his attendants led the little princess to a lonely spot where the headsman awaited her, weeping but not to be delflected from his duty. The child was made to kneel and the headsman, grasping with both hands the terrible sword that had drunk the blood of many a brutal criminal, was preparing to strike when a blinding tempest arose. In a moment the stars were blotted out, thunder roared and a dazzling ray from Heaven shone down upon the kneeling victim. Ere the headsman could regain his courage, a gigantic tiger bounded from the darkness and carried the swooning girl into the nearby hills...
"From a cavern in the hills, whither the deity had borne her, the Princess Miao Shan now descended into hell and there, by the power of her unsullied purity, compelled its ruler to release every one of the shivering wretches delivered to him for punishment...
"Returning to the dwelling of the tutelary deity, Miao Shan received the signal honor of a visit from Amitabha Buddha in person! Assuming the splendidly shining form known as the Buddha-Body of Reward, he abjured her to seek safety on seagirt Potala, known to mariners as the Island of P'u-t'o...
"An island diety, summoned from Potala, carried the princess to her new abode, travelling more swiftly than the wind. For nine full years Miao Shan, when not engaged in meditation, performed deeds of compassion which, crowning the merits acquired in previous lives, completed all that remained to enable her to attain the status of Bodhisattvahood. It was at this time that the charming youth Shan Ts'ia (Virtuous Talent) became her acolyte.
"Thereafter, by virtue of her Bodhisattva's all-seeing eye, she beheld one day a calamity that suddenly befell the third son of the Dragon King of the Eastern Sea. Wandering the ocean joyously in the form of a fish, he had been caught by a fisherman and was being carried to the market in a pail heavy with the living victims of the day's catch. Instantly Shan Ts'ai was dispatched to purchase those unhappy creatures and return them to the sea. His Majesty the Dragon King, apprised by his son of his deliverance, sent Miao Shan a lustrous jewel known as the Night Brilliance Pearl, by the light of which the Bodhisattva would be able to read sacred books to her heart's content, no matter how dark the night. The gift was carried by his own grand-daughter, Lung Nu (Dragon Maiden), who was so entranced by the virtue and loveliness of her uncle's deliverer that she vowed there and then to dedicate her life to the achievement of Bodhisattvahood. To this end, she entered Kuan Yin's service and has every day since been seen in her company.
"Some years later, the Princess Miao Shan, divesting herself of her Bodhisattva's glory, returned to her own country for a space, and there converted her father and her mother, enrolling them as disciples of the Buddha."


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Illustration: Angel of the Waters" and Bethesda Fountain, Central Park, New York City, by sculptor Emma Stebbins (1873), student of Charlotte Cushman (photo: Sara Cedar Miller, Central Park Conservancy -- see also New York Images).

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The Tibetan Goddess TARA
Closely allied with Kuan Yin is Tara (Star), goddess of protection and compassion, worshipped by Tibetan, Mongolian, and Nepali Buddhists. According to "Mandala: The Architecture of Enlightenment" by Denise Patry Leidy & Robert A. F. Thurman (Shambhala 1997): "Tara is the archangelic and archetype-deity bodhisattva representing the miraculous activities of all buddhas. In myth she is born from Avalokitesvara's tears of compassion or from her own vow to be enlightened and stay a woman... There are innumerable manifestations of Tara, as many as beings require,* but her most famous are the peaceful White Tara, who brings protection, long life and peace; and the dynamic Green Tara, who overcomes obstacles and saves beings in dangerous situations."
Presented here is Tara's vow to remain in female form until all living beings attain enlightenment, from the translation by David Templeman of the "Origin of the Tara Tantra" by Jo-Nan Taranatha (b. 1575), (Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, 1981). See also "An Anthology of Sacred Texts By and About Women," edited by Serenity Young, NY: Crossroad, 1993.

TARA'S VOW
Long ago in an age before which
there was nothing else,
the Victorious One, the Tathagata Dundubhisvara
came into existence and was known as the Light
of the Various Worlds.
The Princess "Moon of Wisdom"
had the highest respect for his teaching,
and for ten million, one hundred thousand years,
made offerings to this Enlightened One,
to his attendant Sravakas,
and to countless members of the Sangha of Bodhisattvas.
The offerings she prepared each day
were in value comparable to all the precious things
which filled a distance of twelve yojanas
in each of the ten directions,
leaving no intermediate spaces unfilled.
Finally after all this
she awoke to the first concepts of Bodhi-Mind.
At that time some monks said to her:
"It is as a result of these,
your roots of virtuous actions,
that you have come into being in this female form.
If you pray that your deeds accord with the teachings,
then indeed on that account you will change your form
to that of a man, as is befitting."
After much discourse she finally replied,
"In this life there is no such distinction
as "male" and "female,"
neither of "self-identity,"
a "person"
nor any perception,
and therefore attachment to ideas
of "male" and "female"
is quite worthless.
The weak-minded are always deluded by this."
And so she vowed:
"There are many who wish to gain enlightenment
in a man's form,
and there are but few who wish to work
for the welfare of living beings
in a female form.
Therefore may I, in a female body,
work for the welfare of beings
right until Samsara has been emptied."


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*"innumerable manifestations of Tara, as many as beings require": There is a story in Taranatha's "Golden Rosary" about an old Buddhist woman sculptor who worked in Vajrasana, where there was a temple called the Mahabodhi (Great Wisdom). One day she built a shrine for Tara, but when it was finished the old woman felt regret, thinking: "Oh dear, she has her back to the Mahabodhi! -- that can't be right." Then speech came from the image itself saying: "If you are not pleased, I shall look towards the Mahabodhi." And the door of the shrine and the image both turned to face the Mahabodhi. This story names Tara as "Tara of the Turned Face," and names the old woman as "Mahabodhi."

Tibetan Homage to the Innumerable
Manifestations of Tara
from the Peking Tangyur
I bow to the Body of Tara who saves from the eight fears.
I bow to the Body of Tara of infinite fame.
I bow to the Body of Tara, the world's benefactor.
I bow to the Body of Tara, sure curer of sorrow.
I bow to the Body of Tara
of a thousand hands and eyes.
I bow to the Body of Tara
infinite as space.
I bow to the Body of Tara
adorned with the Marks and the Signs.
I bow to the Body of Tara
whose limbs are like the moon.
I bow to the Body of Tara
who is as bright as the sun.
I bow to the Body of Tara
unchanging in the three times.
I bow to the Body of Tara supporting like earth.
I bow to the Body of Tara cohering like water.
I bow to the Body of Tara ripening like fire.
I bow to the Body of Tara expanding like air.
I bow to the Body of Tara
who is the Sovereign of Doctors.
I bow to the Body of Tara
subduing disease like medicine.
I bow to the Body of Tara
the river of compassion.
I bow to the Body of Tara
skilled in means like taming.
I bow to the Body of Tara
lovely yet free of desire
I bow to the Body of Tara
who teaches the Way of Freedom.

See Martin Wilson, "In Praise of Tara: Songs of the Saviouress," Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1986/1996
Illustration: Green Tara (detail) from ASIAN ARTS

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'In silence, sacred silence, we stand naked like trees in winter, all our secrets visible under our skin. And like winter's tree, we appear dead but are yet alive'--Joan Halifax

MysticHeart 07-28-2002 03:12 PM

Origin of the cult of Tara
 
http://www.khandro.net/deities_Tara1.htm

Origin of the cult of Tara

The view that the divine bodhisattva known by the name Tara has assimilated to her, the various characteristics and qualities of goddesses of the Himalayan regions from tribal snake deities to the great Shakti of Hinduism and even other goddesses from farther a-field, is not a novel one.**
Whether this is due to the somewhat outmoded idea of the archetype, or due to cultural drift and diffusion, or to people's general inability to keep specific details in mind is not really important.* What is significant and valuable is the profound devotion that people have for Tara and the genuine efficacy of her practice.* In times of great difficulty, millions of people call upon 'Great Noble Tara'.
Not every one agrees on how she should be depicted, however, and perhaps that in itself is significant.* Stephen Beyer, in The Cult of Tara, reported that until some even very experienced Tibetan artists were shown the details of the 21 Taras as illustrated in foreign texts, they often did not know or could not recall which colours, gestures and symbolic items belonged together.* Also there seem to be waves of popularity for different lineage teachings of her practice, some claiming origin with one or another famous teacher of the past and others none at all.* That is, some versions of her ritual worship [Skt.: sadhana] or practice are regarded as termas - tantric texts revealed or uncovered by gifted individuals under extraordinary circumstances.
When her cult developed exactly is unknown.* The Chinese pilgrim Hsuan Tsang who visited the north Indian region between 633 and 645 reports without describing, a Tolo image in a temple near Nalanda Buddhist University to which the general population was particularly devoted.*

Her Name

The Sanskrit root tr-means "to traverse" or "cross over" as in using a bridge to ford a stream.* In the orthodox Indian sacred tradition, Tr refers to the second of* Ten Means to Realization. And as Shri Tara Devi she is the deification of that Mahavidya, according to Hindu tantra.**As a* Trni, she carries you across;* she serves as a bridge for you to get to immortality.* But the root tar-* can mean "tree," and "particularly," and it is also related to "star" and to "pupil of the eye."**
In Tibetan, she is called Dolma or Do'ma, though often we see Drolma because it follows the Tibetan spelling (a little more; if we transliterate, it is actually sgrolma).

More than one Tara?



Two Wives

Often people say that White Tara and Green Tara (the two most distinctly different and popular forms of her) derive from Tritseun, (a.k.a. Birkuti) the Nepali wife and Wen-ch'eng, the Chinese wife, of Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo ( c. 617 - 650 CE,) though opinions differ as to which queen is which Tara.**
Beyer, who explored the works of scholars such as Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Snellgrove and Lessing, agrees that to pair Green Tara, because she has a dark complexion with the noblewoman from Nepal is ignorant, if not a case of bigoted 'ethnological expectation'.***
One of her most widely diffused tantric manuals is known as Tara of the Acacia Grove, ie. the Khadira Forest, and also, Nepal is well known for its dark green rain forest.* These facts lend support for those who think that Green Tara must represent the Nepalese woman.* However, Nepal is also the direction from which reading and writing, not to mention the dharma itself, came - attributes more of White Tara.* This opinion, that the Nepali woman is the model for White Tara is the view of Waddell and of Grundwedel.
Buton [Buston], the great Tibetan authority does not mention the 'wives idea' at all; Kunga Dorje, author of the Red Annals says rather that the Chinese wife was* an incarnation of Tara (non-specific) but that the Nepalese goddess Bhirkuti assumed the form of the other.*

Green Tara

In the Tibetan tradition, the color green is considered to include all the others.
Green Tara is typically pictured as a dark green-skinned girl of 16.* She wears striped leggings, but only her shoulders are covered above.* She wears the many characteristic ornaments of the samboghakaya.
Green Tara has her right foot extended as if about to rise.* Her left hand, in the gesture of granting refuge holds the stem of a blue water lily or utpala that waves over her left shoulder while her right hand also holding a flower, offers that which we desire, a boon.

Both hands signal with blue utpala flowers,
"Samsaric beings! Cling not to worldly pleasures.
Enter the great city of liberation!"
Flower-goads prodding us to effort.* Homage to you!

************** ~ First Dalai Lama (1391-1474)*
The practice of Green Tara helps to overcome fear and anxiety, but devotees believe that she can grant wishes, eliminate suffering of all kinds and bring happiness.*
When called upon she instantaneously saves us from eight specific calamities.* The First Dalai Lama lists and interprets them as representations of obscurations or defects:*

1) lions and pride
2) wild elephants and delusions
3) forest fires and hatred
4) snakes and envy
5) robbers and fanatical views
6) prisons and avarice
7) floods and lust
8) demons and doubt

Relation to Amitabha

It is said that, despite his having taken a vow before Amitabha Buddha to enable everyone without exception achieve liberation from the endless round of rebirth,* Chenrezi became so discouraged at the untold numbers of sentient beings that he began to cry.**From his tear was formed Tara.

In the words of Nargarjuna: " Compassionate One who saves from samsara! Goddess born of the tears of the Lotus-bearer, by the power of the vow of Amitabha; most loving one who strives for the benefit of others ...* I cannot describe your infinite virtues ... ."
The 21 Praises to Tara says 'On the face of Chenrezi,*she is born from a tear as a bud from a lotus' or ' born from the opening corolla of the lotus face of the Lord of the triple world.'*
A different account is that, while Chenrezig emerged from one of the* eyes of compassionate Buddha Amitabha,* Tara came from the other.* In her iconography, the association with the red Buddha, Amitabha, is indicated by a tiny image of* him in her topknot.*

White Tara

She is distinguished by "her body ... white, as an autumn moon; clear as a stainless crystal gem, radiating light.* She has one face, two hands, three eyes.* She is described in manuals as having "the youth of 16 years" but is often depicted as more full-bodied than Green Tara.* Her right hand makes the gift-bestowing gesture, and with the thumb and ring finger of her left hand she holds a branch of white utpala, its petals on the level of her ear.*
There are three flowers in various stages of growth symbolizing the three times (past, present and future.) The first bloom that is in seed, usually on the right, stands for Buddha Kashyapa who lived in a past eon; the second in first bloom stands for the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, whose activity has brought you here today, and the bud on the left symbolizes future buddhas - the expected one is Maitreya Buddha.*
Her hair is dark blue, bound up at the back of her neck at the back with long tresses hanging down; her breasts are full; she is adorned with divers precious ornaments, her blouse is of vari-colored silk, and her robes are of red silk, the palms of her hand and the soles of her feet each have an eye, making up the seven eyes of knowledge; she sits straight and firm upon the circle of the moon, her legs crossed in the* diamond posture."**
[This description (Beyer 379) from the beginning of her sadhana is included as characteristic of the details in texts used as a basis for tantric visualizations.* We remind the reader that in fact the practitioner is not worshipping a goddess in these practices since the image is his or her own self imagined as a deity.]
White Tara is referred to as "Mother of all the Buddhas."* This is because she embodies the motivation that is compassion.* Her whiteness "Radiant as the eternal snows in all their glory" is indicative of the selflessness - the purity - of this compassion but especially the undifferentiated Truth of the Dharma.

Her seven eyes stand for her perception of suffering that is apparent (the two we normally have) that is psychological/spiritual (the one in her forehead) and that is inherent in activity (in her palms) and in what is usually considered as progress (in her soles.)*
The mantra for White Tara is*
OM TARE TUTARE TURE MAMA AYUR PUNYE JNANA PUSHTIM KURU SWAHA

(Ohm, Tahray Totahray tooray mahmah ahyoor poonyay jnyana pushtim kuru[-ye ], Swahhah)

Tibetans say:* OM TARE TUTTARE TURE, MAMA AYUR JANA PUNTIN KURU SOHA
It is a request for an increase in longevity, merit and wisdom.
Link to a sadhana for White Tara in English via Lama Zopa and the FPMT for which no empowerment is required, though it is always beneficial to get an empowerment.* White Tara is here, an emanation of Amitayus (Tsepameh), the longevity aspect of Amitabha.**
Exceptional Sita Tara (White Tara), Mongolian bronze.
Link to Dharma Life: White Tara and her multi-hued sphere of protection*
Tara tangkas at Exotic India Art site:

Green Tara on black ground with gold and white: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/buddha/ze41.jpg

Green Tara surrounded by 21 Taras in their various colours: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/buddha/ze32.jpg
Green Tara on an island in a lake with layers of pink and mauve clouds: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/buddha/ze24.jpg
Unusual turquoise-Green Tara/Birkuti seated at base of stupa with batik elements including stylized animals of the buddha families: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/buddha/ze44.jpg
A delicate* bluish-White Tara, gold and pastel with an art-deco feel surmounted by yab-yum Vajrasattva and a wrathful form below: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/buddha/ze63.jpg
A pinkish-White Tara with impressive dragon to her right and Chenresi to her left, surmounted by three buddhas, two below: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/buddha/ze36.jpg
White Tara brass rupa: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/brass/zf89.jpg
The First Dalai Lama quotations are from Nitin's Nov. 2000 Tara article.* The directory of newsletters is at Exotic India Art newsletter.
================================================== =====

Yellow Tara

The Tara cult assimilates many forms into one:* The Supreme Tantra of Tara the Yogini: Source for All Rituals says in referring to aspects of the visualization: "By a green wheel, one is protected; one cheats death with a white one."** The wheel in this case serves as a metonymy for the activity of one single deity.
Buddhaguyha says that Tara's green colour is the result of the mixing of white, yellow and blue standing for pacifying, increasing and destroying respectively.* So that Green Tara practice includes that of White Tara and of all the others including that of golden Vasundhara - goddess of wealth.**
Depending upon how the initial letter is pronounced in the Indian languages, the name of Yellow Tara is variously transliterated Basundhara {Tib.: Norgyun, Norgyuma) Vasundhara, Yasundhara; Basudarini is a variant emphasizing her femininity, ie.* Norguuma in Tibetan.* Vasudhara is the consort of Vaisharavana (considered the same as Kubera or Jambhala).
OM TARE TUTTARE TURE PUSHTIM KURU OM is a version of her mantra according to one source.
She is related to Hindu great goddess Lakshmi, and her Sanskrit name Vasundhara indicates she is the source of the eight 'bountiful Vasus'- therefore according to the epic Mahabharat, she is the bounty that is the waters of the river Ganges -- the goddess, Ganga whose origin is the snows of the Himalayas.* (The Vasus are the attendants of Indra at the time of creation of the physical universe according to the Rig Veda, possibly the oldest hymn of the pre-Hindu [or Buddhist] culture.)
Dolma Sermo (Yellow Tara) from a series of the 21 Taras.*

The Sanskrit text Sadhanamala (no. 97, p. 200) refers to Yellow Tara as Vajra Tara.* In the ritual composed by Mahapandit Sthavira Dharmakaramatipada the essence mantra reveals her as a true form of Tara:* Om tare tuttare ture svaha.**
Her dharani which mentions her as an emanation of the Great Compassionate One, Chenresi goes:*
Nama aryavalokiteshvaraya bodhisattvaya mahasattvaya mahakarunikaya tadyatha:
Om tare tuttare ture, sarva dusta pradustan mama krte jambhaya sthambhaya mohaya bandhaya hum hum hum p'hat p'hat p'hat sarva dusta stambhani tare, svaha.
** ~ Min Bahadur Shakya,* Nagarjuna Institute

superb 6-armed bronze bejewelled rupa of Vasundhara at Asian Arts:***
"Seated in lalitasana on a double lotus throne, with her right foot resting on a small lotus flower, Vasudhara wears a dhoti engraved with a pattern of cat-foot prints and double moving engraved lines.* She is elaborately adorned with two necklaces, earrings, bracelets, anklets, armlets and ornaments. Her hair is arranged into two buns on either side of an exquisitely rendered three-leaved tiara, with a large central diadem.* Her lower right hand is in the posture of varada mudra, the gesture of charity.* Her upper right hand makes the gesture of adorning the Buddha while her other is holding a sheaf of grain.* Her left hands hold the auspicious water pot (the kalasa, the holy vase containing the amrita, the elixir of immortality,) a sheaf of grain and a pustaka, the book which emphasizes her identity with transcendental wisdom. The mudras and attributes signify her role as dispenser of wealth and agent of fecundity."*
************************************ ~* from Marcel Nies on the Asian Arts site.
Om, Shri Vasudhara ratna nidhana kashetri, swaha is the mantra associated with this particular form of Tara.
In a woven-thread ritual, some of the colors for Tara (who is to be thought of as holding a flask, ie. basically Yellow Tara) that have not already been mentioned are orange, reddish black and black.*

Black Tara

There are several "Black" Taras:



The Terrifier (Jigjema, Skt. Bhairava): brownish-black with tinges of red.* She is "Victorious Over the Three Worlds." She subdues evil spirits and cures any illness caused by them.

The Invincible (Shen.gyi.mi.tub.ma) "Crushes the Forces of Others" is black.* She causes your acts, intentions and aspirations to be invincible.

The Conqueror of Opponents (Shen.le Nam.par Gyel.ma) is red/black.* "Pulverizer of the Maras," she nullifies the influences of any who oppose one's spiritual aspirations.

================================================== =====
The Tara cult de-similates forms into a variety, too.*
"multi-colored Red Tara"

'Some have a vision of you (Tara) as red as the sun with rays
more brilliant and red than lac and vermilion.* Others see
you blue like the sapphire.* Some again see you whiter than the
milk churned out of the milky ocean.* Still others see you golden.
Your vishva-rupa is like a crystal which changes its color with
the change of the things around it.'

*~ Arya Tara Shragdhara stotra [Nitin's newsletter, Nov. 2000)
An example, Red Tara as Kurukulla, a deity whose primary activity is described as magnetizing or as subjugating.**[ link is to 4 images of Kurukulle at Padmasambhava.org]
The Drikung Kagyu Four-Armed Red Arya Tara is less common. Her activity
is described as "overpowering" in the sense of overcoming obstacles.*

"My wife and I did this practice during a legal conflict we were involved with a few months ago. And I give Red Tara the credit for helping us to emerge from it, in better shape than when we started.

This particular practice does require an empowerment.* If you have the opportunity to take the initiation with Garchen Rinpoche, for example, you might want to jump on it!" ~ S. at the kagyu list
HE Chagdud Tulku's Red Tara rupa at Decchen Ling.
Red Tara Commentary: Instructions for Concise Practice Known as Red Tara, An Open Door to Bliss and Ultimate Awareness compiled by Khadro Jane Tromge.* This is "the essence of the practice in a more accessible, concise English version. This shorter text contains two levels of practice: the first is a visualization of Tara in the space in front of oneself that does not require initiation; the second involves visualization of oneself as Tara and does require initiation. Through initiation, the blessings of the lineage are formally transmitted and one's mind is ripened in order to realize the profundity of the practice."*
The Red Tara that is done at H.E. Chagdud Rinpoche's centers originates with Apong Terton a great Nyingmapa lama who lived in this century.* It is The Condensed Essence of the Treasure of Supreme Enlightened Mind: The Mandala Ritual of the Noble Red Tara Called the Wish-Fulfilling Essence, "an extensive cycle that includes preliminary practices, dream yoga, healing practices, yoga of the subtle channels and energies (Tib. tza lung) and extensive teachings on the nature of mind. The main practice has been translated and is performed regularly at Chagdud Gompa centers.*
The steps of the Red Tara practice are interspersed with prayers of homage to the twenty-one Taras as written by another great Nyingmapa lama, a contemporary of Apong Terton, Khenpo Ngaga.
Link to the Maitreya site with epithets of the 21 Taras and their colors.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There is a Blue Tara - in the form of a She-wolf usually depicted with her head turned towards her tail.* The mantra associated with this practice, like some few others, is considered especially powerful and, according to the Venerable Kamtrul Rinpoche presents real danger to those unequipped to handle it.*
Also, there are a multitude of Tara rituals: to 'bind thieves', to protect against slander, and to heal via her mantra and seed-syllable [Skt.: bhija] TAM.* Beyer has in his book, an image of Tara who protects against yak-goring.*
Orange Tara
Link to one of a series from Atisha's 21 Taras.*
As The Liberator, she is believed to be able to free prisoners and those confined in other ways.* This extends to her efficacy in helping with childbirth.***

Protector

Tara's practice is also used in the making of special medicinal pills, thread-cross mandalas [in other cultures known as God's eyes] and other woven mandalas already mentioned that are charms to be carried on the person.* The writings of the great Nagarjuna include the formula for the preparation of a protective Tara mandala to be inscribed on bark.
Images of Tara are sometimes reported to manifest mysteriously on bone and in stone, among other substances.* Without color, Green Tara is distinguishable from White Tara in that she has two arms, and her right foot is advanced as if she were about to rise from her seat.

Origin of her ritual practices

There exist two different scholarly Tibetan traditions as to which teacher was first responsible for introducing her practice.* Evidence is strong that in the tenjur of* Tibetan king Trisong Deutsen (reigned 755-797) there were only 3 works concerning Tara, but they were not translated for general use.* These were: the incantations called Mother of Avalokiteshvara and 108 Names of the Goddess Tara, and Chandragomin's "Praises of the Noble Tara Who Saves From all Great Terrors".
It is generally agreed that it was not until Atisha arrived in Tibet in 1042 that her cult was introduced.* He claimed that it was Tara who prophesied that his life would be shortened by his going to Tibet, but that he would, by undertaking that duty to the dharma, greatly benefit beings and one devotee in particular.* That person was Dromton [or bromton] who built a temple to Tara that was standing at Nyetang* at least until the late 1970's.
Of Atisha's 117 works, only 4 are about Tara.* Also, of the 77 Indian works he translated, only 6 are about her.* It is noteworthy that, according to Beyer, all of the* White Tara lineages derive from his translation of* 3 of Vagishvarakirti's works in the larger cycle known as 'Cheating Death.'* The White Tara tradition stems from that writer's own revelations and not from the tantric tradition said to have originated with the Buddha.
The orthodox Buddhist tantric tradition was not deemed appropriate for general dissemination in the 11th century which was a time of reform.* It took another 400 years it to be revived, or at least, widely disseminated which it was under Taranatha (fl. 1600) according to the Tibetan historian, Zhunnupe.
The 21 Praises to Tara, though, were brought from India in the 11th century by Darmadra of Nyen, according to Drugpa Jetsen, abbot of the Sakya monastery who wrote a commentary a century later.* He, himself, wrote 13 works on Tara.
All denominations will call upon Green Tara in times of necessity.* According to Beyer whose informants were Drugpa Kagyu, the Kagyu consider there is a special relationship with White Tara via Gampopa (fl. 1100.)* The superior, contemporary tantric master Ven. Tenga Rinpoche maintains that lineage.* But Kagyu temples everywhere begin the day with the four-mandala offering to Green Tara.
Taranatha (b. 1575) was, besides a noted philosopher and scholar, also a Tara devotee as we see from his name.* In Origin of the Tara Sadhana, he tells how

A twelve-year-old girl was gathering flowers in the forest, when Kuni, a fierce elephant, confronted her. He seized her in his trunk and threatened to crush her.* Remembering Tara's name, the girl called upon her for help, and Tara at once restrained the elephant. The elephant placed the girl on a stone outcropping and saluted her with his trunk.* He took her to the local town's marketplace, council chambers and temple, and then circumambulated the palace. The king heard of this girl and her stock of merit and he took her as his queen.
Once at Vajrasana, an elderly lady constructed a Tara temple in which the Tara image faced outwards. When the temple was complete, the lady grieved because the image faced away from the Mahabodhi shrine, thinking it inauspicious to do so. Suddenly the image spoke: "If you are not happy about this, then I will look on the Mahabodhi shrine." At once the image looked around, and from then on was known as 'Tara of the Turned Face'.

Taranatha reminded his readers that Tara had encouraged Nagarjuna to attain perfection, had protected Chandragomin on two occasions, and that she had told numerous others edifying tales and given assistance to many siddhas, including Tilopa and the disciples of Naropa. He refrained, however, from setting down the detailed teachings of the Tara tantra, for that belongs to the oral instruction passed from guru to chela. He nonetheless showed why a dedicated disciple should seek its eternal wisdom. ~ http://theosophy.org/tlodocs/teachers/Taranatha.htm
more about the lineages and varieties of Tara by 'layman Sherab'
Shri Lankan standing Tara given by Robert Browning to the British Museum.
Standing Tara fully clothed.A Prayer to Tara the Seven Protectors by Lord Jigten Gonpo: variety of images

Mantras

Her basic mantra which may be said for all forms and by anyone is

OM! Tare Tuttare Ture, Swaha. pron.: Ohm. Tar-uh, too-tah-ray too-reh. Swaha [so-ha is how Tibetans say the final word.]
There are distinctive mantras that go with the various forms or aspects of Tara and these may vary according to the lineage of transmission.
The mantra that may be said for any deity conforms to the following (which is for Yellow Tara):
OM BASUDARINI [< deity's name] SOHA* [<Tibetan pronunciation of swaha = be!] *
It is the peculiarities of the Tibetan language, and also its alphabet that causes the change, but it is not more than a difference in regional accent, really.
RM provides an interesting simile.* He says that mantras may be likened to phone numbers with their various extensions.* Area codes, too, may I add.* In that case, dialing style does not matter as long as you get the right number.

Tara's Determination

In a world known as Various Lights, there was a Buddha called Dundubhishvara* [Lord of the Sound of Drums] and he had a devotee, a princess called Jnanachandra [Wisdom Moon.]* For many ages, she made offerings to him, and to the 'hearers' and bodhisattvas, until finally there arose in her the determination to, herself, become a* buddha.* She was advised that she would first have to seek a rebirth in a male body, for who had ever heard of a female buddha?
"Nonsense," she thought.* "What difference does the form of the body matter?* In fact, to dispel this incorrect notion from the minds of certain beings, I will forever be reborn as a female!"**

Those who wish to attain supreme enlightenment in a man's body are many, but those who wish to serve the aims of beings in a woman's body are few indeed; therefore may I, until this world is emptied out serve the aims of beings with none but a woman's body.*
Then Wisdom Moon sat determinedly in meditation for many ages.* She attained the knowledge that events do not arise, and the state called Saving All Beings.* Every morning before she had taken food, she introduced and fixed innumerable beings in the state of acceptance; every evening she did the same, and so she became known as Tara the Saviour.
Reborn into the realm of Buddha Amoghasiddi in the era called Vastly Extended, Tara took another vow before him:* She determined to protect the sentient beings of the infinite worlds of all ten directions from harm.* She settled into the state of meditation called 'Defeating all Maras,' and during the day, fixed in contemplation innumerable heavenly rulers of beings, and in the night, also those of the heaven of power of vision over others.* She became known as Tara the Swift, and Tara the Heroine.*
Then, in the era called Beginningless, a monk whose name was Stainless Light was empowered via the light of compassion of all the tathagathas [buddhas] and became Avalokiteshvara (Lord of the World, called in Tibetan, Chenresi).** In him, two lights emanating from all the buddhas - that of Understanding and that of* Compassion, united as a father and mother.* These lights, these initiatory energies, engendered Tara who was then born from the heart of the Lord of the World 'as a bud from the lotus.'
That is how Tara is understood to have come to us -- out of Emptiness, but by the merit of her devotion and her determination which, manifesting as care, finds its way through the union of wisdom and compassion to all sentient beings.*
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
S. L., who is a medical doctor, tells us that Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche told his pregnant wife to do Tara's mantra though she had received 'neither wong, tri, or lung [various types of empowerment] for that practice'.*
He recommends Bokar Rinpoche's Tara: The Feminine Divine.* Others mention John Blofeld's*Bodhisattva of Compassion.
The bookstore, Namse Bangdzo, at KTD* has a booklet by Ven. Bardor Tulku Rinpoche on the details of the sadhana of Green Tara with illustrations of the mudras [ritual gestures].

and More about Tara

It is believed by some that when the Buddha, Shakyamuni, was in one of the hells at a time before his last rebirth, it was the practice of Green Tara that freed him --**she is, after all, The Liberator.
Complete, authoritative Nyingma explanationsTara sadhana with the 21 Praises included, a Gelugpa liturgy.
The 21 Praises to Tara is an abbreviated practice in its own right.
The yidam of the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa Rigpe Dorje was Green Tara, and her mantra OM, Tara, Tutare, Tureh, SWAHA is inscribed on the raised part of the ceiling of the shrine room at KTD in upstate New York.\
In Praise of Tara by Martin Wilson.
Marianna Rydvald's Tara murals in a Hawaiian-Tibetan style*
Taradhatu: dancing Tara's PraisesSome find a Tara connection with taura [Etruscan temple] and the TaRat, holy thing.* In Sardinia, Turan was the name of* goddess crowned with the crescent* moon.*
Babylonian goddess crowned w. crescent moon; alabaster & rubies [antiquities]
Tara's Indonesian connections.
Tara, County Meath, is often called the heart of Ireland.* The crescent moon is an* important Celtic symbol.
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ManyMansions 07-28-2002 03:38 PM

Re: Origin of the cult of Tara
 
Oh, my.... I was going to do some research on all this and lookie what I found!

Thanks you two!


~Chaos reins only from within... Relax, Forgive, and Reboot... Order Shall return.

In the meantime, Live Life with Compassion and Love It!"~

th'goddess 07-28-2002 03:50 PM

Re: Origin of the cult of Tara
 
I am going to have to print this out! Thanks Jade and Seeker very very much!


Love and hugs th'goddess!

Jade 07-28-2002 03:53 PM

Re: The Eastern Tradition of KUAN YIN & The Tibetan Godess TARA
 
Goodness Seeker...
thankyou so so much for all this information...
I am sitting here...spinning my Tara Mantra Wheel and enjoying all of this....

spinspinspin....
Jade

inspired 07-28-2002 06:13 PM

Re: The Eastern Tradition of KUAN YIN & The Tibetan Godess TARA
 
Dearest V And Dearest Jade,

Thank you for such good things and information for our edification on Tara and Kuan Yin.

I love the image of Kuan Yin and find that she makes me feel calmer and at peace. In this light do I thank you both for your efforts on our part.

Blessings and Love,

Willy

th'goddess 07-29-2002 05:48 AM

Re: Wandering Ponders and Interesting Discoveries with Green Tara
 
What I am getting is that if we come together and use this within our diversity lies great power to affect change. After I spoke with Jade I spent some time pondering this and letting whatever else needed to come thru do so at in its own pace. I have spoken to many here and we are comming back together after a time of each of us being alone out there exploring in the mists.

I am also finding the value of working together despite diversity in beleifs with other friends here in town. Its seems to me that within each of our beleif systems lies a piece of light,a piece of the puzzle so to speak. If we join these pieces together with love and passion it will strengthen our work and carry it further.

There are two belief systems that I have long beleived hold many of the pieces of the puzzle one is Tibetan Budhism and the other the Kabbalah. Most of us want the same things for our world and ourselves,we just have basic differences in how to get it. I beleive that if we can come together and use this mantra we can do some pretty important things. The mix of energies here is making a power that is beginning to be very much alive and very powerful and I believe that it is incumbent upon us to use it to promote peace and the best for our world. Cooperating can only forge a tighter bond and sense of community and once this is done nothing can break this apart.

We have some really good things going on with in the structure of this community, lets use this strength. We debate and we sometimes argue and we always seem to come back together and I feel that we have work to do. This is my two cents so far.

Love and hope th'goddess!

Come Again Moon 07-29-2002 09:23 AM

Re: Wandering Ponders and Interesting Discoveries with Green Tara
 
Thank you Jade!
Love and light,
Moon

wakeful 07-29-2002 02:51 PM

Re: Wandering Ponders and Interesting Discoveries with Green Tara
 
Oh Jade, I can see why that fits with you.

When the Dalai Lama came to town not long ago he did a White Tara initiation which was wonderful. It is the same matra as the Green Tara.

According to what I read Tara is significant because women just weren't considered worthy vessels for Buddah's teachings. I suppose you can see why, on one level we have been enslaved by our bodies to ever have time for peaceful contemplation - let alone the meditation which is such a key point with Buddhism.

So Tara showed that it could be done - that women can reach enlightenment, despite all their burdens. Nothing wrong with the vessel per se.

If you really feel that the mantra and the practise of Green Tara are for you then do try and sit in on an initiation ceremony. They are held quite often in various places, it means that you have 'permission' to practise it. It may seem a very difficult concept do accept - the needing of permission to practice a prayer - but it is important if you connect with a Buddhist prayer and icon.

All the merit for your practise is channelled properly by the divine.

Lovely post as always Jade.

Jade Jaguar 07-29-2002 09:18 PM

Using a Mani Wheel..an Elegantly simple but powerful practice
 
I have had several emails asking me about the use of prayerwheels.

I feel that they are examples of powerful forms of ancient Spiritual Technology...so simple and yet simply profound.

In Buddhism, it is taught that the mantra is not a "prayer to a diety or a buddha", but actually the essence of the Buddhas in manifest form. To chant the mantra, to even see the written form is healing..it emits its light into the ethers...sending the blessing to all sentient beings who come into comtact with the energies.

So, each mantra is giving off Light and energy...and in a prayer wheel there can be hundreds even thousands of mantras written on a long strip of parchment and wrapped around a spindle. The mantras are overlapping one over another...each adding its light and strength ...
as the wheel is then turned in practice....I can best explain my first experiences with using a wheel as using a spiritual battery....The light was sent out...radiating in all directions with each rotation....growing...and filling everything with light and compassion...It was like I did not want to stop. I knew each revolution was putting out hundreds of prayers per second...I felt drawn to spin faster and faster..then felt that it need to be a little slower...with grace...elegance...so I found the rhythm of the wheel.

following is from the book 'The Great Wheel of Compassion' by Lorne Ladner
which is a good little book discussing the practice of the prayer wheel in Tibetan Buddhism~~~

There are two visualizations. With the first, you visualize light
beams coming from the mantras in the prayer wheel, illuminating you
and purifying you of all your disease and the causes of disease,
your negative thoughts and the imprints of these left on your
mental continuum. You then visualize the light illuminating all
sentient beings and purifying all their sufferings, as well as
their negative karmas and obscurations.
With the second visualization, beams are emitted from the
mantras and, like a vacuum sucking up dust, they hook all the
disease and spirit harms and, most importantly, the cause of
disease, the negative karmas and obscurations. All these are
absorbed or sucked into the prayer wheel. While reciting five or
10 malas of the mantra, you visualize purifying yourself in this
way.
At the end recite some malas while visualizing that the beams
emitted from the prayer wheel purify all the sufferings and
obscurations of the sentient beings of the six realms. These
absorb into the prayer wheel and all sentient beings, including
you, are then liberated, actualizing the whole path and becoming
the Compassion Buddha.
I would like to emphasize that every large and small prayer
wheel can be used by sick people for healing. This practice is
very practical and very meaningful. Two years ago, I asked Jim
McCann to build a prayer wheel here at Land of Medicine Buddha, not
only for people to do the practice, but also to bless the land. It
helps all the insects and animals as well as the human beings. Jim
and his wife, Sandra, put a lot of time and effort into actualizing
this extremely beautiful prayer wheel, though I'm sure many other
people helped them. From the depth of my heart I would like to
thank them very much for their achievement. A prayer wheel makes
the place very holy and precious, like a pure land.
This truly is a powerful and joyeous experience and practice...
Spinning spinning
Jade



***Peace Be With You***

inspired 07-29-2002 10:11 PM

Re: Using a Mani Wheel..an Elegantly simple but powerful practice
 
Jade thank you! This is very inspiring to me...I love the idea of sending blessings to others, that makes this so powerful for me...the insects and the animals...I love this.

Om Mani Padme Hum,

Willy

LifeStudent 07-30-2002 05:21 AM

Re: Wandering Ponders and Interesting Discoveries with Green Tara
 
Wow... I thank you all for frying my brain! *grin* Thats what I get for reading this so early in the a.m. Well....Can't stop here, I'm off to find out more! Thanks!!!

The more I learn, the less I know.

wakeful 08-06-2002 03:13 AM

Re: Wandering Ponders and Interesting Discoveries with Green Tara
 
Dearest Jade,

Thank you for posting this, I have been looking for a prayer wheel for a while and thanks to your post it is now sitting on my mantlepiece.
It gets twirled constantly - just wonderful, and you are also thought of when it gets twirled, an added bonus.

Thanks again, lots of Love
Wakeful (the giggler)

Cherry 08-06-2002 05:23 AM

Re: Wandering Ponders and Interesting Discoveries with Green Tara
 
Hi! Jade! how&where do you get the wheel?
Love&Light,
Cherry...

Jade Jaguar 08-06-2002 09:05 AM

Re: Wandering Ponders and Interesting Discoveries with Green Tara
 
Wakeful...
aren't they "happy little treasures". I don't know why, but they always remind me of little music boxes...perhaps some celestrial little song is being sent out through the ethers...
Jade
***Peace Be With You***

Jade Jaguar 08-06-2002 09:11 AM

Re: Wandering Ponders and Interesting Discoveries with Green Tara
 
Hi Cherry
Traditional Mani Wheels, with the wonderful Om Mani Padme Hum mantra can be found at many places...Buddhist centers/shops, online, etc...

So far, as I have searched, I have found one place (online) that offers the Green Tara wheel...though from my reading..other variations do exist.
My traditional wheel I purchased at a little shop that I love to frequent during a seminar I attended on Healing with Tibetan Bowls. The Green Tara tabletop wheel I ordered from www.tibetantreasures.com

Have a blessed and glorious day
Jade
***Peace Be With You***


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