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Tara - Additional Materials & Reference

EXPLANATION FOR THE TWENTY-ONE VERSES OF PROSTRATION AND PRAISE
BY VENERABLE GESHE DAMCHO YONTEN

These fall into three main sections.

1. Praising by means of the legends associated with Tara.
2. Praising the symbolic aspects of her manifestations.
3. Praising her enlightened activity.

1. Praises in Reference to Legend - Tara the Heroine

The homage is made to Tara, who was born from the tears of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, embodiment of the mercy of all Buddhas, a protector of all beings in the realms of desire, form and formlessness who arise as an 'I' based upon samsaric aggregates.

It is said that once the Bodhisattva of Compassion became dismayed on seeing that, even though he had striven with all his might to free the sentient beings from samsara, the number of the beings suffering in samsara was not significantly decreasing. He burst into tears and from the pool that formed from the water issuing from the lotus eyes of the Compassionate Bodhisattva there sprung forth a lotus. From the lotus appeared Arya Tara, whose exquisite face embodies the delicacy of a million lotus blossoms.

Thus the compassion of all Buddhas emanated as a fountain of enlightened energy, Arya Tara, divinity of mystical activity who turned to the Bodhisattva of Compassion and said "O noble one, I offer myself in the service of freeing countless sentient beings from the cyclic existence as quickly as possible. Shed no more tears. We shall work together to turn the battle against samsara". Then a net of lights shone forth from her two eyes and scanned the three realms of the world.

2. Praises in Reference to the Symbolic Aspects - The Twenty-One Taras

There are twenty-one different Sambhogakaya manifestations of Tara, a feminine emanation of the primordial Dharmakaya Buddha Amitabha.

Each form of Tara embodies a particular aspect of compassion. Green Tara represents the active energetic aspect of compassion, and she is the national protectress of Tibet, while White Tara, for example, embodies the fertile, motherly aspect of compassion.

Verses in praise of Tara's symbolic attributes

The verses in praise of the symbolic attributes of Tara's being has two parts.

1. Praising the aspects of her Beatific Form (Sambhogakaya)
2. Praising her Wisdom or Truth Body aspect (Dharmakaya)
Tara has two main types of Beatific Forms: Peaceful and Wrathful.

There are six verses in praise of her Peaceful forms:

2. Tara of White Lustre
This verse describes the brilliance of the Beatific Form of enlightenment.

3. Tara of Golden Hue Her Hand Postures
Whose colour is blue tinged with a golden radiance. The finger of her left hand holds the stem of a water born lotus, the flower of which has opened into bloom beside her ear. This symbolises how Tara embodies the Ten Perfections.

4. Victorious Ushnisha Tara How Tara is revered by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
Because Tara is the mother of all the Buddhas they carry her upon the crowns of their heads as an ushnisha. She symbolises the very forces that have the power to gain total victory over negative events of this life as well as over the obscurations of delusions and obscurations to omniscience.
The Bodhisattvas of the ten stages, who are completing the Ten Perfections must also fully rely upon Tara for she embodies the utter fulfilment of the Ten.

5. Tara who Resounds the sound HUM How she overcomes Disharmonious Conditions
The syllables TUTTARE and HUM that she utters, together with the syllable HUM at her heart, symbolise the wisdom of emptiness combined with the great compassion. With her two feet she presses down upon the seven realms of the world, thus invoking all forces and placing them in joy.
The seven worlds refer to the three lower realms (hell creatures, ghosts and animals) the realms
of man and the desire gods and the realms of the gods of form and formlessness.

6. Totally Victorious Tara How Worldly Gods Worship Her
Tara represents the beyond-samsara state to which even the great gods of the universe still aspire.

7. Tara who destroys Negativity How Tara crushes External Threats
Sitting in a peaceful posture, her right leg symbolises the wisdom of emptiness and left great compassion. She presses upon the three realms of the world her body blazing amidst darting flames. Although this is a peaceful emanation of Tara, externally she is slightly wrathful. To symbolise this she sits in the centre of a raging fire.

There are seven verses in praise of Tara's wrathful Sambhogakaya forms:

8. Tara who Heralds Supreme Power Tara's excellence in Removing Mara and the two obscurations
The great fearful one are the ferocious army of Maras. Her lotus face is marked with lines of wrath and her manner is that of a wrathful Bodhisattva destroying the enemies within: the obscurations of delusion, which obstruct the attainment of liberation from samsara: and the obscurations to knowledge which obstruct the attainment of omniscience. Tara practice destroys both of these obscurations together with their seeds.

9. Tara of the Rosewood Forest The symbols in Tara's two hands
Holding the stem of a lotus at her heart between the thumb and middle finger of the left hand, her remaining three left fingers are stretched upward into the mudra of the Three Jewels.
Her right hand, held in the mudra Supreme Generosity, is adorned by a wheel of truth that radiates forth waves of light to outshine the lights of samsara.

10. Tara who Dispels Sorrow Praising Tara's Crown and her Laugh
Her head-crown emanates a garland of lights to outshine all others. Laughing with mantric laughter she utters TUTTARE, bringing all Maras and the eight great gods of the world under her control.

11. Tara who Invokes How Tara practice activates the ten direction Protectors
This practice invokes the protectors of the universe. These natural forces of goodness spontaneously respond to the goodness generated by meditation upon Tara. The wrathful lines on her face flicker and lights shine forth from the syllable HUM at her heart, giving total liberation from all forms of sorrow such as poverty and pain.

12. Tara of Auspicious Brilliance Praising her head Ornaments
Tara's visible head ornament is a crescent moon, like that on the first day of the month, radiant with the light that eliminates sorrow. On her hair-knot sits Buddha Amitabha, who emanates a constant stream of light to fulfil the needs of living beings.

13. Tara who Bestows Maturity Tara's Wrathful Posture
Just as the fire at the end of time blazes with the heat of seven suns and easily consumes the earth and stones of the world, the wisdom fires in which Tara sits consume easily the myriads of delusions, the foes of the Trainees joyously following a spiritual path.

14. Tara with Vibrant Lines of Wrath The Syllable HUM which emanates light
Twitching the lines of wrath on her face. Stamping upon the earth in a ferocious manner with her right foot. She holds her right hand in the threatening mudra and emanates lights from the Syllable HUM at her heart, filling the seven dimensions of the world with light and bringing them under her power.

15. Tara of Virtuous and Creative Serenity Praising Tara's Dharmakaya Aspect
This verse is in praise of the mind and speech factors of Tara's Dharmakaya aspect.

16. Tara Destroying of Grasping The Peaceful and Wrathful Mantras
The ten syllable mantra refers to the root mantra OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA. HUM indicates the wrathful mantra - OM NAMA TARE NAME HARE HUM HARA SVAHA. By the power of these two mantras one destroys the enemies of liberation - grasping at a self within and clinging to substantial existence in the external world.

17. Tara who Produces Bliss How Tara shakes the three worlds
From the transformation of the primordial sound HUM appears TURE, whose pounding feet cause everything in the external world to tremble and shake.

18. Totally Victorious Tara How Tara eliminates the effects of Poison
The hare-marked moon like the celestial ocean symbolises the power to eliminate the poisonous effects of delusions and mental distortions from within the mind. Through the power of reciting TARA twice and also the mantric syllable PHAT, even external poisons are overcome.

19. Tara who consumes sorrow How Tara eliminates disputes and nightmares
Indra of the desire gods, Brahma of the realm of form, leaders of the spirit worlds and all kings of the gods and celestial beings bow their heads to Tara.

20. Tara Source of Siddhi How Tara cures disease
Her right eye fierce like the sun, her left gentle like the moon, she radiates dazzling bright beams of light.
By reciting the wrathful mantra HARA twice and also the peaceful mantra TUTTARE, the most powerful illness is overcome.

21. Tara who brings Complete Perfection How Tara overcomes ghosts and evil spirits
Tara's three natures, of her body, speech and mind, appear respectively as the letters OM at her crown, AH at her throat and HUM at her heart. These possess the strength to pacify the delusions within as well as external poisons. The most exalted TURE refers to TARA herself.

3. Praises in Reference to Enlightened Activity - Green Tara Visualisation

Tara represents the entire range of virtuous and enlightened activity and is therefore said to be the mother of the buddhas of the past, present and future - an attribute symbolised by the utpala fruit, flower and bud she holds in her left hand. The gesture of her left hand symbolises refuge while her right hand is in the mudra of giving highest happiness. She sits in royal posture on a white moon-disc resting on a lotus blossom. Her left leg is drawn upwards while her right foot rests upon a small lotus pedestal, showing that she abides both in samsara and nirvana. Tara wears the five silk robes and six ornaments, and in her tiara she bears and image of Amitabha. She is accompanied by the twenty-one forms of herself, 20 of whom float in the sky above her on rainbows and lotuses, while her other main form, White Tara, is found below.


Tara Image of the Nyingma Lineage
 

Other Prayers to Holy Tara

Refuge Prayer:

In Buddha, Dharma and the most excellent Community I take refuge until enlightenment
is reached; through giving and other good deeds, may I attain Buddhahood for the sake
of all living beings.

(Recite 3 times)

Homage to Tara:

The crowns of gods and demigods are bowed to Her two lotus feet; I prostrate to the
Mother Tara, the saviouress from all poverty.

Praise to Tara:

OM, prostrations to the Blessed One, the goddess Tara, Prostrations to Tara, TARE,
the Brave One; All fears are dispelled by TUTTARE TURE - she bestows all benefits;
and along with SVAHA I bow.

(Recite 1, 2, 3, 7 or 21 times)

Mantra:

OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SVAHA

(Recite 7, 21 or 100 times or as many as possible)

Listen to the Mantra in RealOne Player (30 Sec.)
Courtesy of www.snowlionpub.com

TARE

(Recite 21 or 100 times or as many as possible)

Request for blessings:

Arya Tara, please take heed of me. Having allayed all of my misfortunes, please bless me
to attain spontaneously and effortlessly favourable conditions and all hoped for results.

Dedication of merits:

By the merit of this prayer, may I and all living beings be happy and be free from
sufferings and unfavourable conditions, may we temporarily accomplish all of our
aims and wishes and ultimately attain the stage of Buddhahood.


Ancient Tibetan Thangka (Karsha Monastery, Sangskar, Tibet)
Clockwise from upper left: Sakyamuni, Tsongkapa (Founder of Gelukpa sect),
Tara, & Sadaksari Avalokiteshvara (this 4-armed form is incarnate in the Dalai Lamas).

Other Reference

Tara's Names & Attributes

1. The Swift Heroine (Nyur.ma.pa.mo). To pacify hindrances and develop bodhicitta

2. Saraswati (Yang.chen.ma) White  Tara "The Great Pacifier" (of kleshas: negative obscurations.) 

3. The Giver of Supreme Virtue (S.nam.chog.ter.ma) "Tara who Increases." 

4. The All-Victorious (Nam.gyal.ma) "Tara of the Life Force." 

5. The Giver of Intelligence (Rig.je.ma) "Tara Resonating With HUM." 

6. The Terrifier (Jig.je.ma) "Tara Victorious Over the Three Worlds." 

7. The Invincible (Shen.gyi.mi.tub.ma) "Tara Who Crushes the Forces of Others." 

8. The Conqueror of Others (Shen.le.nam.par.gyal.ma) "Tara Pulverizer of the Maras." 

9. The Saviour of the Scented Forest (Jig.ten.sum.la.gyal.ma) "Tara Embodiment of the Three Jewels." 

10. The Conqueror of the Three Worldly Realms (Jig.ten.sum.la.gyal.ma) "The Great Subduer." 

11. The Giver of Wealth (Nor.ter.ma) "Tara Eliminator of Poverty." 

12. The Auspicious (Ta.shi.dn.je.ma) "Tara Bestower of Auspicious Conditions." 

13. The Destroyer of Opposing Forces (Da.pung.som.ze.ma) "Tara Blazing in Flames." 

14. The Wrathful (To.nyer.chen) "Tara of Wrathful Gaze." 

15. The Very Peaceful (Rab.shi.ma) Also [2.] "The Great Pacifier." 

16. The Blazing Light (Bar.w.od.chen.ma) "Tara Who Saves by Means of HUM." 

17. The Subduer of Countless Harmful Forces (Pag.me.nn.ma) "Tara Trembler of the Three Worlds." 

18. The Peahen (Ma.ja.ma) "Tara Who Eliminates Poisons." 

19. The Invincible Queen (Mi.pam.gyal.ma) "Tara Eliminator of Conflicts and Bad Dreams." 

20. The Mountain-dwelling Mendicant (Ri.t.ma) "Tara Eliminator of Diseases." 

21. Rays of Light (d.zer.chen.ma) "Tara Accomplisher of All Enlightened Activities." 

Tibetan Mantras of the 21 Taras
Mantras for specific purposes - Calling upon the Taras

1.   OM TARE TUTARE TURE SOHA

          The Green Tara Goddess of Goddesses - The source of the other 20 emanations

2.   OM BANZA TARE SARVA BIGANEN SHINDHAM KURU SOHA

          The Tara who averts disasters

3.   OM TARE TUTARE TURE MAMA SARVA LAM LAM BHAM DZALA BHAYA SHINDHAMKURU SOHA

          The Tara who averts earth-born calamities

4.   OM TARE TUTARE TURE MAMA SARVA BHAM BHAM DZALA BHAYA SHINDHAM KURU SOHA

          The Tara who averts destruction wrought by water

5.   OM TARE TUTARE TURE MAMA SARVA RAM RAM DZALA BHAYA SHINDHAM KURU SOHA

          The Tara who averts destruction wrought by fire

6.   OM TARE TUTARE TURE MAMA SARVA YAM YAM DZALA BHAYA SHINDHAM KURU SOHA

          The Tara who averts destruction wrought by wind

7.   OM RATANA TARE SARVA LOKA JANA PITEYA
      DARA DARA DIRI DIRI SHENG SHENG DZA DZAANJIA NA BU SHENG KURU UM

          The Tara who increases wisdom

8.   OM TARE TUTARE TURE MAMA SARVA EH EH MAHA HANA BHAYA SHINDHAM KURU SOHA

          The Tara who averts heaven-born calamities

9.   OM TARE TUTARE TURE MAMA SARVA DIK DIK DIKSHENA RAKSHA RAKSHA KURU SOHA

          The Tara who averts destruction caused by armies

10.  OM TARE TUTARE TURE MAMA SARVA RANDZA DUSHEN DRODA SHINDHAM KURU SOHA

           The Tara who averts hell-born calamities

11.  OM TARE TUTARE TURE MAMA SARVA DZORA BENDA BENDA DRKTUM SOHA

           The Tara who averts evil caused by robbers

12.  OM BEMA TARE SENDARA HRI SARVA LOKA WASHUM KURU HO

           The Tara who increases power

13.  OM TARE TUTARE TURE SARVA DUSHING BIKANEN BHAM PEH SOHA

           Tara who averts evil caused by demons

14.  OM TARE TUTARE TURE SARVA HAM HAM DUSHING HANA HANA DRASAYA PEH SOHA

           The Tara who averts evil effecting cattle

15.  OM TARE TUTARE TURE SARVA HEH HEH DZALEH DZALEH BENDA PEH SOHA

           Tara who averts evil caused by wild beasts

16.  OM TARE TUTARE TURE SARVA DIKSHA DZALA YAHA RAHA RA PEH SOHA

           Tara who averts the evil effects of poison

17.  OM GARMA TARE SARWA SHATDRUM BIGANEN MARA SEHNA

       HA HA HEH HEH HO HO HUNG HUNG BINDA BINDA PEH

           Tara who subdues demons

18.  OM TARE TUTARE TURE SARVA DZARA SARVA DHUKKA BRASHA MANAYA PEH SOHA

           Tara who heals sickness

19.  OM TARE TUTARE TURE BRAJA AYIU SHEI SOHA

           Tara who bestows longevity

20.  OM TARE TUTARE TURE DZAMBEH MOHEH DANA METI SHRI SOHA

           Tara who bestows prosperity

21.  OM TARE TUTARE TURE SARVA ATA SIDDHI SIDDHI KURU SOHA

           The wish fulfilling Tara

Back to "The Twenty-One Praises of Tara" Ritual

Back to 21 Tara Homage

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