Annual India Tours
These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt
gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity.
These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.
March 4 1990
Tara is considered to be the saviouress, the quick assistance to realizing how to get out of problems and hindrances, and the mother of all Buddha. You can look at it in two ways, not as the physical mother, but the mother of wisdom. In that way it is wisdom who gives realizations and insights. Wisdom is realization based on experience. In this sense we are speaking of mundane wisdoms, those which understand how to handle reality in a positive manner. In Buddhist terms, it is the appreciation and understanding of the law of cause and effect which is to work with things in a positive perspective, trying to bring a better situation for the individuals or situations you are working with with the idea of benefitting those situations and their perspective as best you can. The ultimate wisdoms are the wisdom of the true nature of reality. As one gains deeper appreciation, one does not grasp at the results of one's activities, one becomes more capable of allowing the activities to be spontaneous. In this was Tara is considered the mother of all the Buddhas and therefore is venerated by all Buddhists, and also, she is considered as that principle which liberates us from all interferences and hindrances.
Last week I read from the Crown Ornament for the wise, a praise of Green Tara by the first Dalai Lama. To continue from last week.
HOMAGE TO SHE WHO HAS CONQUERED DEATH FOR BY BUDDHA AMITABHA, HE RADIANT AS A RUBY IS SHE CROWNED. HIS HANDS IN MEDITATIVE POSTURE BARE A BOWL OF AMBROSIA AND BESTOW THE SIDDHI OF IMMORTALITY.
Avalokiteshvara worked hard for sentient beings and became frustrated because sentient beings were stupid and therefore cried a lake of tears. One of his pure tears of compassion turned into Tara who said she would help him liberate sentient beings. Being feminine and more intuitive than him, her family, because Avalokiteshvara's father in spirituality is Amitabha, the Buddha of the Western Paradise. On the side of the tantras, Amitabha is the Buddha which transforms attachment and passion. It was appropriate that this Buddha should manifest love and compassion, which is what Avalokiteshvara does. And Tara, then being the feminine side, is also a manifestation of the transformed attachment which is pure love and compassion. Statues of Tara have a little crown of red Amitabha Buddha, to symbolize her spiritual lineage. The lotus flower is their symbol. He is also considered to be the God of long life and health and so in his hands, as the prayers says, he holds a begging bowl containing the ambrosia of immortality. People who want to live forever pray to Amitabha to live an eternal life. The more realized you become, if you gain the true realization of the ultimate nature of reality, that is the immortal state in the sense that there is no more birth and death because they are the two extremes. The true nature of reality is that all things are becoming, nothing is self existent. So nothing comes into existence and goes out of existence, everything is in the process of change. So for the more real realization of immortality, would be to realize the true nature of reality.
It is Tara, particularly White Tara who has conquered the Lord of Death. On the side of death, there are certain signs and indicators that come mostly in dreams. One fellow I knew in Australia dreamed of swallowing a black snake tail first and two days later he died! So there are things which appear. It is said that if you have one of those indicators and were to pray to Tara, you can postpone that death experience at some time. Depends on how intensively you pray, but sometimes if you have an indicator which shows it is coming soon and if you were to go into retreat of Tara, you might postpone for awhile depending on the power of your positive thought and such things. That is some commentary on White Tara on getting over illnesses or postpone death.
HOMAGE TO SHE ADORNED WITH ORNAMENTS THAT EMBODY EACH AND EVERY BEAUTY OF CELESTIAL WISH FULFILLING JEWELS MAKE BY THE CRAFTSMEN OF MERIT AND WISDOM.
Tara, in this sense, as the divine feminine is exquisitely beautiful. If you see beautiful women who embody something, is very special. They carry certain energy, the way they stand, the way they move or talk. Little gestures. Somehow it seems magic! There is some real power there, the expression of the divine feminine. That is what Tara is considered in totality, is the most beautiful expression of the divine feminine in it's most peaceful manifestation. It is like putting your mind to that jewel that makes the various prayers and wishes you have become fulfilled. She is adorned with these various jewels. They day that the real jewels are the jewels of your morality or merits of wisdom. The more merit, the greater a positive person. The more you have that, the greater you have real jewels. The more your mind has the realization of the true nature of reality, these two things, the more your mind has love and wisdom, give you all the beauty of realization.
One Tibetan Lama who died near Calcutta after escaping to India, there was said to be the beautiful smell of roses around his body. It is said that arises by the power of your morality. In my teachings that is what I have heard. The point is, when you think of Tara, exquisitely beautiful, in your meditation, you should think of the beauty of her body is the nature of her being. It is not like she is just an attractive woman, but all of the beauty of the feminine character is the manifestation of all of her beautiful qualities. That is why she is adorned in such a way.
LIKE AN EMERALD MOUNTAIN CLOTHED IN RAINBOWS, THE UPPER PART OF HER BODY IS DRAPED WITH CELESTIAL SILKS. AND THE SKIRT HUGS HER THIN SUPPLE WAIST, TO HER I BOW DOWN.
Again, this is to Tara, beautiful emerald green who is adorned with like rainbows having a beautiful aura. The upper portion of her body has silks and said to be divine, those which float in space. The silk skirt has five parts of silk in in, white yellow red green and blue, and woven into this skirt which is quite short, and her legs are bare.
HOMAGE TO THE GODDESS ON HER RIGHT SIDE, MERECEE, PEACEFUL IN CONTINENCE AND EMANATING LIGHTS THE COLOR OF THE SUN. ALSO TO THE GODDESS ON HER LEFT AGAJOTTI, WRATHFUL, LUSTFUL AND RADIANT IN THE COLOR OF THE SKY.
It is said that when you do a lot of devotion to Tara, she has goddesses, one on the right and one on the left. The one on the right is peaceful, sun like, and is named Maresee, and one her left, is the wrathful dark blue goddess of wrathful activities.
HOMAGE TO SHE WHO SKIES ARE FILLED WITH MYRIADS OF GODDESSES SKILLED IN DANCE AND SIX TYPES OF SONG WHO HOLD UP COUNTLESS OFFERINGS SUCH AS WHITE UMBRELLAS, PEACOCK FANS, STRINGED INSTRUMENTS AND FLUTES.
So if you are doing a visualization, you have a large Green Tara who is seated in the center. On her right is the golden colored goddess and on her left, a blue colored goddess, and all around her are all kinds of other goddesses ornamented in beautiful silks, instruments, and floating in space making beautiful music.
AND THE CONSORTS OF VISHNU, INDRA, AND ISHVARA, AND A THOUSAND OTHER ENCHANTING IMMORTAL GODDESSES COMPETE IN BEAUTY MERELY WITH YOUR SERVANTS. TO THE FORM OF THE EXQUISITE GODDESS I BOW DOWN.
So it is saying the Vishnu's consort, Lakshmi, and the others, compare in beauty only to the servants of Tara. Because her quality is based on her Enlightenment, Tara is beyond compare. No other female could compare to her. Ishvara's consort, Pravati, called Shakti, is the consort of Shiva. Shiva is the chief of yogi's seen as an emanation of a heavy duty power, lust, and masculinity. Pravati, the feminine power which would match that. So even these three consorts who are unbelievably powerful and dynamic women each personifying a special type of feminine energy, can not compare to Tara because Tara is the ultimate expression of full enlightenment.
I hope you get some idea. Even Shiva, with matted hair of a yogi, a tiger skin loin cloth, a trident, who is an esthetic who can meditate for a thousand years in samadhi, who bestows siddhi's on people, whose symbol is the phallus or organ, if you devote yourself to him you get certain realizations. Also, it is said if you devote yourself to Pravati, his consort, you get many realizations similar, obviously because a divinity like that, his female counterpart must have a lot of heavy duty qualities. Pravati is that. She embodies the power and wrath of the feminine. Vishnu is seen as the preserver, a nice God to rely on. He is peaceful and into justice and equality. His concert is going to be the balance.
As we talk about these you can get an image that goes with them. And Tara is beyond that, so she is not into any one image. She does not need to be. She is fully realized, her mind is not caught up with wanting to identify with any of these particular aspects. So Tara could be the consort for all the gods because she has those qualities, but she is more than that because she is fully enlightened.
FROM THE VAST BILLOWING CLOUDS OF YOUR COMPASSION RESOUNDS THE THUNDER OF TEACHINGS SWEET TO HEAR. SEIZING DISCIPLES OF THE RAIN OF EIGHT BRANCHES, SHE WISE IN THE RAINING OF TEACHINGS, I BOW DOWN
Tara will, like a cloud when it gives forth it's rain, rain upon all things that are under her shadow, so also will the Buddhas. The Buddhas, when they bestow their teachings, will rain equally on all. There is no partiality in the teachings. In this way it is said when you pray to the Buddhas, each being will equally understand appropriately. The teachings of the eight branches, I am not sure. The eight spoked dharma chakra which then has the eight branches of teachings. It is just a way of dividing up the Buddha's teachings.
Tara has the ability to teach anything she wants. She is not limited in her realizations.
THE OCEAN LIKE TREASURE OF QUALITIES WHO SEES ALL THINGS, WHO CAN DESCRIBE YOU AS YOU REALLY ARE, FOR YOUR UNIMPEDED MIND POSSESSES THE TEN POWERS. TO SHE WHO HAS GONE TO THE END OF KNOWLEDGE, I BOW DOWN.
So to Tara who has an ocean like quality, who sees all things, who can describe you just as you are, who is the unimpeded mind possessing the ten powers, such as the power of perfect generosity, morality and so on, perfectly realized in the realization of how to help sentient beings. To she who has gone to the end of knowledge, there is nothing more to have to be learned, to her I bow down.
ALTHOUGH HAVING FOUND PEACE, SHE IS MOVED BY COMPASSION. AND WITH ARMS THAT COMPASSION CARRIES TO PEACE, THE BEINGS SINKING IN THE OCEAN OF MISERY, TO SHE GONE TO THE END OF COMPASSION, I BOW DOWN.
Although she has perfect nirvana,she is still moved my compassion so she is not apathetic to our pleas for help as assistance, and with arms of compassion quickly carries to peace suffering beings. Thus Tara helps one find path to realization. She does not have to work to be compassionate. She has gone to the end of compassion.
HER ACTIVITIES ARE PACIFYING AND INCREASING OVER POWERING AND DESTROYING LIKE TIDES OF THE OCEAN, PAUSE NOT FOR A MOMENT BUT SPONTANEOUSLY ROLL IN AN UNBROKEN FLOW. TO SHE GONE TO THE END OF ACTION, I BOW DOWN.
So she is unlimited, able to act at all times spontaneously. Her activities of pacifying are pacifying those of illnesses, death, delusions. The power of increasing as in wealth, prosperity, knowledge, and life span. Her power of over powering translates from Tibetan as influence. She is limitless in being able to influence other sentient beings. Tara, if she turns her mind to wanting to influence someone, she knows exactly how to affect that person. Destroying, although she has these wonderful qualities, if the situation demands it, she will also stomp something out. So it is beyond just emotional compassion, there is also the compassion to see things just as they are and to act correctly in accordance with need. So she also has the power to cat wrathfully. And just as there is an on going flow of waves on the beach, so also Her activities never cease.
MERELY BY REMEMBERING HER FEET ONE IS PROTECTED FROM THE EIGHT TERRIFYING AGENTS AND EVIL GHOSTS, FROM THE TERRORS SUCH AS THE OBSTACLES TO LIBERATION OF OMNISCIENCE, TO SHE GONE BEYOND THE END OF POWER, I BOW DOWN.
Power means will power. The ultimate power would be total freedom of choice. If you have that, you are all powerful. No one can influence you. Options are those of doing what you want. Power does not mean to throw people around and aggression, it means self control. And self control in the sense of enlightenment means you have the ultimate freedom of will. So it is said merely by remembering her feet one is protected, meaning even the lowest part of her body is holy and can bless you. And of all the things which be horrible, the obstacles to your liberation and enlightenment are the worst. By that is meant the delusions of inadequacy, inferiority, and so on which stop you becoming free from encumbrances. To be omniscient, you have to overcome apathy, because if you were liberated, you have ultimate bliss. But if you have ultimate bliss and are still a little selfish, means you don't care about anyone else. So omniscience in the Buddhist sense, is said to be the mind which goes beyond personal liberation, still works for the benefit of sentient beings, so it has the final expression of love and compassion.
So to Tara who has that final expression of love and compassion, I bow down.
The main point in relying on Tara, is Tara has been around for thousands of years and whether it is Tara in Tibetan Buddhism, or the virgin Mary or the earth goddess in some primitive society, the feminine principle has always been recognized and is powerful for the psyche of humanity. I have talked about Naropa in his Path to Realization. In that it is said his initial vision of Tara was as a horrible old woman. His meetings with her in different phases of evolution of purification, each time she has a more beautiful aspect although she is still ugly. The second time she is a leper, the third a whore, and so on. As his realizations increased, her beauty showed through until finally he had a pure vision of Vajra Yogini which is Tara in a more powerful wrathful aspect. At that point he gained pure realizations, but you can see there is an evolution in his psyche as Tara appears to him.
Maybe we are not as dedicated as Naropa, there is still an evolution in our own psyche in the evolution of the feminine whether we are male or female. I think it is good to have that appreciation.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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