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.
Nanaimo June 22 1993
We will be doing an initiation for Green Tara shortly after his Holiness's visit. As there will be an initiation for Green Tara, we will do a green Tara meditation as an introduction.
One cannot say there is a spiritual recipe for how enlightened beings manifest, because of the great variety of minds we have as individuals, some being very intelligent, intellectual and very analytical, others having faith, feeling, and a non analytical approach. others being perceptive, strong psychic bent or intuitive side, due to the great variety of people that exist in the world, there is therefore a great variety of forms that the Buddhas or enlightened beings have manifested in.
Tara is called the mother of all Buddhas in the sense that Tara is said to be the enlightened activity which allows or helps the Buddhas manifest in the world. The teachings say that all Buddhas equally have compassion. So we cannot say that one Buddha has more compassion than another one, but it is said that due to the particular aspect of some of the Buddhas, it can be said that they seem to respond quicker due to their nature, being more of that style. You could say that the rebirths they have processed through in the evolution to become enlightened predisposed them to stronger response in that way. And so it is said that although one may rely on the male Buddhas and receive great blessings and such, that the female Buddhas respond quicker due to their more intuitive nature. They come more quickly to respond to our prayers and requests and to grant blessings.
Tara is said to be a mainstay in any spiritual practice due to her helping facilitate our process of enlightenment. So when we have obstacles and interferences in our life, life does get miserable sometimes. The Buddha talked about it, the Buddha said samsara is fought with suffering. Or one of the prayers in the guru puja says that the ocean of cyclic existence has many viscous and aggressive sea creatures. So as we look at our own existence, we would like to be an oasis of happiness, but very often we are attacked by many difficult situations in life. This being the case, it is said that reliance on Tara helps us go through those and go beyond those. There is a traditional presentation of Tara overcoming the eight fears or obstacles which can cause great turmoil in our life, such as fire, flooding, thieves, and such. But more looking at our own life, we don't have a lot of flooding, bandits and such as presented in older times, but we do have a lot of obstacles nowadays. Certainly a lot of things can go wrong and things can be difficult in our lives. Reliance on Tara can help guide us through those. It is said Tara is termed the goddess of activities. Tara facilities our enlightenment in the sense that she helps us go through and come out on the other side with good circumstances if we rely and pray to her.
Tara can be looked at in two ways. One, Tara appears before one and we pray and if try to invoke a passionate response in Tara, we will because there is that relationship. But also, if you want to have a more dynamic relationship, one can think of it in this way that to the best of my ability, I am going to emulate the bodhisattva path. I am going to work for the benefit of others, I am going to identify or hold dear to the principals of the bodhisattva which is the cause of the Buddha. In that way, if you have the Buddha in front of you and then pray to the Buddha, it would then be similar then if you turn around and face the same way as the Buddha.
What you do is try to emulate or try to become more in harmony with the Buddha's activities. In many ways this is more sophisticated than praying to the Buddha in the space before you. Why? Because if you pray to the Buddha in the space before you there is a strong sense of duality in that. There is the great Buddha who is divine, and here is me who is miserable or whatever and praying, help me, I need this or that, life is not good! Things like that. In that way, when you do good, you think Tara loves me. She pats me on the forehead and tells me I am a sweet child and she loves me. And then when you are a bad person you have the sense of that Tara doesn't love me any more! Which is of course our projection! The Buddhas have a constant and even compassion. They do not fluctuate in that. And that is so important, because often we might think the Buddhas are angry because we have been bad! Or that they love us if we have done good deeds! This is a very simplistic relationship with the Buddhas or one's spirituality.
Whereas if you change that and turn around and face the same way as the Buddhas, then the sense of the duality is not as manifest because you are trying to emulate or create similar activity as the Buddhas. Which, the only activity of the Buddha is the activity of compassion, helping others become more realized, more intelligent, more skillful in their activities in the world. And of course, ultimately it leads to state of fulfillment where one is fully capable of helping others and being fully satisfied within oneself which is the state of enlightenment.
So if you do a hundred and eighty degree turn, what you have is the attempt to become union oneness with the Buddhas. And we all have Buddha nature, so within our Buddha nature we can identify with that and we emulate it. It is like we can find Tara or whatever Buddha we want within us, and the sense of duality is not as strong because it is more of a slow merging into the state of enlightenment versus looking in front of you and climbing to enlightenment. Not so say that one way or the other is good or bad, because we all at different times assume both positions. When life is really miserable, we would love to go to someone and say please, take my hand and lead me through this, I am really miserable! We all have that. Because we have all had parents, we have that imprint within us. But when we have confidence then we feel we would like to assume some personal responsibility. And that is when we make that turn and start to actually become a more creative positive person, doing good actions around us, maybe being kind to someone. Expanding that to the community and such, and trying to go beyond our own personal basis and personal prejudices to a more universal approach which the Buddhas have.
So when you do this meditation, do it either way, but I would recommend the style where you become union oneness with Tara. Because the seat of our mind is said to be in the center of our chest, we should visualize Tara at that position.
Tara is on a beautiful lotus flower, that blossoms above the water. So it is said that although our roots of our being are in extreme confusion in cyclic existence where we have anger attachments, aversion, although our roots are there, if we have the right understanding we can evolve beyond that blossom into the beautiful state of enlightenment. Although we are coming from samsara, we can blossom beyond it. That is said to be spiritual determination. The lotus is traditionally called renunciation, but the more appropriate term for our age is spiritual determination as in I can recognize my spiritual practice as being more fulfilling for me than just working for dollars, a house and a car. Sort of, working for inner fulfillment. The inner fulfillment is spiritual determination. That is the first of the seats upon which Tara sits.
Secondly there is a sun a moon cushion, they are like discs, round circular cushion. The first is red, considered the sun cushion, the second white, the moon cushion. The red is for sun, warmth of the ones that love, and the moon is reflective and therefore considered as wisdom as in wisdom is reflective. It has the ability to appreciate things. Wisdom is perceptive, you could almost say passive in that it observes and understands. Love is what is what is active, it does things. So Tara or any enlightened beings sits on three seats, the seat of perfect spiritual determination, understand the nature of reality, and understanding the nature of practice. And then then the full cushion of love, the sun cushion, the full cushion of the moon, the cushion of wisdom. Those are the seats.
Within your chest where you do the visualization, you could have the stem of the lotus comes up from your abdomen and blossoms in your chest. Within that there are two cushions. On top of that you visualize Tara. She is stylized but it has meaning. I want you to think of people you know. That when you look at some, you automatically think I could talk to that person! I feel warmth, they are open to talk to me! What Tara has, is she has two hands in two mudras which are considered symbolic. One says I am feeling enlightened as a a woman with intuitive knowledge of realization or enlightenment. And the three fingers up are considered to be the three jewels of enlightenment. And her left hand is saying I am fully enlightened, fully realized. Her left hand is termed in the gesture of giving or bestowing. And if you ask something of her, she is ready to give it to you. So that hand is the bestowing anything you would request of her freely and openly.
Her color being emerald green is a color of growth and of energy. If you think of different colors, white is peaceful and calm, red is fiery strong, green is rich and vibrant and growing color. Spring is a perfect example of green!
And you should not think of her as being solid and substantial such as this statue which is rock solid hard. You think of it as being more like crystal, like if Tara has a beautiful body of light energy, and when you look at her, you could see through to the behind, there is that translucence to her. Yet she is a fully animate entity. It is not like she is a statue or picture, there is animate energy there. The energy is I will give you want you want, what you need to become enlightened. And don't worry, I've got it all together! The energy is I have it, you can rely on me fully!
And reliance doesn't mean I am going to do it all for you! It means I will help you do it yourself! So Tara is an assistance........ Bad tape.
In your visualization, after you become relaxed, move your awareness to the center of your chest at the level at your heart. Feel your body as no longer thick and heavy and made of meat and bones, but rather as light energy. Like a crystal, clear. Have the stem of the lotus come from your abdomen up to the heart level. You don't have to see it, you can just image or believe that it opens into a full lotus cushion or seat at the level of your heart. Upon that and filling it, appears the red cushion being the reflective warmth and love. Then a white moon cushion which completely covers the red sun cushion appears which is the reflective wisdom energy. On that starts to come an emerald green glow that slowly manifests into the syllable TAM, green in color and appearing like a neon light. And have your chest assume a hue of green due to that radiant energy.
Slowly have that melt and merge into a more greenish energy and then it manifests into Tara. She has one face and two arms, she is smiling resplendently. There is warm energy all around her body. He left hand at her left side of her chest and she is holding her ring finger with her thumb, her three other fingers pointing upwards in the air. She holds a stem of a lotus that goes up around her left shoulder and blossoms into a beautiful lotus floating the space above her left shoulder. Her right hand is going over right knee, her thumb is pulled into her index finger, and that holds a stem of a lotus which comes up to blossom above her right shoulder. Her right hand is in the gesture that I will do anything you ask of me, anything to help you become enlightened. To become a more positive and beautiful person.
Her body is also made of light energy. And so, you can believe or imagine that in the center of her chest is the syllable mantra OM TARE TUTARE TURE SVAHA. They have a radiant pulsating energy which is filling her whole being. The mantra means I will help you,help you. supremely help you. I will save you, save you, supremely save you! Or I will liberate you, liberate you, supremely liberate you! That is the nature of the mantra, the nature of her being.
In the visualization, as you recite the mantra, feel that mantra vibrates very beautiful soft energy which starts to fill her whole body, then slowly starts to fill your whole body. It completely fills your body with greenish light energy. And then as you exhale, feel that many Taras on the ends of light rays go out from your right nostril and go all through the world helping others and giving assistance, helping people gain better understandings, over coming their closed mindedness. Having done that work, the light rays again turn to your nostril and come back inside of your body.
You either do the mantra recitation after you have finished, or just feel as you exhale, from your right nostril you are sending out millions of little Taras that go to everyone else in the room, the world around, then help people work things out! As you inhale feel that those Taras have finished their jobs and merge back with you giving you a blissful sensation. So you have blissful sensations that leave your right nostril, blissful sensations that enter your left nostril. And the energy is all benefitting and helping sentient beings become more enlightened, more positive, more virtuous.
So Taras form, spread through your body and slowly spread out through your right nostril and return though your left. Then do the mantra. When the mantra is finished, you can carry on being aware of the outward flow of Taras through your right and return through your left. You can also think of the qualities of Tara, the basis of Tara as being spiritual determination, universal love and compassion. You can think of Tara as a manifestation being fully capable of helping others, being fully supportive, you can think of the spread of green light rays through your body purifying illnesses whatever, or millions of Tars helping both yourself and all sentient beings. Or you can have a peaceful meditation. You could have sincere prayer within all of that. From the depth of your heart, that all of this comes about.
When you are finished, Tara with her radiant figure, surrounded with many colored lights like a rainbow, you can make a dedication, such as by the merits of my meditation may I become more enlightened, may I quickly ascend the spiritual path, become more positive and may all of the things that I become be fully beneficial for all sentient beings. Feel Tara is happy with that thought from your mind side, she starts to dissolve into light. Her light energy mixing with your body. Her speech potential which is the mantra, mixing with your speech, her holy mind which is both wisdom and compassion, mixing with your mind.
Copyright 1994 Daka's Buddhist Consulting
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