སྒྲོལ་མའི་བསྟོད་པ། In Praise of Tara

Tara, also known as Drolma in Tibetan, is a Bodhisattva or Buddha of compassion in action, a protector who comes to our aid to relieve physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering.

She is not like most of us human beings who, yes, can admit to her virtue of being a helper, but at the same time, we ourselves instead respond by sending a short text message when someone calls us. Talking to each other seems so last year. 

The time-consuming habits that we develop in our day and age easily persuade us to get into the habit of never answering our phone when someone calls. We don’t have time. It’s inconvenient. We text each other.

So, when someone, like a loving and carrying wisdom force like Mother Tara, does respond to our call, we are so blessed to be reminded of this act of loving-kindness. At that moment, we do our best to take the time to wind down and allow ourselves to say yes to an active response.

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I have been calling on and meditating on Tara the Liberator for decades myself and have a deep love for and trust in this amazing Buddha. She has helped me in so many different situations countless times.

For instance, when I was about to be trained as a nun in the Himalayas and needed conducive circumstances to remain there on a long-term basis, Tara appeared everywhere, in the most surprising places.

The deity showed herself in many unexpected ways throughout that whole time of taking all the proper steps toward a long-term visa. Reminders of the deity Tara crossed my path repeatedly. 

Tara was truly turning up in her twenty-first-century manifestations as painted tattoos on strangers’ wrists seated next to me in public, as wall frescoes on city walls, and through her name displayed on a personalized license plate on a silver corvette. A car in which I was offered a ride home. What are the odds?!?

The swift and protective Mother of all Buddhas dispelled all the last doubts I had as to whether I would be granted the conducive circumstances I prayed for or not. 

The rest is history. I remained twelve years a nun, and I spent much of that time in the Himalayas thanks to some apparent blessings, including a long-term visa.

All these contemporary displays of Tara tickled my connection to the deity. It was as if she was blinking her divine eye at me from tattoos and license plates to let me know she was right by my side and urging me along the right track. 

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To start a Tara practice or deepen our connection with the Buddha Tara, we begin our formal mantra recitation sessions with a lot of love and the sincere wish to know the truth. Pray to be close to the goodness within and to awaken to our natural light for the benefit of all beings. 

There are eight particular dangers from wish we can call on her to instantly free us, each of which represents a corresponding mental agony, namely pride, ignorance, hatred, jealousy, poisonous views, greed, attachment, and doubt. We all can recognize these eight disturbing mental states, which are the main dangers to our peace of mind.

For Tara to be able to benefit us, we need to approach her with an open heart and mind. And we can awaken our own Buddha nature, just like she did a long time ago, by chanting her praise, reciting her mantra, and meditating on her form and presence.

If we choose to recite mantras, they shouldn’t be aimless lip service but come from a heartfelt wish to connect, protect and transform. 

Whatever disturbing emotions we are experiencing, we can relate these to particular sufferings that we are all familiar with. We can meet the unwanted feelings that come with these undesirable circumstances from a place of wisdom. However, no matter how many mind tools, personalized meditation apps, and therapy sessions we have at our disposal, there will always be things like getting what we don’t want and not getting what we do want. These experiences are sprinkled throughout our lives. That’s how we learn and grow. In the best-case scenario, we learn to appreciate whatever comes our way. 

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The feelings and thoughts that come with unwanted experiences could be called “the smelly fertilizers nurturing the seed of our blossoming lotus.” Remembering this might help us to ease our pain in the midst of it all. 

Whatever challenges we are going through, let’s never forget that all these problems are relative, even though we perceive them as genuine suffering for the time being. 

By relying upon Tara and doing Tara practices, such as reciting her root mantra, “om tare tuttare ture soha, “Tara has the power to liberate us from all our miseries. From our side, we need to be determined and stick to our practice to see a difference. “Never give up,” His Holiness The Dalai Lama says.

“Om tare tuttare ture soha” literally means “I prostrate to the Liberator, the Mother of all the Victorious Ones.” On a deeper level, this mantra, like all genuine mantras, is much greater than the sum of its literal parts, with layers of meaning and benefit that resonate with us beyond what our minds first perceive.

To access the most accurate power of her root mantra, “om tare tuttare ture soha, “it’s best to have a transmission for it. Suppose you don’t have a transmission for the mantra but still wish to connect or deepen your relationship with Tara. In that case, you can make the aspiration that you will get the opportunity to get a transmission for the mantra in the future. 

We can subdue our fears by calling on Tara’s protection from danger. We call upon “her who hears the cries of the world” with a sincere motivation to be relieved of our suffering. By doing so, we help both ourselves and others while gaining multiple benefits and becoming happier.

If you wish to connect more with Buddha Tara you can find this blog post available as a narrated version on my YouTube channel. So, to listen to the narrated version of this blog post “In praise of Tara” visit my YouTube channel here.

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In the Dharma,

Lama Chimey

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Published by Lama Chimey

Buddhist Minister, Meditation & Dharma Teacher

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