21 Homages to Tara: The Benefits of Reciting the Praise Khenpo Tenzin Norgay

Thupten Shedrub Gyatso, who was a Tulku in one of the Palyul Monasteries, wrote this commentary. His present incarnation, Rago Chogtrul currently lives in Tibet.

Translation by Khenpo Tenzin Norgey ~ Spring, 2004,
Palyul Retreat Center, Mc Donough, NY USA ~Wood Monkey Year 2131

The Benefits of Reciting the Praise

The wise one endowed with pure respect for the goddess,
Who recites these praises with perfect devotion
Remembering her in the evening and upon waking at dawn,
Will be endowed with complete freedom from fear.

 

A practitioner who recites the praise in the evening and at dawn, recallingTara’s qualities with pure devotion, and has the wisdom to discriminate between good and bad will be protected from the sixteen fears.  Others will be endowed with complete freedom from all fears.  It is also said that we must meditate on her wrathful form in the evening to pacify the harms of this life, and visualize her peaceful form at dawn and recite the praises to save ourselves from rebirth in the lower realms.

 

All their sins will be pacified,
Causing destruction to all lower realms.
And the seven million Victorious Ones
Will quickly grant them empowerment.
Thus, they will attain greatness, and progress
To the stage of Buddhahood.

 

The daily practice of the Twenty-One Praises toTarawill cause all of the practitioner’s sins to be pacified and purified.  Those who recite the praise will not experience the sufferings of the lower realms.  The seven million Victorious Ones who abide with the Noble Lady will swiftly bless and empower the practitioners.  In this life, the practitioners of this praise will achieve the great bliss of place, body, retinue, and the qualities of the dharma of transmitted precepts and realization.  They will swiftly attain the paths and bhumis, and reach the ultimate state of enlightenment.

 

By remembering Her, the most violent poisons
Abiding in the earth or in beings
Whether eaten or drunk
Will be completely removed.
 

At the conventional level, practitioners will be protected from terrible diseases, and the pain caused by aconite and other inanimate poisons.  They will be protected from the poisonous fangs, horns, stings and bites of animals.  The practice will also provide protection from the poisonous effect of the evil intentions of malignant spirits, protection from their touch, and the evil eye.  By remembering the goddess and her mantra, the harmful effect of poisons whether they have been eaten or drunk will be nullified.

 

This can eliminate various sufferings
Inflicted by the spirits, epidemics, and poisons
Even if done for the sake of other beings.

 

         The practice can easily eliminate the suffering inflicted by outer and inner poisons, by dangerous epidemics and possession by evil spirits.  The same benefit can be achieved if the praise is recited for the sake other beings.

 

On sincerely reciting twice, three times, and seven times
The wish to have child will be fulfilled
And the desire for wealth can be achieved.
All the wishes will be fulfilled
Every hindrance destroyed in its turn
 

We must recite the praise twice, three and seven times in one session.  We can do the practice either two sessions a day: once during the day, and once during the night, or three sessions during the day and three sessions at night.  The Vajra holders of Indiaand Tibetteach that if one practices the sadhana of “The Four Mandala Offerings[i]” in this way, the desire to have children to continue one’s family line, or to provide students to uphold the dharma lineage will be fulfilled.  In the same way, if one wishes to have wealth for the happiness of this life and the next, excellent prosperity can easily be achieved.  Likewise, any other activities: siddhis[ii], temporal desires and ultimate wishes will be fulfilled.  By the compassion of the Venerable Mother, unfavorable obstacles in the future will not manifest, and harm will not arise from obstacles that have already occurred.  Since all purposes can be fully achieved, the wise must practice this sadhana with enthusiasm.

 

By explaining the Twenty-One Praises with devotion,
May all access the ocean of siddhis, clear all obstacles
And have the auspiciousness of complete enlightenment,
By swiftly having a vision of Her face, embraced
By the unchanging bliss, endowed with all supreme attributes.

 

To summarize the text, the meaning of the root mantra is shown in the form of praise.  The twenty-one verses of homage show the twenty-one manifestations of the goddess.

 

Thupten Shedrub Gyatso, who was a Tulku[iii]in one of the Palyul Monasteries, wrote this commentary.  His present incarnation, Rago Chogtrul currently lives inTibet.

 


[i] mandala skt offering ~ A Tantric practice in which all precious things are offered to the deities, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in order to develop generosity, the first of the six perfections.

[ii] siddhi skt  ~ Spiritual accomplishments which may be mundane or supramundane. Buddhahood is the ultimate siddhi, mundane siddhis include clairvoyance, clairaudience, flying, etc.

[iii] tulku Tib ~ A reincarnate lama. The Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit “nirmanakaya”, used as an honorific term for recognized incarnations of lamas, who are found, usually in childhood, and are brought up to inherit the lineage and often the monastic foundations of their predecessors.

 

21 Homages to Tara: Verse 21 Commentary Khenpo Tenzin Norgay

Thupten Shedrub Gyatso, who was a Tulku in one of the Palyul Monasteries, wrote this commentary. His present incarnation, Rago Chogtrul currently lives in Tibet.

Translation by Khenpo Tenzin Norgey ~ Spring, 2004,
Palyul Retreat Center, Mc Donough, NY USA ~Wood Monkey Year 2131

Homage to you, who is adorned by three Suchnesses.
Perfectly endowed with the power of serenity.
Destroyer of demons, zombies and yakshas.
O TURE! Sublime excellent lady.

The twenty-first praise is the homage to Lhamo Odser Chenma,Tib the “Goddess with Brilliance”, who can restore the life force.  She is white, her left hand is in the boon-giving mudra, and her right hand is in the refuge-giving mudra, holding a blue lotus on which sit the auspicious golden fishes.  At her three places: crown, throat, and heart, are OM, AH, and HUNG, respectively, which form the sublime protection against all obstacles.  The light rays from these letters protect the three doors of beings from the harm of all outer obstacles caused by evil forces, both form and formless.  They also protect beings from the inner obstacles of ill health, and the secret obstacles of dualistic affliction.  The rays have the power to pacify them without a trace.  Particularly, the rays from the three letters can restore the life force stolen by spirits, zombies, and yakshas, and eliminate their harmful intentions and actions.  The homage is to TURE, the great compassionate lady who acts swiftly for the benefit of sentient beings.  The true meaning is that Tara has the power to guide the minds of beings to be tamed in the “three approaches to liberation”.  These are: emptiness, attributelessness and aspirationlessness, or, the suchness of an entity, its nature and compassion, and the clearing of all its obscurations.  Ultimately the vajra body, speech and mind are the primordially pure nature of all phenomena.  By meditating on the sphere of the indivisibility of the three vajras, the demons, sufferings, zombies, and yakshas are transformed by the great bliss of primordial wisdom.

This is the praise to Her root mantra,
And the Twenty-One Homages.

21 Homages to Tara: Verse 20 Commentary Khenpo Tenzin Norgay

Thupten Shedrub Gyatso, who was a Tulku in one of the Palyul Monasteries, wrote this commentary. His present incarnation, Rago Chogtrul currently lives in Tibet.

Translation by Khenpo Tenzin Norgey ~ Spring, 2004,
Palyul Retreat Center, Mc Donough, NY USA ~Wood Monkey Year 2131

Homage to you, whose two eyes, the sun and the moon
Radiate sublime luminous light.
Uttering HARA twice and TUTTARA
You dispel all horrifying epidemics.

The twentieth homage is to Lhamo Rithrodma,Tib  the “Mendicant Tara”, who averts all diseases.  She is orange and her hand holds a vase of nectar on a blue lotus.  Her left eye is like the full moon and her right eye is like the sun.  Her right eye emits blazing rays that burn all the lords of diseases, (those who command the evil spirits that bring disease) like haystacks.  Clear nectar flows from the moon, (her left eye) curing the causes and effects of diseases and epidemics.  Her mantra, OM TARE TUTTARE TURE NAMA TARE NAMO HARA HUNG HARA SVA HA has two HARA sounds and a TUTTARA.  The mantra can cure even the most dangerous incurable epidemics.  The ultimate meaning is that if the mother-sphere of transcendent wisdom is realized, the most dangerous epidemics of afflictions, their causes and fruitions, can be cured.

21 Homages to Tara: Verse 19 Commentary Khenpo Tenzin Norgay

Thupten Shedrub Gyatso, who was a Tulku in one of the Palyul Monasteries, wrote this commentary. His present incarnation, Rago Chogtrul currently lives in Tibet.

Translation by Khenpo Tenzin Norgey ~ Spring, 2004,
Palyul Retreat Center, Mc Donough, NY USA ~Wood Monkey Year 2131

Homage to you, on whom kings, congregations of gods,
Minor gods, and kinaras rely.
Your armor of magnificent joy
Dispels all disputes and bad dreams.

The nineteenth is homage to Mipham Gyalmo,Tib the “Undefeated Queen”, who averts conflicts and bad dreams.  She is white and holds a white umbrella.  Indra, Brahma, gods of the desire and form realms, demons and local gods who harm beings, and the gods of mountains, lakes and trees who help beings, honor her without exception.  In general, by the mantra that is blessed by her and the visualization of her body as armor, all conflicts and bad dreams can be averted.  In particular, the multi-colored vajras and the sparkles they emit avert religious and political critics, and make their statements powerless.  She wears a crown to symbolize honoring lamas as deities, actualization of primordial wisdom, and stabilization of bodhicitta.  She wears earrings as a sign of refraining from the humiliation of lamas.  Her armlets, bracelets, and anklets, six in number, signify that she refrains from killing insects.  Her necklaces represent her perfect recitation of mantra.  Her belt, lower garments and ornaments indicate that her body is endowed with bodhicitta.  All of her ornaments are like fine armor, whose splendor can avert criticism and the bad dreams caused by the imbalance of the winds, channels and seminal essence[i].  The inner meaning is that by having the karmic wind[ii]flow into the uma, the central channel, the experience of the armor of emptiness is actualized, averting the delusions that cause conflict and bad dreams.



[i] winds, channels and seminal essence ~ Our vital energy or wind, moves the essential fluid of consciousness or seminal essence, also called tigle or drop, through the channels, or in Sanskrit, nadis.

[ii] karmic wind  ~ The vital energy generated by our karma.

21 Homages to Tara: Verse 18 Commentary Khenpo Tenzin Norgay

Thupten Shedrub Gyatso, who was a Tulku in one of the Palyul Monasteries, wrote this commentary. His present incarnation, Rago Chogtrul currently lives in Tibet.

Translation by Khenpo Tenzin Norgey ~ Spring, 2004,
Palyul Retreat Center, Mc Donough, NY USA ~Wood Monkey Year 2131

Homage to you, holding a hare-marked full moon,
Shaped like the god’s ocean of nectar
By uttering TARE twice and PHAT
You dispel all poison without exception.

The eighteenth homage is to Maja Chenmo,Tib the “Great Peahen”, who averts and pacifies poison.  She is as white as the moon, and sits on a blue lotus.  In her left hand, she holds a full moon marked with a rabbit, which is the shape of the ocean of nectar of the god realm.  With her radiance and her chanting of the mantra, OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SARVA VETRA TARA PHAT SVA HA, which has two TARES and a PHAT syllable, she clears all poisons, both animate and inanimate, without a trace.  Generally, all obstacles arise from poisons, and the base of all the animate and inanimate poisons is our afflictions.  She clears all the poisons of sentient beings without a trace with the medicine of the truth of reality.

21 Homages to Tara: Verse 17 Commentary Khenpo Tenzin Norgay

Thupten Shedrub Gyatso, who was a Tulku in one of the Palyul Monasteries, wrote this commentary. His present incarnation, Rago Chogtrul currently lives in Tibet.

Translation by Khenpo Tenzin Norgey ~ Spring, 2004,
Palyul Retreat Center, Mc Donough, NY USA ~Wood Monkey Year 2131

Homage to you whose seed syllable is HUNG
Who utters TURE and stamps your feet.
Causing Meru, Mandhara and Vindhya mountains
And the three worlds to tremble.

The seventeenth homage is to Dolma Pagmed Nonma,Tib the “Unfathomable Suppressor”, who averts harm from hunters, thieves, robbers and enemies.  She is orange like saffron, sits on a blue lotus and holds a stupa[i].  By saying TURE, stamping on the ground, and the radiating seed syllables from the HUNG at her heart, she shakes all the abodes of the great gods, including Mount Meru, Mandhara and Vindhya.  The effect of her actions extends beyond the three thousand worlds.  Her stamping causes the three realms: desire, form and formless, on the subterranean, terrestrial and celestial worlds, to quake and quiver.  By the power of her frightening forces, she crushes butchers, thieves, and other enemies under her feet and gives peace to all beings.  The ultimate meaning is that the quavering of the three worlds is purification of the three doors, (body, speech and mind).



[i] stupa skt ~ Buddhist sacred monument and reliquary, built to represent the enlightened mind.

21 Homages to Tara: Verse 16 Commentary Khenpo Tenzin Norgay

Thupten Shedrub Gyatso, who was a Tulku in one of the Palyul Monasteries, wrote this commentary. His present incarnation, Rago Chogtrul currently lives in Tibet.

Translation by Khenpo Tenzin Norgey ~ Spring, 2004,
Palyul Retreat Center, Mc Donough, NY USA ~Wood Monkey Year 2131

Homage to you, who is surrounded by joyous ones
Who completely scatter the bodies of enemies.
You liberate all with your speech, adorned with ten syllables
And HUNG: your pristine awareness.

The sixteenth homage is to Drolma Barvai Odcan,Tib the “Tara Who Averts the Enemies and Mantra’s Spell,” who is red like the fire at the end of eon, sits on blue lotus, and holds a crossed vajra.  She is surrounded by a host of vidyadharas and mendicants who have accomplished the practice of mantra and power of truthful speech and are endowed with perfect joy of samadhi.  Their radiance scatters the bodies of the foes and overcomes the power of magical spells and the power of sorcery, destroying them without a trace.  By reciting her mantra arrangement of the ten syllables, OM TARE and so on, she At the heart of the wrathful lady, awareness rests in the form of a HUNG radiating light that clears the outer, inner, and secret obscurations of the beings to be tamed.  The ultimate meaning is that by subduing the foe of the impure appearance of our body, the awareness body of the Mother of the Victorious Ones is accomplished: the unchanging great blissful body endowed with the ten powers.

21 Homages to Tara: Verse 15 Commentary Khenpo Tenzin Norgay

Thupten Shedrub Gyatso, who was a Tulku in one of the Palyul Monasteries, wrote this commentary. His present incarnation, Rago Chogtrul currently lives in Tibet.

Translation by Khenpo Tenzin Norgey ~ Spring, 2004,
Palyul Retreat Center, Mc Donough, NY USA ~Wood Monkey Year 2131

Homage to you, who is blissful, virtuous and tranquil,
And enjoys the domain of peaceful nirvana
With (mantra) endowed perfectly with SVAHA and OM
You destroy all awful non-virtuous karma.

The fifteenth homage is to Rabtu Zhima,Tib the “Perfect Pacifier”, who pacifies the obscuration of negative karma[i].  She sits on blue lotus, and is peaceful.  Her color is white like a crystal moon and she holds an anointing vase.  She is free from the fruition of suffering, and as a result, she is blissful She has eliminated non-virtue, and as a result, she is virtuous.  Her afflictions have ended, and as a result, she is tranquil.  She has gone beyond the sufferings of the two obscurations and she enjoys and abides in the sphere of sublime tranquility.  By her power of compassion, and power of reciting perfectly in accordance with the sadhana[ii] her twenty-three or eighteen syllable mantras, the five heinous negative karmas[iii]that make beings fall into the lower realms, and other karma that generates great sufferings are uprooted and purified.  The mantra includes the additional syllables,OMat the beginning and SVAHA at the end.  The ultimate meaning is that her blissfulness and other qualities are connected to the five wisdom minds: the wisdom of absolute space, mirror-like wisdom, the wisdom of equality, discriminating wisdom, and all-accomplishing wisdom.



[i] karma skt ~ The doctrine of actions and there causal consequences, the law of cause and effect.

[ii] sadhana skt ~ Translated as “means of accomplishment”  Usually is a complete set of tantric liturgies on the practice of a deity, starting from the lineage prayers to dedication of the merit to all the sentient beings.

[iii] five heinous negative karmas ~ Patricide,  matricide, killing an arhat, drawing blood from the body of a Buddha with evil intent, and causing a schism in the sangha.

21 Homages to Tara: Verse 14 Commentary Khenpo Tenzin Norgay

Thupten Shedrub Gyatso, who was a Tulku in one of the Palyul Monasteries, wrote this commentary. His present incarnation, Rago Chogtrul currently lives in Tibet.

Translation by Khenpo Tenzin Norgey ~ Spring, 2004,
Palyul Retreat Center, Mc Donough, NY USA ~Wood Monkey Year 2131

Homage to you, who strikes the earth with your palms,
And stamps upon it with your feet.
With wrathful grimaces and HUNG syllable,
You scatter the seven underworlds.

The fourteenth homage is to Thronyer Chenzed,Tib the “Wrathful Wrinkled (Frowning) Tara” who subdues the eight classes of harmful spirits and nine malignant spirit brothers.  She is black like a dark night, and holds a wooden pestle upon a blue lotus.  She makes the world tremble and quake by striking the mountains and islands with the palms of her hands and stamping upon them with her feet.  By the power of her regal frowning, the resounding vibration of HUNG, and the glare from her radiant vajra light, which is like a fire-shower, she shatters the hearts and heads of all malignant spirits:  samaya[i] breakers, demons and others from the seven underworlds and above, and makes them faint into the state of dharmata[ii].  The seven underworlds, which are like layers of seven roofs, are: the abodes of demons, the general base, the higher base, the baseless, the specific base, the base of essence, the perfect base, and the pure base.  In reality, the two soles striking symbolize striking the crucial point of the path of the non-duality of pristine wisdom and the basic sphere, which uproots the seven latencies or seven cognitions with their objects.



[i] samaya skt  ~ A vow or word of honor, a promise, commitment,  usually in the context of a Tantric vow or empowerment.

[ii] dharmata  skt  ~ The void nature the emptiness aspect of Buddhahood.  It can be translated as the true nature of reality.

21 Homages to Tara: Verse 13 Commentary Khenpo Tenzin Norgay

Thupten Shedrub Gyatso, who was a Tulku in one of the Palyul Monasteries, wrote this commentary. His present incarnation, Rago Chogtrul currently lives in Tibet.

Translation by Khenpo Tenzin Norgey ~ Spring, 2004,
Palyul Retreat Center, Mc Donough, NY USA ~Wood Monkey Year 2131

 Homage to you, who dwells amidst garlands
Blazing like the fire at the end of an eon.
With your right leg outstretched and left leg drawn in
Your joyful turning destroys enemy forces.

The thirteenth homage is to Drapung Jomma,Tib the “Tara Who Averts War”.  She averts wars and obstacles, and leads beings to victory in the war with form and formless enemies.  She is red in color and dwells amidst garlands of wisdom fire swirling like the fire at the end of an eon.  Her right leg is stretched out and left leg is drawn in.  Sparks of fire fly from the prongs of the vajra she brandishes, subduing all harmful enemies.  She comforts them by gathering them under the vajra-tent that protects them from their own evil.  With every skillful means[i], she turns the wheel of dharma, according to the disposition of the beings to be tamed.  She makes them content and joyous, and subdues the malefic forces of the two obscurations.  The inner meaning is that this indicates the realization that “exhausts all phenomena”.  Just as the fire at the end of the eon consumes the world, when the primordial wisdom swirls in dharmadhatu, the outer earth and stones, the inner animate body, and the secret conceptions are also exhausted.  So the foes of the two obscurations[ii] are subjugated, and the joy of the great tranquility of the core of inner clarity of primordial wisdom[iii]that does not dwell in the extremes of samsara and nirvana is experienced.



[i] skillful means ~ The Mahayana practice of adapting the doctrine to the capacities of one’s audience.

[ii] two obscurations  ~ There are two types of obscurations: those preventing liberation from the cycle of samsaric suffering, called afflictive obscurations, and those preventing omniscience, called the obscurations to the objects of knowledge.

[iii] primordial wisdom  ~The wisdom that has realized the primordial nature of all phenomena.

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