21 Taras Surya Gupta Thanka — stunning art by Angeli Lhadripa Shkonda: interview featuring 21 Tara closeups

Angeli Lhadripa Shkonda‘s artistic vision focuses her beautiful artistic skills on her beloved Tara Buddha. Taught by traditional teachers, Angeli creates thangkas that are luminous with Enlightened energy, alive with colour and detail and discrete gold details. We are pleased to showcase her beautiful 21 Taras artwork — in the tradition of Surya Gupta — with a short interview with this lovely artist.

NOTE: Angeli gave permission to feature lower resolution details of her artwork. In this feature you will find close up detailed gallery with images of each of the 21 Taras (from her large 21 Taras Thangka) — at the end of this feature.

BW: How long have you been a Dharma artist?

I have been painting thangkas for nine years and this is my main activity. I have been drawing since I was five years old. Even as a child, I drew feminine iconic images like Tara. Once in Nepal, Rinpoche told me: it is very good when an occupation from a past life passes into this life.

 

Artist Angeli Lhadripa Shkonda posing next to her 21 Taras Thangka (details of each Tara from this thangka in this feature.)

 

BW: What is your goal/aspiration as an artist?

I follow my teacher’s advice — and fill my own thangkas with kindness, inspiration, love, compassion, and harmony. He taught me that a great sense of color and perfect forms help sentient beings to practice merit accumulation and enhancement of wisdom.

Close up of central Green Tara in the larger 21 Taras Thangka by Angeli Lhadripa Shknoda. Normally, two blue Uptala flowers indicate this is the highest yoga form known as Chittamani (Cittamani) Tara.

 

BW: Please tell us about your art teachers and style.

My teacher Dawa Lhadipa, from Sikkim, is an authentic holder of the Karma Gadri tradition of Tibetan Art. He is the founder of the Rangjung Dawa Art School. Dawa Lhadipa is a very talented and famous artist. He has painted 27 Buddhist temples and centers in Spain, India, Nepal, the USA, Malaysia and Singapore, including Karma Guen (Spain).

Dawa teaches students the basics of drawing, the history, and tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, the Karma Gadri style of painting.

 

Beautiful Ushnisha Vijaya Namgyalma Thangka by Angeli Lhadripa Shkonda.

I also consider Robert Beer my teacher. I attended his seminars twice in Moscow and Kathmandu and studied from his books.

BW: What are the guidelines and standards in your tradition?

There are three basic elements and traditions of three countries in the Karma-Gadri style of thangka painting. Proportions and forms should correspond to the Indian canons. Landscape and composition originate from Tibet. And the drawing techniques, including shading, colors and textures, are rooted in Chinese painting. Knowledge is transmitted directly from teacher to student.

My teacher Dawa is an example of pure mind, a pure compassion heart and loving-kindness.

 

Angeli Lhadripa Shkonda with one of her Dharma gurus Garchen Rinpoche.

 

BW: Who are your Dharma teachers?

Over Ten years ago, I took refuge in the Three Jewels. During this time I received many empowerments and instructions from my precious teachers. My teachers are: Drupon Sangyas Rinpoche, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, H.H. Dalai Lama, Kyabje Kundeling Tatsak Rinpoche, H.E. Kyabjé Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche, H.E. Nubpa Rinpoche.  H.H. Dudjom Yangsi Sangye Pema Shepa Rinpoche, H.E. Kyabje Terchen Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche, Khenpo Karma Wangyal and H.E. Gangteng Tulku Rinpoche.

 

Angeli Lhadripa Shkonda (right) with Dudjom Yansi Sangye Pema Shepa Rinpoche.

 

BW: Do you have a favorite deity theme or topic?

Tara is my main deity and favorite subject in my thangka art. Dharani Tara and 21 Praise and Tara rituals have been and are my daily practice for many years.

Tara is the supreme female energy. She is the mother of all the Buddhas! She is beautiful, strong, fearless; she makes our good qualities bloom and brings both worldly success and spiritual progress. She is the true WonderWoman!

 

Angeli Lhadripa Shkonda’s art area.

 

The 21 Taras symbolize the various different qualities of Her Holy Body, Speech and Mind, and the “Praises to the Twenty-One Taras” express those marvelous qualities and pay homage to them.Each of the 21 Taras has a special power to help us: to grant long life, prosperity, relationship harmony, to protect us from jealousy, anger, sickness, and troublemakers.Tara is a meditational deity upon whom all the Holy Beings of the past relied; the great Indian masters of the past, such as Atisha, the great Kadampa masters of Tibet, Lama Tsongkhapa, and all the lineage gurus of the four Tibetan traditions.

 

Angeli Lhadripa Shkonda’s beautiful thangka of glorious goddess Parnashavari. For a full feature on the healing practice of Parnashavari, see>>

 

BW: Do you sell your prints or original art?

I sell prints and copies of thangka deities and original art. Currently, I am working on another 21 Tara thangka in the Chokling Tersar tradition. People can find me on my Facebook page and message me if interested in prints or copies.

Angeli Lhadripa Shkonda’s Facebook Profile Page  https://www.facebook.com/angeli.lhadipa

Gallery of 21 Taras by Angeli Lhadripa Shkonda

21 Tara related features

The Mantra of Tara

OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SVAHA

The Dharani of Tara in Sanskrit

OM NAMO ARYA-AVALOKITESVARAYA / BODHISATTVA / MAHASATTVA / MAHAKARUNIKAYA / TADYATHA OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SARVA-DUSTAN / PRADUSTAN MAMA KRTE / DZAMBHAYA / STAMBHAYA / MOHAYA / BANDHAYA / HUM HUM HUM / PHAT PHAT PHAT SVAHA / MAMA ARYAVALOKABHAYA NARA / BODHISATTVA MAHASATTVANI / ADHISTHANA / ADHISTHITE MAMA SARVA-KARMA-AVARANASVAHBAVA / SUDDHE VISUDDHE / SHODHYAYA VISHODHAYA HUM PHAT SVAHA

The Dharani of Tara in Tibetan

 

NAMO RATNA TRAYAYA / NAMO ARYA AVALOKITE SHORAYA / BODHI SATHOYA / MAHA SATHOYA / MAHA KARUNIKAYA / TAYATA / OM TARE TUT TARE TURE SARWA DUK TAM / TRA DUK TAM / MAMA KRITE / JAMBHAYA / SATAMBHAYA / MOHAYA / BENDHAYA / HUNG HUNG HUNG / PHE PHE PHE / SARWA DUK TAM SATHAM BANI TARE SO HA/ OM TARE TUTARE TURE SO HA

21 Praises

Around the world, many people begin and end their day with Tara’s twenty-one praises. This practice has been credited with many benefits, including protection from harm, prosperity, and swift progress on the path of enlightenment.

It can be beneficial to chant this in the world’s oldest known language—Sanskrit. The nuances of this practice, the originating sounds, is similar to mantra practice. In Sanskrit:

Om namah spukasam namah Taraye mi Tara

1 Namas Tare Ture vire

kshanair dyuti nibhekshane

trailokya nat ha vaktrabja

vikasat kesharobhave

 

2 Namah shata sharac chandra

sampurna patalanane

Tara sahasra nikara

prahasat kira noj jvale

 

3 Namah kanaka nilabja

pani padma vibhu shite

dana virya tapah shanti

titik sha dhyana gochare

 

4 Namas tat hagatosh nisha

vijayananta charini

ashesha paramita prapta

jina putra nishevite

 

5 Namas Tuttara Hum kara

puritasha dig antare

sapta loka kramakranti

asheshak arshanak shame

 

6 Namah shakranala Brahma

marud vishvesh varachite

bhuta vetala gand harva

gana yaksha puras krte

 

7 Namas trad iti phat kara

para yantra pramardani

praty alid ha pada nyase

shik hi jvalakulek shane

 

8 Namas Ture maha ghore

mara vira vinashani

bhrku ti krta vaktrabja

sarva shatrum nishudani

 

9 Namas tri ratna mudranka

hrdyanguli vibhushite

bhu shitashesha dik chakra

nikara sva Karakule

 

10 Namah pramudita topa

muku ta kshipta malini

hasat prahasat Tuttare

mara loka vashamkari

 

11 Namah samanta bhu pala

patalakarshana kshame

chalat bhrku ti hum kara

sarvapada vimoch ani

 

12 Namah shikhanda kandendu

muku tabha ranojjvale

Amitabha jata bhara

bhasvare kirana dhruve

 

13 Namah kalpanta hutabhug

jvala malan Tara sthite

alidha muditabandha

ripu chakra vinashani

 

14 Namah kara talaghata

charana hata bhu tale

bhrkuti krta Hum kara

sapta patala bhedini

 

15 Namah shive shubhe shante

shanta nirvana gochare

svaha pranava samyukte

maha papaka na shani

 

16 Namah pramudi tabandha

ripu gatra vabhedini

dashakshara pada nyashe

vidya Hum kara dipite

 

17 Namas Ture pada ghata

Hum karakara bijite

meru mandara kailasa

bhuvana traya chalini

 

18 Namah sura sarakara

harinika karast hite

Tara dvir ukta Phat kara

ashesha visha nashani

 

19 Namah sura ganadh yaksha

sura kimnara sevite

abandha mudita bhoga

kali duhs vapna nashani

 

20 Namah chandrarka sampurna

nayana dyuti bhas vare

hara dvir ukta Tuttare

vishama jvara nashani

 

21 Namas tri tattva vinyasa

shiva shakti saman vite

graha vetala yakshaugha

nashani pravare Ture

 

21 Praises to Tara in English

The praises do lose some of the “mystery” and intensity and sheer sound-power in English, but the intention and praise is maintained. Many people chant the praise in English:

1 Homage to you, Tara, the swift heroine,

Whose eyes are like an instant flash of lightning,

Whose water-born face arises from the blooming lotus

Of Avalokiteshvara, protector of the three worlds.

 

2 Homage to you, Tara, whose face is like

One hundred full autumn moons gathered together,

Blazing with the expanding light

Of a thousand stars assembled.

 

3 Homage to you, Tara, born from a golden-blue lotus,

Whose hands are beautifully adorned with lotus flowers,

You who are the embodiment of giving, joyous effort, asceticism,

Pacification, patience, concentration, and all objects of practice.

 

4 Homage to you, Tara, the crown pinnacle of those thus gone,

Whose deeds overcome infinite evils,

Who have attained transcendent perfections without exception,

And upon whom the sons of the Victorious Ones rely.

 

5 Homage to you, Tara, who with the letters TUTTARA and HUM

Fill the (realms of) desire, direction, and space,

Whose feet trample on the seven worlds,

And who are able to draw all beings to you.

 

6 Homage to you, Tara, venerated by Indra,

Agni, Brahma, Vayu, and Ishvara,

And praised by the assembly of spirits,

raised corpses,
Gandharvas, and all yakshas.

 

7 Homage to you, Tara, whose TRAT and PHAT

Destroy entirely the magical wheels of others.

With your right leg bent and left outstretched and pressing,

You burn intensely within a whirl of fire.

 

8 Homage to you, Tara, the great fearful one,

Whose letter TURE destroys the mighty demons completely,

Who with a wrathful expression on your water-born face

Slay all enemies without an exception.

 

9 Homage to you, Tara, whose fingers adorn your heart

With the gesture of the sublime precious three;

Adorned with a wheel striking all directions without exception

With the totality of your own rays of light.

 

10 Homage to you, Tara, whose radiant crown ornament,

Joyful and magnificent, extends a garland of light,

And who, by your laughter of TUTTARA,

Conquer the demons and all of the worlds.

 

11 Homage to you, Tara, who are able to invoke

The entire assembly of local protectors,

Whose wrathful expression fiercely shakes,

Rescuing the impoverished through the letter HUM.

 

12 Homage to you, Tara, whose crown is adorned

With the crescent moon, wearing ornaments exceedingly bright;

From your hair knot the buddha Amitabha

Radiates eternally with great beams of light.

 

13 Homage to you, Tara, who dwell within a blazing garland

That resembles the fire at the end of this world age;

Surrounded by joy, you sit with your right leg extended

And left withdrawn, completely destroying all the masses of enemies.

 

14 Homage to you, Tara, with hand on the ground by your side,

Pressing your heel and stamping your foot on the earth;

With a wrathful glance from your eyes you subdue

All seven levels through the syllable HUM.

 

15 Homage to you, Tara, O happy, virtuous, and peaceful one,

The very object of practice, passed beyond sorrow.

You are perfectly endowed with SOHA and OM,

Overcoming completely all the great evils.

 

16 Homage to you, Tara, surrounded by the joyous ones,

You completely subdue the bodies of all enemies;

Your speech is adorned with the ten syllables,

And you rescue all through the knowledge-letter HUM.

 

17 Homage to you, Tara, stamping your feet and proclaiming TURE.

Your seed-syllable itself in the aspect of HUM

Causes Meru, Mandhara, and the Vindhya mountains

And all the three worlds to tremble and shake.

 

18 Homage to you, Tara, who hold in your hand

The hare-marked moon like the celestial ocean.

By uttering TARA twice and the letter PHAT

You dispel all poisons without an exception.

 

19 Homage to you, Tara, upon whom the kings of the assembled gods,

The gods themselves, and all kinnaras rely;

Whose magnificent armor gives joy to all,

You who dispel all disputes and bad dreams.

 

20 Homage to you, Tara, whose two eyes – the sun and the moon –

Radiate an excellent, illuminating light;

By uttering HARA twice and TUTTARA,

You dispel all violent epidemic disease.

 

21 Homage to you, Tara, adorned by the three suchnesses,

Perfectly endowed with the power of serenity,

You who destroy the host of evil spirits, raised corpses, and yakshas,

O TURE, most excellent and sublime!

 

Tara in the Palm of Your Hand

Probably the best practice-oriented book on the 21 Taras according to Surya Gupta Tradition is Tara in the Palm of Your Hand by Zasep Tulku Rinpoche.

Book Details

Lee-Clark-buddha-weekly-5

Lee Kane

Author | Buddha Weekly

Lee Kane is the editor of Buddha Weekly, since 2007. His main focuses as a writer are mindfulness techniques, meditation, Dharma and Sutra commentaries, Buddhist practices, international perspectives and traditions, Vajrayana, Mahayana, Zen. He also covers various events.
Lee also contributes as a writer to various other online magazines and blogs.

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