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Swift Healing with White Tara: the Rapid Path to Long Life, Merit, Wisdom, and Health

Swift Healing with White Tara: the Rapid Path to Long Life, Merit, Wisdom, and Health

When I need help in a hurry, Tara is the “swift one”—the One I call on first. If I’m in trouble, Green Tara. If I’m sick, White Tara. So far, end of life isn’t top of mind, but if I was concerned about how long I might live to practice dharma, I’d also think of Sita Tara (White Tara).

“White Tara is particularly associated with healing, protecting and stabilizing your life-force.” Gelek Rimpoche

Contents

White Tara is as much the “swift heroine” as Green Tara—since they’re both aspects of Tara, who is known as the “swift savior.” Although I practice many types of self-healing—and also healing for others, now that my parents and friends are aging—I’ve found Sita Tara is the fastest to bring “first aid” as well as the most effective for long-term health. I do, personally, work with several effective healing Buddhist practices and deities—including the most wonderful Medicine Buddha Bhaisajyagururaja—but, if I’m in pain, in need of quick help, or feel my very life is threatened by illness, White Tara is my main practice. Why? Because, simply Tara’s help is immediate, and nearly miraculous in results. (For a very short White Tara practice that does not require empowerment see “Simple White Tara Practice” section at the end of this feature).

 

White Tara is particularly effective in Mahayana Buddhism for long life and healing practice.
White Tara is particularly effective in Mahayana Buddhism for long life and healing practice.Visually, She is notable for Her seven eyes—four on the palms of Her hands and soles of Her feet, one in Her wisdom eye location, and Her two regular eyes. She is a Female Buddha—an aspect of Arya Tara.

 

Daily, I practice both Medicine Buddha and Tara—both simple practices involving offerings, affirmations and mantras. Regularly, since I have initiation and instruction from my teacher, I also fulfill my commitments for their sadhanas and try to keep my Bodhisattva vows.

I find both White Tara and Medicine Buddha practices are effective, both generate merit to help overcome negativities and bad karmic potentials, both heal, both maintain health. However, if I feel the matter is urgent, White Tara’s mantra’s is on my lips automatically, especially for my aging parents. It’s not for nothing she’s called the “swift one.” She embodies the activity of compassion and wisdom. (For information on Medicine Buddha, please see our story “The First Doctor: Medicine Buddha Bhaisajyaguru—Empowering You to Heal.”)

In Tibet, there’s a saying, “For protection, call on your protector if you have time—but call on Tara if you have no time.” (I’m paraphrasing.)

A prayer from the fifth Dalai Lama puts it this way: “Merely by remembering Her feet one is protected.”

 

Sita Tara or White Tara visualization. Tara is white, with one face, two hands, holds uptala flowers and sits on a lotus throne and moon disc.
Sita Tara or White Tara visualization. Tara is white, with one face, two hands, holds uptala flowers and sits on a lotus throne and moon disc.

 

Is White Tara the Same as Tara?

“The main characteristic of Arya Tara— Noble Tara— is that she is a Buddha who in earlier times promised to always be born in the pure form of a female body in order to help living beings reach enlightenment. There are many outer and inner impediments that practitioners encounter, so Arya Tara manifests in order to eliminate hindrances and obstacles one runs in to while on the path to liberation from suffering.”

—Venerable Chöje Lama Phuntsok

 

Venerable Choje Lama Phuntsok
Venerable Choje Lama Phuntsok

 

White Tara is one of the main 21 manifestations of Arya Tara—which means, yes, She is Tara. In Venerable Choje Lama Phuntsok’s words: [White] “Tara protects disciples from one of the main outer hindrances, which is death – she helps practitioners live a long life.”

There’s an old unattributed Buddhist saying—which is my way of demonstrating why White Tara is for healing practice:

“Good Health is the simply the slowest way for a human to die.”— Unknown

Explaining from the point of view of the Kagyu lineage, Venerable Lama Phuntsok said: ” …White Arya Tara, from among the 21 Taras, frees practitioners from untimely death. It is truly possible to extend the span of one’s life by practicing White Tara and this will be very beneficial for one’s Dharma practice.”

How Does Tara Heal?

Again, drawing on the teachings of Venerable Lama Phuntsok, White Tara overcomes the impediment to long life and long Dharma practice: “All problems—sufferings, sicknesses, and diseases arise from thoughts that are based upon attachment, aversion, and ignorance as to the way things really are. It is said again and again that the worst obstacle is the third—concepts and thoughts. We continually think that we want to be happy and be free from suffering; we therefore never stop wanting more and more and as a result increase our attachment and aversion.”

Buddhism teaches that “we are the creators of our own suffering,” said Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche at a recent Lojong Seven-Point Mind Training retreat at Gaden Choling Toronto. “Everything depends on mind.”

 

His Eminence Zasep Tulku Rinpoche giving teachings on Medicine Guru to a large audience.
His Eminence Zasep Tulku Rinpoche giving teachings on Medicine Guru to a large audience. Rinpoche also teaches Tara practice for healing. He is spiritual head of many Gelugpa centres in Canada, the United States and Australia.

 

From this point of view, all of our problems, including health issues, arise from our mind and concepts. Tara helps us to overcome the obstacles of mind and body. At a relative level, Tara rescues from disease, illness and apparently “external” health factors. At an ultimate level, Tara protects our mind, preventing the rising of attachments, aversion and ignorance.

Famously, Tara protects from the eight fears—fear of fire, lions elephants, snakes, imprisonment, floods, demons, robbers—but these eight fears are also “metaphors” for the cause of our obstacles leading to suffering. The fifth great Dalai Lama wrote a magnificent praise for Green Tara where he illustrated the metaphors of the eight great internal fears: anger (fire), pride (lions), ignorance (elephants), snakes (envy), imprisonment (avarice), floods (attachment), demons (doubt) and robbers (wrong views.)

 

White Tara is an aspect of Tara, a fully Enlightened Buddha. She helps us recover from or prevent illness and helps bring long, healthy life for you or someone you care about.
White Tara is an aspect of Tara, a fully Enlightened Buddha. She helps us recover from or prevent illness and helps bring long, healthy life for you or someone you care about.

 

Practicing White Tara

Sita Tara rescues all, and requires no special permissions or initiations to practice at a basic level. Advanced practices, some sadhanas and advanced healing certainly require a teacher’s guidance and permission, but the meditations and practices I’m discussing here are for anyone.

Meditating on Sita Tara is a good place to start. If you have time, take a half hour and meditate along with Gelek Rimpoche of Jewel Heart—a well-known and highly realized teacher of the Gelugpa tradition.

Gelek Rimpoche of Jewel Heart “White Tara Guided Meditation”:

 

Mantra and Meditation

Mantra is very effective for protection and healing both. Simply repeating the mantra with focus is enough to bring healing. Visualizing Tara’s blessings entering into your body as purifying light, purging illness and pushing out negativities as black smoke or sludge, is even more affirming, strengthening the blessing.

 

White Tara's mantra in sanskrit script.
White Tara’s mantra in sanskrit script.

 

According to the FPMT Education Department, “This meditation can be done on behalf of oneself or others. It is frequently done to remove the obstacles to our gurus’ long lives and health. If one has experienced many health problems, accidents, depression, or a loss of “lust for life,” the practice of White Tara can be especially powerful.”

Tara Mantra

Tara’s mantra, chanted by millions daily around the world connects with Tara, including the White aspect—since all Tara’s are ultimately one:

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha

Pronounced Aum Tah-ray Tew-tah-ray Tew-ray Svah-ha. Svaha is sometimes pronounced Soha in Tibetan traditions.

The root Tara mantra (above) is as effective as the more specialized White Tara mantra (see White Tara Mantra below)—which adds more specific requests and intentions.

 

In more advanced mantra practice, and in sadhanas authorized by teachers, Tara's ten syllable mantra may be visualized surrounding the seed syllable Tam (shown in the centre). Surrounding the Tam, are the Tibetan syllables beginning at the top (Om) then left clockwise.
Tara’s ten syllable mantra may be visualized surrounding the seed syllable Tam (shown in the centre). Surrounding the Tam, are the Tibetan syllables beginning at the top (Om) then left clockwise.

 

Mantras were given by the Buddhas via Sutra or transmission of lineage, and carry great cumulative, power. Mantra literally can translate as “mind protection.” Since mind affects health, a Sanskrit mantra dedicated specifically to healing is very effective.

The meaning of the mantra is explained numerous ways by many great teachers, all of which are complimentary and correct. Lama Zopa Rinpoche taught [2]:

  • “TARE shows that Mother Tara liberates living beings from samsara”
  • “TUTTARE liberates you from the eight fears related to the external dangers from fire, water, air, earth and also from such things as thieves and dangerous animals. However the main dangers come from ignorance, attachment, anger, pride, jealousy, miserliness, doubt and wrong views.”
  • “TURE liberates you from disease”—so Green Tara is equally the Healer as White.

 

The 21 forms of Tara include White Tara and Green Tara, among the most beloved deities in Tibetan Buddhism.
The 21 forms of Tara include White Tara and Green Tara, among the most beloved deities in Tibetan Buddhism.

 

One reason Tara’s mantra is especially meaningful is that it contains within it the entire teachings on the Four Noble Truths. See our previous stories on Tara in Buddha Weekly for more on this:

Here is one of the most beautiful sung versions of Tara’s mantra by the Internationally famous Ani Choying Dolma at the Rigpa Center Berlin:

 

 

Lung or Empowerment

Although Tara mantras can be practiced by anyone—they are more effective when transmitted by a teacher. If you are in need of healing, it would be ideal to seek out a qualified lineage teacher and ask for either lung or initiation. Lung is, broadly speaking, transmission of the mantra itself (or permission to use the mantra), whereas initiation (also known as empowerment) can involve complete deity practice and commitments.

 

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is a highly realized teacher and spiritual head of FPMT.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche is a highly realized teacher and spiritual head of FPMT.

 

According to the highly realized teacher Lama Zopa Rinpoche and the FPMT, “empowerment of Tara is needed to practice [Tara’s] sadhana in full. However, one can do this practice without such an empowerment as long as one does not generate oneself as the deity. If one does not have the empowerment, one can do the self-generation practice at the crown of one’s head.” Basically, visualize Tara and meditate on her, and receive blessings from her, but do not absorb or merge with Tara—a more advance practice.

With or without empowerment, all mantras carry the blessings of the deity—connecting us with our inner Buddha or Tara (Buddhanature). Mantas are quite powerful in meditation and active healing. If empowerment or lung is impossible, the mantras are less powerful, but still effective. I chanted Tara’s mantra for eight years before a teacher came into my life to guide me and empower my practice of Tara. I believe, in some ways, chanting the mantra for those years created the conditions for me to find my teacher.

 

White Tara visualized here with a white TAM seed syllable at her heart. TAM is the seed syllable of all Taras, who are all Tara. Typically Green Tara is visualized as a green Tam, and White Tara as a white syllable. The seed syllable contains the essence not only of the mantra, but also Tara Herself.
White Tara visualized here with a white TAM seed syllable at her heart. TAM is the seed syllable of all Taras, who are all Tara. Typically Green Tara is visualized as a green Tam, and White Tara as a white syllable. The seed syllable contains the essence not only of the mantra, but also Tara Herself.

 

Anyone can chant Tara’s mantra. The visualizations and certain other practices are different if you receive teachings from a qualified teacher. In Tibet, some of the first words children learn to speak are mantras, particularly “Om Mani Padme Hum” and “Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha.”

White Tara Mantra

White Tara mantra is Tara’s root mantra, but energized with additional intentions and “words of power.” After Om Tare Tuttare Ture—and before the final Svaha—the mantra adds “Mama Ayuh Punya Jnana Pushtim Kuru Svaha, thus becoming:

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Mama Ayuh Punya Jnana Pushtim Kuru Svaha

Pronounced: oṃ tā re tu ttā re tu re ma ma ā yuḥ pu ṇya jñā na pu ṣṭiṃ ku ru svā hā

 

White Tara's mantra in Tibetan Script. Above is an image of the mantra in Sanskrit.
White Tara’s mantra in Tibetan Script. Above is an image of the mantra in Sanskrit.

 

In Tibetan pronunciation this might sound like:

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Mama Ayur Puney Gyana Puntin Kuru Soha

Thee extra words do have multiple meanings, but are generally translated as:

  • Mama — “mine” or “I would like to possess these qualities”
  • Ayuh —”long life” — for which White Tara is famous
  • Punya ­— “merit” — to live ethically
  • Jnana — “wisdom”
  • Pushtim — “increase”

 

The Tam syllable, seed syllable of Tara, is most often visualized at Her heart, glowing and emanating healing green light. TAM normally sits on a lotus.
The Tam syllable, seed syllable of Tara, is most often visualized at Her heart, glowing and emanating healing light. TAM normally sits on a lotus. Here the TAM is green, which can represent any Tara. Often White Tara practice visualizes the Tam as white.

 

When added to the root Tara Mantra, the mantra is basically drawing on Tara’s power to increase my long life, merit and wisdom and blessings.

For main healing practice, normally the mantra is recited with visualizations of Tara, however singing or chanting is a very beautiful and effective way to receive the blessings.

Here’s one of the most beautiful “chanted” versions.

 

 

Versatility of the White Tara Mantra

Healing and helping others is something we all should all wish to accomplish. Aside from the selfish goal of increasing our own merit and good karma, we engage our compassion as humans and Buddhists when we think of others.

The White Tara mantra can be modified from a “personal” affirmation to one targeted at someone else. “Mama” in the mantra means “mine”, or “I” or “me” meant for self healing. Simply replacing “Mama” with the name of another person sends Tara’s healing power and blessings to someone else.

For instance, if we wanted to practice White Tara for the long life of my teacher or parents, we would substitute Mama:

Om Tare Tuttare Ture [person’s name] Ayuh Punya Jnana Pushtim Kuru Svaha

Wishing my teacher long life would become

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Zasep Rinpoche Ayuh Punya Jnana Pushtim Kuru Svaha

Wishing the Dalai Lama long life would become

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Tenzin Gyatso Ayuh Punya Jnana Pushtim Kuru Svaha

There are also forms of White Tara’s mantra for subduing or pacifying, with somewhat different wording, meant for subjugating fevers, viruses, evil spirits and so on, but those are more advanced practices that should be guided by a teacher. Fevers, evil spirits and viruses are equally subdued by the main White Tara mantra, or even the root mantra of Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha.

 

Buddha-Weekly-White Tara with Roses-Buddhism

 

More Advanced White Tara Healing

Tibetan medicine often makes use of “mantra-blessed water or medicines.” At a basic level, after performing a twenty or thirty minute mantra recitation-meditation, preferably visualizing Tara, blow on your medicine or a glass of water and visualize the mantra’s “power of Tara’s speech” as light coming from your mouth and being absorbed. Then, consume the medicine.

In more intense practices, or when the medicine is for someone else, you can place a week’s supply of medicine on a table or shrine dedicated to Tara with Her Image, some water bowl offerings, perhaps Her mantra written out, and other meaningful objects. Chant the mantra for a week, then use/dispense the blessed medicine.

Finally, mantra’s fullest ripening comes from full performance of a sadhana. These are passed down through the centuries by direct transmission of teacher to teacher, right back to the Buddha or Enlightened Being. These normally require a teacher’s transmission, lung or empowerment. Some sadhanas, such as White Tara’s sadhana written by the fifth Great Dalai Lama can be performed by anyone, provided the uninitiated do not generate themselves as the deity. In other words, substitute simple visualization for generation of oneself as Tara.

 

Visualizing White Tara. Important symbolic characterstics include white skin, the appearance of a beautiful young woman seated on a splendid Lotus throne and moon disc. White Tara has seven eyes, two eyes on her face, plus wisdom eye on her forehead, and eyes on each hand and foot.
Visualizing White Tara. Important symbolic characterstics include white skin, the appearance of a beautiful young woman seated on a splendid Lotus throne and moon disc. White Tara has seven eyes, two eyes on Her face, plus wisdom eye on Her forehead, and eyes on each hand and foot.

 

White Tara’s Visualization

Visualizing Tara is an important part of mantra recitation when possible. Although the mantra can be recited while walking, cooking, etc, when engaging in a highly focused healing practice, sitting with eyes closed (or half closed) in meditation is best.

“Visualization isn’t the best translation for what we do,” explained Venerable Jigme in her talk during a White Tara Retreat (see video below). “We’re actually working with our imagination. Visualization implies that we’re working with a visual image, and then using our eyes. So, we’re working with our imagination… not only are we working with imagined sights, but we’re working with imagined touch and smells and sounds, physical sensations and feelings.”

“We use our imaginations in a very practical manner to develop the potential we all have to transform ourselves,” Venerable Jigme continued. “So, it’s quite an important piece of our practice! It’s a very creative process.”

 

White Tara has Her own mantra, Oṃ Tāre Tuttāre Ture Mama Ayuḥ Punya Jñānā Puṣtiṃ Kuru Svāhā, known to be actively beneficial in the practices of Long Life and Health.
White Tara has Her own mantra, Oṃ Tāre Tuttāre Ture Mama Ayuḥ Punya Jñānā Puṣtiṃ Kuru Svāhā, known to be actively beneficial in the practices of Long Life and Health. This tangkha is correctly visualized. Amitayas, the long life aspect of the Buddha Amitabha, sits as an ornament over her head.

 

Tara’s Image

When you have a teacher’s guidance—the visualization would be as he or she instructs. There are generation practices associated with some initiations, but none of that should be contemplated without a teacher.

For someone without a teacher’s guidance, a basic visualization of Tara in front of you—generally involving healing white light flowing from Tara into you or the person being healed—is simplest. Sometimes you visualize Tara on top of your head, arising from your crown chakra sitting on a lotus throne with 1000 petals.

You can make the visualization simple or complex. More complex and detailed visualizations engage the mind to a higher level, and tend to be more effective for that reason. Visualize what you can of the following details.

White Tara is shining white, the nature of light, a glowing beacon of healing, vitality and perfection. We wouldn’t think of Tara as flesh and bone, but as glorious, spectacular, awe-inspiring (and at the same time) soothing light. Sometimes, what is meant by “body of light” is “uncontaminated body.”

 

White Tara "body" is visualized as being the nature light.
White Tara “body” is visualized as being the nature light.

 

In the same way Tara is visualized uncontaminated and spectacular, we should see Her arrayed in gorgeous silks and shining jewels like stars. Tara, Her name, literally translates as “star.” The beautiful ornaments are not meant to show attachment, but are symbolic of Her transcendence. On the crown of Her head is a crown of five sides representing the five Dhyani Buddhas and on top of Her hair knot is Amitayas Buddha, the Buddha of Long Life. Amitayus is the Long Life emanation of Amitabha. With other Taras we visualize Amitabha as her hair ornament. Amitabha and Amitayus are the same Buddha, different manifestations (similar to Green and White Tara). Amitayas and Amitabha are both red in colour.

We visualize Tara sitting on a thousand-petal white lotus. She is sitting in a position of meditative equipoise in the vajra (full lotus) position. The glorious lotus signifies renunciation, the spontaneous wish to be free from samsara, or cyclic existence. From Geshe Wangdu’s White Tara Commentary: ” So the manner in which the lotus signifies renunciation is that, even though the lotus itself was born out of a pond, what we call a swamp, or a muddy pond, even though it grows out of that, when it blooms on top of the water, there’s not even a bit of mud on its’ petals, and it is free of the mud itself. That is how it resembles renunciation.”

 

Healing practice with White Tara is enhanced when you visualize as many details of Tara's appearance as possible.
Healing practice with White Tara is enhanced when you visualize as many details of Tara’s appearance as possible.

 

The Lotus and Moon Disc

On the lotus is a moon-disc, representing all-important bodhicitta, and the wish to achieve enlightenment. The deity sits on both a lotus and moon-disc, indicating Tara has achieved enlightenment through renunciation and bodhicitta.

Beautiful Tara Herself has one face, two arms, but—importantly—seven eyes. An eye appears on each of Her hand palms, Her feet and three on Her face (two “regular” eyes and the wisdom eye on the forehead chakra). The eyes represent how the Mother of the Buddhas sees all our suffering.

 

White Tara has seven eyes.
White Tara has seven eyes.

 

Seven Eyes of White Tara

Very strikingly, the position of the seven eyes create the shape of the sankrit letter TAM which is Tara’s mantra when you connect the eyes with lines), according to Visible Mantra[3]. Also, they symbolize the special relationship between the five “extra” eyes of White Tara and the five Dhyani Buddhas: Akshobya, Amitabha, Amoghisiddhi, Vairochana and Ratnasambhava.

Om Ah Hung in Tibetan script. We visualize these glowing syllables radiating from the crown (Om), Throat (Ah), and Heart (Hum) in white, red and blue.
Om Ah Hung in Tibetan script. We visualize these glowing syllables radiating from the crown (Om), Throat (Ah), and Heart (Hum) in white, red and blue.

The right hand of Tara is in the “mudra” (hand gesture representing) Supreme Generosity—the mudra that signifies Tara is ready and willing to grant us the state of Enlightenment.

The left hand of Tara holds a white lotus flower or uptala. Uptala is really a different flower from the lotus, but most people are content with visualizing a lotus. The uptala stems out in three branches, each with a different flower, one in full bloom, one about to open, one just a bud. These represent the Buddhas of the three times: past, present and future.

In advanced visualizations, we’d see a white syllable TAM—Tara’s seed syllable mantra. If you don’t know what that is, it’s best to wait for a teacher. The Tam is normally at her heart. Often, visualizations would—as with other Buddhas—visualize shining seed syllables OM, AH and HUM at her crown, throat and heart respectively. These represent the Holy body (OM), speech (AH) and mind (HUM) of Tara Buddha.

Healing Light Visualization

You might visualize (imagine) white healing light flowing from Tara into your crown chakra (top of your head) or heart chakra, or all of your chakras. The energy fills you as you chant the mantra, displacing negativities, bad karma, disease and other impurities—often visualized as black smoke or sludge dispelled violently from your body. For advanced practices, your teacher would guide your visualization, but for simple practices, the healing light is a safe, effective image.

As a final note, try to imagine Tara as a real, three dimensional being of light, who can move, speak, gesture, transmit—Tara is above all “activity” of the Buddhas and definitely not a static two-dimensional picture.

For a better description on how to visualize during Tara Deity Practice, please refer to Venerable Jigme (Sravasti Abbey’s” teaching video, part of a White Tara retreat (7 minute video):

 

 

Simple White Tara Practice

A simple daily practice, or a practice that you could use when you are ill, would normally include some basic fundamentals, such as going for refuge. Many teachers say that Refuge is the first healing. When you take refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, that refuge will help you in all your difficulties, including illness. To the practice of refuge, you might add a simple offering of water bowls, in front of an image of White Tara. Basically, a simple practice, not requiring empowerments, would be:

  1. Take refuge and dedicate.
  2. The four immeasurables: This prayer affirms your wishes that all beings not suffer and be happy—important to generate loving kindness and Bodhicitta.
  3. Make an offering (for example, a water bowl offering—see our article “Buddhist Water Bowl Offerings as an Antidote to Attachment”)
  4. Preferably recite the Seven Limbs practice (seven short lines that contain the essence of good practice).
  5. Visualize Tara as described above or as indicated by your teacher. Normally you visualize Tara in front of you when you do not have teacher instructions.
  6. Recite the mantra (either Tara’s root mantra, or the full White Tara mantra, optionally with the name of the person who is ill replacing “mama” in the mantra. As you recite, visualize white healing light and energy transmitting from Tara to you or the person. In advanced visualizations this might emit from Tara’s heart chakra and absorb into your heart chakra, or as advised by your teacher.
  7. Affirmation prayers (optional)
  8. Dedicate the merit. (This is generally very important).

Typical Refuge Prayer (normally 3 times)

I go for refuge until I am enlightened.

To the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Supreme Assembly.

By my practice of giving and other perfections,

May I become a buddha to benefit all sentient beings.

Four Immeasurables

May all beings have happiness and its causes,

May they never have suffering or its causes.

May they constantly dwell in joy transcending sorrow;

May they dwell in equal love for both near and far.

Offering

You can visualize mental offerings if you don’t have bowls of water. Buddhas do not need your offering. You are generating merit by this practice.

Seven Limbs

To You Venerable Tara, with my body, speech and mind, I respectfully prostrate.

I offer flowers, incense, butter lamps, perfume, food, music and a vast collection of offerings, both actually set out and emanated through wisdom and imagination.

I declare all my non-virtuous acts since beginningless time.

I rejoice in the virtuous merit accumulated by Holy and ordinary beings.

I request You turn the wheel of Dharma.

I beseech You to remain until samsara ends. Please, with your boundless compassion, look upon all beings drowning in the ocean of suffering.

May whatever merit I have accumulated be transformed into the cause for Enlightenment so that I may help all sentient beings.

Mantra and Visualization

Visualize Tara and healing energy and recite one of the mantras:

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha

or

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Mama Ayuh Punya Jnana Pushtim Kuru Svaha

or, if healing or doing long life practice for another person such as your teacher, substitute person’s name for “Mama”

Om Tare Tuttare Ture PERSON’S NAME Ayuh Punya Jnana Pushtim Kuru Svaha

Dedication

By this merit may I quickly reach

The enlightened state,

So that I may lead all living beings without exception

To the same Enlightenment.

A Praise to White Tara by the First Dalai Lama

Another healing practice is to recite sutras or texts, or to pray to Tara daily. The First Dalai Lama Gyalwa Gendun Drub’s “A Praise of White Tara” is especially powerful—written centuries ago:

Homage to the Female Buddha beautiful with youth

Who sits on seats of white lotus and moon in nature

Spreading with stainless compassion and knowledge,

Who captures the radiance of snow mountains.

Homage to the Youthful One with budding breasts,

Who has one face and two arms, sits in the vajra posture,

Is bold with grace and calm, has a full moon as backrest

And is filled with great bliss.

Homage to the Ultimately Generous One whose right hand,

Showing the mudra Supreme Giving

Easily releases boundless karmas of peace, increase, power and wrath

As well as the eight siddhis and even supreme Buddhahood.

Homage to the Spiritual Mother who gives birth to Buddhas

Past, present and future; whose left hand

Supporting a blue lotus, grants protection

From lions, elephants, fires and all eight terrors.

Homage to the Refuge of the World, who has eyes

In hands and feet gazing at the four doors of freedom

And who leads all living creatures

Toward the isle of blissful liberation.

Homage to she whose face unites

The beauty of a million autumn moons,

Whose wide eyes gaze with compassion

Whose Joyous mouth smiles equally on all.

Homage to she with head adorned by Amitayus, boundless Life,

The mere thought of whom grants life and wisdom,

Whose hand, in the contemplative mudra,

Hold a vase filled with ambrosia of immortality.

Homage to the All-Beautified One whose crown

Steals the light of sun and moon,

Whose sapphire hair is half knotted on top

And half falling freely over her shoulders.

Homage to the Majestic One of precious ornament blazing,

Whose crown, earrings, necklaces, arm-bands,

Bracelets, anklets and belt so elegantly arranged

Surpass the ornaments of men and gods.

Homage to she of celestial raiment,

Whose shoulder-sash and skirt

Hug her body like rainbows

Hug the crystal mountains.

Homage to the goddess before whose lotus feet

Vishnu, Indra, Shiva, Brahma, the antigods, spirits,

Men, semi-humans and all the world

Submit themselves in devotion.

Merely by reciting your mantra,

Those who make offerings at your lotus feet

Gain immortality, wisdom and merit

And attain all desired siddhis; to you I bow down.

The knowledge, compassion and perfect actions of all Buddhas

Appear in the form of the beautiful goddess

I take refuge in you and offer you my prayers;

Pray eliminate all my obstacles and fulfill all my aims.

Quickly release your perfect action of peace,

Calming all interferences to my practices for enlightenment;

Interferences such as the eight terrors,

Sickness, demons and other harmful agents, inner and outer.

Quickly release your perfect action of increase which multiplies

All good qualities, such as life, merit, unapprehending compassion,

The stainless wisdoms of learning, contemplation and meditation,

And the three higher trainings.

Quickly release your perfect action of power,

Which causes gods, men and spirits

To humbly bow before you

And which fulfils all wishes of the mind.

Quickly release your perfect action of wrath,

Which with punishments befitting the evils done

Destroys demons, interferences and hindrances

Hateful opposing Buddhadharma and its holders.

Pray, bestow quick and easy attainment of siddhis

Such as the magic sword, mystic eye-medicine, fast-walking,

The food pill and the precious vase,

And even mahamudra, the highest siddhi.

In brief, from now until enlightenment

I respectfully make offerings at your lotus feet

I need seek no other refuge

Out of compassion gaze upon me and quickly grant protection.

By the meritorious energy of this practice

May the transcended, perfect Tara

Look upon me forever with pleasure

And never leave me, even for a moment.

May all sentient beings after death take rebirth

Before Amitayus in Sukavati, Land of Pure Joy,

May they live in the ways of the great Bodhisattvas

And come to equal Avalokiteshvara, Lord of Compassion.

May I realise the oceans of Sutras and Tantras

To be able to pass them on to others;

And until samsara be emptied may I strive

To uphold the victory banner of practicing exactly as taught.

Mantra: OM TAREE TU-TAREE TUREE MAMA AYU-PUNYE-JANA PUTIM KURU SOHA

The Colophon: This praise of exalted White Tara, supreme mother of all Buddhas, was written by the monk Gyalwa Gendun Drub while he was residing in the Hermitage of Great Awakening at the Tegchen Potreng.

NOTES
[1] Presented at the Kamalashila Institute in Germany, 2005 http://www.rinpoche.com/teachings/whitetara.htm

[2] Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive. Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche speaking at Nepal, May 1987. http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=357

[3] White Tara, Tam and the Mandala, Visible Mantra http://www.visiblemantra.org/whitetara-mandala.html

12 Responses to Swift Healing with White Tara: the Rapid Path to Long Life, Merit, Wisdom, and Health

    • Hi Julie, Basically, if you have initiation from a qualified teacher, your practice would include visualising the self as the deity (yourself as White Tara). If you have no initiation you visualise White Tara in front of you. As a healing practice, in front of you is recommended and many teachers will do public blessings with this in mind. In private meditation, the healing benefit is definitely there as well with Tara visualised in front of you and healing nectar or light entering your body. The extra step of visualising self as White Tara is a Vajrayana practice that helps us understand the true nature of reality, Buddha Nature, and also trains us life-long on the path (a profound meditation). This is only done with a teacher’s approval and instruction because the practice is easily misunderstood or can lead to incorrect views if not guided. So, for most of us, for Medicine Buddha or White Tara, we visualise White Tara in front of us for our healing or devotional practice, then the healing light or nectar entering the crown of our heads. If we have initiation, the practice has many more steps. Hope that helps. In kindness, Lee

  1. I understand there is a long mantra and a short version ? Of white tara.
    Also I want to create a altar dedicated to white Tara. Is there anything specific I need ?
    Love & light
    mark

    • There are many variations of Tara’s mantras. The core mantra is Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha, which is all Taras (not just Green Tara). White Tara’s mantra is an actual specific request mantra (and there are also other longer and longer versions depending on requests), in the sense that we request blessings for ourselves. (You can modify it for blessing others). The full White Tara mantra is
      OM TARE TUTTARE TURE MAMA AYUH PUNYA JNANA PUSTIM KURU SVAHA
      Everything after Ture is added as a request. It means (contextually, rather than literally):
      MAMA – mine or I would like to possess this quality
      AYUR – long life and health
      PUNYA – merit of living ethically
      Jnana – with wisdom
      Pushtim – increase
      Kuru – please do this
      If blessing others you’d change MAMA (mine or I) to their name, for example.
      You can also expand the requests. For instance, after Jnana (wisdom) you could add Karuna (compassion), Virya (vitality and energy).
      Finally, there’s also a pacifying versions. in this case you name that which is to be pacified in this framework:
      OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SARVA (WHAT SHOULD BE PACIFIED) SANTI KURU SVAHA
      For example: GRAHAN (evil spirits) JVARAN (fevers), UPADRAVAN (injuries) AKALAMRTYUN (untimely death) DUHSVAPAN (bad dreams) or CITTAKULANI (Confusions). (Source for this last version is Visible Mantra.)
      In kindness, Lee

  2. Hello and namaste. I would like to get a tattoo of te White Tara mantra; howvere,we have seen many variations and would appreciatiethe correct Tibetan prayer and aspelling, please.

    Thany you.

    • Hi Roscoe, Ouch, a tattoo, better get it right, no corrections, right? Actually, if you’re tattoo-ing a mantra, that’s a good one… long life:-) Problem is you have Sanskrit version, Tibetan version, and then you have Sanskrit letters and Tibetan letters. As English characters, meant for chanting, i.e. transliteration the SANSKRIT transliteration is: Om Tare Tuttare Ture Mama Ayuh Punya Jnana Pustim Kuru Svaha (but some people capitalize the letters, some don’t), but it’s pronounced with some “SH” sounds (Pustim is Pushtim)… so I’d strongly suggest for a Tattoo you consider Sanskrit or Tibetan lettering, not English. It seems more genuine. Most Tatts I’ve seen are in Tibetan or Sanskrit characters rather than English. Some people tattoo the Seed syllable and then the rest in English. So it depends on what you’d like. The best authority for getting it right (for all three: Sanskrit, Tibetan and English) would be Visiblemantra.org. The page for White Tara is HERE: http://www.visiblemantra.org/white-tara.html. That site is very reliable. You’ll see they have Tibetan Uchen type version as well as Siddham (Sanskrit) typography there.
      Metta, Lee

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