HAPPY TARA DAY! 2024 Tara Days: How, When, and Why we Celebrate the Mother of the Buddhas

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    HAPPY TARA DAY! Every day is Tara day, although typically we celebrate especially on the eighth day of the lunar month, which is auspicious for Tara practice. The second auspicious day for Tara Puja is on the Full Moon Day, which is also Medicine Buddha Puja Day.

     

    Buddha Weekly Green Tara video Buddha Weekly Buddhism

    In 2024 Tara Dates Are:

    These are the Tara Days on the 8th of the Lunar Month:

    • January 18
    • February 17
    • March 17
    • April 16
    • May 15
    • June 14
    • July 14
    • August 12
    • September 11
    • October 10
    • November 9
    • December None — as it’s an astrological skip month with no 8th day.
    • NOTE: Also, celebrate Tara, Amitabha or Medicine Buddha on Full Moon Dates. See Full Moon Dates.

    Meritorious for Tara Days is reciting her special Sutra: Sutra of Tara Who Protects from the Eight Fears with her Great Dharani: 

    Meritorious activities for Her day

    • Her mantra: Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha

    • Tara Puja. Tara Four Mandala Puja.

    • Any Dharma activity

    • Vegetarian or Vegan for the day

    • 21 Praises of Tara (below)

    • Any Tara practice or Sadhana.

    • Offerings to Tara (seven or eight bowls of water representing the sensory offerings)

    • Try the 20 minutes Green Tara meditation and practice (below) or the Tara mantra video

    • Tea or torma activity offering (see simple dedication below.)

    Tara’s mantra chanted/sung by Yoko Dharma:

    21 Praises in Sanskrit

    Chanting the Dharani of 21 Praises to Tara in original Sanskrit is the most sacred and powerful of practices. The 21 Taras Mantra Dharanis in Sanskrit, as taught by Buddha in the Kangyur, became popularized as the 21 Homages or 21 Praises to Tara. When chanted in the original Sanskrit, the 21 Praises to Tara are 21 potent and powerful Dharanis (long-form mantras). Although popularized as both a Tibetan and English 21 Praise chant, in its Sanskrit Holy syllable form, it is an original Dharani as taught by the Buddha. In its Tibetan or English form, it loses its sacred vibrational sound and the actual “meaning” (translation) is significantly more simplified in other languages. The Dharani is nuanced and profound in Sanskrit. In its Sanskrit form it is a Dharani or mantra (or series of 21 Dharanis), but in other languages it becomes more of a “chanted prayer or praise” or hymn. For example, Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha, the famous and powerful mantra of Tara, if translated to English is simply, “I prostrate to Tara the liberator, mother of all the victorious ones” — beautiful, but lacking the sacred sound vibrations of mantra, and missing the nuanced and layered meaning of each syllable:

    (To skip the intro, go to time-index 02:20 in the video for immediate chanting.)

    Tara’s mantra, a complete practice

    If chanted with wisdom and understanding, Tara’s mantra is a complete practice, especially if chanted formally in meditation while visualizing Tara:

    OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SVAHA

    Tibetan Pronunciation

    OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA

    Buddha Weekly Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha Green Tara Mantra video Buddhism

     

    21 English Praises: Singable

    Around the world, Tibetan Buddhists start each day with the 21 praises (and often end it the same way. Usually, it’s chanted multiple times throughout the day. There are many stories of miraculous rescues from Tara for people chanting this praise with faith — see “Tara’s rescues and saving power.
    There are various English versions of the chant (the most traditional version under the heading “Traditional Translation” below). However, there is one version that has the rhythm for sung chanting — in Tibetan and Sanskrit, the praise is an equal number of syllables. This version is a little fast if you are new to the Praise (try slowing the video on YouTube to .75x). The speed is designed around the idea of (ideally) three sessions of 2, 3, and 7 repetitions.
    Each verse of the praise is a homage to one of Tara’s 21 emanations, each with a different “activity” specialty (illness, wealth, etc.) Please see our other features on the praise for commentaries on the deeper meanings of the praise.
    21 verses of Praise to Tara in English (singing text in video and also below.):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuj98g2DqOw

    1. Heroic Red Tara
    Homage to You, the Swift One, the Heroine,
    Your gaze is as quick as flashes of lightning
    Who arose from the majestic carolla
    From the Lotus face of the Lord of Three Worlds.

    2. Moonlight White Tara

    Homage to You with a face that resembles
    The gathering of one hundred autumn full moons
    And who with the brightness of stars by the thousands
    Shines in a vast perfect light of resplendence.

    3. Golden Color Tara

    Homage to You divine golden-blue Goddess
    Whose hands are adorned by water-born lotus.
    Embody Six Perfections: Giving, Patience
    Ethics, Concentration, Vigor, and Wisdom

    4. Golden Tara of Crown Victorious

    Homage to You who crowns Buddha’s ushnishas,
    Whose victorious actions have no limit.
    Who has attained ev’ry transcendent wisdom,
    On whom the Bodhisattvas themselves rely.

    5. Tara Proclaiming the Sound of HUM

    Homage to You who with HUM and TUTTARA,
    Fill all worlds of desire, direction, space.
    Who with your feet press down on the Seven Worlds;
    You subdue all beings under your power.

    6. Tara Victorious Over the Three Levels of World

    Homage to You praised by Indra and Agni,
    Brahma, Vayu, Ishvara and all the gods
    All the spirits, zombies, and the smell-eaters,
    Even the Yakshas give praise in Your presence.

    7. Tara Who Crushes Adversaries

    Homage to You who with the TRAY and PEY sounds,
    Crush every magical wheel, evil forces,
    Right leg extended and left bent, you trample,
    You burn them completely in Your whirling fire.

    8. Tara Who Gives Supreme Spiritual Power

    Homage to You, TURE, the Boundless Fierce One,
    Who totally destroys leaders of maras.
    Whose lotus-like face forms furious wrinkles,
    You annihilate foes without exception.

    9. Tara of the Khadira Fragrant Forest

    Homage to You whose fingers held at Your chest,
    Displaying the mudra of the Three Jewels;
    Beautiful swirling light in your precious hands
    Dharma wheels connect every direction.

    10. Tara Who Dispels All Suffering

    Homage to You, the majestic and joyful
    With brilliant garlands of light around your crown
    With the great clangor of laughter TUTTARA
    Over power all the worlds and the maras.

    11. Tara Who Summons All Beings and Dispels Misfortune

    Homage to You, endowed with the great power,
    To draw assembly of worldly guardians.
    The One who with the HUM of wrathful wrinkles
    You rescue completely from all poverty.

    12. Tara Who Grants Prosperity and Brings About Aupsiciousness

    Homage to You, who is crowned with crescent moon,
    And whose ornaments so brilliantly sparkle.
    Amitabha in front of your ushnisha,
    Eternally radiating beams of light.

    13. Tara the Complete Rinpener

    Homage to You, who dwell in garlands of flames
    Engulfed in fire like the end of the aeon.
    Right leg outstretched and left bent with blissful joy
    Who with your power destroy all enemies.

    14. Wrathful, Shaking and Frowning Tara

    Homage to You, striking the ground with your hand
    And crushing the earth with your majestic foot.
    With wrathful, wrinkled face and the sound of HUM
    You fully subdue seven levels of worlds.

    15. Tara the Great Peaceful One Who Provides Virtues

    Homage to You, happy, virtuous and peaceful,
    Who acts from eternal bliss of Nirvana.
    And who with the pure sounds of OM and SVAHA,
    Eliminates the most unwholesome Karmas!

    16. Tara Destroyer of All Attachment

    Homage to You, who turns the Wheel of Dharma
    For truly devoted, who love the teachings
    Crushing enemies — all types of obstacles
    with the Hum and the ten syllable mantra.

    17. Tara Accomplisher of Joy and Bliss

    Homage to You with feet stamping and Ture
    Whose essence is the sacred syllable Hum.
    You cause Mount Meru, Mandhara and Vindhya
    Making all three worlds to tremble and shake!

    18. Victorious Tara Who Increases Realizations

    Homage to You, holding the moon in Your hand
    Like a celestial ocean of nectar.
    Sound of the PEY and the twice uttered TARA
    You completely dispel every poison.

    19. Tara, Extinguisher of All Suffering

    Homage to You on whom the devas rely
    And also the lords of all the Gandharvas.
    Your armor of joy, a radiant brightness,
    You eliminate arguments and nightmares.

    20. Tara, Source of All Powerful Attainments

    Homage to You, whose two eyes are shining bright,
    Brilliant with light like the sun and the full moon.
    Saying HARA twice and TUTTARE again
    You clear and eliminate epidemics.

    21. Tara of the Perfection of Wisdom and Compassion

    Homage to You whose pure Body, Speech and Mind
    Are perfect with the strength and power of peace.
    Suppressing Maras, Dons, Zombies and Yakshas
    With the most exalted syllable TURE.

     

    20-Minute Tara Meditation

    Follow along with Venerable Zasep Rinpoche, author of Tara in the Palm of Your Hand, for a guided 20-minute meditation and practice of Tara

    Tea or Torma offering

    Bopar Rinpoche, in his wonderful book Tara The Feminine Divine, recommends that in addition to general offerings of water bowls, flowers, incense, that someone seeking a special activity from the great Saving Goddess consider a Torma (cake) offering. Likewise, the same offering can be made as hot tea — traditionally indicating “activity offering.”

     

    Buddha Weekly Offerings at Bodhghaya Buddhism
    For special occasions, or in special places (here, the Holy place of Bodhghaya) the offerings tend to be even more elaborate. Note, especially, the gigantic Torma cakes with elaborate symbolism. On your altar, to Tara, you would present whatever cakes you have — even a cupcake or muffin.

    After presenting and purifying the offering — OM AH HUM being a widely used purification mantra — he suggests the traditional activity dedication (substitute “tea offering” as appropriate):

    “Tara, You who fully rejoice in the mandala creation, consume this well-made offering torma. Give me and people around me: health, life, power, glory, fame, luck, and abundent wealth. Give me the accomplishments of activities, such as purification, increase and others. You who have made the promise protect me, give me the support of all accomplishments. Brush away untimely death and illness, demons and creators of obstacles. Brush away bad dreams, inauspicious signs and unwholesome acts. Make the world happy, the years excellent, the harvest bountiful. Make the Dharma spread, happiness perfect and may all my wishes be realized.”

    NOTE: If it makes you feel awkward to demand so many wonderful activities, there’s no need to be. Tara will provide what our karma and our needs dictate.

     

    Buddha Weekly Many emanations of Tara in Surya Gupta 21 Taras Buddhism
    In the Surya Gupta tradition of 21 Taras, each Tara manifests with different appearances. This symbolizes her Enlightened activities. For a feature on the 21 Taras according to Surya Gupta tradition, see our three-part series>>

    21 Praises in English (Traditional Translation)

    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!
    Buddha Weekly 21 Taras and Amitabha high resolution thangka Buddhism
    The 21 forms of Tara according to the visualizings of the Atisha tradition.

    A Song of Longing for Tara, the Infallible

    By Lama Lobsang Tenpey Gyaltsen (1852)
    Translated by Lama Thubten Yeshe
    Chant along with Jason Espada, the Song of Longing for Tara:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ED1-FBm-HC8&t=563s
    From my heart I bow to Divine Mother Tara, essence of love and compassion, the most precious objects of refuge gathered into one. From now until I reach enlightenment, hook me with your great love and kindness to liberate me.
    By the witness of the Three Jewels, not just from my mouth but from the depths of my innermost heart and bones, I pray to you morning and evening. Show your blissful face to me, Loving One. Grant me the nectar of your speech.
    Great gurus and small gurus cheat us with their made-up teachings, selling Dharma, teaching without comprehension, not observing who is qualified and who is not, being concerned about their own happiness and the eight worldly concerns.
    Since I can no longer trust friends of this degenerate age, you are my principal guru. Inspire me, Divine Mother, essence of love. Arouse the great power of your compassion and think of me.
    I take refuge in you Tara; like you, no Buddha could ever deceive me. But understanding the odd character of these times, most Buddhas have gone into the bliss of nirvana. Even though they have great compassion, we have no connection. Since for me there are no other deities, you are my principal deity. Bestow realizations upon me, Divine Mother, essence of love. Arouse the great power of your compassion and think of me.
    Most Dharma protectors do not show their powers. Tired of those who invoke them, they do not act. Other protectors, lacking insight but proud of their power, may be friendly for a while but will later do me harm. Since I cannot rely on other protectors, you are my principal protector. With divine action, Wisdom Mother, essence of love, arouse the great power of your compassion and think of me.
    To ordinary view the names of objects are the same as their meaning. Like this, they produce afflictions and bind us to samsara. When it is time to die, unless I understand the true nature, could a wish-fulfilling gem enable me to carry even a sesame seed with me? Since I do not trust in illusions, you are my real richness. Please grant my desires, Divine Mother, essence of love. Arouse the great power of your compassion and think of me.
    I cannot rely on the non-virtuous friends for even a day. They pretend to be close to me and all the while have in mind the opposite. They are friends when they wish it and enemies when they don’t. Since I cannot trust in this kind of friend, you are my best friend. Be close to me, Divine Mother, essence of love. Arouse the great power of your compassion and think of me.
    You are my guru, my yidam, my protector, my refuge, my food, my clothes, my possessions, and my friend. Since your divine quality is everything to me, let me spontaneously achieve all that I wish.
    Although I am overwhelmed by my habitual, uncontrolled mind, please cut these self-centered thoughts so I will be able to give my body and my life millions of times without difficulty to each sentient being. Inspire me to be able to develop this kind of compassion to benefit all.
    Empower me to cut the root of samsara, self-grasping, and to understand the pure doctrine, the most difficult middle way, free from the errors of extremes.
    Inspire me to practice as a bodhisattva, turning away from what is worldly, dedicating all my virtues to teaching living beings, never for even one instant thinking of just my own happiness. Let me wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all.
    Empower me to actualize as much as possible the most subtle vows and to keep them without a careless mind, thus becoming the most perfect bodhisattva.
    Outwardly, let me be simple in my practice, while inwardly, actualize the depth of the diamond vehicle with the strong wish to practice the two stages. Inspire me to attain enlightenment quickly for the benefit of all.
    Divine Wisdom Mother Tara, you know everything about my life — my ups and downs, my good and bad. Think lovingly of me, my only mother.
    I give myself and all who trust in me to you, Divine Wisdom Mother Tara. Being completely open to you, let us be born in the highest pure land. Set me there quickly with no births in between.
    May the hook of your compassion and your skillful means transform my mind into Dharma and transform the minds of all beings, whoever they are. They have all been my mother, the mother of one unable to follow the Conqueror’s teachings.
    By reciting this prayer three times a day and by remembering the Divine Wisdom Mother Tara, may I and all beings who are connected to me reach whatever pure land we wish.
    May the Three Jewels and especially the Divine Wisdom Mother, whose essence is compassion, hold me dear until I reach enlightenment. May I quickly conquer the four negative forces.
    Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha!

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    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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