TARA DAY — Practices to bring the Swift Saving and Healing Activity of Tara into your life

HAPPY TARA DAY! Every day is Tara day, although typically we celebrate especially on the eighth day of the lunar month  —  November 22, 2020 this month — is auspicious for Tara practice. (First day of the lunar month is the day of the NEW MOON in your time zone.)
  • Next Tara Day (8th day of Lunar) is December 22, 2020

Tara Days for 2021

  • December 22, 2021
  • January 21, 2021
  • February 19, 2021
  • March 21, 2021
  • April 20, 2021
  • May 19, 2021
  • June 18, 2021
  • July 18, 2021
  • August 23, 2021
  • September 21, 2021
  • October 21, 2021
  • November 19, 2021
  • December 19, 2021

Meritorious activities for Her day:

  • Her mantra: Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha

  • 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:

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

 

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.):

OM

Noble Lady Tara we bow to you

 

Praise to Tara, swift and galant,

your glance that flashes like flares of lightning,

Born from the face of the triple world’s lord,

you rose on the heart of a blossoming lotus.

 

Praise to you whose face resembles

a hundred autumn full moons together,

Your radiance like the clearest of stars,

blazing with hundreds of brilliant light rays.

 

Praise to you whose hand is graced with

a lotus flower blue-gold in color,

You show generosity, diligence, fortitude,

patience, serenity, meditation.

 

Praise to you whose acts are boundless,

the jewel on the great Tathagata’s crown.

You are served by all bodhisattvas,

those who have reached complete perfection.

 

Praise to you, with HUM and TUTTARA

fulfilling all wishes to the bounds of space.

YOu trample underfoot all seven worlds;

you have the strength to summon all.

 

Praise! Lady, greatly adored by Anala, Brahma, Maruts, and Shiva.

All the hosts of vetalas and spirits,

ghandarvas and yaksas to you pay honor.

 

Praise to you, who with TRAD and the PHAT quickly

overthrow schemes and wicked practice.

With rightleg bent and left leg extended,

stamping, you shine amid flames wildly blazing.

 

Praise to you  fleet footed, ferocious,

destroying even the most powerful demons,

your lotus-face and brow deep furrowed

-every foe, how swiftly you slay them!

 

Praise! Your fingers gracing your heart,

displaying the mudra of the three jewels,

Your wheel, adorning every direction,

a fierce whirling mass of your own self-radiance.

 

Praise! Blessed with a splendorous crown,

bright, majestic, supremely joyous.

Laughing and smiling, thrum of TUTTARA,

you overcome the realm of demons.

 

Praise to you! You summon whole legions

of earthly guardians from all directions.

With HUM rumbling deep in your frown,

you free us all from every misfortune.

 

Praise, Lady, brightly adorned,

the crest on your crown a sliver of moon,

Your locks always graced by Amithaba,

his gleaming light rays endlessly streaming.

 

Praise to you in a blazing halo

of flames all consuming, apocalyptic,

With right leg stretched out and left leg bent inward,

the whirl of enemies blissfully crushing.

 

Praise to you, on the ground of earth

striking your palms and thund’ring your feet.

The HUM that streams from your furrowing brow

smashes to dust the netherworlds seven.

 

Praise, Lady, gracious and blissful,

you who encompass the peace of nirvana.

With OM and SVAHA, in perfect union,

you lay to waste every terrible evil.

 

Praise to you immersed in bliss,

you shatter the bodies of all your foes.

you shine with the wisdom-syllable HUM,

stamping out your ten-syllable mantra.

 

Praise Swift One, your foot stomping boldly

sowing the seed of the syllable HUM,

While Meru, Mandara, the Vindva Mountains,

and all the three worlds quiver and tremble.

 

Praise, Goddess! In your hand is a

deer-marked moon, a lake -like pool.

With TARA twice and then with PHAT,

you neutralize every plague and poison.

 

Praise! Queen of hosts divine!

Gods and kinnaras willingly serve you,

At play immersed in sheerest joy, you

clear away nightmares, soothe away strife.

 

Praise to you, clear-eyed, all-seeing,.

like the bright sun, and the full moon.

With twice uttered HARA and then with TUTTARA,

you pacify even the fiercest diseases.

 

Praise to you of the three-fold nature,

filled with power and boundless grace,

Profoundly swift, your devastation

of hosts of graha, vetala, and yaksha

 

Root. mantra supreme and joyful praises-

– these are the twenty-one verses of homage.

NOTE: Translation: TTE team: Heidi Koppl, Libby Hogg. Vocal and production: Rodrigo Reijers. mixed by Flin van Hemmen. Courtesy VajraSound>>

 

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.”

 

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.

 

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!

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
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!
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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1 Comment

  1. Avatar Mark David Vinzens on October 25, 2020 at 10:28 am

    OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA

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