Video: Recite with us the full Sutra of Tara Who Protects from the Eight Fears with her Great Dharani

Feature Contents

    The Sutra of Tara Who Protects from the Eight Fears is important as a Sutra — Tara’s own beautiful, hopeful, evocative and powerful words. Reciting the short Sutra, especially on the two Tara days each month — the 8th of the lunar month and the full moon — is especially powerful for generating merit, protecting from all dangers from all six worlds. Please TURN ON CC for Recitation (available also in languages).

    Video (Recite along, especially on Tara Days!):

     

    CONTENTS

    00:00-00:29 Introduction to the Tara and Her Sutra

    00:30-01:06 Lord Atisha, Naropa, Surya Gupta, and Tara’s other Sages

    01:06-01:40 Tara’s two special days each month (8th and full moon)

    01:40-02:27 Introducing the Sutra of the Dharani of Tara Who Protects from the Eight Fears

    02:28-03:07 Introducing her Great Dharani as remedy

    03:08-3:32 Benefits of Reciting the Sutra of the Dharani of Tara Who Protects from Eight Fears

    03:33-08:40 Sutra Recitation Begins: the Teachings on Suffering, Six Realms, and Karma

    08:41-09:10 Reciting the Quintessence Dharani of Tara

    09:10-09:58 Dharani Recitation

    09:59-13:23 Tara’s Praise Begins: Includes Refuge, Protection from 8 Dangers, and dedication.

    This precious Sutra, translated from the original Sanskrit to English is a teaching from Tara herself. After the short teaching she transmits her powerful Dharani which protects from all dangers and fears for all types of beings, followed by her wonderful and meritorious praise.

    This Dharani contains the 10 syllable mantra of Tara as well as supplications for protection from all dangers and all fears and in all worlds. Recite along with us now, the sacred, powerful and meaningful Sutra of Tara Who Protects from the Eight Fears, especially on Tara Days each month, or any day you feel threatened or fearful. Tara, the great mother, always protects beings who call her name with faith, with a pure heart and Bodhichitta intention. We dedicate the merit of this video recitation to the benefit of all sentient beings.

     

    Venerable Mother Tara’s vast popularity in Mahayana Buddhism — as both Bodhisattva and Buddha — is easy to understand. Not only is she a “Mother” — a mother deity and the “Mother of All Buddhas” — but she also protects us from the eight dangers or fears, which are symbolic of all dangers, both inner and outer.

    How important is Tara? It was at Tara’s urging that the great Lord Atisha left India to go to Tibet and brought the Dharma. It was Tara who challenged great Naropa with the question: “Do you understand the words or the sense?”

    The Mahasiddha Surya Gupta received teachings on the 21 Taras directly from Tara. The great Enlightened Padmasambhava himself brought Tara practice to Tibet.

    Many Mahasiddhis and Yogis in India, Tibet and Nepal relied on Tara. It is because of this, we have two special days for Tara, each month throughout the year: the 8th Day of the Lunar Month, and also the full moon dates each month.

    In Mahayana and Vajrayana tradition Tara is so important that even the heavenly deities relied upon her. In Mahayana tradition, many sutras feature a gathering of heavenly gods, together with Shakyamuni Buddha, the Bodhisattvas, Arhats and monks.

    One of these special sutras is The Sutra of Tara Who Protects from the Eight Fears. It is this Sutra that we often recite on Tara’s special day, together with her Dharani, 21 Tara’s Dharani Praise and her mantras.

    In this Sutra, Tara admonishes the gods, rather than praising them, to help them overcome their biggest obstacle, which is pride as well as clinging to heavenly bliss. As an Enlightened Being, Tara saw that even the gods are susceptible to these cravings and attachments, which would result in ongoing suffering.

    She teaches them — and us — through this Sutra, her glorious Dharani of Tara Who Protects from the Eight Fears. Although she names eight fears, these are meant to include every fear, not only these specifically named dangers.

    She starts by reminding the gods or devas, of the suffering of each of the other six realms: the asuras, humans, animals, hungry ghosts or pretas and hell denizens. She then gives them the remedy, and her Dharani to help them overcome these dangers and ultimately attain Enlightenment.

    Reciting this Sutra, and especially the Dharani of Tara Who Protects from the Eight Fears, is an especially meritorious practice and helps beings of all six realms escape the dangers of Samsara.

    Recite along with us now, the Sutra and Dharani of Tara Who Protects from the Eight Fears.

    Praise to the Three Jewels. Praise to the venerable lady Tara. Praise to the Blessed Śākyamuni Buddha.

    Thus did I hear at one time. The Blessed One was dwelling in the realm of gods atop Mount Meru. At that time, the goddess Tārā, who was in the assembly, spoke the following words:

    Now that you have reached this jewel-like higher realm, you should understand actions and their results. Adhere to the good and abandon the bad, for those who engage in evil actions, will plunge downward when they pass from this world.

    Animals, dull and mute, devour one another. They climb and descend, up and down, on an abysmal path of toil. Terrified and afraid, they tremble in panic, as their dreadful suffering defies imagination.

    Hungry Ghosts suffer from hunger and thirst, their bodies deformed. If food and drink should appear, it is guarded by others, and even if they consume a little, it turns into fire and swords. Their suffering from hunger and thirst defies imagination.

    Those beings who are born in the hell realms are powerlessly led by Yama’s henchmen. Burned and boiled, they are sliced asunder by swords. Their suffering from heat and cold is unbearable.

    Thus, those who commit evil deeds in this life, are committing a great injury to themselves. They will be tormented by intense suffering for many eons, with no chance to escape and no means of enduring it.

    Keep this clearly in mind, and understand the results of actions. Otherwise you will sow your own unbearable suffering and lament. Even others will be frightened by the terrible din of your agonized screams, for these kinds of sufferings are beyond imagination!

    Whoever understands such grave faults will abandon the causes of the three lower realms. Wherever evil manifests, subtle or coarse, act swiftly by way of body, speech, and mind.

    You will then be happy and offer help to all beings. You will give up attachment, aversion, and ignorance and strengthen the root of compassion. You will practice virtue, striving avidly with body, speech, and mind, and endeavor in this most profound quintessence.

    The fruit of a flower overcome by frost, although cultivated, will produce no sprouts. Likewise, those who transgress their vows and entertain doubts may practice the most profound of vidyā mantras, Thinking, ‘Blessings will come,’ but this is impossible‍— their efforts amount to meaningless hardship.

    Their vidyā mantra becomes like the prattle of common folk, and their absorption resembles the musings of a child. But if people without fault practice vidyā mantras, they shall swiftly accomplish whatever they desire.

    Minute though it is, the seed of the banyan tree, well moistened with water and manure in seven months can grow as much as a league. If there can be so much change in outer matter, what need to speak of accomplishing knowledge with knowledge? The inner change of luminosity is beyond all measure.

    If one relies on a merchant who knows the way and sets out to sea in an excellent ship, one will find whatever riches are desired, and sail smoothly back to one’s home.

    Likewise, if one relies on love, compassion, joy, and equanimity, and practices virtue endowed with the mind of awakening, one will set out on a truly perfect path and be sure to reach the land of wisdom.

    When an arrow is released from a person’s fingers, it has certainly been shot, even if one thinks otherwise. Likewise, when a person fully comprehends the meaning of reality, the other shore has been reached, even if one thinks otherwise.

    Once the aspects of conduct are naturally perfected, the fruit of Buddhahood will undoubtedly be attained.

    When the pristine nature of reality is realized, there is no self, no life force, and also no termination of life force.

    There is no action and no ripening of action. The extremes are abandoned, and one is liberated.

    In order for you to realize that goal, devotedly recite this quintessence as I proclaim it. If you do, the evil deeds of three incalculable eons will be eradicated,

    The three lower realms and all the suffering of saṃsāra will be purified, and the obscurations will be cleared away.

    The meaningful quintessence is as follows:

    oṁ, bodhisattva great lady, goddess, please protect us!

    oṁ nama āryāvalokiteśvarāya bodhi­sattvāya mahā­sattvāya mahā­kāruṇikāya

    tadyathā

    oṁ tāre tuttāre ture sarva­duṣṭān praduṣṭān mama kṛte jambhaya stambhaya mohaya bandhaya hūṁ hūṁ hūṁ phaṭ phaṭ phaṭ svāhā

    nama āryāvalobhayā narā bodhisattvā mahā­sattvāni adhiṣṭhānādhiṣṭhite mama sarva­karmāvaraṇa svabhāva­śuddhe

    viśuddhe śodhaya viśodhaya hūṁ phaṭ svāhā

    Then the goddess, who is herself the embodiment of buddhahood, is praised:

    Lady who acts with immense compassion for the good of beings‍—

    You have all the major and minor marks and are bedecked with precious substances.

    Your smile is ravishing, your countenance is joyful, and your eyes are like flax blossoms.

    Your ears are like blossoming trumpet flowers.

    Your nose is like a lotus bud.

    Your mouth is like a mallow in full bloom.

    You have a sparkling body and the figure of a young maiden.

    Your speech is like a kalavinka bird, proclaiming the Dharma.

    Your compassionate mind guards all beings with love. Your left hand holds a lotus, for you are unstained by saṃsāra’s flaws. Your right hand grants protection to all beings to fulfill their aims.

    You are seated on the sun and moon of method and wisdom. Venerable lady Tārā, we take refuge in you! Protect us from the great abyss of saṃsāra!

    As we circle within the six transmigrations, may you secure us with your noose of great compassion. As we go astray into the three lower realms, may you place us on a path free from straying.

    As we are born into families with wrong views, please introduce us to teachers who possess the mind of awakening.

    You protect from the eight dangers. The danger of lions, or pride. The danger of elephants, or delusion. The danger of fire, or hatred. The danger of snakes, or jealousy.

    The danger of robbers, or wrong views. The danger of prisons, or desire. The danger of floods, or attachments. The danger of demons, or doubts.

    We pay homage to you! In this world and in others as well, protect us from these eight dangers!

    Until we have reached our goal of Enlightenment, the other shore, may we make the ten perfections our inseparable allies.

    The perfection of generosity. The perfection of good moral conduct. The perfection of Patience. The perfection of diligence. The perfection of concentration. The perfection of insight. The perfection of Method. The perfection of aspiration. The perfection of strength. The perfection of wisdom.

    Daughters and sons of the Dharma should write down this teaching, read it, recite it, understand it, contemplate it correctly, and explain it extensively to others.

    At her words, the whole assembly rejoiced and offered praise.

    This completes the Sūtra of “Venerable Tara Who Protects from the Eight Dangers.”

    We dedicate the merit of this recitation to the benefit of all sentient beings. May Venerable Tara Protect all beings from the Eight Dangers.

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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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