(White Tara – Tibetan: Drol Kar)
Tara – the female bodhisattva of mercy and compassion is the patron goddess of Tibet, and in her green and white forms is believed to have manifested from two tears that fell from the eyes of Avalokiteshvara – the male bodhisattva of compassion.
In her white form Tara is invoked for the pacifying rituals of longevity, healing and altruistic activity. In each of her palms and soles is an eye, symbolising that the five ‘male’ or method perfections of generosity, morality, patience, effort and concentration (represented by her five fingers and toes), depend upon the sixth ‘female’ perfection of the development of wisdom. These four eyes symbolise her boundless compassion, by virtue of the ‘four immeasurables‘ of compassion, love, sympathetic joy and equanimity. The three eyes on her face symbolise the perfection of her body, speech and mind as the purity of her conduct, words and thoughts. Above her head is Amitabha Buddha.
Tara embodies many of the qualities of feminine principle and is known as the ‘Mother of Mercy and Compassion’. Her whiteness is indicative of the selflessness — the purity — of this compassion but especially the undifferentiated Truth of the Dharma.
She is the source, the female aspect of the universe, which gives birth to warmth, compassion and relief from bad karma as experienced by ordinary beings in cyclic existence. She engenders, nourishes, smiles at the vitality of creation, and has sympathy for all beings as a mother does for her children.
White Tara offers healing to beings who are hurt or wounded, either physically or psychologically. White Tara is looked to for compassion, long life, healing, serenity, happiness and inspiration through the mantra OM TARE TUTARE TURE MAMA AYUR PUNYE JNANA PUSHTIM KURU, SWAHA (Ohm, Tahray Tootahray tooray, mahmah ahyoor poonyay jnyana pushtim kuru[-ye], Swahha)
Twenty-One Praises to Tara
From your sublime abode at the Potala,
O Tara – born from the green letter TAM
Whose light rescues all beings –
Come with your retinue, I beg you
The gods and the demi-gods bow their crowns
To your lotus feet, O Tara,
You who rescue all who are destitute.
To you, Mother Tara, I pay homage
Homage to the Twenty-One Taras
OM Homage to the Venerable Arya Tara
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Homage to you, Tara, who with the letters TUTTARA HUM
Fill the (realms of) desire, direction and space,
Whose feet trample on the seven worlds
And who are able to draw all the beings to you.
- Homage to you, Tara, venerated by Indra, Agni,
Brahma, Vayu and Ishvara,
Praised by the assembly of spirits, raised corpses,
Ghandarvas and all yakshas.
- Homage to you, Tara, whose TRAD 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.
- 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.
- Homage to you, Tara, whose fingers adorn your heart
With a gesture of the Sublime Precious Three,
Adorned with a wheel striking all directions without exception
With the totality of your own rays of light.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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 right leg extended
And left withdrawn, completely destroying all the masses of enemies.
- 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.
- Homage to you, Tara, O happy, virtuous and peaceful one,
The very object of practice, passed beyond sorrow.
You are the perfectly endowed with SOHA and OM,
Overcoming completely all the great evils.
- 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.
- Homage to you, Tara, stamping your feet and proclaiming TURE,
Your seed-syllable itself in the aspect of HUM
Cause Meru, Mandhara and Vindhya mountains
And all the three worlds to tremble and shake.
- 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 exception.
- Homage to you, Tara, upon whom the kings of the assembled gods,
The gods themselves and all probable-humans rely;
Whose magnificent armour gives joy to all,
You who dispel all disputes and bad dreams.
- 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 diseases.
- 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!
Thus concludes this praise of the root mantra
And the offering of the twenty-one homages
Recite the twenty-one homages three times
OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA
Recite the mantra as many times as possible