Praises and Requests to the Twenty-One Taras

Prepare for this practice by setting the proper motivation and reciting the preliminary prayers and practices.

Visualization

In the space above, on a luminous jeweled throne, lotus and moon seats sits my root guru who is endowed with the three kindnesses, inseparable from the Venerable Tara, greenish-blue with one face and two arms. Her hands are as tender and soft as the leaf of the blue utpala flower. Her right hand is in the gesture of supreme giving, fulfilling the wishes of all beings. Her left hand, as tender as young ivy leaves, is at her heart in the gesture of the Three Jewels. She is always present in order to liberate all living beings, but is never affected by the defects and shortcomings of cyclic existence. To symbolize this, her two hands hold blue utpala flowers.

She is extremely beautiful, representing all goodness in visible form, wearing a variety of jeweled ornaments, like an emerald mountain engulfed in the lights of the rainbow. She is clad in heavenly silks, fine, smooth and light, the clothing of the gods. To symbolize the union of method and wisdom, she sits with her right leg slightly extended and her left bent.

In her hair is Lord Amitabha, like a ruby crown ornament with rays of light that completely fill all the immeasurable realms, causing countless beings to ripen and attain liberation. She sits amidst an aura of light, adorned at the three places with the three vajras. The syllable hum emanates rays of light from her heart. The Buddhas and bodhisattvas from the ten directions are invoked in front of the Bhagavati and are absorbed. Thus she becomes the embodiment of all three objects of refuge.

Homage to the Twenty-one Taras

OM I prostrate to the noble transcendent liberator.

1
Homage! Tara, swift, heroic!
Eyes like lightning instantaneous!
Sprung from op’ning stamens of the
Lord of three world’s tear-born lotus!

2
Homage! She whose face combines a
Hundred autumn moons at fullest!
Blazing with light rays resplendent
As a thousand star collection!

3
Homage! Golden-blue one, lotus
Water born, in hand adorned!
Giving, effort, calm, austerities,
Patience, meditation her sphere!

4
Homage! Crown of tathagatas,
Actions triumph without limit
Relied on by conquerors’ children,
Having reached ev’ry perfection!

5
Homage! Filling with tuttare,
Hum, desire, direction, and space!
Trampling with her feet the seven worlds,
Able to draw forth all beings!

6
Homage! Worshipped by the all-lords,
Shakra, Agni, Brahma, Marut!
Honored by the hosts of spirits,
Corpse-raisers, gandharvas, yakshas!

7
Homage! With her trad and phat sounds
Destroying foes’ magic diagrams!
Her feet pressing, left out, right in,
Blazing in a raging fire-blaze!

8
Homage! Ture, very dreadful!
Destroyer of Mara’s champions!
She with frowning lotus visage
Who is slayer of all enemies!

9
Homage! At the heart her fingers,
Adorn her with Three Jewel mudra!
Light-ray masses all excited!
All directions’ wheels adorn her!

10
Homage! She so joyous, radiant,
Crown emitting garlands of light!
Mirthful, laughing with tuttare,
Subjugating maras, devas!

11
Homage! She able to summon
All earth-guardians’ assembly!
Shaking, frowning, with her hum sign
Saving from every misfortune!

12
Homage! Crown adorned with crescent
Moon, all ornaments most shining!
Amitabha in her hair-knot
Sending out much light eternal!

13
Homage! She ‘mid wreath ablaze like
Eon-ending fire abiding!
Right stretched, left bent, joy surrounds you
Troops of enemies destroying!

14
Homage! She who strikes the ground with
Her palm, and with her foot beats it!
Scowling, with the letter hum the
Seven levels she does conquer!

15
Homage! Happy, virtuous, peaceful!
She whose field is peace, nirvana!
She endowed with om and svaha,
Destroyer of the great evil!

16
Homage! She with joy surrounded
Tearing foes’ bodies asunder,
Frees with hum and knowledge mantra,
Arrangement of the ten letters!

17
Homage! Ture! With seed letter
Of the shape of syllable hum!
By foot stamping shakes the three worlds,
Meru, Mandara, and Vindhya!

18
Homage! Holding in her hand the
Hare-marked moon of Deva-lake form!
With twicespoken tara and phat,
Totally dispelling poison!

19
Homage! She whom gods and their kings,
And the Kinnaras do honor!
Armored in all joyful splendor,
She dispels bad dreams and conflicts!

20
Homage! She whose two eyes bright with
Radiance of sun and full moon!
With twice hara and tuttare
She dispels severe contagion!

21
Homage! Full of liberating
Pow’r by the set of three natures!
Destroys hosts of spirits, yakshas,
And raised corpses! Supreme! Ture!


These praises with the root mantras
And prostrations thus are twenty-one!

Prayers of Request

I request the Bhagavati Lady Tara, the object of refuge of all. Whoever merely hears your name, beautiful as a garland of utpala flowers, and takes it as an ornament for one’s own ears is protected from all types of sufferings, such as the eight great fears.

I request you who are the object of refuge of all, manifesting in various forms to liberate beings, appearing in the beautiful form of a goddess, combining together in one form, the power of the wisdom and compassion of all the Buddhas.

I request the Great Treasure of Compassion. You are especially compassionate towards those who are weak, even though you are constantly venerated by Brahma, Indra, all the worldly beings and the powerful bodhisattvas.

I request you who have all good qualities fully developed, who lives up to her supreme and meaningful name. Although having obtained the body of peace, still, through the power of compassion for all living beings, you never tire of liberating beings. I request you, who are the object of refuge of all. Even when the bodhisattvas in the countless realms of life exert themselves for the welfare of all beings, they request you, supreme goddess.

I request the great compassionate Lady Tara, who took excellent birth from the lotus face of the Lord of Compassion and enacts activities of great compassion out of great love for living beings in these degenerate times.

I request the Great Compassionate Mother of All Buddhas. Out of great love for the ignorant beings in the north, you gave incentives again and again to Atisha, the crown ornament and chief among the 500 lords of Dharma, to visit Tibet.

I request the Lady Tara, the only deity of the Kadampa tradition who has given her own vajra word to protect the followers of Atisha and Dromtonpa, guiding and caring for the faithful ones.

I request the supreme goddess Tara, the chief deity, the very heart-drop of the Kadampa masters who expound the meaning of the Tripitaka and the four classes of tantra by means of the five points of remembrance.

I request the unequaled object of refuge, whose right foot is endowed with all the signs of auspiciousness and whose big toe helps to liberate those who have fallen into cyclic existence’s ocean of despair, bringing them to the state of blissful liberation.

I request you, who provides for all the needs of beings, whose right hand shows that you bestow the highest temporal state and finally the state of highest goodness, along with whatever purposes one tries to achieve.

I request Lady Tara, the union of all objects of refuge. Although there are a great number of deities with peaceful and wrathful aspects, your left hand shows clearly that you are the very combination of all three objects of refuge.

By the power of my requests to Lady Tara, the supreme deity, the guru, and the union of all objects of refuge, may I always be under the care of Mahayana spiritual guides and put their advice into practice.

May I develop full understanding of the difficulty of attaining freedoms and fortunes. May I develop strong awarenss of the uncertainty of death and the precipice of the lower realms. Inspire me, so that practicing refuge and developing a precise understanding of the functioning of positive and negative karma, I will abandon destructive actions and practice virtuous ones.

Inspire me to develop disgust for cyclic existence, to develop proper determination to be free and to train correctly in the three higher trainings.

Inspire me especially to train with great care in the Pratimoksa precepts, the very root of the teachings.

Inspire me to train in the bodhisattva’s conduct. By always remembering the kindness of the mother sentient beings as extensive as space, may I generate compassion and great love, and thus generate bodhicitta. Inspire me so that having developed the power of the great bodhicitta even more, I will generate the great intention to liberate all sentient beings as quickly as possible and thus will enter the door of the highest yoga tantra vehicle and keep all commitments purely.

Mantra Recitation

om tare tuttare ture soha

Absorbsion and Mantra Recitation

Arya Tara melts into green light and flows into me. Instantly, my wrong conceptions that I and all other phenomena inherently exist and my dualistic mind and its views disappear, becoming completely empty. Not even a trace of them remains. I concentrate one-pointedly on this empty state with wisdom that is indistinguishably one with Guru Tara’s blissful omniscient mind.

Benefits of Reciting the Homage (optional)

Those endowed with perfect and pure respect for these deities –
The intelligent who recite these praises with most supreme faith
Both in the evening and upon waking at dawn –
Will have fearlessness bestowed on them by this remembrance.

After being purified of all evils completely,
They will attain the destruction of all lower realms
And the seven million conquering Buddhas
Will quickly grant them every empowerment.

Thus they will attain greatness and so forth
To the ultimate state of supreme Buddhahood.
As a result all violent poisons –
Whether abiding within or spreading to others –
That they have eaten or drunk
By this remembrance will be completely removed
And they will eliminate completely afflictions by spirits, epidemics,
Poisons and all various sufferings.

If for oneself or for the sake of others,
These praises are read sincerely two, three or seven times,
Those wishing a child will have one,
And those wishing wealth will attain this as well.
Without obstruction, all their wishes will be granted
And every single hindrance will be destroyed as it arises.

Requesting Prayer

Due to this merit may I soon
Attain the enlightened state of Guru Tara
That I may be able to liberate
All sentient beings from their suffering.

O compassionate and venerable subduer,
May the infinite beings, including myself,
Soon purify the two obscurations and complete both collections
So that we may attain full enlightenment.

For all of our lives, until I reach this stage,
May I know the happiness of humans and gods.
So that I may become fully omniscient,
Please pacify quickly all obstacles, interferences,
Obstructions, epidemics, diseases and so forth,
The various causes of untimely death,
Bad dreams and omens, the eight fears and other afflictions
And make it so that they no longer exist.

May the mundane and supramundane collections
Of all excellence, auspicious qualities and happiness
Increase and develop and may all wishes
Be fulfilled naturally and effortlessly, without an exception.

May I strive to realize and increase the sacred Dharma,
Accomplishing your stage and beholding your sublime face.
May my understanding of emptiness and the precious altruistic intention
Increase like the moon waxing full.

May I be reborn from an extremely beautiful and holy lotus
In the joyous and noble mandala of the conqueror.BR> May I attain whatever prophecy I receive
In the presence of Amitabha, Buddha of Infinite Light.

O deity, whom I have accomplished from previous lives
The enlightening influence of the three-time Buddhas,
Blue-green, one face and two arms, the swift pacifier,
O mother, holding an utpala flower, may you be auspicious!

Whatever your body, O Mother of Conquerors,
Whatever your retinue, life span and pure land,
Whatever your name most noble and holy,
May I and all others attain only these.

By the force of these praises and requests made to you,
May all disease, poverty, fighting and quarrels be calmed,
May the precious Dharma and everything auspicious increase
Throughout the world and directions where I and all others dwell.

Dedication and Auspicious Verses

Due to the merits of these virtuous actions,
May I quickly attain the state of a guru buddha
And lead all living beings, without exception,
Into that enlightened state.

May the supreme jewel bodhichitta
That has not arisen, arise and grow;
And may that which has arisen not diminish
But increase more and more.

Just as the brave Manjushri and Samantabhadra, too,
Realized things as they are,
I, too, dedicate all these merites in the best way,
That I may follow their perfect example.

I dedicate all these roots of virtue
With the dedication praaised as best
By the victorious ones thus gone of the three times,
So I might perform good works.

I dedicate whatever virtues I have ever collected
For the benefit of the teachings and of all sentient beings,
And in particular, for the essential teachings
Of perfect, pure Losang Dragpa to shine forever.

May all the suffering and causes of suffering of all sentient beings ripen upon me right now, and may all sentient beings receive all my happiness and virtue.

May I never be discouraged, even for a moment, from practicing the deeds of the bodhisattvas for the sake of others, by completely renouncing anything done for my own sake and by engaging in the holy actions of the kind founder, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.

Through these merits, may I quickly attain the state of the Arya Tara and, without exception, lead all mother sentient beings, who are most high and noble, to that enlightened state.

By whatever virtue I have collected
From venerating these subduing blessed ones,
May all sentient beings, without exception,
Be born in Sukhavati, the Joyful Pure Land.

You, who have abandoned all bodily defects and possess the signs and marks of a Buddha,
You, who have abandoned all defects of speech and possess the beautiful, sparrow-like voice,
You, who have abandoned all defects of mind and see all the infinite objects of knowledge,
O Brilliant Mother of Auspicious Glory, please bring your auspicious presence to us!

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