Chanted Tara Prayers – Liberation from Sorrow
Tara is a female enlightened being. She generated Bodhichitta in a female form, completed all the stages of the Bodhisattva’s training in a female form, and finally attained Enlightenment in a female form. She is called the Mother of all Buddhas.
Generally, it is not correct to say that one particular Buddha is more powerful than other Buddhas. However, because of her karmic connection with human beings of this world, as well as for some other reasons, Tara is especially able to help us. If we rely upon Tara with strong faith we shall quickly receive her protection and blessings.
Atisha, for example, who was the founder of the Kadampa tradition in Tibet, was very close to Tara. He received a vision of Tara soon after he was born, and remained devoted to her for the rest of his life. He would carry a small statue of Tara with him and speak with the statue just as we would talk with another person. If anyone asked him a difficult question he would say, “First I shall ask Tara, then I shall tell you the answer”. Then he would make a mandala offering to the statue and ask her the question. It was by following Tara’s advice that Atisha went to Tibet and benefitted countless living beings.
This practice is especially important for practitioners of Kadampa Buddhism. One day, while circumambulating the stupa at Bodh Gaya, Atisha made a prayer of request to Tara, and Tara appeared to him directly saying “I shall care for all your followers in the future.” She promised to do this. Since then, practitioners of Kadampa Buddhism have regarded Tara as one of their principal Deities.
This sadhana, “Liberation from Sorrow” is very blessed, and very easy to practice. We can practice it in conjunction with either sutra or tantra. There are three important things to do when we practice this sadhana: to generate a good motivation at the beginning, to do the sadhana with strong faith, and then to dedicate purely at the end. Providing we do these three things, we shall receive great results, even if we don’t understand the sadhana in great detail.
Tara’s mantra OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA is the same nature as Tara. Just as Tara’s form is a manifestation of her omniscient wisdom, so is her mantra. Buddha said we should never think of the Deity as being a different nature from his or her mantra.
The meaning of Tara’s mantra is as follows:
OM symbolizes Tara’s body, speech and mind as explained previously.
TARE means ‘Rescuer’
TUTTARE means ‘Great Rescuer’
TURE means ‘Swift Rescuer’
SOHA means ‘Please bestow the attainments’
When we are reciting the mantra, we should think that we are making the following request:
“O Tara, please rescue me and all living beings from the fears and dangers of samsara. Please bestow upon me all the attainments of your body, speech and mind.”