The Birth Of Tara

Green TaraThe story of Tara’s origin, according to the Tara Tantra, recounts that eons ago she was born as a king’s daughter, and as a compassionate princess, she regularly gave offerings and prayers to the ordained monks and nuns. The monks told her that, because of her spiritual attainments, they would pray that she be reborn as a man and spread the Buddha’s teachings. She responded that there was no male and no female, that nothing existed in reality, and that she wished to remain in female form to serve other beings until everyone reached enlightenment. In that small teaching we have a tiny glimpse of Dzogchen, and we see Tara as perhaps the first feminist.

In the fullness of time the princess grew old and died. She was then born as Tara from the compassionate tears of Avalokiteshvara, who is known as Chenrezig in Tibet. Avalokiteshvara, the Lord of Compassion, was looking down on the world of suffering beings, and he wept to see that no matter how hard he tried to relieve all their suffering, more and more beings were in distress. From the tears streaming down his face, a beautiful white lotus manifested in a clear blue lake, and on top of the lotus was a beautiful goddess who had come to help him relieve the suffering of the world. She was now the Bodhisattva of Compassion, a Buddha in Light Form, who would come swiftly to the aid of whoever called Her name.

We call Her name right here, right now, to come to the aid of our weary world. So in need of Her Wisdom and Compassion.

Om Tare Tutare Sure Soha!

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa in Seattle

I decided to preserve these images here because my wife and I were just in Seattle two weeks ago and we spent time there in this beautiful monastery, the seat of His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche. My wife took refuge there under him and I also renewed my vows with him.

That the Karmapa visited the very same space and indeed stood in the same place we had been in just two weeks earlier is somehow moving and beautiful to me.

 

Karmapa Chenno!

11000336_966535396724229_1168439844353199538_nHis Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is meeting with His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche at the Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism

Seattle, Washington, America, 9 May, 2015Photograph by Kurt Smit

10930093_966553323389103_5946827538847354683_nHis Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is meeting with His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya Rinpoche at the Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism.

Seattle, Washington, America, 9 May, 2015Photograph by Kurt Smit

11060897_966547350056367_2051017461670438550_oHis Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is bestowing Green Tara Blessings and Teachings at the Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism.

Seattle, Washington, America, 9 May, 2015Photograph by Kurt Smit

10898077_966545670056535_5564967128857961164_nHis Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje is bestowing Green Tara Blessings and Teachings at the Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism.

Seattle, Washington, America, 9 May, 2015Photograph by Kurt Smith

 

Mahakala: The Great Black One

mahakala_th46The legendary history of Mahakala was written by Khedrup Khyungpopa, founder of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition, in the eleventh century. He says that the reason for the special powers and effectiveness of Mahakala goes back to Avalokiteshvara’s vow to remain in the mortal world and not reach Buddhahood until all sentient beings were enlightened. After helping hundreds of thousands of people for countless years to reach enlightenment, Avalokiteshvara saw no decrease in suffering, but rather an increase in defilements. He then became discouraged. As soon as he had that thought, his head immediately split into a thousand pieces. Amitabha, one of the five transcendent Buddhas, put the pieces back together and made eleven heads, telling Avalokiteshvara to make the same promise again but to keep it better. Accordingly out of Avalokiteshvara’s eleven faces, ten are peaceful, but one is wrathful, representing Mahakala.

Avalokiteshvara, saddened, fell unconscious for seven days, after which he thought that the world’s suffering souls needed results in a hurry without excessive effort. He then wished to turn himself into a wrathful deity in order to defeat more rapidly and effectively the obstacles to the happiness of others. With this thought the letter HUM in dark blue color came out of his heart. That Hum became Mahakala. It is not without significance that in the mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’, the syllable Hum invokes energetic powers.

The birth of Mahakala was followed by an earthquake and with one voice the Buddhas in the heaven declared that he would have the power to grant all wishes if the wishes were honest and good.

Mahakala was the personal tutelary deity for the Mongol ruler Kublai Khan. His terrifying imagery ultimately derives from the angry form of the Hindu god Shiva, known as Bhairava. In Tibetan iconography he typically has one head with three bulging eyes. His eyebrows are like small flames, and his beard is made of hook-like shapes. He can have two to six arms.

The essential nature of Mahakala in the Tibetan pantheon can be gauged from the fact that he is worshipped as the Protector of the tent. Because of the nomadic nature of the Tibetan people, much of their life is spent in arduous and hazardous travel, complicated by the generally hostile environment they live in. During their sojourns, they use the Tent as a temporary abode, making it a very important part of their lives. He is also unquestionably the most vital Dharampala, since every monastery, no matter what the order, has a shrine devoted to this deity.

Source: http://www.exoticindiaart.com/wrathful.htm