Commentary to the Twenty-one
Praises to Tara
by Geshe Jampel Senge
Tara - which
means “Liberator“, “Rescuer” - was the first being to obtain
Liberation in a female aspect; she is deeply loved by Tibetan
The story of how and why she reached enlightenment
in a female aspect is quite remarkable.
Aeons ago Tara was a
Princess with the name of Jnana Chandra (Tib. Yeshe Dawa).
times the average human life was 80 000 years long. During 500 years
of her life she collected and then offered a vast amount of wealth
to the Buddhas and the Masters, and gave them the chance to teach
the pure Dharma: in this way she accumulated incredible merits.
She listened to Dharma teachings and put them into practice and,
in this way, trough meditation, she reached many high
Her lasts teacher, the Buddha Micenda, saw that she
was very near to the state of Mahasattva. He told her: “Because of
your practise you have obtained high realisations; if you recite
with me this prayer you will become a man and so you will reach the
state of Mahasattva.” But Jnana Chandra answered: “Thanks to the
great power of my virtues I could change sex and become a
Bodhisattva like Manjushri or Avalokitesvara; this fills me up with
joy but I have no wish to do it. 95% of the enlightened beings
appear in male form (as manifestations of Mahakaruna, the Perfect
Compassion), only 5% appear in female form (as manifestations of
Prajnaparamita, the Perfect Wisdom). I prefer to keep my present
aspect and when I will reach Enlightenment I will manifest the
In this way she reached
Enlightened beings are like rivers flowing
into the ocean, or coming out of it: so one thousand Buddhas are
like one Buddha and one Buddha is the same as one thousand
Tara is an enlightened principle and, even if we do not
have the realisations to see her, she is everywhere to benefit
It is not correct to think that Tara is just a
symbol painted on the tangkas or a divinity living in a Pure Land,
far from us. Tara never fails.
From now on until we reach
Liberation, to pray Tara and to meditate upon her will bring us a
lot of benefits, even in this life.
Even if it is not in our
intention, praying Tara will increase material wealth, long life,
fame and merits.
Like a healthy tree spontaneously produces
beautiful leaves, so looking for pure Dharma in your prayers,
spontaneously generates a greater well-being.
It is necessary
to understand that all these 21 manifestations of Tara are very
important; you cannot say that one is more important or more
powerful than the others.
They can have a more or less strong
influence on us, a greater or smaller karmic connection.
understand better we can say that while the sun is sending many
beams of light to the earth, we receive only a small part of them.
We cannot decide which sunbeam can reach us or give us more
warmth; it depends on were we are, which season we are in, on the
weather (if it is cloudy or not) and so on.
The same thing
happens with the 21 Taras: our karma decides which kind of blessing
we receive; and how many blessings and from who.
way to practice the Twenty-one Praises to Tara is like that: each
time you recite one verse, you visualise that from the Tara you are
praising a replica comes forth and absorbs into you, like one candle
kindling another candle.
Reciting this prayer brings many
good results but if someone recites also the mantra of each Tara,
before the four verses, even if the meaning of the mantra is the
same as that of the praise, he will obtain greater
The Tara basic mantra is: OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SO
It is a very powerful mantra because it includes all the
mantras of the twenty-one Taras. To recite OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SO
HA brings many benefits both in this life and in the future
In in fact it has the power to weaken negativity and to
When we recite this mantra we should think:
"Now I am under the protection of the twenty-one Taras!" (to be
(last revision: August