The Tantra on the Origin of All Rites of Tārā, Mother of All the Tathāgatas
Degé Kangyur, vol. 94 (rgyud ’bum, tsha), folios 202.a–217.a
Translated by Samye Translations
under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha
Warning: Readers are reminded that according to Vajrayāna Buddhist tradition there are restrictions and commitments concerning tantra. Practitioners who are not sure if they should read this translation are advised to consult the authorities of their lineage. The responsibility for reading this text or sharing it with others who may or may not fulfill the requirements lies in the hands of readers.
In this scripture of the Action Tantra genre, the Buddha gives instructions to the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī on the rituals and mantras associated with the goddess Tārā. The tantra includes a description of Tārā, a nine-deity maṇḍala and related initiations, and a litany of ritual practices associated with the four activities.
Translated by Samye Translations under the guidance of Phakchok Rinpoche. The translation was produced by Laura Dainty with the assistance of Khenpo Tsöndrü Sangpo. Oriane Lavolé checked the translation against the Tibetan and edited it. Paul Thomas checked all the mantras and their variants. Stefan Mang and Oriane Lavolé wrote the introduction.
The translation was completed under the patronage and supervision of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha.
Thus did I hear at one time. The Blessed One was residing in Tuṣita with Maitreya, Mañjuśrī, Kurukullā, Parṇaśavarī, Brahmā, Śakra, and countless other bodhisattvas, gods, and goddesses, who circumambulated him clockwise while holding up an array of offerings beyond count, including heavenly flowers such as lotuses, water lilies, and mandārava flowers, heavenly instruments such as conches, vīṇās, drums, clay drums, and śūrpavīṇās,9 and heavenly parasols, banners, flags, and the like. They worshiped him with clouds of diverse offerings.
The Blessed One then entered the vajra-like samādhi that vanquishes all opponents. The entire earth shook immediately, the maṇḍala of māras was defeated, and the Blessed One radiated intense light in a spectrum of different colors—white, red, yellow, green, dark blue, and a combination of colors—that purified everyone who was suffering. Tārā, the mother of all the buddhas, then descended to the goddess Kurukullā’s crown. At that very instant, rain showered down from the offering clouds, [F.202.b] and the goddess became like the orb of the sun unobscured by clouds. The Blessed One then lauded her with this verse of praise:
At that moment, the bodhisattva Youthful Mañjuśrī draped his shawl over one shoulder, knelt on his right knee, and addressed the Blessed One: “Blessed One, the buddhas of the three times are so profound. How are they produced? Who says that Tārā is their mother?”
The Blessed One replied, “Mañjuśrī, what you say is indeed true. The buddhas of the three times are not born and do not cease; they are neither defiled nor free of defilement, they do not increase or decrease, and are by nature nirvāṇa. Thus, they are the very nature of all things.”
The bodhisattva Youthful Mañjuśrī then asked, “Blessed One, if the buddhas of the three times are not born and do not cease, are neither defiled nor free of defilement, do not increase or decrease, and are by nature nirvāṇa, how do they take birth?”
The Blessed One replied, “Mañjuśrī, nirvāṇa is the ultimate; nirvāṇa is the realm of phenomena. These are all synonyms for the very limit of reality. Great compassion and relative essence are synonyms for saṃsāra. Beyond these is the mother who gives birth to the buddhas of the three times. Thus, she is beyond saṃsāra and nirvāṇa. Mañjuśrī, this is why she is considered a mother.”
“Therefore, Mañjuśrī,” the Blessed One continued, “knowing the essential nature of all things, meditate upon her. [F.203.a] Recite the following dhāraṇī-mantra, practice assiduously, know her qualities, and make offerings to her. Receive instructions and rid yourself of all doubt. Apply yourself to her rites, keep her praise in mind, and reach accomplishment by means of these different rites.”10
|K||Kangxi (Peking late 17th c.)|
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