The Tantra on the Origin of All Rites of Tārā, Mother of All the Tathāgatas
The Aggressive Rite
- Chökyi Sangpo
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.
“Mañjuśrī, if you wish to perform the aggressive rite you should do so in a charnel ground, by a lone tree, on the bank of a large river, or in a temple. Sprinkle the site with the five substances from a cow, arrange a maṇḍala anointed with fragrant water, set out an image, and so forth. Use neem water to draw an image of the king or other patron on birch bark, cloth, or other kind of bark, put the drawing inside a clay amulet atop the maṇḍala, and set the amulet on the maṇḍala. In addition, arrange incense burners and other offerings. Cultivate the following meditation.
“Visualize the heroine Tārā, the mother rich in swift diligence who appears in the form of a yoginī, emerging from the syllable tāṁ. She springs from a blossoming lotus and sits upon sun and moon disks.61 Her body is green, radiant, and in the prime of youth. She is beautifully adorned with a long necklace, armlets, jewel tassels, and other ornaments. She wears a skirt of Pañcāla cloth and a top made of silk from Kāśī. She is seated with her right leg outstretched and her left leg drawn in, has one face and two hands, and bares her teeth with her eyes ablaze. Her hair streams upward, Amitābha sits on a moon disk above her head, and she is surrounded by apocalyptic fire. [F.211.a] In her right hand she holds a wheel, and with her left she makes the threatening gesture while holding an utpala flower by the stem. Countless wrathful beings, both male and female, radiate from her body. The mantra recitation is:
“oṁ ture tuttāre ture svāhā.
“If you then recite it together with the mantra for the rite either one, seven, twenty-one, or one hundred and eight times, three times a day and three times a night, and make a request, it will be fulfilled.
“Mañjuśrī, the benefits of this are such that afflictions, karma, karmic ripening, rebirth in lower realms, and so on will all be overcome. Mañjuśrī, vicious enemies, māras, obstructers, and other such harmful influences will also all be overcome.”
This was the tenth chapter, “The Aggressive Rite.”
|K||Kangxi (Peking late 17th c.)|
Bhattacharya, Benoytosh, ed. Sādhanamālā. 2 vols. Gaekwad’s Oriental Series 26. Baroda: Central Library, 1925.
Namaskaraikaviṃśatistotra. GRETIL edition input by Klaus Wille, based on the edition by Godefroy de Blonay: Matériaux pour servir à l’histoire de la déesse Tāra. Bibliothèque de l’École des Hautes Études 107. Paris: Émile Bouillon, 1895: 58–60.
Namaskaraikaviṃśatistotra. GRETIL edition input by members of the Sanskrit Buddhist Canon Input Project, based on the edition by Janardan Shastri Pandey: Bauddha Stotra Saṁgraha. Varanasi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1994: stotra no. 5.
Wayman, Alex. “The Twenty-One Praises of Tārā: A Syncretism of Śaivism and Buddhism.” In Buddhist Insight, edited by George Elder, 441–51. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 2002.
de bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyi yum sgrol ma las sna tshogs ’byung ba zhes bya ba’i rgyud (Sarvatathāgatamātṛtārāviśvakarmabhavanāmatantra). Toh 726, Degé Kangyur vol. 94 (rgyud, tsha), folios 202.a–217.a.
de bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyi yum sgrol ma las sna tshogs ’byung ba zhes bya ba’i rgyud. bka’ ’gyur (dpe bsdur ma) [Comparative Edition of the Kangyur], krung go’i bod rig pa zhib ’jug ste gnas kyi bka’ bstan dpe sdur khang (The Tibetan Tripitaka Collation Bureau of the China Tibetology Research Center). 108 volumes. Beijing: krung go’i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang (China Tibetology Publishing House), 2006–9, vol. 94, pp. 517–54.
de bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyi yum sgrol ma las sna tshogs ’byung ba zhes bya ba’i rgyud. Toh 726, Stok Palace Kangyur vol. 107 (rgyud, ma), folios 195.a–237.a.
sgrol ma’i gzungs (Tārādhāraṇī). Toh 729, Degé Kangyur vol. 94 (rgyud, tsha), folio 222.a. English translation in Samye Translations 2021.
sgrol ma la phyag ’tshal nyi shu rtsa gcig gis bstod pa (Namastāraikaviṃśatistotra) [Praise to Tārā with Twenty-One Verses of Homage]. Toh 438, Degé Kangyur vol. 81 (rgyud, ca), folios 42.b–43.b. English translation in Samye Translations 2020.
chab mdo sa khul sman rstis khang. khrungs dpe dri med shel gyi me long [Mirror of stainless crystal]. Beijing: mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1995.
Denkarma (pho brang stod thang ldan dkar gyi chos kyi ’gyur ro cog gi dkar chag). Toh 4364, Degé Tengyur vol. 206 (sna tshogs, jo), folios 294.b–310.a.
Phangthangma (dkar chag ʼphang thang ma). Beijing: mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2003.
Beyer, Stephan. The Cult of Tara: Magic and Ritual in Tibet. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978.
Bokar Rinpoche. Tara: The Feminine Divine. Translated by Christiane Buchet. San Francisco: ClearPoint Press, 2007.
Ghosh, Mallar. Development of Buddhist Iconography in Eastern India: A Study of Tārā, Prajñās of the Five Tathāgatas and Bhṛikuṭī. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1980.
Herrmann-Pfandt, Adelheid. Die lhan kar ma: ein früher Katalog der ins Tibetische übersetzten buddhistischen Texte. Vienna: Verlag der österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2008.
Landesman, Susan. “Goddess Tārā: Silence and Secrecy on the Path to Enlightenment.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 24, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 44–59.
Samye Translations, trans. (2020). Praise to Tārā with Twenty-One Verses of Homage (Namastāraikaviṃśatistotra, Toh 438). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2020.
———(2021). The Dhāraṇī of Tārā (Tārādhāraṇī, Toh 729). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2021.
Martin, Dan. “Tibetan Vocabulary.” THL Tibetan to English Translation Tool. Version April 14, 2003.
Mitra, Debala. “Aṣṭamahābhaya Tārā.” Journal of the Asiatic Society: Letters 23, no. 1 (1957): 19–22.
Obermiller, Eugéne, trans. and ed. History of Buddhism (Chos ḥbyung) by Bu-ston. Vol 2, The History of Buddhism in India and Tibet. Materialien zur Kunde des Buddhismus 19. Heidelberg: O. Harrassowitz, 1932.
Roberts, Peter Alan. The White Lotus of the Good Dharma (Saddharmapuṇḍarīka, Toh 113). 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha, 2018.
Roerich, George N., ed. The Blue Annals. 2 vols. Calcutta: Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1949–53.
Sánchez, Pedro M. C. “The Indian Buddhist Dhāraṇī: An Introduction to Its History, Meanings and Functions.” MA diss., University of Sunderland, 2011.
Shaw, Miranda. Buddhist Goddesses of India. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.
Shin, Jae-Eun. “Transformation of the Goddess Tārā with Special Reference to Iconographical Features.” Indo Koko Kenkyu: Studies in South Asian Art and Archaelogy 31 (2010): 17–31.
Stevens, Rachael. “Red Tārā: Lineages of Literature and Practice.” PhD diss., Oxford University, 2010.
Tāranātha. The Origin of the Tārā Tantra. Translated and edited by David Templeman. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1995.
Willson, Martin. In Praise of Tara: Songs to the Saviouress. Somerville, MA: Wisdom, 1996.