Are there Sutras on Tara?

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pael
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Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by pael » Mon May 16, 2016 10:54 am

Is there any Sutra on Tara? How she become Bodhisattva?
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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by Aemilius » Fri May 20, 2016 8:34 am

There is a highly readable book about the Origin of Tara Tantra translated by David Templeman, http://www.amazon.com/Origin-Tara-Tantr ... 8186470662
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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by Ayu » Fri May 20, 2016 9:07 am

I didn't find any special sutra about Tara.
But in the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archives there are manifold articles about her. A vast amount to read.
http://www.lamayeshe.com/search?keywords=Tara+sutra

This one I find interesting because Lama Zopa was explaining many aspects of Tara in the lecture:

"Tara, the Liberator": http://www.lamayeshe.com/article/tara-liberator
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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by Grigoris » Fri May 20, 2016 9:27 am

pael wrote:Is there any Sutra on Tara? How she become Bodhisattva?
The account I have read is that she was formed from a tear drop that fell from Avalokitesvara's eye when he witnessed the suffering of sentient beings. She then vowed to eternally assist him to help deliver sentient beings from their suffering.
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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by cyril » Fri May 20, 2016 9:28 pm

pael wrote:Is there any Sutra on Tara? How she become Bodhisattva?
There is a rather short " Sutra of Arya-Tara who saves from the eight fears" included in Martin Willson's works, "In praise of Tara. Songs to the Saviouress". It does not touch on how Tara became a bodhisattva but elaborates on various karmas and includes a dharani to purify them. This sutra is essentially a teaching that Tara gave to the devas of the desire realm on the slopes of Mt. Meru.
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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by crazy-man » Fri May 20, 2016 10:18 pm

The account I have read is that she was formed from a tear drop that fell from Avalokitesvara's eye when he witnessed the suffering of sentient beings. She then vowed to eternally assist him to help deliver sentient beings from their suffering.
This is only a tibetan legend or fairy tale, but not sutra origin because the historic Buddha don´t life in Tibet or don´t known about Lhasa!
Within Tibetan Buddhism Tārā is regarded as a Bodhisattva of compassion and action. She is the female aspect of Avalokiteśvara and in some origin stories she comes from his tears:

Then at last Avalokiteshvara arrived at the summit of Marpori, the 'Red Hill', in Lhasa. Gazing out, he perceived that the lake on Otang, the 'Plain of Milk', resembled the Hell of Ceaseless Torment. Myriads of being were undergoing the agonies of boiling, burning, hunger, thirst, yet they never perished, but let forth hideous cries of anguish all the while. When Avalokiteshvara saw this, tears sprang to his eyes. A teardrop from his right eye fell to the plain and became the reverend Bhrikuti, who declared: "Son of your race! As you are striving for the sake of sentient beings in the Land of Snows, intercede in their suffering, and I shall be your companion in this endeavour!" Bhrikuti was then reabsorbed into Avalokiteshvara's right eye, and was reborn in a later life as the Nepalese princess Tritsun. A teardrop from his left eye fell upon the plain and became the reverend Tara. She also declared, "Son of your race! As you are striving for the sake of sentient beings in the Land of Snows, intercede in their suffering, and I shall be your companion in this endeavour!" Tara was also reabsorbed into Avalokiteshvara's left eye, and was reborn in a later life as the Chinese princess Kongjo (Princess Wencheng)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tara_%28Buddhism%29
Perhaps the origin story comes from the Mañjuśrī-mūla-kalpa
A kriyā-tantra associated with the cult of the Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī. Often cited as the earliest extant example of a Buddhist tantra, it is more likely to represent the product of a lengthy process of compilation and addition beginning with a core element that was written no earlier than the late 6th century ce. The text survives in a Sankrit version which is comparatively more lengthy than its corresponding Tibetan and Chinese translations.
http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10. ... 607-e-1115


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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by Grigoris » Fri May 20, 2016 10:48 pm

crazy-man wrote:This is only a tibetan legend or fairy tale, but not sutra origin because the historic Buddha don´t life in Tibet
That's right, he lived in Nepal. Not that has any bearing on anything, but...
...or don´t known about Lhasa!
Well, theoretically he was omniscient. Failing that though, Nepal (where the Buddha lived) borders Tibet and India (where the Buddha travelled) so I imagine he would have known about Tibet. Not that it has any bearing on anything, but...
Perhaps the origin story comes from the Mañjuśrī-mūla-kalpa
What makes you say that? Is there a reference to this "fairy tale" in the specific tantra?
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"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by Aemilius » Sat May 21, 2016 9:29 am

I still recommend David Templeman's, or Jonang Taranatha's actually, little book. You can find really interesting stuff about Tara there, that you will not find anywhere else. There is also another story or version about Her origing than the famous tear drop, in which She makes bodhisattva vows as a novice bodhisattva, like in any normal career history of a Bodhisattva.
Stephen Beyer's The Cult of Tara is the first indepth study of Tara, in modern times that is. It is much thicker than David Templeman's book.
Tara exists also in China and Japan as a minor deity and is not well know there. In the Chinese or Japanese Tripitaka certain texts that originally were called Dhyanas, Tantras or Sadhanas are simply called Sutras.
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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by crazy-man » Sun May 22, 2016 5:52 am

What makes you say that? Is there a reference to this "fairy tale" in the specific tantra?
According to the Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa, the deity depicted there is not Avalokiteśvara but his emanation, Tārā. However, the inscription reads "sPyan ras gzigs" even though the iconography of this deity tallies with that of Tārā as described in the Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa.
https://www.asianart.com/articles/tanaka/index.html
The oldest text to mention a Buddhist goddess is the Prajnaparamita Sutra in the 2nd century CE, describing a female being personifying the "Perfection of Wisdom". The first textual reference to Tārā herself in this form came in the Mañjuśrī-mūla-kalpa, around the 5th century CE. The earliest identifiable image of Tārā dates to the 7th century CE and her worship was well established by the 8th century CE
http://www.kashgar.com.au/articles/tara ... and-hindus
This text, the Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa (ca. 8th century), again associates the goddess Tārā with Avalokiteśvara.
http://hunwanderings08.blogspot.de/2011 ... ss_29.html
Although the Buddhist Tārā is identified as a Mahāyāna Buddhist deity, she is not mentioned in any of the earliest Mahāyāna texts such as the Saddharmapundarīka or the Kārandavyūha. Her absence in these two important early Mahāyāna texts is significant since both these texts reserve a special place for the male bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara who in Tārā mythology is often associated with her as her consort. However, Tārā presence began to surface by the time of the rise of ritual texts and traditions that eventually became known as Vajrayāna Buddhism. For instance, in the Mahāvairocana sūtra, Tārā appears as an emanation of Avalokiteśvara. It should be noted that in this text we see Tārā associated for the first time with Avalokiteśvara. This association proves to be a lasting one as all later appearances of Tārā link her with Avalokiteśvara. Furthermore, according to N. N. Bhattacharyya, a fragment of the Mahāpratyangirā-dhāranī found in Central Asia even raises Tārā to the level of “the highest deity.” In this text, she is represented as a white-colored goddess of noble origins and is described as wielding a vajra and has an image of Buddha Vairocana on her crown. N. Dutt points out that the tantric teacher Amoghavajra made this text available in China in the eighth century C.E. It is also clear that by the eighth century, Indian texts on Tārā have been made available not only in China but into Tibet as well. According to Stephan Beyer, the titles of three Tārā texts appear in an eighth century C.E. catalogue placed in the Tengyur section of the Tibetan Buddhist canon.
http://hunwanderings08.blogspot.de/2011 ... ss_29.html

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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by Grigoris » Sun May 22, 2016 8:31 am

crazy-man wrote:
What makes you say that? Is there a reference to this "fairy tale" in the specific tantra?
According to the Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa, the deity depicted there is not Avalokiteśvara but his emanation, Tārā. However, the inscription reads "sPyan ras gzigs" even though the iconography of this deity tallies with that of Tārā as described in the Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa.
https://www.asianart.com/articles/tanaka/index.html
The oldest text to mention a Buddhist goddess is the Prajnaparamita Sutra in the 2nd century CE, describing a female being personifying the "Perfection of Wisdom". The first textual reference to Tārā herself in this form came in the Mañjuśrī-mūla-kalpa, around the 5th century CE. The earliest identifiable image of Tārā dates to the 7th century CE and her worship was well established by the 8th century CE
http://www.kashgar.com.au/articles/tara ... and-hindus
This text, the Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa (ca. 8th century), again associates the goddess Tārā with Avalokiteśvara.
http://hunwanderings08.blogspot.de/2011 ... ss_29.html
Although the Buddhist Tārā is identified as a Mahāyāna Buddhist deity, she is not mentioned in any of the earliest Mahāyāna texts such as the Saddharmapundarīka or the Kārandavyūha. Her absence in these two important early Mahāyāna texts is significant since both these texts reserve a special place for the male bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara who in Tārā mythology is often associated with her as her consort. However, Tārā presence began to surface by the time of the rise of ritual texts and traditions that eventually became known as Vajrayāna Buddhism. For instance, in the Mahāvairocana sūtra, Tārā appears as an emanation of Avalokiteśvara. It should be noted that in this text we see Tārā associated for the first time with Avalokiteśvara. This association proves to be a lasting one as all later appearances of Tārā link her with Avalokiteśvara. Furthermore, according to N. N. Bhattacharyya, a fragment of the Mahāpratyangirā-dhāranī found in Central Asia even raises Tārā to the level of “the highest deity.” In this text, she is represented as a white-colored goddess of noble origins and is described as wielding a vajra and has an image of Buddha Vairocana on her crown. N. Dutt points out that the tantric teacher Amoghavajra made this text available in China in the eighth century C.E. It is also clear that by the eighth century, Indian texts on Tārā have been made available not only in China but into Tibet as well. According to Stephan Beyer, the titles of three Tārā texts appear in an eighth century C.E. catalogue placed in the Tengyur section of the Tibetan Buddhist canon.
http://hunwanderings08.blogspot.de/2011 ... ss_29.html
Thank you for the info.
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Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by jmlee369 » Mon May 23, 2016 7:45 am

There are several texts preserved in the Chinese that mention Tara, though the Chinese canon does not distinguish between sutras and tantras, simply labelling all scriptures as sutras. One origin story for Tara is explained in the Mahavaipulya Manjushri Sutra (佛說大方廣曼殊室利經), which was translated into Chinese by Amoghavajra. It is a sutra focusing on Avalokitesvara, and the emphasis is on the dharani taught by Avalokitesvara, which contains the famous Tara mantra OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SVAHA. Prior to teaching this dharani, Avalokitesvara enters the Universal Light Tara Samadhi, and through samadhi power, the right eye of Avalokitevara emits great light from which the beautiful Tara is emanated. Tara holds a blue utpala flower. The sutra goes on to teach the practice of the dharani, the benefits, the means for accomplishing the mandala and drawing the image of the deity, etc. There, the colour of Tara is explained as being green-yellow. So Tara as we know her in the Tibetan tradition has origins in Indian tradition.

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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by Boomerang » Mon May 23, 2016 10:33 pm

I found this sutra on the website of the Singaporean chapter of FPMT.

The Sutra of Arya-Tara Who Saves From The Eight Fears
"All the suffering of the lower realms, whatever difficulty and unhappiness we may experience as human beings, as well as every other possible suffering of the three realms of existence, have their origin in cherishing ourselves more than others."

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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by pael » Fri May 27, 2016 6:19 pm

Is it allowed to do Tara mantras without lung? White and Green?
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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by Grigoris » Sat May 28, 2016 5:00 pm

pael wrote:Is it allowed to do Tara mantras without lung? White and Green?
As far as I know, you need a lung. If you are going to get a lung I would recommend you do it for the Green Tara mantra. White Tara is specifically for long life, practicing Green Tara includes practicing all the other Tara too.
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Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by Aemilius » Mon May 30, 2016 8:35 am

pael wrote:Is it allowed to do Tara mantras without lung? White and Green?

You could search the Chinese canon if there is a sadhana which has the word "sutra" appended to its title. There are lot of dharanis that are called sutras in the Chinese Tripitaka. What a is your thinking, man? In the Buddha's time there were no written sutras. Quite likely tantra, or something similar to it, existed at the time of Siddhartha Gautama, and it was an oral teaching like all the others. What is a "lung" anyway? You don't find such word in pali, prakrit or sanskrit Buddhism, not as far as I know. Alex Wayman says that it was called "agama" in sanskrit. I don't know where he gets this from? May be "lung" is merely a reminiscence or relic from the oral period of Dharma.
Sravasti Dhammika has found a place in the in Vinaya where the Buddha says: "I don't pronounce the word 'HUM'"! It obviously means that he (Buddha Gautama) doesn't say tantric incantations or mantras!!
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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by Aemilius » Mon May 30, 2016 9:55 am

There is a well known dharani collection from the Chinese Tripitaka called Ten Small Dharanis(/Mantras).
An old thread about it http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=235
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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by Grigoris » Mon May 30, 2016 10:02 am

Aemilius wrote:
pael wrote:Is it allowed to do Tara mantras without lung? White and Green?

You could search the Chinese canon if there is a sadhana which has the word "sutra" appended to its title. There are lot of dharanis that are called sutras in the Chinese Tripitaka. What a is your thinking, man? In the Buddha's time there were no written sutras. Quite likely tantra, or something similar to it, existed at the time of Siddhartha Gautama, and it was an oral teaching like all the others. What is a "lung" anyway? You don't find such word in pali, prakrit or sanskrit Buddhism, not as far as I know. Alex Wayman says that it was called "agama" in sanskrit. I don't know where he gets this from? May be "lung" is merely a reminiscence or relic from the oral period of Dharma.
Sravasti Dhammika has found a place in the in Vinaya where the Buddha says: "I don't pronounce the word 'HUM'"! It obviously means that he (Buddha Gautama) doesn't say tantric incantations or mantras!!
The Tara mantra is a tantric practice. That means, whether you agree with it or like it, or not, and regardless of your posturing, that it needs a lung (oral transmission).

As for the Sravasti Dhammika statement: what is the source of the Buddhas apparent pronouncement? And, the irony is, saying that "I don't pronounce the word HUM" requires pronouncing the word HUM. ;)

Anyway, Sravasti Dhammika is a Theravada monk so he is hardly an objective academic source regarding tantric practice.

That said, somehow I don't think Tara (an aspect of one's own enlightened nature) would be all that upset if you pronounced her mantra.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by Aemilius » Tue May 31, 2016 8:52 am

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Aemilius wrote:
pael wrote:Is it allowed to do Tara mantras without lung? White and Green?

You could search the Chinese canon if there is a sadhana which has the word "sutra" appended to its title. There are lot of dharanis that are called sutras in the Chinese Tripitaka. What a is your thinking, man? In the Buddha's time there were no written sutras. Quite likely tantra, or something similar to it, existed at the time of Siddhartha Gautama, and it was an oral teaching like all the others. What is a "lung" anyway? You don't find such word in pali, prakrit or sanskrit Buddhism, not as far as I know. Alex Wayman says that it was called "agama" in sanskrit. I don't know where he gets this from? May be "lung" is merely a reminiscence or relic from the oral period of Dharma.
Sravasti Dhammika has found a place in the in Vinaya where the Buddha says: "I don't pronounce the word 'HUM'"! It obviously means that he (Buddha Gautama) doesn't say tantric incantations or mantras!!
The Tara mantra is a tantric practice. That means, whether you agree with it or like it, or not, and regardless of your posturing, that it needs a lung (oral transmission).

As for the Sravasti Dhammika statement: what is the source of the Buddhas apparent pronouncement? And, the irony is, saying that "I don't pronounce the word HUM" requires pronouncing the word HUM. ;)

Anyway, Sravasti Dhammika is a Theravada monk so he is hardly an objective academic source regarding tantric practice.

That said, somehow I don't think Tara (an aspect of one's own enlightened nature) would be all that upset if you pronounced her mantra.
"Tantra" is a designation for a broad spectrum of traditions, says Saddhu Shantidev in his Encyclopaedia of Tantra, and he continues by enumerating different classes of writings that are understood to belong in the category of Tantra, in the Indian spiritual traditions.
According to Shantidev's view and explanation Tantra arose gradually in the course of human history. It developed and took from gradually. Different principles have developed in it, one of them is what is called a "lung".
It should be evident that tantra was at first solely oral tradition, and it continued being so maybe even for thousands of years, at the very least for more than 500 or 700 years. This fact is easily forgotten, and all kinds of misunderstandings arise because of this forgetfulness.
Because it was oral, you had to learn it as oral traditions are learned. You hear it and you try put it in your memory. Probably you will have to listen to its recitation many times, before you will remember it, word of word. The oral learning can take days, weeks or years even. This is the historical basis for what we have now.

What I am saying is tantra didn't suddenly appear in the form that we now have! And even now it exists in different shapes and traditions in various places and countries. Thus we have in the Chinese tradition a dharani of Chintamani Avalokiteshvara, which is classified as a Sutra in Chinese Buddhism. But in the tibetan tradition there is a sadhana of Cintamani Tara (a form of white Tara), that has a similar mantra as the Chinese Chintamani Avalokiteshvara, (or Kuan Yin rather, who is also feminine in appearance). There are many forms of Kuan Yin, and this one seems to be same as Chintamani(/Cittamani) Tara in tibetan tradition.
Different traditions have developed in China, Japan, Korea etc.. concerning Kuan Yin. They are validated by their own principles and traditions, by their own spiritual authorities.

What Sravasti Dhammika says is certainly worth considering, as many tantras claim to be very old and ancient, which is normally not accepted in the academic world. Why not accept the great antiquity of tantras?
There is another point that supports that Tantras existed at the time of Buddha, namely Shariputra's qualities that are enumerated in the Sravakayana sutras. Among these is sandhabhasya, ie twilight language, expressions that have several layers of meaning, (Etienne Lamotte has brought attention to this in History of Indian Buddhism).
But then it happened, in the course of history, that the sravakayanists edited every single sandhabhasya out of their Canons. The only existing sandhabhasya in Pali texts, that I know, is the Dhammapada verse about "killing one's father and mother, causing a schism in the Sangha, and so on..."
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They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
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Re: Are there Sutras on Tara?

Post by smcj » Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:37 pm

Aemilius wrote:I still recommend David Templeman's, or Jonang Taranatha's actually, little book. You can find really interesting stuff about Tara there, that you will not find anywhere else.
Might as well flesh it out:

"The Origin of Tara Tantra"
Library of Tibetan Works and Archives 1981
Jo Nang Taranatha
Tr. Templeman
ISBN: 81-85102-14-7
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