Difference between revisions of "Praises to the Twenty-One Taras"

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These well-known verses of praise have one verse for each of twenty-one forms of Tara and arose from the tantra known as “Offering Praise to Tara through Twenty-One [verses] of Homage” ''(sgrol ma la phyag 'tshal ba nyi shu gcig gis bstod pa)'' which can be found in the [[Derge Kangyur]], Volume 81 - pp.435-437.
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[[image:21-taras-surya-gupta-tradition.jpg|frame|'''Twenty-one Taras from the Suryagupta tradition''']]
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'''The Praise to Tara with Twenty-One Verses of Homage, and the Excellent Benefits of Reciting the Praise''' (Skt. ''Namastāraikaviṃśatistotraguṇahitasahita''; Tib. སྒྲོལ་མ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་ཉི་ཤུ་རྩ་གཅིག་གིས་བསྟོད་པ་ཕན་ཡོན་དང་བཅས་པ་, [[Wyl.]] ''sgrol ma la phyag 'tshal nyi shu rtsa gcig gis bstod pa phan yon dang bcas pa''; D 438) often abbreviated to '''Praises to the Twenty-One Taras'''  — a tantra in twenty-seven verses, dedicated to a single goddess—Tara—who appears in twenty-one forms that vary from peaceful to wrathful in aspect.
  
Each of the twenty-one forms of [[Tara]] is dedicated to a specific activity and there are also different levels of meaning for each verse of homage. In addition, there are several traditions of iconography for these forms of Tara – the five main ones being the traditions of Suryagupta, [[Atisha]], Sadhana-samucchaya, [[Longchen Nyingtik]] ([[Jikmé Lingpa]]) and [[Chokgyur Lingpa]]. The first three are from the Indian tradition and the last two are from the Tibetan terma tradition.
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The first twenty-one verses of the Praise conjure Tara by interchangeably drawing upon the three epithets that also form the core of her root mantra (oṃ tāre tuttāre ture svāhā). These three are Tara (Deliverer), Tuttara (Saviour) and Tura (Swift One). The twenty-one verses are a homage to Tara, and a poetic description of her physical features, postures, qualities, abilities, mantras and hand gestures. The remaining six verses describe how and when the Praise should be recited, and the benefits of its recitation. The number of twenty-seven verses, is of great significance, since it is part of the sacred poetry of this text. The Praise thus consists of the sacred and auspicious number of 108 sections (in Sanskrit, twenty-seven times four sections, and in Tibetan twenty-seven times four lines).
  
==Further Reading:==
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While the Praise itself does not name or identify specific forms of Tara, the iconographic traditions all identify one particular form of Tara with each of the first twenty-one verses. Each form is then associated with one enlightened activity and, based on this activity, each Tara is given a specific name. However, the traditions differ in their identification of which verse describes which form and activity of Tara.
  
‘The Smile of the Sun and Moon’ by Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche. Published by Sky Dancer Press. ISBN 1-880975-07-6
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Tibetan scholars of all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism have written commentaries on the Praise, some of which may be traced back to oral lineages from India. Many of them are word-by-word commentaries.
  
‘Skillful Grace: Tara Practice for Our Time’ by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Trulshik Adeu Rinpoche. Published by Rangjung Yeshe Publications. ISBN-10: 962-7341-61-1
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For Tibetan Buddhists over the world, the Praise probably counts as the most popular of all prayers to Tara, and it is chanted by monastics and lay practitioners on a daily basis. When Tibetan Buddhists recite the Praise, it has become the custom to take a shortcut and recite just the first twenty-one verses of homage. Tibetan Buddhists also tend to include the translator’s homage in their recitation, as composed by the Tibetan translator(s) or subsequent editor(s), together with an additional mantra syllable oṃ.
  
‘Tara’s Enlightened Activity’ by Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche & Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche. Published by Snow Lion Publications. ISBN-10: 1-55939-287-8
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==Further Reading==
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*Beyer, Stephan. ''The Cult of Tara: Magic and Ritual in Tibet''. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978.
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*Khenchen Palden Sherab. ''The Smile of Sun and Moon''. Translated by Anna Orlova. Boca Raton: Sky Dancer Press, 2004.
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*Khenchen Palden Sherab and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal. ''Tara’s Enlightened Activity: An Oral Commentary on the Twenty-One Praises to Tara''. Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2007.
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*Willson, Martin. ''In Praise of Tara: Songs to the Saviouress''. Somerville: Wisdom Publications, 1996.
  
 
==Internal Links==
 
==Internal Links==
[[Twenty-One Taras]]
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*[[Twenty-One Taras]]
  
 
==External Links==
 
==External Links==
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*{{LH|words-of-the-buddha/twenty-one-tara-praise| Praises to the Twenty-One Tārās}}
 
*[http://www.himalayanart.org/pages/twentyonetaras/index.html Five systems of Twenty-one Taras from Himalayan Art]
 
*[http://www.himalayanart.org/pages/twentyonetaras/index.html Five systems of Twenty-one Taras from Himalayan Art]
*[http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/practice_material/prayers/general/praises_21_taras_21_verses.html Translation of the Praises to the Twenty-one Taras by Alexander Berzin]
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*[https://khyentsefoundation.org/homage-to-tara/ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche chanting the Praises to the Twenty-One Taras, remixed by Gary Azukx Dyson]
*[http://www.lotsawahouse.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/21_taras_uzala_mix_mp3.mp3 Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche chanting the Prayer to the Twenty-One Taras, remixed by Gary Azukx Dyson]
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*[https://khyentsefoundation.org/homage-to-tara/ 21 Praises to Tara e-book on the Khyentse Foundation website 'An On-line Altar to Tara]
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*[https://vajrasound.com/21-praises-to-tara-video/ Twenty-One Praises to Tara in English, translated by Erik Pema Kunsang, with link to audio download]
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*[http://www.palyul.org/docs/tara_21_commentary.htm The Short Commentary on the Twenty-One Homages to Tara called The Treasure Vase of Benefit and Happiness]
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* [http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/practice_material/prayers/general/praises_21_taras_21_verses.html Translation of the Praises to the Twenty-one Taras by Alexander Berzin]
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* [https://lhaseylotsawa.org/texts/the-twenty-one-praises-of-exalted-t%C4%81r%C4%81/ The Twenty-One Praises of Exalted Tara, on the Lhasey Lotsawa website]
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*[http://fpmt.org/wp-content/uploads/prayers/21tarasltrrdr.pdf FPMT Prayers to the 21 Taras booklet]
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[[Category: Tara]]
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[[category: Prayers and Practices]]

Latest revision as of 08:47, 1 July 2019

Twenty-one Taras from the Suryagupta tradition

The Praise to Tara with Twenty-One Verses of Homage, and the Excellent Benefits of Reciting the Praise (Skt. Namastāraikaviṃśatistotraguṇahitasahita; Tib. སྒྲོལ་མ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་ཉི་ཤུ་རྩ་གཅིག་གིས་བསྟོད་པ་ཕན་ཡོན་དང་བཅས་པ་, Wyl. sgrol ma la phyag 'tshal nyi shu rtsa gcig gis bstod pa phan yon dang bcas pa; D 438) often abbreviated to Praises to the Twenty-One Taras — a tantra in twenty-seven verses, dedicated to a single goddess—Tara—who appears in twenty-one forms that vary from peaceful to wrathful in aspect.

The first twenty-one verses of the Praise conjure Tara by interchangeably drawing upon the three epithets that also form the core of her root mantra (oṃ tāre tuttāre ture svāhā). These three are Tara (Deliverer), Tuttara (Saviour) and Tura (Swift One). The twenty-one verses are a homage to Tara, and a poetic description of her physical features, postures, qualities, abilities, mantras and hand gestures. The remaining six verses describe how and when the Praise should be recited, and the benefits of its recitation. The number of twenty-seven verses, is of great significance, since it is part of the sacred poetry of this text. The Praise thus consists of the sacred and auspicious number of 108 sections (in Sanskrit, twenty-seven times four sections, and in Tibetan twenty-seven times four lines).

While the Praise itself does not name or identify specific forms of Tara, the iconographic traditions all identify one particular form of Tara with each of the first twenty-one verses. Each form is then associated with one enlightened activity and, based on this activity, each Tara is given a specific name. However, the traditions differ in their identification of which verse describes which form and activity of Tara.

Tibetan scholars of all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism have written commentaries on the Praise, some of which may be traced back to oral lineages from India. Many of them are word-by-word commentaries.

For Tibetan Buddhists over the world, the Praise probably counts as the most popular of all prayers to Tara, and it is chanted by monastics and lay practitioners on a daily basis. When Tibetan Buddhists recite the Praise, it has become the custom to take a shortcut and recite just the first twenty-one verses of homage. Tibetan Buddhists also tend to include the translator’s homage in their recitation, as composed by the Tibetan translator(s) or subsequent editor(s), together with an additional mantra syllable oṃ.

Further Reading

  • Beyer, Stephan. The Cult of Tara: Magic and Ritual in Tibet. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978.
  • Khenchen Palden Sherab. The Smile of Sun and Moon. Translated by Anna Orlova. Boca Raton: Sky Dancer Press, 2004.
  • Khenchen Palden Sherab and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal. Tara’s Enlightened Activity: An Oral Commentary on the Twenty-One Praises to Tara. Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2007.
  • Willson, Martin. In Praise of Tara: Songs to the Saviouress. Somerville: Wisdom Publications, 1996.

Internal Links

External Links