Updated: Dec 2, 2019
Tārā of the Khadira forest also known as Tārā of the Acacia forest; Tibetan: Sengteng Nag, Sanskrit: Khadiravani Tārā. This thangka can be found at Norbulingka.
The Sūtra of Ārya Tārā Who Protects from the Eight Fears (Sanskrit: tārā ṣṭaghoratāraṇī sūtra) — a tantra of Tara taught by Tara herself. It is found in Tibetan translation in the Tantra section of the Kangyur and is classified as a Kriyā Tantra.
Homage to the Three Jewels! Homage to Venerable Tara! Homage to the Lord Shakyamuni!
Thus have I heard at one time. The lord was residing in the realm of the gods on Mount Meru. Among the assembly there, the Goddess Tara spoke, as follows.
1. Having reached this gem-like paradise, Understand actions and their results: Keep to good and leave evil aside! For whoever practices wrong actions Will, in the life that is to come, fall down.
2. Beasts are dumb and stupid; one eats another; Up weary paths, down cliffs, they climb and fall, In panic, terror-stricken, trembling with fear, Full of caution – one cannot conceive their sufferings.
3. Pretas hunger and thirst, and their bodies won’t do.
Should food or drink appear, another guards it, Or if they eat some, it turns to fire or swords. Their suffering of hunger and thirst can’t be conceived.
4. Sentient beings who are born in hells Are led against their will by vicious Yamas, Burned and cooked and cut up with sharp weapons; Their suffering, hot or cold, cannot be borne.
5. Therefore, doing wrong deeds in this life Manifests to oneself, magnified – For many eons, fierce sorrow torments one With no time to escape, nor chance to bear it.
6. Understand karmic effect by clear recollection. Unbearable suffering and lamentation torment one; Foul speech, fierce body and voice also frighten; These and other sufferings can’t be conceived.
7. Those who, knowing thoroughly the faults, Abandon causes of the three realms of woe And in any gross or subtle sin Never engage with body, speech and mind,
8. But though happy themselves aid all migrators, Greed, hate, delusion gone, root of compassion Firm, and striving with the three doors pure do virtue, Strive in this essence of the most profound.
9. The fruit of a flower that frost has carried off, Though cultivated, will produce no sprout; So too people who doubt and break their vows, Though they may practice most profound mantras,
10. Might think a blessing comes, but it cannot – Their pains become but meaningless fatigue, Their mantras like the talk of common folk, Their concentrations but like childish thoughts.
11. If people practice those mantras without fault, Quickly they will accomplish what they wish. For example, the seed of the banyan tree (nyagrodha) is tiny, But if well moistened with water and manure,
12. In seven years it grows a league across; If even external matter has such growth, What of practicing consciousness with consciousness? Inner clear light’s growth is measureless.
13. If, relying on traders who know the way, With a suitable boat one puts to sea, Then when one has found jewels as one wished, In due course one reaches one’s own home.
14. With Bodhicitta, relying on Love, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity, practice virtue, And set out on the Path of true perfection: You will reach the stage of certain knowledge.
15. If an arrow, shot by a man, has flown, Indeed it’s been shot, though one may think not. A person who’s realized all Reality’s meaning Goes beyond, although one may think not.
16. Aspect and nature of actions and parts perfected, Without doubt he’ll gain the fruits of Buddhahood. If one understands that pure Reality (dharmata), There is no self, nor life, nor cutting of life,
17. No karma, and no karmic ripening. That person abandons extremes and is liberated. If to realize that benefit, you recite Devotedly this essence I’m explaining,
18. Sins of three countless eons will be consumed, All sufferings of the three realms of woe and samsara Will be washed away, and obscurations cleared.
This beneficial essence is as follows.
Goddess! Please will you protect me!
OM NAMO ARYA-AVALOKITESVARAYA / BODHISATTVA / MAHASATTVA / MAHAKARUNIKAYA / TADYATHA OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SARVA-DUSTAN / PRADUSTAN MAMA KRTE / DZAMBHAYA / STAMBHAYA / MOHAYA / BANDHAYA / HUM HUM HUM / PHAT PHAT PHAT SVAHA / MAMA ARYAVALOKABHAYA NARA / BODHISATTVA MAHASATTVANI / ADHISTHANA / ADHISTHITE MAMA SARVA-KARMA-AVARANASVAHBAVA / SUDDHE VISUDDHE / SHODHYAYA VISHODHAYA HUM PHAT SVAHA
19. Thereupon, by the Buddha’s power, Full praise was given to the Goddess:
20. With very great Compassion You work the weal of beings, Complete in Marks and Signs, Bedecked with jewel adornments, Your neck most beautiful, And smiling, laughing face!
21. Your eye-sense-sphere is like flax-lotuses, Your ear-sense-sphere like open uk-cho flowers, Your nose-sense-sphere like fragments of utpalas, Your mouth-sense-sphere like full-grown hollyhocks.
22. Your Body, a lovely maiden’s has various forms; Your Speech of kalavinka proclaims the Dharma; Your Mind of compassion is all beings’ loving protector.
23. Left, a lotus – unstained with samsara’s faults; Right, giving Refuge, to benefit sentient beings; You sit on sun and moon seats – Method and Wisdom. Venerable Tara, I go to You for Refuge.
24. Protect me from samsara’s great abyss, Never to circle in the six migrations! Hold me with Your cord of Great Compassion, Never to run to the three ill-destiny realms!
25. Set me on a Path where I cannot stray, Never to be born with perverse views! Let me meet a Guru with Bodhicitta, Never meeting with evil companions!
26. Protector from the eight dangers – Lions, elephants and fire, Serpents, robbers, water, plagues And pisacas – homage to You! In this life and in others, From the eight fears please protect me!
27. Until I win the transcendent Result, Let me keep inseparable company with The ten Paramitas of Giving, Morality, Patience, Energy, Dhyana, Wisdom, Means, Vow and Power and likewise Wisdom – knowledge!
Any son or daughter of good family should write this teaching, read it, recite it, preserve it, practice right attention upon it, and extensively teach it to others.
Thus spoke [the Lord], and the whole assembly, enraptured, exalted [His word].
This completes the Sūtra of Ārya Tārā Who Saves from the Eight Fears.