21 Praises to Tara

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Homage to Tara

"21 Taras" in simplified phonetic Tibetan (for English-speakers) beside an English rendering in rhyming meter

Om. 

Jetsun-ma Pama Do'ma la chag tsal lo. 

Om!                                                                   

To Great, Noble Tara, I bow down.

 

Cha tsal Dölma nyur ma pa mo, 

Chen ni kay chik lo dang dra ma 

Jik ten sum gön chu che zhel ji, 

Gesar je wa lay ni jung ma. 1

 

I praise the Fearless, the Swift One, Protector, whose glance is like lightning. 

On the face of Chenrezi, she is born from a tear as a bud from a lotus.

 

red

Cha tsal tön kay dawa kün tu,      

Kang wa ja ni tsek pay shel ma, 

Kar ma tong trak tsok pa nam chi,

Rap tu che way ö rap bar ma. 2

 

She of the face like the full moons of autumn

that blazes the light of the stars in their thousands.

white

Cha tsal ser ngo chu nay che chi, 

Pay may cha ni nam par jen ma  

Jin pa tsön dru ka tup shi wa 

Zö pa sam ten chö yul nyi ma. 3 

 

I praise the Body, all turquoise and golden; 

Whose hand is adorned with the lotus, most perfect,

Whose realm is most generous, diligent, simple.

Peaceful and patient, she sits in meditation.

greenish

Cha tsal deb shin shek pay tsu tor, 

Ta yay nam par jal war chö ma. 

Ma lu pa rol chin pa top ray, 

Jal way say chi shin tu ten ma. 4 

 

Seated above the heads of all Buddhas, 

resplendent in joyous and infinite triumph,

Deeply honoured by all Bodhisattvas, 

She is perfect in all of the virtues transcendent.

white

Cha tsal Tutara Hung yi ge, 

Dö tang cho dang nam ka kang ma. 

Jik ten dun bo shap chi nen te  

Lu pa me par gu par nu ma. 5 

 

With ‘Tutare’ and ‘Hung!’ she imbues this world,

all ten directions and infinite space.

And trampling seven worlds under her feet, 

she is able to summon them all to her place.

orange

Cha tsel ja jin me hla tsang ba, 

Lung hla na tsok wang chuk chö ma,

Jung bo rolang dri sa nam tang, 

Nö jin tso chi dun nay to ma. 6

 

I praise the One to whom great gods 

make toasts.

She is honored by spirits, and 

demons, and ghosts.

reddish-black

Cha tsal tray che ja tang pay chi,  

Pa rol trul kor rap tu jom ma. 

Yay kum yön chang shap chi nen te, 

Me bar truk pa shin tu bar ma. 7 

 

I hail the One, who by ‘Treh’ and by ‘Peh!’

undoes all the plots of conspiring foes; 

Who wrapped in the fire that rages around her, 

with right leg retracted and left one extended, 

Tramples the evil ones under her toes.

black

Cha tsal Ture jik pa chen mo, 

Du chi pa wo nam par jom ma. 

Chu che shel ni tro nyer den dzay, 

Dra wo tam chay ma lu sö ma. 8 

 

I praise the Swift, the One who is Fearsome

who with terrible aspect defeats boldest demons.

Her lotus face angrily frowns down upon them

so all foes are vanquished, not a single remains.

blackish-red

Cha tsal kön chok sum tson cha jay, 

Sor mö tuk kar nam par jen ma, 

Ma lu cho chi kor lo jen pay, 

Rang gi ö chi tso nam tru ma. 9 

 

I sing the praises of Her whose hand forms 

the Triple Gem mudra right at her heart.

In her grasp the Dharma Wheel spins out its light

in all the directions and to every part.

white

Cha tsal rap tu ga war ji pay, 

Urjen ö chi treng wa pel ma, 

Shay pa rap shay Tutara yi,

Du dang jig ten wang du ze ma. 10

 

On her brow she wears radiant joy like a tiara

charming demons and gods 

with her laugh of Tutara.

 

 red

Cha tsal sa shi chong way tso nam, 

Tam chay gu par nü ma nyi ma, 

Tro nyer yo way yi ge Hung gi, 

Pong ba tam chay nam par Dölma. 11

 

She can summon the guards of this world of desire.

With wrathful expression, 

when Hung! does she utter, 

she liberates everyone, no more to suffer.

 dark orange

Cha tsal daway tum bu urjen, 

Jen pa tam chay shin tu bar ma, 

Rel pay trö nay Öpame lay, 

Tak par shin tu ö rap dzay ma. 12

 

She wears the crescent moon as a diadem;

and shining atop her hair clustered in curls

Rests the Buddha Amida, the ornament on them.

orange

Cha tsal kalpa ta may me tar, 

Bar way treng way ü na nay ma, 

Yay chang yon kum kun nay kor gay,  

Dra yi pung ni nam par jom ma.13 

 

She is the Focus of the flaming garland

as the darkening kalpa draws to its close.

With right leg extended and left one drawn in,

for those who rejoice in the Dharma Wheel’s turning, 

She is the one who defeats all their foes.

red 

Cha tsal sa shi ngö la cha gi, 

Ril ji nun ching shap chi dung ma, 

Tro nyer chen dzay yi ge hung gi, 

Rim pa dun bo nam ni gem ma. 14 

 

Full force to her palm, she strikes the universe’ base.

Crying Hung! with a frown as she stamps it down,

She subdues all the denizens of seven levels of that nether place.

 reddish-black

Cha tsal de ma ge ma shi ma, 

Nya ngen day shi chö yul nyi ma,  

Soha Om dang yang dak den pay, 

Dik pa chen po jom pa nyi ma. 15 

 

I salute Lady Peace, Dame Perfection and Bliss;

her realm is Nirvana. 

Between Om! and Swaha! all blemishes vanish 

by means of her mantra.*

                    *Om,Tare Tutare Ture Soha.

white

Cha tsal kun nay kor rap ga way, 

Dra yi lü ni rap tu gem ma, 

Yi ge chu pay nga ni kö pay, 

Rik pa Hung lay Dölma nyi ma. 16 

 

All hail the conquering opponent of those

who rejoice as the Wheel of the Dharma goes round.

She liberates by means of the radiant light   

From the Hung! in the ring of the ten-syllable sound.

red

Cha tsal Ture shap ni dap pay, 

Hung gi nam pay sa bön nyi ma, 

Ri rap Mandara dang bi je, 

Jik ten sum nam yo wa nyi ma. 17

 

I praise The Swift-footed.  Hung! is her seed.

Shaker of Meru, Mandara, Kailash,

Stamping and trampling three worlds with her feet.

orange

Cha tsal hla yi tso yi nam pay, 

Ri dak ta chen cha na na ma, 

Tara nyi jö pay chi yi ge, 

Tu nam ma lü par ni shel ma. 18

 

 

She bears the hare-marked moon, lake of the devas.

And by twice saying ‘Tara

And then saying, ‘P'hey’, 

She removes all contaminants, poisons or kleshas.

white

Cha tsal hla yi tso nam jal pa, 

Hla tang mi am chi yi ten ma, 

Kün nay ko cha ga way ji chi, 

Tsö tang mi lam ngen pa sel ma. 19

 

 

She whom gods, titans and spirits attend,

Can dispel any terrors that come in dark hours,

A proof against Chaos, her beauty has powers.

white

Cha tsal nyi ma dawa jay pay, 

Chen nyi po la ö rap sel ma, 

Hara nyi jö Tutarayi, 

Shin tu drak pö rim nay sel ma. 20 

 

Shining, her eyes like the sun and full moon, 

By twice saying ‘Hara’ and then, ‘Tutarahyi’,

She can put paid the deadly, the wide-raging plague.

orange

Cha tsal te nyi sum nam kö pay, 

Shi way tu dang yang dak den ma, 

Dön dang rolang nö jin tso nam, 

Jom pa Ture rap chok nyi ma, 21

 

Praise be to The Peacemaker. 

By her triple mantra*

All demons succumb.

All hail the Swift-one, in her great mandala.

                                       *Om Ah Hung!

white

Tsa way nga chi tö pa di tang.   

Cha tsal wa la ni nyi shu tsa chik. 

 

This great dharani ~ this is Her song: 

The Praises to Tara, all twenty-one!

 

The hymn is called the 21 Homages to Tara or 21 Hymns but also, The Twenty-one Taras, since each of the stanzas describes not only an aspect but an image of her.

At least one version of this well-known "hymn" has an extra or introductory stanza that is inserted before the first Praise.  It is a summary.  See Advice below. (The Praises are each numbered here at the end of every transliterated Tibetan stanza.)  The recitation of these Praises is a daily practice for many Tibetans and also other practitioners.

Refuge vows, and the Tara empowerment from an accredited teacher is required for doing the complete liturgy with offerings.  Anyone, though, can read, chant or sing the 21 Praises.

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Ama Adhe Tapontsang, in her autobiography as told to J. Blakelsee  (Ama Adhe:  The Voice That Remembers. Boston:  Wisdom, 1997) describes how she was so troubled by having forgotten parts of the 21 Praises as a result of the tribulations she suffered at the brutal hands of her captors.  A kind lama taught her an abbreviated form in only 9 verses.

The  rhyming, rhythmic loose translation, as found above on this page, respects the imagery, symbolism and meaning of the liturgy.  It is not an exact literal translation.  It is intended for recitation or singing in the English language.  However, until it is finalized and approved, hard copies should not be circulated.

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The Mongolian name for the semi-wrathful form of Green Tara with 8 arms, at the top is Lamanteri.  This image was available in India in poster form in 1970, and may be further explored at http://www.iol.ie/~taeger/bio/8greenta.htm

A complete sadhana or worship ritual of Tara can be purchased for $12.

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How many repetitions to do of the mantra associated with the Praises to Tara?

" ... page 10b of the Tara Praises (that our center uses) suggests 2, 3 or 7 recitations, however ... we do 6. Why is this? Where is the best place to stick the extra one?"

A helpful person responded that "a transcript of a detailed explanation of the Green Tara practice that Ringu Tulku Rinpoche gave in the Mahamudra Retreat at Center Halscheid, Germany:

' For the twenty-one Tara praise, it is very clearly recommended that we do first two, then three, and then seven, but the practice in Europe is that you do one, two and three -  special concession for the Europeans.  But in Hong Kong, they do it in a slightly different way. The first stanza, [this is the 'extra' one,  see above] 
chag tsal tare nyurma pamo
tuttararyi jigpa selma
ture dön kun jin pä dölma
sohä yi ge khye la dü do

this is a kind of brief praise of the Tara mantra, the first time they do the praise once, but the first stanza two times, the second time they do the first stanza once and then the whole praise twice, that makes it three times, and then the third time they do the first stanza four times and then the whole praise three times, that makes it seven times. 

It is more to the letter, although they do not take much more time, they are as busy as Europeans.  I do not know whose tradition it is, maybe somebody who is more particular about what is said in the text. I thought that was very nice, because then you do not completely disregard the recommendation, and you also do not lose time. But it is just a suggestion.'

" ... during the big celebration of the opening of the Kamalashila Institute two years ago, with Thrangu Rinpoche, Tenga Rinpoche, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche and Ringu Tulku Rinpoche present -- also many lamas -- the lamas did the Tara practice in the 2-3-7 way -- at such an incredible speed that we Westerners could barely follow."*  ~  Maria on the kagyu email list

*Since the Tibetan Buddhist tradition is a mantrayana one, it is the vibration of sound that is deemed of utmost importance.  Great value is placed on the number of times a mantra - and texts, too - can be released into the environment. 

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Translation as found in The Cult of Tara by S. Beyer, pps. 211-214.  [Diacritical marks omitted, and verses numbered by this editor.]  Beyer's source while he was in  Dalhousie,  India was Drukpa Kagyu,  Ven. VIII Kamtrul Rinpoche Donju Nyingma.

The introductory or 'Praise with basic mantra' (not in the verses at top):

OM! Homage to the holy and noble Tara!

Homage, TARE, quick one, heroine,

removing terror with TUTTARE,

savioress, granting all aims with TURE,

the syllables SVAHA:  to you I bow!



 Homage, Tara, quick one, heroine. 

whose eyes flash like lightning,

born from the opening corolla

of the lotus face of the Lord of the triple world.       1

 

Homage, Lady whose face is filled 

with a hundred autumn moons,

blazing with the laughing beams 

of the hosts of a thousand stars.    2.

 

Homage, Lady whose hand is adorned with a lotus,

a lotus blue and gold

whose field of practice is charity, striving, 

austerity, calm, acceptance, and meditation.      3.

 

Homage, Lady abiding in infinite victory

in the crown knot of the Tathagatha

served by the sons of the Conqueror

who have attained every single perfection.      4.

 

Homage, Lady who fills all quarters of space

with the sounds of Tuttare and Hum,

trampling the seven worlds with her feet,

able to summon all before her.                          5.

 

Homage, Lady worshiped by Indra, Agni, Brahma,

by the Maruts and Vishveshvara,

honored by hosts of spirits,

of ghost, celestials, and the walking dead.        6.

 

Homage, Lady who destroys the magic devices of others 

with the sounds of TRAT and P'HAT,

trampling with right foot up and left extended 

blazing with a blazing mass of fire.                       7.

 

Homage, Lady who annihilates the heroes of Mara,

TURE, the terrible lady,

slaying all enemies

by frowning the brows of her lotus face.             8.

 

Homage, Lady holding her hand over her breast

with a gesture that symbolizes the Three Jewels,

her palms adorned with the universal wheel

radiating a turbulent host of its beams.               9.

 

Homage, Lady whose diadem spreads a garland

of shining and happy beams,

subjugating Mara and the world

with a laughing, mocking, TUTTARE!                     10.

 

Homage, Lady able to summon before her

all the hosts of protectors of the earth,

saving from all distress by the movement

of her frowning brows and the sound of HUM !       11.

 

Homage, Lady whose diadem is a crescent moon

blazing with all its ornaments,

ever lit by the beams

of Amitabha in her piled hair.                                     12.

 

Homage, Lady placed amidst a garland that blazes

like the fire at the end of the world era,

annihilating the army of the enemy

in her joyous posture of royal ease.                         13.

 

Homage, Lady who strikes the earth with her hand,

who pounds upon it with her feet,

shattering the seven worlds

with the sound of HUM made by her frowning brows.         14. 

 

Homage, Lady blissful, virtuous, calm,

whose field of practice is calm nirvana,

possessed of SVAHA and OM,

destroying great sins.                                        15.

 

Homage, Lady who shatters the bodies of enemies,

in her joyous posture,

the savioress manifested from HUM,

in the mantra arraying the sound of ten syllables.              16.

 

Homage Lady who strikes with the feet of TURE,

whose seed is in the form of the syllable HUM,

shaking Mount Meru, Mandara, Kailasha,

and all the triple world.                         17.

 

Homage, Lady holding the deer-marked moon

in the form of an ocean of gods,

 dispelling all poison

with the sound of  P'HAT and twice-spoken TARA.       18.

 

Homage, Lady served by the ruler of hosts of gods,

by the gods and horse-headed celestials,

dispelling contention and bad dreams

with the brilliance of her joyous armor.                   19.

 

Homage, Lady in whose eyes is the brilliant light

of the sun and the full moon,

dispelling terrible fevers, 

with TUTTARE and twice-spoken HARA.             20.

 

Homage, Lady endowed with the strength of calm

by the array of the three truths, [OM AH HUM]

destroying the hosts of evil spirits, the walking dead,

TURE, most excellent lady !                      21.

 

This is the praise with the basic mantra,

and these are the twenty-one homages.

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