Dagmo Chimey Sakya, Translator.
Notes were taken by Laura Ellis.
October 22, 2015
Prior to the Green Tara initiation at Sakya Monastery in Seattle, H.E. Dagmo Kusho gave the following commentary:
The practice of Green Tara is very important because she is the mother of all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and all sentient being. She is also the representation of one’s own mother. Through her loving kindness and compassion she is accessible to all practitioners, just as one’s own mother is always there for her children. In Tibetan Buddhism there are many deities, all with their own characteristics and powers: wealth, long life, healing and so on. Each deity fulfills all the different needs of all the different sentient beings. Tara is the mother of all beings and fulfills all wishes. She is known for her swiftness in fulfilling wishes. Through the non-dual aspect of method and wisdom she represents loving kindness to all beings. When you practice Tara, she is known for her swiftness. She will come to your aid without any bias or delay. She fulfills all wishes of the practitioner.
The 21 manifestations of Tara are described in the 21 Praises of Tara. When you recite the 21 Praises you will understand each form of Tara has different attributes. Green Tara is the embodiment of all of the twenty one Taras combined.
In Tibetan stories Green Tara was once a princess called Yishe Dawa . She took an oath in the presence of Buddha Amogasiddhi to practice and liberate all beings from suffering. She vowed to always be born as a female, even though she had the ability to be born as a male and others encouraged her to be born as a male. She wanted to be born as a female who could liberate all beings and attain enlightenment. Another story has it that Chenrezi had vowed to Amitaba to liberate all beings but no matter how many he liberated there were always more. When Chenrezi wept, Tara emanated as a tear from his eyes. Therefore there is a strong connection between Green Tara, Buddha Amitaba, and Chenrezi. Tara is also regarded as the feminine aspect of Buddha Avalokiteshwara or Chenrezig.
Green Tara is a very powerful practice. It helps remove the 8 Fears or the 8 Obscurations which reflect the external manifestations of our fears and their corresponding mental obscurations:
1. Lion: pride
2. Elephant: ignorance
3. Fire: hatred and anger
4. Snake: envy
5. Thieves: wrong views
6. Imprisonment: coveting and miserliness
7. Floods: attachment and desire
8. Evil spirits: doubts and suspicions
When we have these fears we pray to Tara and she swiftly protects us from these fears.
The Great Pandita Atisha visited Tibet and later in the holy place of Bodh Gaya he composed a prayer to the beginning of the 21 Praises of Tara. He earnestly practiced Tara and recited the mantra and she appeared to him. She asked him to go to Tibet to benefit the people and to protect Tibet. Since then she is regarded as the protector of Tibet. This initiation has come all the way from Atisha in an unbroken lineage.