The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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A Song of Tara's Victory Over the Delusions of a Sorrowful Mind, by Kunzang Sherab
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Part 1 -- Dedication
Now, in this time when merit is low,
When good qualities are appreciated by few,
And the fortunate find very little peace,
This song of inspiration is composed,
to provide a pleasant bower of reflection
where wandering beings can rest
and refresh themselves,
Contemplating the pure qualities
Of the Excellent Mother of All Tathagatas.
Recollecting Her pure attributes,
Speaking of Her with reverence,
Contemplating Her image with
Fond yearning and childlike faith,
May numberless beings
Lose all interest in selfish pursuits,
And joyfully dedicate themselves
To the welfare of all.
Part 2 -- Her Legend
Universally it is known
That without pure conduct
And compassion toward migrating beings,
The chances of gaining liberation
From cyclic existence are slim.
Without a love of virtue and peacefulness,
One tends to chaotic activity,
And litters one's path with troubles,
Great and small.
The rewards of good conduct
Seem small in the earthly balance,
So a quick fix at the fountain of desire,
A spree in the carnival of hate,
A vacation of mindless indolence,
All look good to those untutored
In the ways of cause and effect.
Can it be that the image of a princess,
Who made a vow long ago in a different aeon,
When the stars hung in different constellations,
Could awaken us to wisdom?
Could it be that her image, perfect, shapely,
Divinely inspired and flawlessly expressed,
Is the polestar of Her devotees,
Now for countless generations,
For good reason?
Can she they named the Saviouress,
The Swift One, indeed be
All that has been claimed?
If so, then we should rejoice,
For Her story is of great fame--
If Her kindness is not mere legend,
Then it is the stuff of salvation--
If She indeed hears our every cry,
Then that cry should always be
The sound of Her name.
Part Three -- Her Promise
When one feels separate and distant,
Far from peace or safety,
Tied by anxiety and worry,
That is the time to call Her.
She is not waiting for those
Who can already glimpse the gates
Of the City of Peace--those Accomplished Ones
Are Her Wise Sons, and hear Her voice constantly.
No, She is waiting to hear the piteous cries
Of those who have fallen into error,
Who are steeped in grief,
Who cannot glimpse light from any quarter,
Who fear death and their own helplessness before it.
If you count yourself among those
Who wish to practice Dharma but cannot;
Who try to follow Virtue and fail;
Who make mistake upon mistake
And still are unable to learn,
Then She is listening for your voice,
She is watching for you like a mother
Who must always know where her children are,
Who can never abandon even one
For a moment.
Do not hesitate to reach out--
She will clasp your hand.
In one moment of trust
She plants the seed of redemption.
Just by thinking of Her face,
The fire of hell is cooled;
Merely looking at Her feet,
All maras will be stilled.
Part Four -- Victory
The reasonings of scholars are many and subtle,
And the attainments of inspired yogis and yoginis
Are the stuff of legends.
The Teaching is unconquerable and noble,
And the splendor of temples inspires all.
Yet only the kindness of a Spiritual Friend
Plants faith in the ignorant heart,
And that kindness, once understood,
Is the Teaching in every part.
Having met a Spiritual Friend,
One will have to leave their side,
But the seed of faith,
Like a tree in the heart,
Will grow when watered with tears.
Knowing the Mother to be the true Friend,
One ponders pure qualities,
and softens the notion
That perfection is separate from self.
In the chaos of living
Separations must happen,
But never from the Mother of All.
If in the mind of the beginner
The question arises "Which deity am I to follow?"
One will of course always take the advice
Of the trustworthy Spiritual Friend,
But if the matter of which deity to supplicate
Has still not been resolved
Why not accept the kind guidance
Of The Mother of All Buddhas?
The benefits are without number,
And she will never bind you, but only aid
In the accomplishment of all that is best.
With her omniscient eye perceiving karma,
Knowing all causes and results,
She provides what worldly people need so much--
A mentor, kind and wise,
To caution one of dangerous pitfalls,
And guide one to springs of benefit.
When matters are uncertain in the mind,
With delusions waging fierce battle
So that the clarity of awareness is obscured,
When false reasonings based on mistaken assumptions
Create a thousand mistaken images
To obscure the purity of One Truth,
Then the Quick One shines forth,
Armed with unconquerable mudra
And sign of HUNG.
Uttering magic syllables
That destroy all sources of harm,
She relieves the besieged City of the Mind,
Scattering the attacking hordes
With a host of manifestations
Dispatching every foe.
She liberates the faithful
Who have fought through the long night,
Cures their sufferings like a doctor,
Binds their wounds like a nurse,
Provides for their every need,
And henceforth makes them
Her faithful vassals, covered with honor.
Part Five -- Contemplation
Whence comes Her power?
Her power is born of selfless devotion
To the welfare of all beings--
She wastes no instant of concern
On any other matter,
And so fills all universes with beneficent magic.
We know the truth of this
Through loving contemplation
And the grace of Her first touch--
When you receive an act of kindness
-- there She is, speaking to you ...
When you perceive a pleasing sight
-- that is Her, playing with light ...
When the elements delight you
In all the appearances of the natural earth
-- there She is, sending reassurance.
To know Her power more deeply,
Gaze upon Her face--
See kind, long-lidded eyes,
Gazing gently upon all beings,
A soft, fresh mouth gleaming,
Curved in a kindly smile,
Heaps of hair in sapphire strands,
Breath of rainbows glowing from her skin,
Shoulders sloped like rounded hills,
And breasts like a mother's,
Swelled with milk,
Her back erect with vajra pride,
Her neck regal and fine,
Arms long and delicately formed,
Adorned with armlets, bracelets, rings,
Left hand joining thumb and ring finger,
Gently clasping the udumbara's hollow stem,
Sprouting dark green leaves and luminous petals,
Softly curving belly
Adorned with jewelled waistlet,
comfortably seated with right leg outstretched
or in vajra-asana, as your liking be,
Seated on Her lotus,
There displaying all miraculous qualities.
What eye could fail to be delighted?
What heart could not find comfort here?
Her visionary realm is easy to imagine,
and this imagining's the key
To making clear what we subtly feel,
To making stronger what has begun,
To fixing and maintaining what has grown.
Imagine Her grace descending --
This but helps you see what is in fact the case!
Imagine you heart's sorrows mending --
Your heart will heal so whole no scar appears.
Imagine all vexations ending --
And what is well-imagined will be done.
Part Six -- Absorption
In Her realms of magical attainment
You may abide so long as the world of distraction
Gains no stronger hold.
In Her perfect palace
You may remain without disturbance
Like the surface of a lake
On a windless day,
Reflecting the perfection of Her countenance
And the empty sky itself
On the mirror of your mind.
All that arises in this perfect place
Is without defect or impurity,
For horrors, terrors, faults and fears
Have no power here,
A place beyond assailing
Beyond which nothing is.
Part Seven -- Compassion
Now, like a child who diligently
Sits beside Her mother and emulates
Her every act,
Feeding the hungry,
Tending the helpless,
Washing their bodies and binding their wounds,
Providing fresh clothing, warm shelter,
And every good thing with the solicitude
Of love that has gone beyond habit
To become the only ground for action,
Now like a child who has such a mother,
Aid Her in every way,
And with absolute obedience to Her perfect Will,
Begin the endless work of saving beings,
Placing them beyond all worldly harm,
Quieting their every fear,
And offering them the Path of Redemption
As the final gift of love.
Part Eight -- Freedom
One day you will waken
From a deep sleep,
From a long dream,
From the memory of bondage.
Like a prince in his family citadel
You will rise from your bed
And from the window see
All your domains at peace,
All beings happily laboring
Under a kindly sun.
No longer need you genuflect
Or bow before Her throne.
Within your heart
She sits serene.
Your mind is now her home