What is White Tara?
Tara is the main female Buddhist deity. Tara's special quality as a Buddhist deity
is her swiftness in responding to the prayers of those who invoke her name. Meditating
on Tara is said to enable one to quickly achieve liberation from suffering. White
Tara is specifically associated with practices designed to overcome threats to
health and long life. It is said that meditating on White Tara and saying her
mantra can overcome even serious sickness. Her mantra is OM TARE TUTTARE TURE
MAMA AYUR PUNIJE JNANA PUSHTIM KURE YE SOHA. White Tara is specifically visualised
with seven eyes - a 'third eye' in her forehead the other four on the palms of
her hands and soles of her feet. These allow her to see beings in every realm
of existence, with clear-sighted wisdom and heartfelt compassion.
What does Chenrezig mean?
Chenrezig (the Tibetan equivalent of the Sanskrit word Avalokiteshvara) is the
Buddha of compassion, who holds unlimited compassion for all beings. The Dalai
Lama is said to be the manifestation of Chenrezig, which is why he is referred
to as 'the living Buddha'. Compassion is the desire for beings to be free from
suffering. This means understanding the nature and causes of suffering - our own
as well as others - so that our actions are skilful. Great compassion is the desire
to free every living being from suffering. In Buddhism, compassion is regarded
as the main source of happiness for ourselves and others. By visualising Chenrezig
and focusing one's mind on his mantra (OM MANI PADME HUM), we can awaken our own
'good heart' within us.
What is a Buddhist 'empowerment'? Does it mean commitments?
You can take part in the White Tara and Chenrezig events for a blessing or to
receive an empowerment or initiation. There are currently no commitments associated
with the Chenrezig empowerment in Melbourne and the White Tara long life blessing
in Geelong. To understand more about these events you need to know some background
about the particular type of Buddhism they arise from. Visit the Description of
Events for more details and download even longer explanations of some topics.
Tibetan Buddhism is a type of Buddhism known as Mahayana, which includes the practices
of Vajrayana or Tantra. Tantra is the technique of imagining yourself as a deity
and your environment as a pure place. The Tantric path is said to lead the practitioner
to enlightenment in a relatively short time. However, Tantric practices are very
precise and require lifelong commitment - they are treated as 'secret' to safeguard
the lineage, and thus practitioners.
The purpose of an empowerment is to ripen one's mindstream for Tantric practice
by making a connection with the particular deity. Normally, if you take a Tantric
empowerment, you must take vows and/or promise to do certain meditation practices
daily. If you do not wish to take the commitments, you can simply take the empowerment
as a blessing, thus creating a karmic connection with that particular Tantric
deity and practice.