Before the empowerment, Rinpoche told us about Tara. She used to be a human being just like us. Once she was a princess who made a vow to stay in Samsara as a female form until all beings are liberated. She made a wish that anyone who heard her name or recited it would be freed from all levels of obstacles, be they business failure, accident, animal problem (outer level), bodily illness (inner level), and ignorance (secret level). And their wishes are fulfilled.
Rinpoche related many stories about Tara’s kindness. He talked about Atisha, a strong devotee to Tara. Once in Tibet he became seriously ill. He prayed to Tara. She asked him to recite the praise to 21 Taras 10,000 times within one day. But he said he couldn’t do it, so she gave him a short summary which constitutes the essence of the 21 Taras practice.
Om! Homage to the Venerable Arya Tara!
Tare, Homage, heroic Tara,
Tuttare, Savioress liberating all fears,
Ture, Lady granting all aims,
Soha syllables, To You I respectfully bow!
Each Tara in the 21 Taras praise has special characteristic. 16 Taras are associated with the removal of obstacles resulting from animals and natural disasters. 4 Taras are associated with activities. And there is one major Tara, Green Tara.
The sadhana used for the empowerment is the terma or treasure text Chokgyur Lingpa received from Guru Rinpoche directly. From Chokgyur Lingpa, it was transmitted to his son Tsering Norbu, who passed it on to Samten Gyatso. The latter is HH 15th Karmapa’s teacher. Samten Gyatso then transmitted it to Tulku Ugyen, who was HH 16th Karmapa’s teacher. Phakchok Rinpoche received the transmission from Tulku Ugyen, his late grandfather.