BUDDHA NATURE.COM Songs and Meditations of the Tibetan Dhyani Buddhas


White Tara
A Meditation on Visiting the Land of the Yoginis **

Tara
 the savioress The dakini says:

For the world of the yoginis, you must be purified. Green waters flood down upon you, bright leaf green, deep emerald colored waters of the cedar forests and tropical jungles. You stand in the shining network of green veins, and impurities flow off through them. It is the throbbing life of the jungle, the deep quiet of the pine forest, the bright richness of the rain forest, the colors of life which bring you to true life.

What remains of you? A shimmering rainbow blur. To enter the world of the yoginis, you must be remade. The green shower of light has taken away your karma, and stored it in the forest for your return. Now you are an observer, but you must be dressed properly.

First, you need to make a body. A yogini can be either peaceful or wrathful. For a visit, a peaceful form is sufficient. The wrathful form is primarily needed for karmic attachment. As for colors, red brings drama and passion, green brings transformation, blue brings purification, yellow brings absorption, white brings observation. White with green and blue ornaments is suitable. Pattern your body after White Tara, the savioress, in standing position, offering praise.

Your body will be of white light, proportionate, graceful and beautiful. You wear a crown of blue and green flowers, with the five vajra buddhas as unopened buds. Your jewelry is emerald and sapphire, with bits of gold. You wear a piece of emerald silk, folded around you, embroidered with the history of universes. You stand upon a shining white lotus, in dark blue-green waters. This is your yogini body- white, with green silk and jewels. It is only in this body that you can enter the world of the yoginis.

Heavy thunderclouds roll towards you. A doorway opens, like an eye opening. From the midst of the pupil hands emerge, drawing you forward. As a yogini, you must be strong and brave, and accept the welcome. Their queen sits in the distance, on a great throne. She shines with brilliant light. Part of the world is dark, with the yoginis who transform worlds. Part of the world is light, for the yoginis who bless, guide and heal.

A strange yogini appears before you- half light and half dark, a sort of Ardhanarishvari of the yogini world. She says, "I am your guide- follow me." Her bright half is light and beautiful, her dark half wears snakes and lizards, and animal skins.

She first takes you to the dark yogini worlds. They are frightening to see. The yoginis here are part bird, part animal, part reptile. They sit in circles and fly in swarms- like the Eumenides before their transformation. They destroy attachments, and drink the blood of bondage. They welcome you if you wish to help in the work. A yogini with a hawk's head and wings comes up to you. "Destruction is liberation," she says, and in her hands is a jeweled knife. She picks up a caged bird. She stabs the cage, and cuts it open, and the bird flies free. "We are revolutionaries, liberators from bondage. We are fed by the blood of the sacrifice." You see the cage, which has become spun sugar. "We are the eaters of karma, which influences the forms that we take. Had you not left your karma behind, it would have risen to the surface, and would become the image of your memories." Then she said, "Blood is symbolic, the force of survival. Semen is symbolic, the force of physical reproduction. We devour the instincts." The dark yogini world is a wasteland, a desert, with crimson skies and a black moon. Skeletons dance the dance of life and death. There is only pain for those who are attached and refuse to transcend.

The shadows are strange, and the sky is darker than the land. You see vultures in the distance, circling over the desert, and the yoginis like harpies flying in the skies. They are much like the Furies- bird-women, forces of retribution. Look closely, and their faces look like bronze and other metals. The skies are dark, without stars.

You enter a group, and you feel yourself change. Your skin is like stretched leather, dark emerald. You take a staff with a skull on it, and a skull cup bowl, full of instincts to transform. The yoginis dance, and you find yourself rising in the air. You see that you have great feathered wings, and you can fly high over the ground. You follow the shadow lands until you encounter your guide, who turns, and you follow her. Now it is time for the bright worlds.

Your guide says, "Learn to fly." Your wings are black, with highlights of green and blue. You glide and dive, following the winds. You and she dive down to the land, and you look at her. She passes a hand over her face, and she is a rotting corpse, a skull from whose eyes worms emerge. She is a corpse in fire, the skull cleansed by fire, and a leather-faced hag with snakes for hair and hides for clothing. She is the dark Lady of the Jungle, covered with vines and tendrils.

Then she passes a hand over her face again, and she is a beautiful and shy young woman, graceful in gold brocade. She is a wandering gypsy dancer, with long dark hair flying free, and a queen of royal blood with a jeweled crown and a long train of white silk. She smiles, and all around her white peacock feathers spread in a great aura, with white marabou feathers at the tips.

She smiles, and says, "You are already in peaceful form- you can keep the white body and ornaments. Let us see this land."

It is a land of copper and sapphire hills, and mother-of-pearl sky. Yoginis fly on wisps of cloud, some with jewels and silk, some with great white wings. They carry vases of nectar, ropes and ladders to guide souls into the heavens, maps and mandalas which pulse with life, living mantras which glow and hum. They are sky-walkers and dream-walkers, who enter the meditation of beings and guide them inward, taking on forms which teach them. Your guide points out that you are in the community of yoginis who visit human worlds- there are many others with different forms, as many as sand-grains along the ocean.

You ask if yoginis teach Buddhism to mankind. "Only in dreams, " she answers, "and not as Buddhism, but rather as truth. They give teachings in many religions. They do not actually incarnate in bodies- they simply give intuitions and inspirations."

We fly to a sparkling waterfall, and there in the water is a beautiful yogini, her silk spread out in the water. Suddenly a monster appears, and she wrestles with this creature who has somehow entered that world and those waters. It bursts forth from the waters, hoping to disrupt that world. The yogini chants, moving her arms, and the sky opens like an eye. From the pupil come two hands, with long nails like a mandarin, and they yank the monster away.

Your guide says, "The bright worlds of the yoginis are also worlds of transformation, though not as radical as the dark worlds of birth and death and madness. Here we fulfill needs, to relax karmic demands and liberate the spirit. We have gardens of desire, and caves of beauty, and temples of compassion. Would you like to see them?"

You suggest the caves of beauty, and you both drift like new leaves on a warm and fragrant breeze. You arrive on the shore of bright turquoise waters, and the air smells of roses. There is a doorway into a copper and bronze mountain, and inside is a winding pathway lit by crystal walls with fire behind them. Diamond flowers grow out of the walls, shining brilliantly and sending out rainbow-colored radiance. At its center is a pool with a great gem, each of whose infinite facets represents the birth and death of civilizations. By studying that gem, one could come to know all events. Its diamond light was penetrating and brilliant. But in its reflection, the light was soft and nourishing, helping and supporting. The gem was wisdom, but its reflection was compassion. Your guide says, "Every light needs a reflection. Let me introduce you to someone."

Suddenly your guide is transformed- she is made of blue stone, like lapis lazuli, and then of blue light. In her hair are flowers and gems, and a great cloak shimmers behind her, dark blue with stars, revealing the mandala gateway.

She holds up her hand, and a pathway of shining blue stars emerges. She and you fly over it, following it to its source. The stars are many shades of blue- turquoise, royal, indigo, blue- purple. Both fly through clouds tinged with blue, into an area of pink, lemon, and pale green skies.

Atop a mountain of bronze with blue-purple shadows, you see a building. It is a mass of light, which takes on for you the form of a white marble temple with Doric pillars and carved, white marble goddesses. There is a blue carpet leading in, upon which you and your guide walk.

It is dark within, and resonates with a deep hum. You see in the distance four bronze candlesticks, very tall, made in the forms of four fantastic animals. Behind them are curtains of elaborately embroidered velvet and brocade. You and your guide prostrate yourselves, and the curtains open. You cannot see, and you must try to refine your vision. You are almost blind. You see a series of cloudy images before you, and then the great compassionate form of White Tara, with gentleness in her blue-green eyes, and a sympathetic and joyful smile.

Here, the practitioner can decide to interact with White Tara in an appropriate way based on his or her particular relationship with Tara.

After this interaction, your concentrations dims, and she disappears. The vision ceases and your normal consciousness returns.



** NOTE: This meditation is most easily practiced by women since it involves identification with a female figure (yogini). However, also note that it is common for Tibetan monks to engage in practices which involve identification with female figures such as White Tara.


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