White Tara Puja and Long Life Ceremony
For Venerable Abbess Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron
On the Occasion of her 70th Birthday

Friday September 18th, 6:15 PM – 8:00 PM Pacific Time -Live Streamed on YouTube

Event Listing: https://sravastiabbey.org/event/zoom-white-tara-puja-9-2020-09-18/

A PDF of the Sadhana can be viewed and downloaded here

Refuge and Bodhicitta

I take refuge until I have awakened in the Buddhas, the Dharma and the Sangha. By the merit I create by engaging in generosity and the other far-reaching practices, I will attain Buddhahood in order to benefit all sentient beings.

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes.
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes.
May all sentient beings not be separated from sorrowless bliss.
May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment, and anger.

Invitation to Tara

From the supreme abode of Potala,
You are born of a syllable TAM.
Adorned with Amitabha upon your crown,
You are the enlightened activity of the Buddhas of three times.
Oh Tara, together with your assembly, I request your presence here.

Gods and demi-gods
Bow their crowns to your lotus feet,
You who rescue from all poverty
Mother Tara to you I prostrate.

Chant Leader: Visualize that Venerable Arya Tara dissolves into the White Tara image in the space in front.

Seven-Limb Offering to Tara

To the Exalted Ārya, the Noble Lady Tārā,
And to all the victorious ones and their heirs
Dwelling in all directions of the universe, through past, present and future,
Sincerely and enthusiastically I pay homage!

I make offerings of flowers, incense, lamps, fragrant scents,
And food, and music, and the like —
Both physical and imaginary, created by the mind.
Assembly of Noble Deities, please accept them all!

All my negative deeds throughout beginningless time until today,
The ten non-virtues and the five with immediate reckoning —
Sprung from this mind that is driven by destructive emotions,
I confess them all, each and every one.

With a heart full of delight, I rejoice in all the merits
Of śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, bodhisattvas,
And every living being,
Throughout the three times.

I implore you: according to the temperament
And mental capacity of sentient beings,
Please turn the wheel of Dharma
Of all the vehicles — lesser, greater, and general.

Until saṃsāra has been completely emptied,
I beseech you: do not pass into nirvāṇa
But look upon us with your boundless compassion,
As we flounder in this ocean of suffering.

May whatever virtue I have amassed
Become the cause of enlightenment for all;
May I quickly, without delay or deferment
Become an excellent guide to all beings.

Attributed to Bhikṣuṇī Lakṣmī (Gelongma Palmo).
Translated by Stefan Mang, 2018. Edited by Libby Hogg.
Courtesy of Lotsawa House.

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Visualization and Mantra Recitation

Chant Leader: Above the crown of your head, the transcendental wisdom of all the Buddhas manifests as White Tara. Her body is in the nature of radiant white light. She has one face and two arms. Her right hand is on her right knee in the gesture of granting supreme realizations, and her left hand at her heart holds the stem of an utpala flower. Youthful and beautiful, she is seated in the vajra posture. She has all the signs and marks of a Buddha and has seven eyes (face, palms, soles, third eye). She looks at you and all sentient beings with complete acceptance and compassion.

Chant Leader: At Tara’s heart is a horizontal white moon disk. At its center is the white syllable TAM, the essence of her enlightened realizations. Light rays shine forth from the TAM, and hook back all the life force that has been scattered or lost. This dissolves into the TAM, in the form of light. Again light rays radiate from the TAM, and hook back the power and inspiration of all the Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and those who have attained the realization of long life. This dissolves into the TAM. Also, the essence of the four elements of earth, water, fire, and air, as well as the space element, absorb into the TAM in the form of five-colored nectar-light (white, yellow, red, green, and blue).

Chant Leader: From the TAM at her heart, light and nectar now flow into your body. They fill your entire body, dispelling all negative karma, disturbing attitudes, negative emotions, disease, interferences, and dangers of untimely death. All these leave your body in the form of dirty liquid, and your body becomes pure and clear. Your mind, too, becomes clear and blissful.

(While doing this visualization, recite 21 times)
om tare tuttare ture mama ayur punye jnana pushtim kuru soha

(Then recite as much as possible)
om tare tuttare ture soha 

Chant Leader: Think and feel, “I am liberated from all negative karma, afflictions, negative emotions, disease, interferences and dangers of untimely death. I will use my life in a meaningful way to transform my mind; develop love, compassion, and the six far-reaching practices; and act in ways that benefit others, myself, and our environment.”

Supplication Mandala Offering

OM vajra ground AH HUM, mighty golden ground. OM vajra fence AH HUM, the iron fence around the edge, In the center is Mount Meru, the king of mountains, in the east the continent Videha, in the south Jambudvipa, in the west Godaniya, in the north Kuru. In the east are the sub-continents Deha and Videha, in the south Camara and Aparacamara, in the west Shatha and Uttaramantrina, in the north Kurava and Kaurava. Here are the precious mountain, wish-granting tree, wish-fulfilling cow, unploughed harvest.

Here are the precious wheel, precious jewel, precious queen, precious minister, precious elephant, precious horse, precious general, great treasure vase. Here are the goddess of beauty, goddess of garlands, goddess of song, goddess of dance, goddess of flowers, goddess of incense, goddess of light, goddess of perfume. Here are the sun, moon, precious parasol, and victory banner. In the center are the marvelous riches of gods and humans, with nothing missing, pure and delightful. I offer these as a Buddha-field to my glorious, holy, kind root guru, the lineage gurus, and

in particular to White Tara and her entire assembly of deities and to Venerable Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron, to support our supplication for you to remain long for the benefit of the Dharma and the welfare of sentient beings.

Please accept these offerings with compassion for the sake of migrating beings. Having accepted them, please bestow on me and on the mother sentient beings abiding as far as the limits of space your inspiration with loving compassion.

Short Mandala Offering

This ground, anointed with perfume, flowers strewn,
Mount Meru, four lands, sun and moon,
Imagined as a Buddha land and offered to you
May all beings enjoy this pure land.

Prayers for the Long Life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

In the snowy mountain pure land
You’re the source of good and happiness.
Powerful Tenzin Gyatso Chenrezig,
May you stay until samsara ends.

The wish-granting Wish-Fulfilling Jewel,
Source of every single benefit and happiness in this world,
To the incomparably kind Tenzin Gyatso, I beseech.
May all your holy wishes be spontaneously fulfilled.

Prayer for the Long Life of Venerable Thubten Chodron

Having become a follower of the Great Sage’s Word,
You have upheld the treasury of the precious Teaching;
In all those places where the light of Dharma has not spread
May you live long, illuminating like a Lamp.

Drepung Loseling Geshe Yeshe Thabkhe gave this as a prayer to the Abbess and Founder of Sravasti Abbey established in the United States, the Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron on the occasion of her becoming 70 years old.

Idam guru ratna mandala kam nirya tayami

Students Request for Ven. Chodron to Live Long and Teach

On behalf of monastics and students in Russia and throughout Europe: Ven. Lobsang Tenpa and Ven. Thubten Tenzin

On behalf of students past and present associated with Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle and through the Pacific Northwest: Mary Grace Lentz and Cheryl Harrison

On behalf of students in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and all of Asia: Gooi Leng Poh and Sia Seow Hong

On behalf of all volunteers and students in Idaho and Eastern Washington: Tracy Morgan

On behalf of students past and present in India, Central & South America, USA, and around the world: Peter Aronson and Yesica del Moral

Recitation from the Ten Teaching Sutra

I have wandered for a long time through cyclic existence, and you searched for me; I have been asleep, having been obscured by delusion for a long time, and you wake me; you pull me out of the depths of the ocean of existence; I have entered a bad path, and you reveal the good path to me; you release me from being bound in the prison of existence; I have been worn out by illness for a long time, and you are my doctors; you are the rain clouds that put out my blazing fire of attachment and the like.

nun teaching
Abbess teaches from her book "An Open-Hearted Life."

Monastic Request

Monastic speaker: Venerable Thubten Chodron, on behalf of the four-fold sangha—monks, nuns, and lay male and female practitioners of the ten directions—please remain long in our midst and turn the wheel of Dharma for sentient beings.

Teacher Replies

Ven. Chodron: If it will help sentient beings and the teachings of the Dharma, I will remain in this world for one hundred and eight years, or more.

Thanksgiving Mandala Offering

OM vajra ground AH HUM, mighty golden ground. OM vajra fence AH HUM, the iron fence around the edge, In the center is Mount Meru, the king of mountains, in the east the continent Videha, in the south Jambudvipa, in the west Godaniya, in the north Kuru. In the east are the sub-continents Deha and Videha, in the south Camara and Aparacamara, in the west Shatha and Uttaramantrina, in the north Kurava and Kaurava. Here are the precious mountain, wish-granting tree, wish-fulfilling cow, unploughed harvest.

Here are the precious wheel, precious jewel, precious queen, precious minister, precious elephant, precious horse, precious general, great treasure vase. Here are the goddess of beauty, goddess of garlands, goddess of song, goddess of dance, goddess of flowers, goddess of incense, goddess of light, goddess of perfume. Here are the sun, moon, precious parasol, and victory banner. In the center are the marvelous riches of gods and humans, with nothing missing, pure and delightful. I offer these as a Buddha-field to my glorious, holy, kind root guru, the lineage gurus, and

in particular to White Tara and her entire assembly of deities and to Venerable Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron, in thanksgiving for having accepted our supplication to remain long for the benefit of the Dharma and the welfare of sentient beings. 

Please accept these offerings with compassion for the sake of migrating beings. Having accepted them, please bestow on me and on the mother sentient beings abiding as far as the limits of space your inspiration with loving compassion.

Short Mandala Offering

This ground, anointed with perfume, flowers strewn,
Mount Meru, four lands, sun and moon,
Imagined as a Buddha land and offered to you
May all beings enjoy this pure land.

May the spiritual teachers who lead me on the sacred path
And all spiritual friends who practice it have long life
May I pacify completely all outer and inner hindrances
Grant such inspiration I pray.

May the lives of the venerable spiritual mentors be stable
And their virtuous actions spread in the ten directions
May the light of Lobsang’s teachings dispelling the darkness
Of the three worlds always increase.

Idam guru ratna mandala kam nirya tayami

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Ven. Thubten Chodron’s Long Life Prayer

Peerless supreme spiritual leader, omniscient King of the Shakyas, Motherly Tara, supreme bestower of longevity and wisdom, vast ocean assembly of sources of Refuge, grant propitiousness here and now for a nectar of benefit and bliss to flow.

With a clear mind of extensive learning gained from following the wondrous traditions of Thubten – the Able One’s teachings – you bring clarity to masses of disciples with the light of Chodron – the lamp of the Dharma. May your lotus-feet remain unfaltering for a very long time.

Through your Dharmic deeds of hearing, thinking, meditating and so on, place those who seek the liberated path in harmony through immaculate discipline. Please lead all beings to liberation with undeclining excellent qualities of scripture and insight, and establish them in a glory of eternal bliss.

By Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche II and translated by Alex Berzin

Star Spangled Compassion

May all beings everywhere
Plagued by sufferings of body and mind
Obtain an ocean of happiness and joy
By virtue of my merits.

May no living creature suffer,
Commit evil or ever fall ill.
May no one be afraid or belittled,
With a mind weighed down by depression.

May the blind see forms,
And the deaf hear sounds.
May those whose bodies are worn with toil
Be restored on finding repose.

May the naked find clothing,
The hungry find food.
May the thirsty find water
And other delicious drinks.

May the poor find wealth,
Those weak with sorrow find joy.
May the forlorn find hope,
Constant happiness and prosperity.

May all who are ill and injured
Quickly be freed from their ailments.
Whatever diseases there are in the world,
May these never occur again.

May the frightened cease to be afraid
And those bound be freed.
May the powerless find power
And may people think of benefiting each other.

For as long as space endures
And as long as living beings remain,
Until then may I too abide
To dispel the misery of the world.

Lyrics from Guide to a Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, by the great Indian sage, Shantideva. Music by Francis Scott Key

Two facing rows of nuns and laypeople sitting in meditation hall
Nuns make heart signs.

Dissolution

Chant Leader: The White Tara in front returns to her natural abode. The white Tara on your crown dissolves into you. Your body, speech, and mind become inseparable from Tara’s holy body, speech and mind.

Dedication

Due to this merit may we soon
Attain the awakened state of White Tara
That we will be able to liberate
All sentient beings from their suffering.

May anyone who merely sees, hears, remembers, touches or talks to me be freed in that very instant from all sufferings and abide in happiness forever.

May the glorious spiritual mentors live long, and may all beings throughout limitless space be happy. By purifying our defilements and accumulating merit, may I and all others be inspired to attain Buddhahood quickly.

In order to train just like the hero Manjushri, who knows reality as it is, and just like Samantabhadra as well, I completely dedicate all this goodness, just as they did

With that dedication which is praised as greatest by all the Buddhas gone to freedom in the three times, I, too, dedicate all my roots of goodness for the attainments of the bodhisattva practice.

Prayer for Sravasti Abbey

May the deeds of explaining and practicing the Dharma done by groups supporting the teachings and their upholders, who spread the view of dependent arising and non-violent actions in the ten directions – and especially at Sravasti Abbey in the West – flourish.

Written by Serkong Tsenshab Rinpoche II and translated by Alex Berzin

Many monastics and a white cat pose on the deck.

Thank you for joining us!

With gratitude for the guidance and assistance of Geshe Damdul Namgyal, Bhikshuni Sangye Khadro, and Ven. Lobsang Tenpa