A most beloved female buddha, Tara is renowned for her swift and compassionate activity. It is not hyperbole when we say she rushes to the aid of beings when we call upon her with heartfelt devotion. Below are three students who have experienced Tara when she was most needed:

From James Coleman, Pd.D, author, teacher

I have been fortunate to learn a wide palette of Vajrayana techniques and approaches from Lama Palden, and at first Tara practice was just one among many.  But when I experienced a health crisis and had to undergo a series of operations on my right eye, it was Tara practice more than anything else that helped me to bring those difficulties to the path and open my heart. It took five operations before they were finally able to reattach the retina in that eye, and each surgery involved a long and difficult recovery process, which at one point required that I keep my head down day and night.  I remember vowing not to divert myself with television, books or movies, but to put all my energy into my practice and to take advantage of the opportunities that the crisis presented.  Like many Westerners I had a lot of resistance to calling on the Yidams for help in a personal kind of way, but when I finally did turn to Tara practice, I connected with an infinite love without boundaries or limits that is her true essence, and from then on she was my guide and protector. Now that I have recovered, I am doing a wider variety of practices again, but my connection to Tara continues to inform every aspect of my practice and my life. Looking back, I find that I am truly grateful for the whole experience and the way Tara continues to open my heart and my mind.

 

From Jennifer Dunn, Shangpa program student at Sukhasiddhi

I was diagnosed with a high-grade malignant tumor in my thigh at the age of 44. This was deeply shocking, for me and for my entire circle of family and friends, and began a 4-year journey that I am still traversing. After the diagnosis there was a flurry of activity to find specialists, as it was a rare tumor, and find the right treatment plan.  I had to check into a hospital for the first round of chemotherapy, and quickly dropped down a deep, black hole. I entered a phase of intense physical and emotional upheaval. The drug load was severe—it affected me mentally, as well as physically. My body was alternately poisoned, then propped up with blood transfusions, antibiotics, liquid nutrition, fluids, etc., only to begin the cycle all over again.

Then the chemo was halted when the tumor seemed to get larger, and I became convinced that I was going to die. This was a very low point, when I was in Houston for one month getting radiation treatments. I started to experience terror, much bigger than anything I had experienced before, and it did not abate. I realized that I might die and cause my children terrible grief. I realized that I was deeply afraid of death. I was so filled with anxiety that I had to start taking anti-anxiety drugs, just to be able to sleep for a few hours at a time.

My tumor was removed in surgery one month later and I learned that I would have to have more in-hospital chemotherapy. The chemo drugs were so intense, and one day around 4 in the morning, I was in so much misery, alone in the hospital room. I just wanted my experience to stop, and I couldn’t stop sobbing. I began imagining that I was in Tara’s lap. She was holding me, and I could feel deep love and compassion for myself. And my experience shifted. The pinnacle of my suffering became so suffused with love that it changed to ecstasy. I was even able to move around the hospital, dragging my IV, and enjoy this experience for several hours. It felt good to allow love and compassion to pour in, this was the beginning of intense inner healing for me. It was quite beautiful.

Of course, like any experience, this one has become just a memory. And perhaps it is not very important in-and-of itself. But I believe that it was the first time that I really experienced self-love and great compassion. And although I cannot hold on to that experience, what has lasted is a much kinder, gentler inner experience. And this has changed everything.  I no longer struggle so much. I feel much lighter and healthier.  And if something difficult comes up, I meet that with love and compassion. I still have a lot of uncertainty in my life—the cancer recurred once more in the leg, and I am scanned every 3 months to check for tumors. But I feel much more at ease with whatever happens. I reaped so much benefit and well-being from the cancer and my practice, how can I not be grateful?

From Lama Pat Berube, Sukhasiddhi teacher and Director of the Clear Light Institute

 I received a late night call from a Reno, Nevada hospital to say my partner had been air lifted from a remote area in the Nevada desert after a serious accident. He had flipped his SUV in a remote  desert area.  Windows blown out and the cold night moved in as he wrestled with how he would survive the exposure and likely predators.   Early in the evening, lights of a truck shown along the remote road and brought the hope for help.  A call to 911 and the air ambulance was on its way.

The next day he was discharged and we drove back to the scene and on to the home of a lovely couple who came to his rescue and saved his belongings.  It was nearly dark when we started down that long remote road back to Reno with only the dim light and shadows of the  full moon illuminating our way.  Soon, he was in the grip of overwhelming anxiety as he relived the accident with every turn.

I started to chant the Tara mantra and I asked him to join me.  As we chanted, we soon felt a soft warm flow embracing and enveloping us seemingly arising from within and without.  Anxiety and fear dissolved and with it the understanding  of our interconnection as inseparable from Tara and wisdom mind.  Safely home and after all these years we are still inspired by the memories of the blessings of Tara during that difficult time.

Homage to Noble Lady Tara who dispels all fears and every obstacle to our attainment of complete understanding..

Green Tara Retreat June 18-24, 2018