The Goddess surely recommends this teaching and out of her great compassion will train you if you let her:
"Calm abiding is a state where the meditator sets his or her mind on an object of observation. Setting the mind on the object of observation is likened to tying an elephant to a post. The rope symbolizes mindfulness; the post symbolizes the object of observation; the elephant symbolizes the mind. It is said that if we tie the elephant of the mind to the post of an object of observation with the rope of mindfulness, we can achieve any good quality we want... Moreover, tying our minds to an internal object of observation is like tying up all external sources of harm, as well; external sources of harm will not be able to inflict damage...
"Now I will explain calm abiding in terms of a type of calm abiding that takes the body of a Buddha as its object of observaton... In order to develop calm abiding, one must overcome five faults. The first is laziness. The second is forgetting the instruction--that is, forgetfulness of the object of observation. The third is laxity. The fourth is non-application--that is, non-application of the antidotes to laxity and excitement. The last is overapplication of the antidotes to laxity and excitement...
"To overcome these five faults, there are eight applications--that is, antidotes, or remedies. There are four antidotes to laziness: faith, aspiration, exertion, and pliancy. The antidote to forgetting the instruction is mindfulness. The antidote to laxity and excitement is introspection. The antidote to non-application is application--that is, application of the antidotes--and the antidote to overapplication is equanimity--that is, desisting from application."
Recently, I received a query by email that Bokar Rinpoche has the answer to in his excellent text on Tara.
Question: Generally, a "pure land," a paradise, is attributed to the deities and they dwell in it. What is Tara's pure land? Answer: Tara dwells, as Avelokatishvara, in the pure land of Potala, manifested on earth by a mountain in southern India. Nevertheless, a pure land is attributed to Tara. It is a particular domain, called "Harmony of Turquoise Leaves."
It doesn't do much good to have an intellectual understanding of this. The real question is how to experience Tara's pure land. Every Buddha creates a Buddha field and with meditation, devotion, and committment to the deity over many years, you may come to live in that Buddha field. Then you truly know where the pure land is.
As you may know, after the recent hospitalization of HHDL, it has been suggested by his oracle that we accumulate 100 million Green Tara Mantra and or the 21 praises to Tara. As of 5 February there were 10 million accumulated. We don't know if this is a world-wide count or a national count. It is hoped that over the weekend the goal will be mostly achieved. If you are doing these practices either individually or in a group you can send your totals to email@example.com.
In her aspect as Mother of the Buddhas, Tara has many great teachers as disciples, but few devotees who love her with all their hearts and dwell constantly in her presence. Those motivated by self improvement or the teaching/improvement of others may find more satisfying accomplishment in both aspects by dwelling on expanding love in their heart for her and capturing clearly her image in the mind as a continual practice.
The primary focus of the Goddess is expansion of the hearts of her devotees to reflect the great compassion she holds in her own heart. Yet wisdom is an aspect that needs equal development and there is noone wiser than Tsongkhapa in the philosophic tradition of Tibet. Here we have the unique opportunity to experience his devotional praises which carry the energy of the union of wisdom and compassion. Tsongkhapa is one of the few teachers that the Goddess recommends to her students without reservation.
My spouse, who is on her way to India and Nepal insisted I read this book. Greenwald's search for the perfect statue of the Buddha in Nepal left me alternately laughing and crying. Laced with Buddhist stories and insights into magical Katmandu, along with incisive commentary on corruption, repression, and drug dealing by the royal family in the Hindu kingdom, he turns the comical aspects of his own quest into a confrontation with reality. Tara is mentioned throughout and for those of us who are just a little too serious, it could help to lighten up a bit.
Combs provides insight into the process of developing consciousness. For example, quoting William James:
"The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will. No one is compos sui if he (or she) have it not. An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence."
Meditation on the Goddess is guaranteed to improve this faculty and you may experience this as Her primary mode of training.
The Homages to the Twenty-one Taras is the single most important praise of the Goddess in the entire literature... Its recitation is ... ideally suited to a low and murmurous chanting, a rising and falling hum that lasts as long as one's breath; in every ritual where the Goddess is praised at all, almost without exception this is the praise that is used. Thus the monks now visualize that these "praises to the noble Tara, this King of Tantras," are recited not only by the monks themselves but also by all sentient beings, and the sound thereof arises even from the very elements. The recitation begins with this introductory verse, called Her "praise with the basic mantra":
OM! Homage to the holy and noble Tara!
Homage, tara, quick one, heroine,
removing terror with TUTTARE,
savioress, granting all aims with TURE,
the syllables SVAHA: to you I bow!
from Beyer, Stephan. The Cult of Tara: Magic and Ritual in Tibet. University of California Press, 1978. For an extended commentary see part two of Willson, Martin. In Praise of Tara: Songs to the Saviouress, Revised Edition. Wisdom Publications, 1996.
"There are moments
during life when a startling but marvellous experience leaps into mind as though
coming from another world. The magic that calls if forth--as though someone
had accidentally whispered the 'open sesame' that rolls the stone back from
the hidden treasure--is often so fleeting as to be forgotten in the joy of the
experience. It may be a thin cadence of music: a skylark bursting into song,
the splash of a wave, a flute played by moonlight. It may be a grand harmony
of sound, peaceful or awe-inspiring: the murmurous voices of a summer's afternoon
or the fateful shrieking and drumming of a mountain storm. It may be something
seen: a lovely smile or the curve of an arm; a single gesture, form or hue of
compelling beauty; a familiar scene transformed by an unusual quality of light;
a majestic panorama of interweaving colours splashed across sea or sky; a cluster
of rocks suggestive of enormous beings imbued with life. Or the spell may be
wrought by a sudden exaltation springing directly from the mind and jerking
it, so to speak, into an unknown dimension."