I am delighted to share the news that my kind and precious Tibetan Buddhist lama, Zasep Tulku Rinpoche, is offering Green Tara Empowerments (initiations) on 5th June at 3.30 pm (Pacific Time). This will be followed by teachings on the practice of 21 Taras, begining on Saturday, June 12th at 3:30pm (Pacific Time) – so twenty-one weeks of teachings in all, via the same Zoom link. The times of the empowerments and teachings will best suit people living in North and South America and Australia/New Zealand.
Who is Zasep Tulku Rinpoche? He has been one of my main teachers for over 15 years, during which I have come to treasure his wisdom, humour and understanding of Westerners’ minds. Born and brought up in Tibet before the Chinese invasion, he is the spiritual head of centres around the world, and is currently based in Nelson, BC, Canada. As a recognised tulku, or reincarnate lama, he is the authentic repository of many powerful lineages and practices. He is also an extraordinary communicator – it is a privilege simply to be able to sit in his presence. You can read more about him at: https://www.zaseptulku.com/
It is our good fortune that, since Covid, Rinpoche has offered many teachings on Zoom, which previously would only have been available to a group in one place.
Who is Tara? Tara is the most beloved female deity in Tibetan Buddhism, sometimes called “the Mother of all Buddhas”. The sublime personification of compassion and wisdom in female form, she has numberless manifestations. Perhaps the best known is Green Tara, the Buddha of compassion-in-action, the mere recitation of whose mantra is said to invoke her presence instantly. Of all the Buddhas, Tara is the most accessible.
You can watch Rinpoche introduce Green Tara meditation practice here: https://youtu.be/59F5-GCnnIQ
For a head start, you may also like to order Rinpoche’s book on the subject: Tara in the palm of your hand: A guide to the practice of the twenty-one Taras: https://amzn.to/3oXWiYH
One thing to consider before registering is that when an empowerment of this kind is given, as a student you are expected to commit yourself to saying a number of Tara mantras every day for the rest of your life. You may also want to recite a Tara sadhana (sequence of verses which include going for refuge, generating bodhichitta, visualizing Green Tara and so forth). While the time taken doing this may not be longer than ten or fifiteen minutes, if you are not comfortable making such a commitment, it is best not to register until such time that you are. Personally, I have found this kind of practice offers a structure to my own meditation sessions which they wouldn’t otherwise have – quite apart from the inconceivable benefits of deity yoga itself.
It is also worth saying that deity practice is not something to dive into without some understanding of key Tibetan Buddhist concepts, most particularly sunyata. It would be a mistake, for example, to conceive of Tara as a deity who exists independently from your mind, rather than an aspect of enlightened consciousness to be discovered and embodied. If you feel you need a good foundation first, perhaps you can attend some of Rinpoche’s Sunday afternoon public talks on Youtube. More info here: https://gadenforthewest.org/events.html
If you have ever been curious about yidam meditation practice in general, or Tara practice in particular, this is a rare chance, not only to receive initiations from a qualified lama, but to attend 21 subsequent teaching sessions. In this way, one’s understanding of the many inter-related concepts in Tibetan Buddhism deepens, enriching one’s own personal embodiment of the practice.
Most important of all, this is an opportunity to connect to a kind and precious boddhisattva through the extraordinary process of initiation.
I often receive emails from people despairing that there is no Buddhist centre or lama anywhere near where they live. Well, through Zoom, Rinpoche – and Tara – will come to you wherever in the world you are.
To register for the Green Tara Empowerment go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/principal-green-tara-empowerment-on-zoom-with-zasep-tulku-rinpoche-tickets-154427271125
You will receive more information on the teaching program once you have registered for the Green Tara Empowerment.
For other questions relating to the empowerments and teachings please email Debra Madsen: firstname.lastname@example.org
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