Presented here is Tara's vow to remain in female form until all living beings attain enlightenment, from the translation by David Templeman of the "Origin of the Tara Tantra" by Jo-Nan Taranatha (b. 1575), (Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, 1981). See also "An Anthology of Sacred Texts By and About Women," edited by Serenity Young, NY: Crossroad, 1993.

TARA'S VOW

Long ago in an age before which

there was nothing else,

the Victorious One, the Tathagata Dundubhisvara

came into existence and was known as the Light

of the Various Worlds.

The Princess "Moon of Wisdom"

had the highest respect for his teaching,

and for ten million, one hundred thousand years,

made offerings to this Enlightened One,

to his attendant Sravakas,

and to countless members of the Sangha of Bodhisattvas.

The offerings she prepared each day

were in value comparable to all the precious things

which filled a distance of twelve yojanas

in each of the ten directions,

leaving no intermediate spaces unfilled.

Finally after all this

she awoke to the first concepts of Bodhi-Mind.

At that time some monks said to her:

"It is as a result of these,

your roots of virtuous actions,

that you have come into being in this female form.

If you pray that your deeds accord with the teachings,

then indeed on that account you will change your form

to that of a man, as is befitting."

After much discourse she finally replied,

"In this life there is no such distinction

as "male" and "female,"

neither of "self-identity,"

a "person"

nor any perception,

and therefore attachment to ideas

of "male" and "female"

is quite worthless.

The weak-minded are always deluded by this."

And so she vowed:

"There are many who wish to gain enlightenment

in a man's form,

and there are but few who wish to work

for the welfare of living beings

in a female form.

Therefore may I, in a female body,

work for the welfare of beings

right until Samsara has been emptied."





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