Deity-Yoga: Green Tara Mother of Activity
I pray that you come, Arya Tara
Everything is in readiness for you.
I offer the first blossoms of spring,
The fragrance of incense,
A fresh candle on the altar,
The music of your Mantra singing in my mind,
My dancing heart
You appear before me
That I may gaze upon the splendor of your beauty
And real-ize that beauty within me
Embodying meditation through a combination of powerful visualizations, beautiful devotional mantras and meditative movement. Deity-Yoga meditation allows you every opportunity for a deeply moving experience within the Tara Temple at The Hearts Mirror.
GREEN TARA SADHANA – 7 MODULES COVERED OVER 7 WEEKS
The Green Tara Sadhana offers an ancient method of meditation to generate a heart of wisdom and compassion that serves in ending the cycle of samsara – the wheel of suffering.
Deity-Yoga Meditation is not a” religion” and you do not have to be a Tibetan Buddhist to engage in this practice. It is a method of meditation that anchors the mind in the radiance of wisdom and compassion that rests within.
Our meditations are non-sectarian and open to men and women. No prior experience in this form of meditation is necessary. It is however, required that you attend all modules as they do not stand alone. The modules are designed to build on each other for purpose of clarity and integration of the material.
MODULE 1: OVERVIEW
We begin each module with centering and relaxing into the moment – an opportunity for the busyness of the day to dissolve we begin by bringing the body mind into stillness with a short guided meditation that focuses on the breath
The first module focuses on setting the foundation for subsequent modules to build on. We explore what meditation is and how this form of meditation works. According to Wikipedia:
Wikipedia explains Meditation as: “a practice where an individual uses a technique such as mindfulness, or focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.:22829:180:415:107
Meditation has been practiced since antiquity in numerous religious traditions and beliefs. Since the 19th century, it has spread from its origins to other cultures where it is commonly practiced in private and business life.
Meditation may be used with the aim of reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and increasing peace, perception, self-concept, and well-being. Meditation is under research to define its possible health (psychological, neurological, and cardiovascular) and other effects.”
In our first module we uncover the basics of Deity-Yoga, in particular Green Tara as a powerful form of meditation. As described in the above Wikipedia quote, we quickly find Deity-Yoga fits all of the above stated descriptions, use and benefits of meditation.
MODULE 2: SANKALPA MEDITATION
The second module introduces what are referred to as “The Preliminaries” The preliminaries create an internal atmosphere for meditation. Turning the mind away from our daily demands, preoccupations and obsessions, to allow time for deep reflection we begin by setting our intention and motivation for engaging Deity-Yoga meditation with the preliminaries. The preliminaries are the traditional method of “taking Refuge” and the “Bodhicitta” approach to meditation. Bodhicitta is an intention that reaches out beyond an isolated “self” concern for happiness to a broader more inclusive concern for the happiness of all beings. In this module we unpack the preliminaries
MODULE 3: VISUALIZATION AND MANTRA MEDITATION
In the third module we examine the meaning and use of the mantra and the iconography and symbols of the deity Tara that form the visualization and methods used in this practice to anchor the mind in compassion.
MODULE 4: MANDALA MEDITATION
The Fourth module opens the mandala. Having clearly understood the meaning and method of the meditation from the previous modules, we are now ready to put the pieces together and engage a little more deeply with the meditation.
MODULE 5: TONGLEN MEDITATION PRACTICE
The Fifth module: Having established our own mind in a blissful state of happiness and a heart deeply filled with compassion and wisdom from the previous modules, we are able to broaden our vision and hold a much deeper altruistic intention – that of happiness for all beings. This is a beautiful aspect of the Tara Deity-Yoga method of compassion called Tonglen – a meditation of giving and receiving the Light of Wisdom and Compassion.
MODULE 6: SHUNYATA MEDITATION
The Sixth Module we let go of the form of meditation, releasing the “method” and abiding in a state of stillness … shunyata.
MODULE 7: SADHANA
With the Seventh Module we are ready to experience the complete practice of Deity-Yoga known as the Tara Sadhana
THINGS TO BE AWARE OF WHEN YOU ARRIVE:
When you enter the “Tara Temple/ meditation room”, please remove your shoes and place them in the area provided along with any small item you may have brought in with you such as purses etc. Due to space being limited, please leave your heavy jackets etc locked in your car.
Please turn off your cell phones or turn to “vibrate” if you are “on-call”
The temperature in the room changes depending on when we are sitting or when we begin to move in meditation and it is recommended for your comfort that you come dressed in layers to accommodate the changes in temperature and in a way that allows you to move and sit on the floor. (If you prefer a chair please do not hesitate to let me know prior to your arrival so I have one set out for you). Cushions and back jacks are provided.
You may bring your water bottle in with you. (But no other food or drink please).
You may park in our drive way or across the street, (Please be aware that to avoid getting a ticket you cannot park on the same side of the street as the house).
For further detailed information on Deity-Yoga, please read the article below (taken from Ken McCleod’s website “unfettered mind”)
To explore the process of embodying an “awake” personality, we can start with something noncontroversial, namely, “awake compassion”. (Strange as it may seem, you can actually use any personality in this exercise. They all work. Well come back to that later. For now, well work with awake compassion.)
We all know what un-awake compassion looks like: persistent care-taking that can cross over into tyranny; a compulsion to “rescue” or “help” that ignores appropriate boundaries; a “pitying” attitude that masks feelings of superiority; or a blind naivet that fails to see what is helpful or harmful.
Instead, imagine being completely awake and present and, at the same time, embodying compassion. Imagine how you go about your day. How do you walk? How do you sit? When you see your spouse or children in the morning, how do you greet them? How do you prepare for the day? How do you drive to work? When you converse with people, how do you listen, how do you speak? What happens in you when you see another person being mean or unpleasant? What happens when you see them succeeding in their lives? What happens when you see someone in pain or struggling?
Reflect on these questions during your formal meditation sessions and during your day. What comes up for you? In this approach, its good to begin with the body reactions, the sensations that come up in your body when you consider being awake compassion. Then include emotional sensations. Only when you can rest in the physical and emotional sensations should you include all the stories and associations connected with being awake compassion.
As you work with these reflections, at first you may feel a release from family, social, or professional constraints and a clarity that allows you to connect with and help others openly and naturally. After the initial opening, the quality of attention often drops a level and you may become aware of other voices and other reactions. Does your body tense up? Do you feel contractions around your heart, in your stomach, in your jaw? Do you feel alone, exposed, or helpless, as if nothing can protect you from the pain of the world? Maybe you discover that you dont really want to be present with anothers pain. Maybe you withdraw or adopt a posture of pity, feeling sorry for those who suffer, so that a subtle sense of superiority separates you from them. Maybe you feel that there are no boundaries. Maybe you feel a terrible loneliness because you have to help everyone and there is no one for you to turn to.
Just as in regular meditation, return to attention, return to being awake compassion. Remember, you are completely awake and you see everything through the eyes of compassion. Let this feeling permeate your body, your emotions, and your heart. You have infinite resources to open and respond to the pain of others. You know nothing of tiredness or fatigue. You see into the workings of the world. You don’t have to withdraw from pain or difficulty. You are clear, direct, sympathetic, insightful, wise, or responsive whatever you need to be in each and every situation you encounter. You do not fear the pain of the world. You don’t need to fix it or make it go away. You can be with the pain, no matter how bad or terrible it is.
As awake compassion, you experience no separation. You know that the apparent division of experience between I and the world is a misperception and that even the subtlest sense of superiority is a further delusion. Instead, you are present, and you let the pain in the world tell you where the imbalance is. You know the imbalance so deeply that you know what, if anything, needs to be done, and you know how to do it.