21 Praises to Tara

Some years ago the Vajrasound project started with the request of Erik Pema Kunsang to me and my partner at that time, Sascha, to record his translation of the 21 Praises to Tara. Ever since the story of connecting to Tara kept unfolding.

My connection to Dharma came about via the Triple Excellence Tara online program, that was created by Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and some of his disciples (www.dharmasun.org) . In the online program, which uses as a starting point Chogyur Lingpa’s Tara terma, which is meant to be practiced particularly in our times, we also learn, after having laid a solid foundation of preliminary teachings, the Tara Sadhanas. I have been lucky enough to attend quite a few seminars about Tara, led by the great Lama and Chantmaster Lama Tenzin Sangpo. There I was asked to also chant their translation of the praises to Tara.

So in this way over the years I have kept revisiting chanting the Praises in English, and I found different ways to chant them, sometimes slow, or sometimes, in the context of the many repetitions much faster. One voice, multiple voices, monotonous, melodic, harmonic etc. This process is endless, and ongoing.

Now that I’m writing this, april 2020, presenting yet another version, and video to it, we are in the midst of the Corona pandemic, and it seems ever so relevant to practice Dharma, and indeed recite the Praise to Tara, that carry blessings that are exactly what we seem to need in these times. Another reason to turn my focus again to praising Tara, in a way that could hopefully be beneficial fo r

So I am going to make a bit of an overview of the different versions of chanting the praises here, and you should not be surprised if some more varieties will come soon. Different people have different inclinations, and I hope by presenting a few options you can find a style of chanting that suits you most, or feel inspired to find it.

Now that I find myself writing in a more personal way than I before have done on this site in the past, I would like to express my heartfelt well wishes to all those in the world that are suffering under the current situation, now and in the period to come, and wish to dedicate these Tara praises to both the victims of this crisis, and all those that are making radical decisions, and sacrifice personal freedom in their lives with the pure wish to help others and support the weaker and vulnerables. Very inspiring, thank you!

Here we have a video showing the text and the images of the 21 manfestations of Tara according to the Chokling Tersar Tradition, in the way the triple Excellence Tara online program teaches it, with a sole rendition of a melody one cant this with:

you can find a download here

Here is another video with pictures of another tradition, Dzongzar Khyentse Rinpoche, who is one of my favorite teachers, commisioned V.V.Sapar to paint these quite unique ways of depicting Tara. you can find those paintings here as well as more intersting material about Tara

The chant here was originally intended for a recording of the complete Tara Sadhana ‘the essence of the two Accumulations’. In this Sadhana the 21 Verses of Praise are chanted 11 times in total (2,3, and then 7 times) So I was looking for a way that would have a good momentum, was not too slow, and resembled the way the melody is chanted in Tibetan.

if you would like to enjoy the painting without the text over it:

Then without bothering you with the 100 other recordings with different way of singing these praises I have piled up, Here is the video with the Erik Pema Kunsang translation. Also here the pictures used are the V.V. Sapar, however, at that time not all paintings were done yet, and the presentation is not entirely correct (I mixed in other pictures and some of the pictures are not corresponding with the verse. sorry. this was the reason I made the other version with these paintings)

Erik Pema Kunsang is a legendary translator, that played a pivotal role in making So many Dharma scriptures and teachings available. He is also a personal hero, and a pioneer in translating in a way that the prayers can be chanted. The work presented on this site would be impossible without his efforts. To me his translations have an extra power/blessing in them, the direct link with the lineage as well as his realisation can be felt.

a download can be found here

I hope the modern Tara devotee can find some inspiration in the different ways one can chant the praises to Tara. For sure many versions are to come and I am looking forward to hear how the chanting of this and other sacred texts is going to develop.