The Cult of Tara: Magic and Ritual in Tibet
"The real history of man is the history of religion." The truth of the famous dictum of Max Muller, the father of the History of Religions, is nowhere so obvious as in Tibet. Western students have observed that religion and magic pervade not only the forms of Tibetan art, politics, and society, but also every detail of ordinary human existence. And what is the all-pervading religion of Tibet? The Buddhism of that country has been described to us, of course, but that does not mean the question has been answered. The unique importance of Stephan Beyerís work is that it presents the vital material ignored or slighted by others: the living ritual of Tibetan Buddhists. The reader is made a witness to cultic proceedings through which the author guides him carefully. He does not force one to accept easy explanations nor does he direct one's attention only to aspects that can be counted on to please. He leads one step by step, without omitting anything, through entire rituals, and interprets whenever necessary without being unduly obtrusive. Oftentimes, as in the case of the many hymns to the goddess Tara, the superb translations speak directly to the reader, and it is indeed as if the reader himself were present at the ritual.
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AH HUM altar server Amitabha assembly Atisa avert basic Blessed Bliss block print Bodhisattvas body Buddhas Buddhist Cakrasamvara Cintacakra cleansing Clear Light colored Conquerors contemplation cult death deity's Diamond disciples dissolves divine empowered enter essence evil evocation fierce flask flowers folios function Gelug gesture go for refuge goddess guru heart high patron deities hindering demons Holy Lady Homage hosts HUM PHAT initiation knowledge lama light radiates lineage Lord lotus magical attainments mandala mantra Master mind monastery monastic monks moon Mount Meru Nagarjuna nectar nonreality offerings one's pacifying Pad-ma performed practitioner praises pray prayer precious Process of Perfection protection recite the mantra retinue Rgyud Rgyud-'grel ritual service says self-generation subjugate SVAHA syllable symbolic Tara's Tathagatas thought of enlightenment thread-cross Three Jewels Tibet Tibetan tion torma trans Tsongk'apa Vairocana vajra Vajrasattva verses vows wheel White Tara Yi-dam yid-bzhin yoga yogin zhes bya-ba