Author Topic: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues  (Read 22419 times)

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2013, 05:33:53 PM »
Here is the story of how Tilopa (Acarya Tillipa) received the empowerment of the Tara Tantra by Tara herself:

"The Acarya Tillipa, in a previous time when he had not attained Siddhi and when he was living in a temple in the eastern areas, from time to time saw light arise from underneath the plinth of an image of Buddha Sunendra, and occasionally he heard the sounds of music. Digging in the earth and looking there he saw this very Tantra of Tara. At that time he was not able to find anywhere for empowerment into that Tantra. Later, having attained the supernormal Siddhi powers, he went to the western land of Urgyen where there was a certain bluish-green girl who bore all the signs of a Dakini. He showed the signs which had been explained in the tantra and she gave the answering signs back to him. Tillipa prayed to her and she was transformed into the Goddess Tara and gave him the blessings and the empowerment of the Tantra. Tillipa taught Acarya Naropa who taught Dombhipa, Kanakasri, Kandhapa and Thakkinagnapa. ...Tillipa was begged for instruction by Lilavajra who was himself requested by Rahulagupta (one of the teachers of Atisha). Atisha received the Tara Tantra empowerment from Rahulagupta."

(Jo Nang Taranatha, The Origin of Tara Tantra)

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2013, 12:27:08 PM »
Tibetans seem to have a special affinity with Tara. There are more stories of Tara statues or images talking than any other Buddha statues. This is perhaps due to Tara being one of the most accessible of the Tibetan deities.

Besides the stories of Tara's images speaking miraculously, Tibetans also have stories of "spontaneous sculptures", self-created images that appear slowly out of rock. In Parping, Nepal, there is a spontaneous sculpture of Tara below a cave that is associated with Padmasambhava. A temple has been built around it. Visitors are  impressed with the unmistakable likeness to Tara. It is said that this image is producing itself in response to the many prayers to Tara that are being recited. This is indeed a miracle.

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2013, 12:39:38 PM »
White Tara

White Tara is also called Wish-Fulfilling White Tara (Cintamanicakra Sita Tara). There is a famous Tibetan story that illustrates how White Tara helps her devotees:

"A Kadampa Geshe awoke one morning remembering a strange but vivid dream, in which the sun rose in the west and set in the east. Feeling disturbed, he went to his lama and recounted the dream, but far from setting his mind at rest, the lama told him that the dream was most inauspicious and was a sign of impending death. The Geshe then went to a palm reader, who confirmed that he had only three years left to live. Realising the gravity of his situation, the Geshe decided to forego his studies and instead to devote his remaining years to practice.

He visited a lama well-known for his wisdom in giving appropriate practice, explained his predicament, and asked for a practice that would help him to reach enlightenment quickly. However, the lama told him not to worry and gave him the empowerment of White Tara with instructions to do the practice diligently, promising that in this way, his life would be lengthened. The grateful Geshe embarked on the practice with great energy and soon had a vision of White Tara, who told him he would live to be sixty.

Shortly before his sixtieth birthday, the Geshe turned his mind once again to the deity. White Tara appeared in another vision and told him that if he made a statue of her, he would live another ten years. The Geshe immediately made the statue and continued living in good health. As he neared his seventieth birthday, White Tara asked him to make another statue. The Geshe lived on to see his ninety-fifth birthday before he died.
(Gill Farrer-Halls, The Feminine Face of Buddhism)

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2013, 03:43:00 PM »
Here is another historical account of the miracles of Tara that occurred in Tibet. It is one of the stories of how people benefited from their deep devotion to Mother Tara:

"Over a period of about three years a certain monk constructed a Tara temple and from the hand of the Tara image a long-life elixir dripped like a perpetual flow of milk. The monk, having drunk some, relinguished old age and, living for 300 years, looked as if he were a 16-year-old youth."

(Jo Nang Taranatha, "The Origin of Tara Tantra")

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2013, 03:53:19 PM »
The following story recounts how the worship of Mother Tara benefited a community of monks in Tibet:

"Once, an Upasaka stayed in a Tara temple to pray. One night while doing his prostrations at the feet of the Tara image, a stone vessel emerged from underneath the statue's feet. Whatever wealth he wished for came out of that vessel in endless quantity and also sustenance for 500 monks for a period of 30 years."

(Jo Nang Taranatha, "The Origin of Tara Tantra")

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2013, 04:08:05 PM »
Practitioners who make Tara their tutelary deity are protected from dangers. Here is a story of how a Tara devotee was saved by Tara:

"The Acarya Subhasakirti, the great Vinaya expert, was one who, supported by the Tantra causing Tara to arise, made her his tutelary divinity. Once, while going from the centre of the country to look at the western areas, he entered a temple on a border mountain. He preached there and established many centres for monks. There were many Garlog chiefs there who said, "The shaven-headed, red-robed monks will harm us. We must destroy them." And so an army of about 300 elephants arrived there. The Acarya prayed to Tara who said, "Hurl water in the oncoming army's path!" When that very thing was done, all the elephants became terrified and were quite beyond the control of any of their mahouts which were carried back to their own dwelling places."

(Jo Nang Taranatha, "The Origin of Tara Tantra")

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2013, 04:34:59 PM »
There is also the famous account of the eight Acaryas who were saved from the Eight Fears. The first story is as follows:

"In the south of India was the Acharya Dikavarma, a great practitioner of the Scriptural Collection for Ascetics and, by relying on the Tara Tantra and Yamantaka, he became perfected in the application and practice of Mantras. Debating with the heretic Brahmin Acarya Gapurila in the southern land of Vidarbha, the heretic was defeated... Then at a time when the Acharya and the monks were together in the temple and the latter were supplicating him for explanations of the Dharma, the heretic set fire to the temple. The Acarya beseeched The Noble lady (Tara), and arriving from the heavenly spheres she caused a veritable endless river of rain to shower down from the skies, and so the fire was quenched."

(Jo Nang Taranatha, "The Origin of Tara Tantra")

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2013, 01:02:34 PM »
Protectress from the Fear of Leprosy

Tara is known as the Protectress from the Fear of Leprosy. Here is a story about how Tara cured an acarya of leprosy:

In the land of Kumaraksetra, by the power of his karma, a powerful acarya caught leprosy, and as he wandered here and there from one person to another, he infected them. About 500 Brahmins caught that virulent disease from him. Relatives and doctors fled from his presence for he defiled their state of purity. Eventually he was reduced to begging for a living. One day on the road he saw a stone image of Noble Arya Tara, and with faith welling up inside him he begged her on behalf of the 500 (infected) Brahmins. A liquid-like medicine trickled in an endless stream from Tara's hand, and when he had bathed in it (he found that) the leprosy had subsided. It is said that he became as completely beautiful as the gods.

(Jo Nang Taranatha, The Origin of Tara Tantra)

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2013, 01:15:22 PM »
Protectress from the Fear of Poverty

Tara is also the Protectress from the Fear of Poverty. Below is a story of how a poor Brahmin was saved from poverty by Tara:

"A Brahmin who was extremely poor and suffering considerably as a result, came upon a stone image of Tara one day in a narrow street, and he poured out an account of how his troubles had arisen. Pointing out a site near the shrine, Tara said that it would be changed into a treasure trove. Then, exactly as she had indicated, he found many golden vessels filled with pearls and silver vessels filled with various jewels. It is said that down to the seventh generation all the sufferings due to his poverty were resolved."

(Jo Nang Taranatha, The Origin of Tara Tantra)

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2013, 04:12:25 PM »
Gyelwa Ensapa and the Mahakala painting

This is a story of Gyelwa Ensapa who became master of the complete teachings of the scriptures as well as  the complete practice instructions for the Oral Tradition given by Manjushri to Lama Tsongkhapa.

Ensapa said:

"Of the Oral Tradition, essence of the speech
of that lama known as Losang Drakpa,
most excellent chief of the spiritual sons of Manjushri,
I alone am the holder."

For most of his life Gyelwa Ensapa sought out lonely places to meditate. One day, in one of these places, he meditated on his tutelary deity with single-pointed concentration. Suddenly there arose a violent wind and the earth shook. Then, from the painted image of his Protector (Mahakala) hanging behind him, a thunderous voice came, saying:

"Chief of the twenty-four dakas,
the great Terrifying One resides at this place.
Like the white lotus sprung forth from the water,
May it be blessed in a secret way"

This blessed thangka was kept in the temple of the wrathful deities at Ensa monastery. When the great Gyelwa Ensapa passed away, during the funeral ceremonies, there were numerous rainbow canopies and continuous rain of flowers from the sky as if showered down by gods. His remains were placed in the chapel called Palace of the Dharma at Ensa Monastery. (Janice D. Willis, 1995. "Enlightened Beings")

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2013, 12:22:11 PM »
The legend of the Sandalwood Buddha

There is a very interesting story about the wooden statue that paid homage to the Buddha when the latter returned after visiting his mother in Tryastrimsa Heaven. According to legend, this is what happened:

"A local ruler, Pasentikosol, had become sufficiently concerned about the Buddha's absence that he commissioned a likeness carved from sandalwood. When the Buddha returned to earth down his miraculous triple stairway at Samkasya, Pasentikosol invited him to see the sandalwood statue, which according to legend then arose from its seat in homage to the living Buddha.

Shakyamuni, however, objected to this theatrical piece of adulation and raised his left hand, commanding the image, known as the Phra Kaen Chan, to remain seated."

This gesture of the Buddha is called the left-handed abhayamudra and is related to this particular episode.
(extracted from Michael Jordan, "Buddha. His Life in Images", pp. 256-257)

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2013, 12:12:47 PM »
Lama Tsongkhapa's self-portrait


When Lama Tsongkhapa was in northern Tibet with his master Rendawa at the Monastery of Ngamring Choday, he received gifts and letters from his family requesting him to return home. Je Tsongkhapa considered going back but decided to remain where he was as he needed to continue his studies in order to help sentient beings. Thus he wrote a letter to his mother instead and enclosed a self-portrait. When his mother opened it, the portrait spoke to her.

thor

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2013, 02:27:12 PM »
Surprising that no one has mentioned the famous speaking Tara statue located in Phelgyeling Monastery in Kathmandu.

Here's a pic of the famous Tara statue that spoke. This statue is famous throughout the Himalayan region due to its ability to speak to those with pure minds. Many have come to Phelgye Ling Monastery to behold this treasure and ask Arya Tara for her blessings.

[above from phelgyeling's website]

Aurore

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2013, 03:48:40 PM »
Another talking Tara also in Kathmandu, The Itum Bahal Talking Tara. Located in the temple of Itum Bahal, this Tara is said to have flown there from Tibet and is called the Talking Tara.

Midakpa

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Re: Stories of Talking Buddha Statues
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2013, 12:28:09 PM »
Lama Tsongkhapa and Atisha

When the great Lama Tsongkhapa was writing "Unlocking the Door of the Supreme Path" below the Lion Rock at Radreng, north of Lhasa, he would make petitions in his prayers to the lineage holders of the Lamrim tradition. He had with him a statue of Atisha that depicted Atisha with his head bent over to one side. Whenever Je Rinpoche petitioned this statue, he received visions of all the gurus of the Lamrim lineage, and they would discuss Dharma with him.  He had visions of Atisha, Dromtonpa, Potowa, and Sharawa for a month. These latter three figures finally dissolved into Atisha, who placed his hand at the crown of Je Rinpoche's head and said, "Perform deeds for the teaching and I shall help you." This means that it was he who requested Tsongkhapa to write the Great Stages of the Path. Je Rinpoche completed it up to the end of the part dealing with mental quiescence. Venerable Manjughosha requested him to complete the book. As a result, Je Rinpoche wrote the section on special insight.
(Pabongka Rinpoche, "Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand")