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Light and nectar flowing from Tara

An explanation of the visualization in the White Tara sadhana

This talk was given during the White Tara Winter Retreat at Sravasti Abbey.

  • Visualizing the light going into us
  • Thinking of our bodies as light, receptive vessels

White Tara Retreat 20: Sadhana visualization of light and nectar (download)

Let’s continue with the White Tara sadhana.

We were at the point where we’ve done refuge and bodhicitta. We visualized White Tara made of light on our head and from the tam at her heart all the light rays have gone out and have collected: all the life force that’s been lost or stolen, the energy of all the five elements, all the goodness of worldly beings and transcendental beings who have the siddhi of long life, all the blessings of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. All of that is absorbed back into the tam and the mantra letters at Tara’s heart. That’s where we are.

Now it says from the tam at her heart, light and nectar now flow into your body. So from the tam at Tara’s heart and from the mantra letters surrounding the tam, the light and nectar flow into your body. They come down through Tara and then down through you. Don’t think of the skull of your head as hard, and so, like, the nectar hits it and splashes off. No. The nectar just goes right down through, okay? Right down into you. You can also imagine the nectar going on the outside of your body too and cleansing the outside of your body. But especially we want to think of it really going inside of us.

The light and nectar fill your entire body. Yes? Everywhere in your body is filled, not just your head, okay? You’ve got to be aware of your entire body: and even the parts of your body that hurt, even the parts of your body that you ignore, or even the parts of the body that may be stressed, or that may carry some kind of uncomfortable feeling or memory in them. The light and nectar just comes down and it goes everywhere. It doesn’t come in, but because your stomach hurts, it then goes around your stomach. No. It goes to all of the body.

Here also, you really want to remember this. Don’t think of your body as something so hard, because if you do, the light and nectar aren’t going to be able to come through. You have to think of your body as almost like a receptive and empty vessel so that the Buddha’s blessings in the form of this light and nectar can come down into you.

There are different times for doing different mindfulness of the body meditations. When we’re doing the four establishments of mindfulness, at that time, we remember all the internal organs and everything because that is done for the purpose of seeing the body as disgusting so that we release the clinging to the body and the desire to be reborn in cyclic existence.

However, when we’re doing this meditation, it’s done for an entirely different purpose. So we think about our body in a different way. Here our body is much lighter, much hollower, something much more receptive. We don’t necessarily visualize all the organs and material things in our body, okay? If it hurts, if your body hurts in some area, the light and nectar go there and they kind of massage the area and release the tension, or fill it with light, or something like that. You’ve really go to let the light and nectar go everywhere into your body—that’s quite important.

We’ll stop here for today and continue the rest of this next time.

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.