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Sitatapatra

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Tibet, mid-18th century, Gilt bronze inset with turquoise and coral, H102cm (40in.). The State Hermitage Museum. Saint Petersburg, Prince Dmitry Ukhtomsky Collection.
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Sanskrit:  Sitātapatrā
অবলোকিতেশ্বর
Tibetan:  Dukkar, Dug-Kar
Information
Venerated by:  Mahayana, Vajrayana
Attributes:  Protection from Supernatural Danger


Sitātapatrā (pronounced: see TAH tah pah TRAH) is the 'Goddess of the White Parasol' [1] - protector against supernatural danger. She manifests as the wrathful form of Avalokiteshvara

Names

Her name is composed of sita (white) and atapatrā (parasol or umbrella) [2] In Sanskrit, the pronunciation of her name varies between Siddham (syi dan dwo bwo da la) and Devanagari (shi-tat-ta pa-ta-ra).

Mantras

The Shurangama Mantra (found in the 12 page long Shurangama Sutra) is the most commonly practiced source of the Great White Canopy Goddess (White Umbrella Deity form of Avalokiteshvara) According to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Great White Umbrella is the practice for healing illness, dispelling interferences and spirit harms, quelling disasters, and bringing auspiciousness. To do practice in full requires Kriya tantra empowerment of the White Umbrella Deity. The sadhana cultivation can be performed without such an empowerment with permission from a qualified master, however, one cannot self-generate as the deity. [3]


Ushnisha Sitatapatra

The Short Mantra for Ushnisha Sitatapatra (Thousand Armed Goddess of the Great White Umbrella) is as follows:

OM SARVA TATHAGATA USHNISHA [4] SHITATA PATRI HUM PHAT [5]
"His Sacred White Canopy protects us!" [6]


Jeweled Parasol Flower Canopy

San dan dwo, Bwo da lan
Sa dan dwo, Be di li
Sa dan dwo, Bwo da la
Syi dan dwo Bwo da la
(Sitatapatram),[7]

"San dan dwo means ‘jeweled parasol.' Bwo da lan means ‘flowered canopy.' These parasols and canopies cover and protect the ten thousand things, so they all attain fulfillment and take their places in the scheme of things." [8]

"There are jeweled parasols and flowered canopies of Vairochana Buddha. The Heart of All Mantras subdues the demon-hordes. Covered with ten thousand virtues, one obtains independence, As, nurturing those with potentials, the Mahayana is proclaimed." [9]

Shurangama Mantra

Regarding the Great White Canopy Sheetatapatra line of the Shurangama Mantra, Shakyamuni Buddha states: “If there are people who cannot put an end to their habits from the past, you should teach them to single-mindedly recite my ‘light atop the Buddha’s summit’ unsurpassed spiritual mantra, mwo he sa dan dwo bwo da la." [10]


Ushna is heat and light - like "shine" - see line 533.


From this Sadhana the Great White Canopy Goddess' Long Mantra is as follows:

TADYATHA OM AHNALÉ AHNALÉ
KHASAMÉ KHASAMÉ BIRÉ BIRÉ SOMI SOMI
SARVA BUDDHA AHDRI TANA AHDRI TANA TÉ SARVA TATHAGATA USHNISHA SHITATA PATRI
HUM



Om Namo Shitatapatra Devi

The Shurangama Mantra section containing Great White Canopy is [11]:

SYI DAN DWO BWO DA LA,
MWO HE BA SHE LU,
SHAI NI SHAN,
MWO HE BWO LAI JANG CHI LAN,
YE BWO TU TWO,
SHE YU SHE NWO,
BYAN DA LI NA,
PI TWO YE,
PAN TAN JYA LU MI,
DI SHU,
PAN TAN JYA LU MI,
BWO LA PI TWO,
PAN TAN JYA LU MI,
DWO JR TWO,
NAN,
E NA LI,
PI SHE TI,
PI LA,
BA SHE LA,
TWO LI,
PAN TWO PAN TWO NI,
BA SHE LA BANG NI PAN,
HU SYIN DU LU YUNG PAN,
SWO PE HE.

Symbolism

Sitātapatrā, one of the most complex Vajrayana goddesses[12]. According to Miranda Shaw in the "Buddhist Goddesses of India", Sitatapatra emerged from the crown of Shakyamuni Buddha's head when he was in Trayastrimsa heaven. The Buddha announced her role to "cut asunder completely all malignant demons, to cut asunder all the spells of others...to turn aside all enemies and dangers and hatred." Her benign and beautiful form belies her ferocity as she is a "fierce, terrifying goddess, garlanded by flames, a pulverizer of enemies and demons."

In the Mahayana "Sitatapatra Sutra", she is called "Aparajita" or "undefeatable" and is also identified as a form of goddess Tara from the "Vairochana" Buddha family and is also called "Mahamaya", which is also the name of Sakyamuni's mother before he becomes the Buddha.

In other sutras, she is regarded as a female counterpart to Avalokiteśvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. Like him, Sitātapatrā manifests in many elaborate forms: having a thousand faces, arms and legs, or simply as a feminine deity of great beauty. Known foremost for her "white parasol" she is most frequently attributed with the "golden wheel". The auspiciousness of the turning of the precious wheel is symbolic of the Buddha's doctrine, both in its teachings and realizations.

See also

References

  1. The Cult of Tara: Magic and Ritual in Tibet (Hermeneutics: Studies in the History of Religions) by Stephan Beyer (1978) p.154
  2. The Wheel of Great Compassion by Lorne Ladner and Lama Zopa Rinpoche (Wisdom Publications, 2001) p.28
  3. Mantra of the White Umbrella Deity (Arya Sitatapatra Dharani)
  4. Shai ni shan, Shurangama Mantra, Lines 6, 94, 173, 192, 216, 533.
  5. White Umbrella Deity (Arya Sitatapatra)
  6. (The Liturgy of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives for the Laity Shurangama Translation, Line 198)
  7. see Shurangama Mantra lines 95, 365, 370, 531.
  8. (Hua - VBS 1-1990)
  9. (Hua - VBS 1-1990)
  10. Shurangama Sutra, Volume 6, 2003: p. 67 http://www.BTTSonline.org,
  11. "Sutra of the Foremost Shurangama at the Great Buddha's Summit Concerning the Tathagata's Secret Cause of Cultivation, His Certification to the Complete Meaning and all Bodhisattvas' Myriad Practices" lines 531-554
  12. The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs by Robert Beer (1999) p.23
cs:Sitátapatráta:சீதாதபத்திரை

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