The White Tara Sadhana (Practice of contraction and expansion)

In the beginning of the practice we learn to distance and diminish those objects and phenomena which cause suffering and to enlarge and bring closer those objects and phenomena which are desirable for us. By enlarging and bringing phenomena closer we increase the clarity of their perception.

We then learn to contract objects to the size of a point and to expand them to the size of universe.

Exercise:

In our heart we visualize a star-like spot of bright white-and-pale-blue light. It has a size of the tip of a forefinger. It looks as if it was lit by a projector on a stage. There is darkness all around and only this little spot, where everything happens, is illuminated.

We next visualize own body inside this spot, in our current posture: if we are sitting – then in a sitting pose, if we are lying – then in a lying pose. We see our own body inside this tiny spot of light on stage.

We then expand this focused light to include within it a representation of not only our body, but everything within the room in which we currently reside. We then expand this further to include our whole house and its surroundings.

Then our city, including all those places which we usually visit, then entire planet is visualized inside the spot of light.

Then our entire Universe with planets, stars, and the Milky Way is inside this spot.

Now we cultivate the following thought: the entire world is inside us; this world is our mind and we feel compassion towards all beings of this world – toward beings who feel themselves separated, who suffer, who undergo diseases and pain. And we are compassionate towards them all, towards all these beings in our heart. And when we experience compassion towards all the tiny objects in this world, we sincerely desire that their sufferings lessen, that they all be happy.

We visualize how slowly, with a feeling of love, we let the world out: first we let out the stars and the Milky Way, the Sun, the planets, and our planet Earth, then we let out our city with its surroundings, roads, cars and people moving there. Then we let out our house with its surroundings and our room – they are all outside our body now. And finally we let out the own body – we are back to the world, where we started our journey from. But we are back with compassion and loving kindness available to fill this world with.

And when the entire world is outside of us, that which was left inside is luminous emptiness. We can spend some time meditating upon this luminous emptiness, seeing that it is this luminous emptiness which makes it possible for us to create all concepts and images, all ideas about what we are (for example feelings of being happy or sad).  It is this luminous emptiness which enables us to contract and expand, to absorb and emit.

And now we may see how this luminous emptiness takes a shape of an eight-petal lotus, then its petals close and preserve this luminosity, this precious energy inside.

Commentary

This practice of contraction and expansion is connected with White Tara.

White Tara’s immeasurable feeling is compassion, her correspondent organ is the bladder.

The story which may be related to this practice is a story of Maya’s dream, Buddha’s mother.

Queen Maya had a dream that a young elephant, white as the snow on mountain-tops, with six white tusks, descended from the sky and contracted to the size of rise grain and then entered the right side of her body. Thus Buddha’s birth was predicted.

Ilona Erkin

Translation: Ilona Erkin & Dorey Glenn