Sunday, June 11, 2006

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha

First, an update. I walked into the temple last night for the first time, 11 days post transplant. It may have seemed a slow casual stroll to an observer, but to me it was a great adventurous trek. I circled around all the altars and then back to the car. My surgical team had advised me that walking was the best thing I could do to help recovery, though my body has plenty of excuses and reasons for not doing so. Walking, and drinking lots of water to flush poisons from all the drugs. Naturally, drinking lots leads to walking as the inevitable results of drinking manifest in an urge from the bladder, but I wanted to push myself and walk some extra to hasten the healing process, hence a trip to the temple.

This advice had been part of my first post release clinic after getting out of the hospital. The greatest news though was that I didn’t have to come back for my next clinical visit for a week. I had originally been told pretransplant that twice a weeks would be necessary for the first month or two, and then weeklies, but my blood test numbers were normalizing enough so I can go immediately to weeklies. Yee hah.

I have been mulling over how to write about this whole experience. On the one hand, it is easy to just go to the nectar, but it seems that that would give a distorted, unrealistic view of the entirety of what happened. Still, to give the nectar and the proper balance would take a lot of posts, and in the meantime life continues to unfold with daily mininectars coming one after another. For me, mostly of the kind that would be considered “material”, but that is the platform I function on. So I am still working that out. Today though, I am taking the easy route of a nectar post.

In the transition unit between the ICU and release, the nurses change shifts every 12 hours. In the ICU it is different set of nurses, then in the transition unit it is different set as you go from the weekend to the weekdays, and it seems even within the unit the schedule of which nurses get which patients can vary day to day. Bottom line is every time a shift changed, it seemed I had a whole new set of faces to familiarize with. An RN and a PCT is assigned you each shift, and they write their names on a dry eraser board. I did have a few nurses a couple of times, but the most stable name was Tara, who I got 4 different shifts.

Be advised: I will now be talking about Buddhism, so either proceed no further if you find that troubling, or at least turn off your mayavadi alarm. I will be promoting neither the practice nor the philosophy of Buddhism.

The name Tara struck me as interesting because I remembered hearing the Green Tara and White Tara mantras at some point. I knew that to some schools of Buddhism they have importance, though I didn’t know what they meant or anything. I asked Tara if she knew what her name meant, and she said no, mostly her parents had liked the sound of it. The "sound" of it. I told her about the Buddhist connection and said she might be interested in checking it out on the internet. Having made that suggestion, I got around to doing it myself and was blown away by what I read. Talk about an appropriate name for my nurse to have had in my condition. I felt like Krishna had made a special arrangement for me.

I have pasted in the explanation I found. To see pictures and a link to a sound file of the mantra itself, use the click through links. I didn’t check out the sound files myself because of the limits of my dialup connection and I already have plenty of mantras. (and no, this is not the obligatory devotee nectar story I promised, that is just now coming).

Green Tara Mantra

"Om Taare Tuttaare Ture Svaahaa
(Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha)

Tara (whose name means "star" or "she who ferries across") is the female Bodhisattva of compassion. In particular she represents compassion in action, since she's in the process of stepping from her lotus throne in order to help sentient beings."

White Tara Mantra

"Om Taare Tuttaare Ture Mama Ayuh Punya Jñaanaa Pushtim Kuru Svaahaa
(Om Tare Tuttare Ture Mama Ayuh Punya Jñana Pustim Kuru Svaha)

White Tara (Sitatara) is associated with long life. Her mantra is often chanted with a particular person in mind. She's another representation of compassion, and she's pictured as being endowed with seven eyes (look at the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and her forehead) to symbolize the watchfulness of the compassionate mind.

As a variant form of Green Tara, her mantra begins very similarly. But added to the play on the name of Tara are several words connected with long life. Ayuh is long life (as in Ayurvedic medicine). Punya means the merit that comes from living life ethically, and this merit is said to help one to live long and happily. Jnana is wisdom. Pushtim means wealth or abundance. Kuru is a mythical land to the north of the Himalayas, which was said to be a land of long life and happiness (it may have been the original northern home of the aryans). Mama means "mine" and indicates that you'd like to possess these qualities of long life, merit, wisdom, happiness, etc. You can of course choose to wish these qualities for someone else -- perhaps a loved one who is ill."


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