Gilt bronze inset with turquoise and coral, Tibet.
Sitātapatrā is the 'Goddess of the White Parasol' - protector against supernatural danger.
She manifests as the wrathful form of Avalokiteshvara, and is venerated in both the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
Her name is composed of sita (white) and ātapatrā (parasol or umbrella)
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.
The Short Mantra for Ushnisha Sitatapatra (Thousand Armed Goddess of the Great White Umbrella) is as follows:
- OM SARVA TATHAGATA USHNISHA SHITATA PATRI HUM PHAT
- "His Sacred White Canopy protects us!"
San dan dwo, Bwo da lan
Sa dan dwo, Be di li
Sa dan dwo, Bwo da la
Syi dan dwo Bwo da la
"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."
"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."
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."
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
Om Namo Shitatapatra Devi
The Shurangama Mantra section containing Great White Canopy is :
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,
PAN TAN JYA LU MI,
BWO LA PI TWO,
PAN TAN JYA LU MI,
DWO JR TWO,
E NA LI,
PI SHE TI,
BA SHE LA,
PAN TWO PAN TWO NI,
BA SHE LA BANG NI PAN,
HU SYIN DU LU YUNG PAN,
SWO PE HE.
Sitātapatrā, one of the most complex Vajrayana goddesses.
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.