At the age of fourty-one, Machig Labdron stayed in a retreat cave in Chipug which was blessed for practice. On the fourth day of the last month of spring, in the middle of the night, the majestic Lady Tara appeared, surrounded by numerous dakinis. She bestowed on Machig the four initiations of the five primordial Buddhas according to the Udumvara Tantra...
Thereupon Machig composed a hymn of praise to each of the five Buddha families and later improvised another one in twenty-one stanzas to Tara herself. She then addressed Tara as follows: "You have shown me great kindness and given me the most extraordinary power of initiation and blessing. Yet I don't know if a woman like me, not particularly bright, and of feeble capacities, will be able to accomplish the benefit of beings..."
Tara smiled, then after a quick glance at the dakinis of her entourage, she said: "Yogini, do not feel discouraged! In the course of previous lives you have studied and mastered the meaning of the scriptures of Sutra and Tantra. So today it is sufficient for me to reveal this meaning to you through mere symbols. You are a mind emanation of the Great Mother Yum Chenmo: we are inseparable. You are the wisdom dakini, the sovereign of the Vajradhatu and the source of the liberation of all phenomena. Don't lose heart. Keep your determination."
But Machig replied: "How could I possibly be an emanation of the Great Mother, inseparable from you? And in what way am I the source of the liberation of all phenomena? And where is the residence of the Great Mother?"
Tara answered, "Yogini, although in your innermost heart there is clear knowledge about the past, listen carefully and I'll explain it to you. The one known as the primordial Mother Yum Chenmo is the ultimate nature of all phenomena, emptiness, the essence of reality, free from the two veils. She is the pure expanse of emptiness, the knowledge of the non-self. She is the matrix which gives birth to all the Buddhas of the three times.
"However, so as to enable all sentient beings to accumulate merit, the Great Mother appears as an object of veneration through my aspirations and prayers for the sake of all beings. And so, through the power of my wishes and compassion, from the dharmata there appears bright light in the shape of an orange-colored bindu marked with the syllable MUM, ablaze with light. In turn this transforms into the Great Mother Yum Chenmo, golden in color, with one face and four hands, sitting in the vajra posture, her body beautiful with all the major and minor marks of a Buddha. Surrounded by her princely sons, the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions, Yum Chenmo resides in the Gandavyuha sphere of the celestial pure land of Akanistha, in a marvelous celestial palace.
"From my heart there radiates a greenish-black ray of light marked with the syllable HUNG and it enters into the Mother's heart, awaking her. Then it radiates out again gathering the power of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions and it dissolves again into the Mother's heart. Instantly, she transforms into a sky-blue dakini with one face and four hands. She is the sovereign of Vajhradhatu. From her body, speech, mind, qualities and activity appear innumerable manifestations. Among these, the mind emanation is the bluish-black Vajra Lady with one face and two hands who subjugates all demons. On the crown of her head is a boar's head emerging from her hair. Her splendor illuminating the three worlds, she gathers all the dakinis under her power. She sets all demonic forces to work as her servants; she is the source of the liberation of all phenomena.
"Now this Vajra Lady, who subjugates all demons for the sake of all sentient beings, took numberous births in appropriate times and places. She mastered the Pitakas and accomplished tremendous deeds for the sake of living beings. Finally she took birth in Tibet. She is no other than yourself, Shining Light of Lab."
Edou, Jerome. Machig Labdron and the Foundations of Chod. Snow Lion Publications, 1996, pp. 151-152.
This has always been one of my favourite passages from Machig's Namthar (spiritual biography) .... her direct meeting with Tara, and Tara's introduction to her true identity and the dispelling of her remaining doubts. Wonderful!!!