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The Mother of Perfected Wisdom
"There is a true feminist movement in Buddhism that relates to the goddess T ārā. Following her cultivation of bodhicitta, the bodhisattva's motivation, she looked upon the situation of those striving towards full awakening and she felt that there were too few people who attained Buddhahood as women. So she vowed, 'I have developed bodhicitta as a woman. For all my lifetimes along the path I vow to be born as a woman, and in my final lifetime when I attain Buddhahood, then, too, I will be a woman.'" Dalai Lama, 1989
The Bodhisattva Tara is a symbol for feminism and the inclusion of women in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. Tara's 21 forms metaphorically illustrate women's multifaceted nature, and her myriad forms provide models women might easily relate to in any situation. She emanates an aura of power, and instills a hope that women may achieve greatness amongst their male counterparts.
Tara is the Goddess who represents Perfected Wisdom and teaches the inner and outer understandings of compassion and emptiness. There are many different representations of Tara, up to twentyone in all four sects of Tibetan Buddhism, but the two more famous Taras worshipped are the Green and White Taras. Green Tara represents enlightened activity, and White Tara represents compassion, long life, and serenity (See below for further details on each of the representations of Tara). To explain how Tara came to be, we must look at Avalokitesvara's story. Avalokitesvara was looking down at the world of samsara from his Pureland, and realized all the suffering the lower three realms were enduring. He wept at the sight, and from two tears appeared White Tara and Green Tara, each acting as his "guardian angels;" reassuring him that he mustn’t stop striving to help all sentient beings. Interestingly enough, the Tara figure originated in Hinduism; later, once Mayahana became an established practice, she was transferred into Buddhist teachings. She was the first Bodhisattva to incorporate feminine principles thus known as the "Mother of Perfected Wisdom," and then later noticed as the "Mother of Compassion of Perfected Wisdom." Her face is always depicted with a subtle smile and welcoming eyes, producing the infinite wisdom that allows laity to connect with her on a personal level; and making her one of the most worshipped deities amongst the Buddhist community, especially women. Tara is a beacon to lay worship and devotion; laity can speak to her directly, rather than through a mediating monk or nun. But Tara tends to find deeper footing among women; she is part of Tantric Meditation, which is mostly practiced by women; and since women in traditional Tibetan households tend to maintain the domestic sphere, they do most of their venerations in the comfort of their own home; so being able to pray directly to Tara pulls strong devotion from lay women. Tara looks after all sentient beings and protects them, just as a mother would her children. She is the female figure of Avalokitesvara, and can be modernly defined as the embodiment of feminism; because she is a powerful goddess (or Bodhisattava) who is not only active in protecting all sentient beings, but also has a compassionate side that is easily identifiable by all.
Tara was a princess in another world system named Yeshe Dawa, which means "Moon of Primordial Awareness". She was devoted to the Buddha of her world system and learns how to be a bodhisattva from him. The other monks of that system recommend she request to be born a man in her next life so she can achieve more in the way of enlightenment. She replies that only "weak minded worldlings" see gender as barrier to Enlightenment and she vows to always be reborn in the form of a woman until the end of samsara.
work for the welfare of all beings. she rescues us from the eight inner fears. The Two Wives Tara is said to be incarnated in all pious women in Tibet. similar to the legend of Kuan Yin says that as Avalokitesvara wept for those sentient beings trapped in the lower realms Tara was born from a lotus flower that grew from his tears. And there are few who wish to work for the welfare of living beings in a female form. She protects those in earthly travel and is thought to be the goddess of navigation." Mantra Om tare tuttare ture svaha/soha cubuddhism. Legend says that 2 of the wives of the great King Srongbtsan Sgampo of Tibet embodied the White and Green Taras.pbworks. until such time as all humanity has found its fullness.8/7/13 cubuddhism.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded 2/10 . This is also symbolic for she aids sentient beings as they travel the path to Enlightenment. manifest in the eight outer fears. Therefore may I. Aptly named. 'Tara' means 'Rescuer'. Another version of this story tells of how the Green and White forms of Tara were born from 2 tears of Avalokitesvara. She is often called upon in prayer by refugees.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded From the Tears of Avalokitesvara Tara is a female form of Avalokitesvara. Her compassion for all sentient beings is compared to love that of a mother for her child. 8 outer fears: Lions = Pride Wild elephants = Delusions Forest fires = Hatred Snakes = Envy Robbers = Fanatical/wrong view Prisons = Avarice Floods = Lust Demons = Doubt Outer fears manifest in realm of corporeal reality affects the physical body Inner fears manifest in ultimate reality occurs in the mind Ritual Tara's Vow "There are many who wish to gain enlightenment in a man's form. There are many legends of how Tara came into existence. in a female body. Yet another version of the legend says that Tara was created from a blue beam of light emanating from Avalokitesvara’s eye.pbworks. Mother and Protector Tara is also seen as a mother figure. the bhodhisattva of compassion. One legend.
pbworks. distress and suffering of all beings complete victory of truth over all negativity all accomplishments  Tare Tuttare Ture Soha/svaha Manifestations White Tara: Mother of all Buddhas By Amber Carlson cubuddhism.pbworks.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded 3/10 .com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded Om ah essence of awakened body o essence of awakened speech m essence of awakened mind quickly with boldness clearing away all fear.8/7/13 cubuddhism.
When Avalokiteshvara witnessed all of the suffering in the world. the second representing the present Buddha (Shakyamuni). Origin of White Tara According to legend.8/7/13 cubuddhism. White Tara is associated with health. White is symbolic of selflessness and purity.pbworks.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded 4/10 . Many Southeast Asians wear bindissmall dots or markings indicating the location of the third eye on the forehead. she is making the giftbestowing gesture as a symbol of her compassion. Artistic portrayal White Tara wears silken garments along with traditional bodhisattva ornaments and jewels. The utpala in her hand has three blooms: one symbolizing the Buddha of the previous eon (Kashyapa). These represent the Seven Eyes of Knowledge and show her vigilanceTara sees all human suffering. representing apparent (external) suffering. White Tara is said to be the essence of the past. especially when followers need assistance in overcoming obstacles in their lives. Its whiteness is also compared to the “radiance of the eternal snows” (1). clear as a stainless crystal gem. he was so moved that he began to cry. she is known as the Mother of all Buddhas. additionally. With her right hand. With her left hand. longevity and beauty. It is said that White Tara emerged from the tears flowing from his left eye.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded Introduction White Tara is one of the two bestknown emanations of Tara (the other being Green Tara). White Tara has a total of seven eyes on her body. there are three eyes: two are in the same locations as human eyes. Her essence is the compassion within Avalokiteshvara's tears. Hence. she holds a lotus flower (utpala) between her thumb and fourth finger (the protection mudra). demonstrating her graceful. it shows that she represents dharma. present and future Buddhas.pbworks. and her love is so powerful that it is thought to cure diseases. In artistic depictions of Tara. White Tara's skin is “white as an autumn moon. and the third representing the future Buddha (Maitreya). She is a savior bodhisattva and can be called on for help. White Tara originated from the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. and one sits just above her nose in the spiritual "third eye" position. strength. The locations of the different eyes tell what kind of suffering she sees. She sits upright on a circle of the moon with her legs folded in diamond posture. White Tara embodies compassion and motherliness. Tara also has an eye in the palm of each hand (representing cubuddhism. On her face. this eye represents psychological and spiritual suffering. calm nature. radiating light” (1). or unbiased truth.
the two Taras aid followers in different ways. give the impression of motherliness.g. It is also said that White Tara radiates white light. White Tara represents day. Finally. The multitude of different colors are representative of life's diversity. making all living things one. The final practice of Dzogchen is to dissolve one’s body back into the elements at the time of death. who is depicted as being youthful and girlish.” (16) How is White Tara different from Green Tara? There are a few ways in which White Tara differs from Green Tara. compared with Green Tara.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded suffering in activity) as well as one on the sole of each foot (representing suffering in progress).g. merit and wisdom. Dzogchen is an integral feature of the Nyingma tradition. as Padma Sambhava did. a rainbow appears. According to legend. When white light is shone through the "prism" of life. physical and mental health). First. in particular. This is known as the Rainbow Body attainment. it is pure space. it is omniscience. and Tantric Buddhists see it as a sign of extreme sanctity. The Tantric sage Padma Sambhava eventually brought Buddhism to Tibet. White Tara is womanly and mature. her full breasts. Secondly. the mantra is an appeal to Tara for longevity. When this occurs. which led to the development of Tibetan Buddhism. White Tara Mantra Green Tara cubuddhism. Dzogchen originated in the Bön religion. it is said that the physical body literally radiates light.pbworks. an indigenous religion of the Himalayan peoples.8/7/13 cubuddhism. This miraculous event gave rise to the Nyingma tradition. while Green Tara represents night.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded 5/10 . and the natives readily adopted Buddhism because Buddhist beliefs fit well with the Bön belief system. White Tara is also associated with Rainbow Body practice. MAMA AYUR JANA PUNTIN KURU SOHA. White light results from combining all of the other colors of light together. The Rainbow Body attainment is enlightenment. Tara's white light unifies all of the colors. wealth and other worldly concerns). transcending the physical form to become a wisdom body. while White Tara responds to longer term problems (e.pbworks. his body dissolved back into the natural elements and left no relics. She is more fullbodied than Green Tara. in a sense—it is “awareness without obscurations. or Dzogchen. a mystical tradition practiced by Tantric Buddhists (though is not exclusive to Buddhism). It is the ultimate fruit of spiritual cultivation. when Padma Sambhava died. and the practitioner disappears into that light. Green Tara responds to immediate concerns (e. Roughly translated. White Tara's Mantra OM TARE TUTTARE TURE.
Her right hand is splayed in the generosity mudra.  Artistic Portrayal Though her legends or origination vary. Her color symbolizes youthful vitality and activity.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded Introduction Green Tara is the Bodhisattva's most dynamic manifestation. held in the refuge mudra. and fullybloomed realization. Though she is the more intense manifestation.pbworks. Origin of Green Tara Preceding Buddhism. Her left hand. And like Avalokiteshvara. her depictions tend to remain consistent. With her right leg extended. and moreover affirming the perception that Green Tara is a goddess of action. Each cubuddhism. Amoghasiddhi. As a consort of Avalokiteshvara. some consider Green Tara to be the original Tara. suggesting familial affiliation.pbworks. Tara was worshipped as a manifestation of the goddess Parvati of the Hindu religion. the two together thus symbolizing the integration of wisdom and art. signifying bestowal of both mundane and divine blessings.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded 6/10 . and an image of Amitabha is occasionally illustrated in Tara's headdress. her role of saviorgoddess of compassion has not deviated. The Buddhist Lord of karma. and furthermore recalling legends of her origination. is also associated with the green color. She is often depicted in a posture of ‘royal ease’ characteristic of Bodhisattva’s. The left leg folds in the contemplative position on the lotus pedestal. though she probably had not been introduced to Buddhism until the 6th century. 21 Taras From the tantra known as the “TwentyOne Praises of Tara. she is ready to leap into action. holds the stem of a blue lotus that floats over her left shoulder as a symbol of purity and power.” arises a system of practice with 21 emanations of Tara 1 for each verse. CE. Green Tara is believed to be an emanation of the "selfborn" Buddha Amitabha.8/7/13 cubuddhism.
"Tara Accomplisher of All Enlightened Activities" 21 Praises of Tara OM I prostrate to the noble transcendent liberator. The Auspicious orange. The Invincible Queen white. "Tara. Eliminator of Conflicts and Bad Dreams" 20. The Conqueror of Others reddish black. The AllVictorious white. and is charged to realize a precise action. The Blazing Light red.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded 2 7/10 . "Tara Who Crushes the Forces of Others" 8. tempered by strong associations.8/7/13 cubuddhism. though lesserknown series’ of the 21 Taras. Tara "The Great Pacifier" (of kleshas: negative obscurations) 3.pbworks. "Tara Trembler of the Three Worlds" 18. and #20. there are other. The Conqueror of the Three Worldly Realms red. The Swift Heroine red 2. "Tara who Increases" 4.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded form of Tara exhibits a unique color. Victorious Over the Three Worlds" 7. There are 3 eminent and distinct roots for the set of 21 Taras: Pandita Suryagupta. subjugating. all the Taras appear in the same basic posture. "Tara Who Saves by Means of HUM" 17. the color of an old Tibetan turquoise. These 3 lineages notwithstanding. The Savior of the Scented Forest white. The Very Peaceful white 16. #3 is bluishyellow. Rays of Light white. and eliminating. "Tara of the Life Force" 5. Pulverizer of the Maras" 9. The Destroyer of Opposing Forces red. enriching. The Subduer of Countless Harmful Forces orange. The Terrifier black (reddish). "Tara. In the Atisha assembly. "Tara Eliminator of Diseases" 21. The Giver of Wealth yelloworange. The Wrathful reddishblack. Embodiment of the Three Jewels" 10.pbworks. "Tara. 1 cubuddhism. The Peahen white. The Invincible black. Saraswatiwhite. The Giver of Supreme Virtue yellow (bluetinged). Lord Atisha and the lineage from the Nyingma Lama Longchenpa. 4 colors basically serve as ciphers for their 4 activities: pacifying. Mixed colors such as orange signify a blend of qualities. The Giver of Intelligence reddish yellow (orange). and only differ with the color of the body. "Tara Blazing in Flames" 14. The Mountaindwelling Mendicant saffron yellow. who wears the traditional robe of an Indian mendicant. For example. But these 3 lineages do not share the same iconographic forms. "Tara of Wrathful Gaze" 15. "Tara Eliminator of Poverty" 12. "Tara Resonating with HUM" 6. "Tara Bestower of Auspicious Conditions" 13. "Tara. Epithets and color manifestations: 1. "The Great Subduer" 11. "Tara Who Eliminates Poisons" 19.
You subdue all in the seven stages. 17 Homage to TURE with stamping feet Whose essence is the seedletter HUM You cause Merus. The gods themselves and all spirits rely. Vayu and Ishvara. Amitabha Shines eternal with great beams of light. 8 Homage to you whose TURE destroys The great fears. 15 Homage to the blissful. form and space. peaceful one Object of practice. 13 Homage to you who dwells in a blazing wreath Like the fire at the end of this age. You bring freedom from all poverty. You slay all foes without exception. 21 Homage to you. Your right leg outstretched and left drawn in. Agni.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded 8/10 . radiant and joyful Whose crown emits a garland of light. Thus the root mantra is praised And twentyone homages offered Iconography cubuddhism. the sun and moon. 6 Homage to you adored by Indra. zombies and yakshas O TURE. the mighty demons. Radiate with pure brilliant light Uttering HARA twice and TUTTARA Dispels extremely fearful plagues. adorned with three natures Perfectly endowed with peaceful strength You destroy demons.8/7/13 cubuddhism. 9 Homage to you beautifully adorned By the Three Jewels' gesture at your heart. Your wheel shines in all directions With a whirling mass of light. With a wrathful frown on your lotus face. 16 Homage to you with joyous retinue You subdue fully all enemies' forms The tenletter mantra adorns your heart And your knowledgeHUM brings liberation. nirvana's peace Perfectly endowed with SOHA and OM Overcoming all the great evils. Zombies. concentration and wisdom. Your armor radiates joy to all You soothe conflicts and nightmares as well.pbworks. Brahma. 10 Homage to you. With a wrathful glance and the letter HUM. 12 Homage to you with crescent moon crown All your adornments dazzling bright. 5 Homage to you whose TUTTARE and HUM Fill the realms of desire. Joy surrounds you who defeats hosts of foes. Patience. Mandara and Vindaya And all three worlds to tremble and shake. You. From your hairknot. scenteaters and yakshas. effort and ethics. Right leg drawn in and left extended. most exalted and sublime! Homage to you whose face is like One hundred autumn moons gathered And blazes with the dazzling light Of a thousand constellations. 20 Homage to you whose eyes. by the laughter of TUTTARA Conquer demons and lords of the world. 14 Homage to you whose foot stamps the earth And whose palm strikes the ground by your side.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded Homage to Tara swift and fearless With eyes like a flash of lightning Lotusborn in an ocean of tears Of Chenresig. three worlds' protector. 7 Homage to you whose TREY and PEY Destroy external wheels of magic. 19 Homage to you on whom the kings of gods.pbworks. You blaze within a raging fire. 11 Homage to you with power to invoke The assembly of local protectors. Praised in song by hosts of spirits. With your fierce frown and vibrating HUM. 3 Homage to you born from a goldblue lotus Hands adorned with lotus flowers Essence of giving. You crush seven worlds beneath your feet And have power to call all forces. 18 Homage to you who holds in your hand A moon like a celestial lake Saying TARA twice and the letter PEY You dispel all poisons without exception. 4 Homage to you who crown all Buddhas Whose action subdues without limit Attained to every perfection On you the bodhisattvas rely. virtuous.
open palm faces toward the viewer in a mudra bestowing peace.pbworks. Eastern Tibet. Nepal. a dharma centre is a lay community.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded White Tara Statue sits in Karma Kagyu school located in a dharma centre: A Karma Kagyu school is a non monastic school.” cubuddhism.8/7/13 cubuddhism. Los Angeles County Museum of Art The Scurve of her body demonstrates an elegance characteristic of Nepali art. 1800 1899 . Her right.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded 9/10 . pigment. and semiprecious stones. Tara holds a lotus. longevity and good fortune. recalling legends of her birth from the flower sprouted from the tears of Avalokitesvara. Having this statue in a purely lay community reiterates the devotion the laity have for Tara. Tara 12th c. Collection of Rubin Museum of Art Tara here assumes the generosity mudra as she protects sentient beings from the “8 fears.pbworks. Copper alloy with gilt. Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton. c. The Goddess.
 Barrett.org/docs/>. 2 April 2010.html>. " Understanding Vajrayana Practice .sacredwind.religionfacts.com/article/tara/2/.com/wtara. Internet.  Kumar.sukhasiddhi.exoticindiaart.  Sukhasiddhi Foundation. 6 April 2010 <http://www. <http://www.pbworks.himalayanart.Net. 6 April 2010 < http://www.  Ibid. “The White Tara.php>  Sukhasiddhi Foundation.htm>. “Rainbow Body – Body of Light. http://www. Sukhasiddhi Foundation. “Green Tara and White Tara: Feminist Ideals in Buddhist Art. Kumar.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded Works Cited  Khandro.com/whitetara.exoticindiaart." 2009.htm>.  No Author Cited. http://www.  Kumar. 6 April 2010 <http://www.cfm/237.me.” Internet. "Meaning of Tara mantra.  No Author Cited. “Green Tara and White Tara: Feminist Ideals in Buddhist Art. James Andrew. Internet. “Tara”. Tara.htm.tripod." 2010. “White Tara – Goddess of Compassion.htm>. 10/10 cubuddhism.com/w/page/24906657/TARA?mode=embedded . http://www.  Osel Shen Phen Ling.com/article/tara/2/. 3 April 2010.  Ibid. <http://www.com/jamesbarrett999/Site/Rainbow_Body.pbworks.html. http://vortexcd. 6 April 2010 < http://www.khandro. “Green Tara and White Tara: Feminist Ideals in Buddhist Art. “Tara: Buddhist Goddess in Green and White.8/7/13 cubuddhism. Om Jetsun Om! ah essence of awakened body o essence of awakened speech To Great. I bow down. “Tara: Buddhist Goddess in Green and White. Tara's Epithets. http://www.exoticindiaart.htm. Tara. http://web. Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation.  No Author Cited.org/image.religionfacts.” Internet. 20072009. Nitin.fpmt osel.net/deities_Tara1.  No Author Cited. 7 April 2010 <http://www.  Khandro. 2010. http://www.com/buddhism/deities/tara.net/Tara_21names. Noble Tara.  Himalayan Art.htm.org/meditate/21taras. Sacred Wind.com/buddhism/deities/tara.html.com/tara.sukhasiddhi.com/article/tara/2/. Ibid.org/docs/>. Sukhasiddhi Foundation. http://www. Internet.Net. 2010.whitetara.” Internet. Nitin. Marnie Brinckerhoff Kristen Cretecos Amber Carlson Brittany Woods  dalai  Om. Nitin.khandro. 2004.” Internet.” Internet.
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