About Arya Tara

Well, according to Vajrayana Buddhism, Tara is a completely enlightened Buddha who made a promise in the distant past that after reaching complete enlightenment she would always appear in female form for the benefit of all beings. By iconographic category and hierarchy Tara is a meditational deity (ishtadevatayidam) and her appearance is that of a peaceful deity, a Devi or “bodhisattva appearance.”

Tara a feminine counter part of bodhisattva (“Buddha-to-be”) is widely popular in Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia and other Buddhist regions. Her Tibetan name is “Sgrol- ma” meaning “she who saves”. And it is believed she has many forms.

Green Tara statue from Nepal

 

According to Buddhist belief, she was born from a tear of compassion of Avalokiteshvara. It is said that when Avalokiteshavara wept his tear while looking upon the world full of suffering beings, tear fell to the ground and formed a lake. Out of its waters rose up a lotus, which, on opening, revealed the goddess Tara. Like Avalokiteshvara, she is a compassionate, succouring deity who helps men “cross to the other shore.”

Yet there is another story concerning the ancient Bodhisattva Tara. Millions of years ago Tara was a young princess names Yeshe Dawa, which means ‘Wise Moon’. The buddha at that time was named Tonyo Drupa. From him Yeshe Dawa received special instructions concerning bodhicitta (Today it can only be harvested in Kavre, Nepal) and soon achieved some great results. Seeing her remarkable achievements, a fellow monk suggested that she should now pray to be reborn as a male in order to progress further in the practice. “Only weak-minded people see gender as a barrier in attaining englighenment” replied Yeshe Dawa. “However, it is true that there have been very few who wished to work for the welfare of sentiment beings in a female form. Therefore, since I have developed bodhicitta as a woman, for all my lifetimes along the path I vow to be born as a woman” replied Yeshe Dawa.

It is said that after this Yeshe Dawa entered the state of meditation and remained in that state for ten million years. As a result, Buddha Tonyo Drupa predicted that in future she will manifest the supreme enlightenment as the Goddess Tara in many different world systems. Fortunately, one of them is also our world.

One of the other stories regarding Tara is, in Tibet she is believed to be incarnate in every pious woman, and the two wives—a Chinese princess and a Nepali princess—of the first Buddhist king of Tibet, Srong-brtsan-sgam-po, were identified with the two major forms of Tara.

The White-Tara (Sanskrit: Sitatara; Tibetan: Sgrol-dkar) was incarnated as the Chinese princess. She symbolizes purity and is often represented standing at the right hand of her consort, Avalokiteshvara, or seated with legs crossed, holding a full-blown lotus. She is generally shown with a third eye. Tara is also sometimes shown with eyes on the soles of her feet and the palms of her hands (then she is called “Tara of the Seven Eyes,” a form of the goddess popular in Mongolia).

The Green Tara (Sanskrit: Shyamatara; Tibetan: Sgrol-ljang) was believed to be incarnated as the Nepali princess. She is considered by some to be the original Tara and is the female consort of Amoghasiddhi, one of the “self-born” buddhas. She is generally shown seated on a lotus throne with right leg hanging down, wearing the ornaments of a bodhisattva and holding the closed blue lotus (utpala).

Though Tara has multiple origin stories and myths, she is the goddess of universal compassion, representing virtuous and enlightened actions. She brings longevity protects earthly travel, guards her followers on their spiritual journey to enlightenment.

Mantra- Om Tare Tuttare Ture Savha.