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Thursday, 26 August 2010

Origination of Tara, the Saviour

 Tara is one of the significant figures in Buddhism.

(Green Tara from google)
The stories associated with “Tara” (Dolma in Tibetan Buddhism) have always attracted me. I heard others speak of “Dolma Ku” (Statue of Tara) but it took me several years to actually understand a little about the great significance the deity/statue has in Buddhism. The following are some of the stories that tell about origination of the deity in the pantheon of the religion.

According to Taranatha, the great scholar of 16thCentury, Tara was indeed a woman before she became one of the deities. She was a daughter (and princess) of the king of “multicolored Light” kingdom. She was known as Wisdom Moon, deeply devoted to the Drum Sound Buddha, who was preaching the dharma in the kingdom then.

It is said that she became a perfect practitioner and even took bodhisattava vow from the Buddha. Recognizing her potential and her accumulated merit, the monks advised her to pray (wish) for the male rebirth but refused saying she would continue to benefit beings appearing in female form as long as Samsara is not empty. She was said to have attained the supreme level of realization through continuous efforts and helped infinite suffering beings. Thus Wisdom Moon came to be known as “Tara” (Sanskrit) meaning “The Saviour”.

Also it is believed that Tara was emanated from the tear drops of Avalokiteshvara ( Chenrezig). As the embodiment of compassion, Avalokiteshvara worked tirelessly for the suffering beings, yet he found so many beings in the Samsara and he began to cry out of compassion. Thus Tara appeared on the lotus formed by the drops of tear to help Avalokiteshvara in liberating sentient beings.

(White Tara from
Tara is widely known in two forms: white Tara and Green Tara. Green Tara is seen as peaceful and we believe that she saves beings from danger and fear. White Tara is characterized by her seven eyes: three on the face (representing the purity of her body, speech and mind), one each on the palms and one on each sole of the foot (representing four unlimited qualities of bodhisattvas: compassion; loving-kindness; joy; and equanimity).

These days, people worship Tara to gain personal wealth and fame; this is unwholesome. But we can always take refuge in the deity for the welfare of infinite sentient beings...OM TARE TUTARE TURE SWAHA-may all beings find peace and the path leading to eternal peace.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Yezer, I learnt a lot about Tara whom I had believed as just another god without any idea of her origination. It didn't even strike me to do a research like you did until I bumped into your article here. Your write-ups are very informative and educative. So Keep writing!