The Meaning of Tara: The Noble Lady of Buddhism
Tara, as the name suggests, "the one who liberates," is the savior who saves the sentient beings from the great Eight fears. She is a fully enlightened Buddha, and here enlightened activities are powerful beyond comprehension.
These eight fears that afflict beings exist both externally and inwardly. If they connect with Tara's enlightened activity, people who have worries believe that she will protect them.
These eight great fears are:
- Evil Spirits
Who is Tara?
Tara is the Buddhist savior deity who is believed to be born from Chenrezig's sympathetic tears. Looking at the world of suffering creatures, the Bodhisattva Chenrezig cried as he saw intensive misery. Two Tara's were formed from the tears running down his cheeks, a tranquil white one from the left and a ferocious green one from the right. As a result, Tara is frequently referred to as his consort.
The Forms of Tara:
Buddha Shakyamuni had given many teachings on Tara while turning the Wheel of Dharma for the third time. His teachings include the inner and outer tantra and the Great Perfection (Dzogpa Chenpo).
These teachings, including the widely prevalent practice of 21 Tara, were brought to Tibet during the time of Guru Padmasambhava, King Triton Detsen, and Master Shantaraksita. His spiritual consort Yeshe Tsogyal, herself, was considered the emanation of Tara.
And soon, the Tara practice became one of the most popular and influential practices in Tibetan Buddhism. The Nyingma tradition, the oldest school of Vajrayana, introduced the Tara practice in both Kama and Terma lineage. It contained various practicing emanations of Tara, which were peaceful, wrathful, and semi wrathful.
The Nirmanakaya form of Tara deals directly with the confusion and distraction caused to all the sentient beings. Her emanations are boundless and are not confined by external factors such as geography, traditions, and customs.
Tara emanates in various forms as she reaches out to everyone in need.
Among the various forms of Tara, we will be discussing two of her significant emanations: Green Tara and White Tara.
Distinguishing Green Tara and White Tara:
Tara is a Buddhist deity who has various forms. Even though she is only officially connected with Buddhism in Tibet, Mongolia, and Nepal, she has become one of the most well-known Buddhist deities worldwide. As the name suggests, Green Tara and the White Tara both have a distinct colors on their body, Emerald Green and radiant white, respectively. Each Tara has a unique iconography vividly portrayed in the Statues and Thangka paintings.
Similarities between White Tara and Green Tara:
Apart from their distinct body colors, Green and White Tara appear exceptionally peaceful and young. They both have a single face, two arms, and two legs.
They are seated on a moon disc upon a lotus seat, holding a lotus with her right hand.
The Tara have their upper part of the hair tied in a top knot, wearing a five Jeweled crown on her head included in the eight ornaments and the five silk of a peaceful deity.
The eight jewel adornments
- a jeweled crown
- jewel earrings
- a short necklace
- two long necklaces, one longer than the other
- a bracelet on each wrist
- a golden belt at the waist with loops of jewelry
- armlets on each arm
- an ankle-let on each foot
The five silks
- the silk ribbon hanging from the back of the head
- an upper garment
- a long scarf
- a silk skirt
- a lower garment
Differences between White Tara and Green Tara:
Green Tara has a body of emerald green, while White Tara is glowing white like a stainless moon.
Green Tara has two eyes, while the White Tara is portrayed as having seven eyes (three on her face, two on her palms, and two on her legs).
There is a specific posture for each of them. White Tara is seated in Vajra-paryanka posture while the Green Tara resides in her royal ease posture. Her right leg is extended forward as she is ready for her action.
Even though both Tara holds a lotus with their right hand, the color of these lotus differs. Blue lotus (also Utpala) is held by Green Tara, while White Tara has Pundarika (the white one). Green Tara is frequently represented with a half-opened lotus, which symbolizes night. White Tara is seen holding a fully bloomed lotus, which means the day.
Green Tara depicts activity, whereas White Tara embodies elegance, peace, and a mother's love for her child. Together, they signify unending compassion engaged around the globe at all hours of the day and night. Image Source: Enlightenment Thangka
Green Tara Mantra
"OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA"OM is the auspiciousness, peace, and balance.
TARE : she is a swift liberatir who liberates us from fears and troubles, and from samsara.
TUTTARE: Her compassionate activity of fulfilling all wishes
TURE: the ultimate nondual state of the Dharmakaya,
SOHA: a state of complete enlightenment.
White Tara Mantra
"OM TARE TUTTARE TURE AMA AYUH-PUNYA JNANA-PUSTIM KURU SVAHA."
White Tara Mantra Meaning:
Mama means "my" and denotes a desire to acquire attributes like longevity, merit, intelligence, happiness, etc.
Ayuh means "long life" (as in Ayurvedic medicine).
Punya refers to the merit gained through living a moral life, which is thought to enable one live a long and happy life.
Jnana - means wisdom.
Punya and Jnana: The Two Accumulations. We must earn merit to become enlightened, but we must also develop insight through serious thought.
Pushtim is a Hebrew word that signifies "plenty," "abundant," or "increase."
Kuru is a legendary kingdom in the Himalayas to the north that is claimed to be a paradise of long life and bliss. Perhaps the connection to Kuru's mythical land helps while reciting the mantra.
Svaha is a Buddhist exclamation that means "hail" or "may blessings be upon" and is frequently used at the end of mantras. So, after making White Tara's rather bold request, we close with an equally forceful greeting.