Tara, the Female Bodhisattva

The Moon of Primordial Wisdom; Yeshe Dawa

There lived a princess named Yeshe Dawa many eons ago. She was the "Moon of the Primordial Wisdom." Through her vast devotion to the Buddha, she had developed the thought of Bodhicitta. She vowed to become an enlightened being. It is because she wanted to benefit all the sentient beings from the Samsara. 

Attaining Enlightenment in a Female Body

She met an obstacle in gaining enlightenment since, during the time, it was only possible in a male body. She could pray for a male body in her next life as the masters advised her. But the princess had a strong will and determination. She carried out all her enlightened activities. It spanned throughout the past, present, and future. It was possible for her to carry them out in her female form. Then she became a female bodhisattva and known as Tara.

Does the Male and Female Distinction Matter?

She was now an enlightened Buddha. The distinction between male and female is important at a relative level. But there is no actual difference in the ultimate level of wisdom. Our physical system has a quality regardless of male or female. We all own a unique strength that helps us in developing our realization. The absolute and open nature of the mind manifested in the female form, as Yeshe chose. She is popular as the Great Mother.

Tara As the Emanation of Avalokiteshvara 

People assert Tara as an emanation of Avalokiteshvara. There is a story behind this. Avalokiteshvara wanted to liberate all sentient beings from suffering. So for many eons, he worked hard to fulfill his vow. He was under the impression that his work was complete. He thought that every last being was liberated. He believed them all established with bliss. This enlightened state is Potala and it is the rather pious land of Avalokiteshvara and Tara. 

Alokiteshvara Statue

He cast a glance at the six realms again. But to his dismay, it was still full of beings who were suffering. The realms reeked of hardships, sufferings, and misery. Avalokiteshvara threw himself on the ground. He shed tears of love and compassion. The female bodhisattva White Tara emanated from the tear of his left eye. Green Tara also emanated from the tear of his right eye. Both Taras told him not to worry and that the two would help him.

Tara's Enlightened Activities

The capacity for enlightened activity remains with an enlightened being. Tara has many enlightened activities that are powerful beyond comprehension. They associate her with beneficial acts. Like; conferring longevity, curing illnesses, stopping wars, and giving prosperity. The wisdom aspects of realization of ultimate reality are what Tara confers.

The One Who Liberates

The one who liberates is also Tara. She liberates sentient beings from the eight great fears in the form of Green Tara. These eight great fear have several levels as per the Buddha's teachings. One fear is popular as the fear of elephants. All sentient beings feel protected from fears and the causes of fears. It is due to Tara's enlightened activities.

Tara's Indian and Tibetan Emanations

Tara's famous emanations are wisdom Dakini Mandarva and Niguma in India. The wisdom Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal and Machig Labdron are Tibetan ones. Not all Tara's emanations have been quite recognized despite there being so many. Practicing various forms of Tara does us a lot of good. There are Green Tara, White Tara, Red Tara, Yeshe Tsogyal, or Vajra Sarasvati. These practices help to remove our fears, obscurations, and obstacles. It helps us develop the ability to benefit all beings, and assist us to reach enlightenment.


Leave a comment