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Green Tara and White Tara: Feminine Ideals in Buddhist Art

Article of the Month - November 2000
Viewed 206871 times since 2nd Oct, 2008

...Continued from Page 1

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Green TaraAs for jewelry, beautiful golden, red and green jewels adorn her. Her jewelry includes white bracelets, several necklaces with many pendant gems, and a multi stringed, long jewel chain that sinuously falls around her body and over her right arm.

In a heavenly mansion shaped by the artist of the gods,
Inconceivable celestial wish-granting gems,
Most beautiful, wrought into fascinating ornaments,
Fully adorn you-homage to you!
Like an emerald mountain clothed in rainbows,
Your upper body is draped in heavenly silks,
Your lovely supple, slender waist supports
A skirt of five bright colors-homage to you!

... First Dalai Lama (1391-1474)  

The followers of Green Tara believe that her special powers will help overcome dangers, fears, and anxieties, and that she will grant wishes. She is also believed to help one cross over from danger to safety or from suffering to happiness. Her femininity imbues her with soft and compassionate feelings, and she acts very quickly and directly as a savioress. Representing active compassion, she is particularly worshipped for her ability to overcome the most difficult situations. As the first Dalai Lama puts it, just by being called to help, she instantaneously saves the faithful from attacks by the following  eight calamities:

  • lions and pride
  • wild elephants and delusions
  • forest fires and hatred
  • snakes and envy
  • robbers and fanatical views
  • prisons and avarice
  • floods and lust
  • demons and doubts

White Tara

The Goddess White Tara

 

 

White Tara is often referred to as the Mother of all the Buddhas. She represents the motherly aspect of compassion. Her white colour indicates purity, but also indicates that she is Truth, complete and undifferentiated.

 

She has seven eyes: the two usual eyes, plus an eye in the centre of her forehead and eyes in each of her hands and feet. These indicate that she sees all suffering and all cries for help in the human world using both ordinary and psychic or extraordinary means of perception. They thus symbolize the vigilance of her compassion.

 

 

White Tara the Gracious BeautyWhite Tara has a lovely, young face. Her ornaments are covered in jewels. Her silk robes and scarves are painted in an exceptionally lively manner. Her tight fitting garments are embossed with large, rich floral designs. These filmy garments; bright gauzy silks fluttering from the shoulders and a series of many hued silken skirts- leave the slender torso and smoothly rounded breasts uncovered in the manner of ancient India. The whole effect is so ravishing that she might well arouse the very passion she is frequently invoked to calm, were it not that she inspires the kind of exalted reverence a palace guard might be expected to feel for a young and lovely princess entrusted to his care.

With her right hand she makes the boon granting gesture and her left hand, holding the stem of a white lotus flower between her thumb and fourth finger, is in the protection position.

 

White Tara as essence of the three Buddhas

 

 

 

 

The elaborate lotus flower, held in the left hand is called Utpala. It contains three blooms: the first, with seeds, symbolizes the past Buddha Kashyapa; the second in full flower, symbolizes the present Buddha Shakyamuni; and the third, ready to bloom, symbolizes the future Buddhas Maitreya. This signifies that White Tara is the essence of all the three Buddhas of the past, the present and the future.

 

 

 

Buddhist Sculptures from NepalShe sits with both legs raised and crossed in the vajra (diamond) position and regally displays both grace and calm.

Her incomparable beauty have inspired her worshippers to address her thus:

"Radiant as the eternal snows in all their glory, homage to the
Youthful One with full breasts, One face and two arms. And is
filled with great bliss"

... Unknown

White Tara is an emanation of Tara who is connected with longevity.  She is also the special goddess who helps her
devotees overcome obstacles, particularly impediments to the practice of religion.

Indeed in the vast expanse of Buddhist art the images of the two Taras with their feminine charm and sophisticated imagery represent a superior conception unparalleled in any other art tradition. Open to diverse interpretations both on the sensual and spiritual planes these two goddesses have inspired generations of devotee artists to achieve creative heights while adhering to the strict iconographical cannons laid down in the ancient texts, and in the process acquiring both spiritual merit and the boon of the Goddess.

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  • i am so very proud because they are beautiful. sana ipagpatuloy pa nila ang paggawa nito thank you ganda ko
    by ma.castillo ganda nase on 3rd Mar 2014
  • Mother Tara has saved me Eversince I started chanting her mantra.. The moment you call her name she will be in your heart to help you .
    by Sally tan on 17th Dec 2012
  • I am currently getting a half sleeve of the green tara on my arm. Its been 4 hrs so far and its only about half way done. its so beautiful in appearance and meaning. i love the Green Tara's inspiration more than any other deity. everyone always asks me about my tat and I try to explain most people just don’t understand the depth and power she has. My tat was started 3 months ago and she has already had an enormous impact on my life. I feel stronger and more inspired than I ever have. I feel a over whelming sense of liberation and belonging in my life. Thank you Green Tara.
    by Amanda Riddle on 29th May 2012
  • I (as others here) have a long history of spiritual practice with various gurus. I find myself very drawn to Tara. She seems easily accessible and quite "real".
    If anyone wants to practice with Her, I recommend that you begin by simply giving Her your love and regard. After a short while, you can begin to feel Her Regard, in various ways.
    Specific instruction on practices can be found by emailing me. (tried to post url here but they don't allow that)
    Blessings and best of luck to everyone. It would be nice to have an online forum for those interested in Her. It is even possible to meditate together, online. I've tried that on a small scale and it really can work. Feel free to contact me.


    by ElectricMan (chasryan@hotmail.com) on 21st Oct 2011
  • Very beautiful, thank you so much for this wonderful information and beautiful pictures
    by Sannyasi Shraddhamurti on 24th Oct 2010
  • I am highly inspired with green Tara and instantly in love with "OM tare tuttare ture svaha"
    its calm and I am eager to know more and more about this deity... need religious Tibetan / Buddhist friends :)
    by yogi (yogimalhotra@gmail.com) on 12th Oct 2010
  • HAPPY TO FIND THIS NEWSLETTER. NEED BUDDHIST FRIENDS AND INFO. ALICE
    by Alice Lesh on 9th Oct 2010
  • check out what the Dalai Lama has to say about New Kadampa - and no proslytizing please
    by pema wangmo on 29th Sep 2009
  • Is there any suggestion you can give on how, when and where reciting/chanting the mantra? is there just one mantra for green and white tara?
    thanks
    by tarab on 14th Oct 2008
  • Sorry, didnt understand how the site worked. Just a little info for those of you who wish to use the Green Tara mantra. Under the Tibetan tradition, the blessing and mantra needs to be transmitted by a Lama, it isnt considered appropriate just to use the mantra without.

    best wishes
    by Kunga Lhamo on 19th Sep 2008
  • please tell me how to use her baths, candles and incenses
    by cathleen ryant on 28th Jan 2008
  • For all the people who are interested in connecting with Lady Tara; check out New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) Buddhism. Tara worship is a big part of this path. Reciting her mantra will surely help, but a great way to connect very potently with her is to receive a Tara empowerment at one of their centres. This is an amazing thing to do for yourself and all beings- Love x
    by Deborah Turnbull on 27th Dec 2007
  • Please tell me how to worship her.
    by Kie Tjeng on 7th Dec 2007
  • Amazing,being a "Tara" !
    by Tara on 25th Oct 2007
  • Tara's mantra is "Om Tare Tuttare Ture Swaha" (pr. "Om Ta-Ray Too-Ta-Ray Too-Ray So-Ha")... that's the best way to get close to Her! :D
    by I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha, and in Tara! on 8th Oct 2007
  • i Love Tara and i fell inlove with her auro and her goddes figure..i want to know more infos about her and her worships..Please tell me more..
    by Jeremy Tan (tan_laifu@hotmail.com) on 7th Oct 2007
  • Hey! Can anyone contact me on my email: danim9@gmail.com and tell me more about tara and meditation on tara and/or her worship??!!!!! Please help!?!?!?!?!
    by Danilo (danim9@gmail.com) on 18th Apr 2007
  • She is beautiful and Powerful. And always there with me. I am so greatful for her and for the person who introduce me to this beautiful goddess
    by Marissa (babudayang@yahoo.com) on 10th May 2006
  • So lovely to read about the white Tara.
    She has been introduced to me/ me to her just four days ago by a wise woman in Lichtensten. She told me to meditate on her evry day, and thanks to you i found her picture and information about her. I am at the beginning of something profound and healing and I thank you so much fo helping me on my journey.

    Several years ago a Ladakhi Amshi gave me apicture of the Buddha of compassion, I see she came from his tears. and there is such love that fills e when I look at her.
    This has been a wonderful discovery, thank you for the information and the wonderful pictures
    by julie Hewson on 4th Nov 2005
  • Om Tare Tutare Ture Soha" how do you say this mantra is said as it looks or is it chanted differently im very interested as i wish to try this mantra green tara has been making her precence felt with me by litterally jumping out of my deck of goddess cards ( i use these for guidence ) apon reading a little about her i understand she is trying to get me to listen to her and the aspects she embodies are indeed very poinyant in my world at the moment if it hadnt have been for this artical i may have put her 'jumping' as coinsidance but realise know that it cant be
    by Danielle (Vixen@wytchcraft.net) on 17th Aug 2005
  • The Tara in her many manifestations has been a great inspiration and comfort. When I feel stressed, I chant the "Om Tare Tutare Ture Soha" mantra. It always brings me back to the present and reminds me of the importance of our practice of compassion.
    by Jim on 2nd Jul 2005
  • It is indeed heart-warming to read and understand the Goddess Taras . A Lama
    performed a puja at my house recently and my family was told to recite and chant The Green Tara mantra . Your article is very informative and timely. My family would like to express our sincere thanks to you and may Goddess Taras bless you .
    by Stanley Ng on 26th Jun 2005
  • My thanks for the diverse and clear story behind White Tara. I am drawn to her and Qan Yin, and folow whatever guides I can find to information regarding what is written about them. Qan Yin is more than writing and reading, while White Tara I am just now coming to know in greater depth.

    Regards,
    peace and joy be with you,
    by Martin Thomas Miami, Florida. on 14th Jun 2005
  • Thanks for all the info...undoubtedly Tara is blessing us!
    by IPC on 30th Apr 2005
  • it is so seldom we can discover our inner core from the viewpoint of a great light shining within one of our sisters or brothers. Let there be Peace in our time and separately within our hearts.
    by Freeman on 22nd Jan 2005
  • Wonderful!
    As a yoga teacher in the west, I am often looking for good information on hindu and buddhist mythology, as I try to explain the meaning and significance of it to ourconsciousness. These articles are very informative and the artwork just great! Thanks a lot and keep up the good work.
    by ineke (savitriyoga@hotmail.com) on 23rd Nov 2004
  • A dear friend sent this article to me. Bless him and you all
    by Rossella on 22nd Nov 2004
  • Very informative article with referance to Green and white tara. The quotes from the Dalai Lama give facinating commentary of the magnificent diety.
    by Eric Wilson on 17th Dec 2003
  • CIAO
    by Paola on 28th Aug 2003
  • It's so great to have this article to read.
    by Louis Xiao (louis_xiao@hotmail.com) on 22nd Jan 2003
  • Hi! This is a wonderful page! Could I translate this article into Chinese and put it in a Chinese web site?
    Waiting for your reply soon.
    Sincerely
    <br>
    Nathaniel Zhang
    by Nathaniel (nathaniel@sina.com) on 21st May 2001
  • Thankyou, for the excellant informative report.
    by Doris Singer on 3rd May 2001
  • What a pleasant surprise on my birthday - thank you so much for the lovely and informative article - I look forward to receiving more. Peace.
    by Blackfish on 3rd May 2001
  • I found this information very interesting, and appreciate having it sent to me. The pictures are nice, and well placed through out the paragraphs.
    by W. von Dille on 3rd May 2001
  • I throughly enjoyed the article on the Taras. Please keep sending your newsletter. Thank you
    by Sharon Hille on 3rd May 2001
  • What a great article. I hadn't seen it yet. Aren't the accompanying photos of the art work beautiful? Thanks for sending this.
    by Alfie on 3rd May 2001
  • Very much enjoyed the piece on Tara, and accompanying images. You write so well, it is like a lesson in art appreciation. Thank you for keeping me on your mailing list.
    by John Scarborough on 3rd May 2001
  • Thank you thank you thank you! What a wonderful article and pictures. I have always enjoyed the features of the month, but since I was named after the Green Tara I had to write in and express my gratitude. Thank you again. Please continue the stories of the Goddesses. Namaste
    by Tara Jaya Ma on 3rd May 2001
  • Thank you very much for your newsletter. I found it most interesting, and I am already looking forward to the december issue.
    by Lloyd-Sackler Andrew on 3rd May 2001
  • Thank you so very much. This was such a blessing to read! Reminding one in a time of need about the suffering on this plane is a blessing. May this beautiful Tara send her compassion always to those in need. How beautiful to even try to think of a Love stronger than a Mothers Love. Blessings and Love
    by Sharon on 3rd May 2001
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