Tara is a female Buddha. In fact, she is the manifestation of the wisdom of all Buddhas, and the goddess who accomplishes their enlightened activities. Her name means "Saviouress," and it is she who comes swiftly to protect all beings from fear.
Tara was once a human being. Through countless lifetimes of practicing compassionate and courageous activities to benefit others, she attained liberation.
Many legends are associated with Tara. It is said that she arose from the tears of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, as he wept in despair because he was unable to fulfill his task to save all beings from suffering. Tara consoled him, and offered to assume the form of a female bodhisattva in order to assist him in his noble endeavors.
It is important to remember that we are never separate from Tara. When we call on Tara to grant our needs or to allay our fears, we are calling on the awakened qualities of our own true nature. Tara manifests in a variety of forms and colors - two of which - green and white are described below.
"As for myself," Tara said, "as long as samsara remains, I will always return in female form to benefit all beings."
- legend of Green Tara
Green Tara, the Mother of All Buddhas, embodies the the feminine aspect of wisdom expressed through enlightened activity of all the Buddhas. She is the protectoress from fear and mental obscurations. Her right hand, extended in the giving mudra, bestows the common and uncommon siddhis or accomplishments. She is shown holding a vase, symbol of the vase empowerment, for purification. Her left hand is held in the gesture of fearlessness to bestow protection.
The mantra of Green Tara is: Om tare tuttare ture svaha
Tara means "star" in Sanskrit. White Tara embodies enlightened wisdom which is the true nature of our mind. She is invoked to eliminate life's difficulties, prolong life, cure disease and foster health and strength. The image of White Tara can offer blessings, healing and solace to a person who is ill.
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