Mother of all Buddhas, the innumerable manifestation of Tara, as many as beings require, bringing protection, long life and peace, overcoming obstacles and saving beings from danger.
Green Tara is one of the most beloved of deities in Buddhism. Legend has it that once, many eons ago during the time Buddha Dundubhisvara, there lived a prince by the name of ‘Moon of Wisdom-knowledge’. She was a very devoted disciple and would set out many offerings daily to Buddha and his sangha. Eventually, she generated bodhicitta, the aspiration to attain enlightenment and become a Buddha herself, in order to help all living beings.
Some bhikshus came to know of this, and urged her to dedicate the merits she had created to be reborn as a male. However, the princess rejected this advice, saying:”Here there is no man, there is no woman, no self, no person, and no consciousness. Labelling “male” or “female” has no essence but deceives the evil-minded world.”
She went on to making the following vow:” There are many who desire enlightenment in a man’s body, but none who work for the benefit of sentient beings in the body of a woman. Therefore, until samsara is empty, I shall work for the benefit of sentient beings in a woman’s body.”
From that time onwards, the princess dedicated herself to winning full and complete enlightenment. Once she accomplished that goal, she came to be known as Tara, the Liberator.
Another story regarding Tara, which tells of when Chenrezig had been working to help sentient beings for a very long time. He had been able to help hundreds of thousands of beings to become free from samsara, but then realised there were still so many more beings suffering in samsara, and began to cry. From the pool formed by his tears, a lotus arose and Tara appeared from the lotus, saying:” Don’t worry. I will help you.” Thus Tara is associated with Chenrezig, as well as with Amithabha Buddha (she has a tiny image of Amitabha Buddha on her crown).
Compassionate saviours from samsara! Goddess who is born from the tears of Him with Lotus in Hand, by the power of the vow of Amitabha; most loving, striving for others’ good, Venerable one! I cannot describe your infinite virtues.
The goddess Mother of all sentient beings, Tara is seated upon a lotus arising from the waters of a lake, just as Tara is said to have arisen from the compassionate tears of Avalokiteshvara. Her right hand is in the mudras of supreme generosity indicating her ability to provide beings with whatever they desire. Her left hand at her heart is in the mudras of bestowing refuge: her thumb and ring finger are pressed together to symbolise the untied practice of method and wisdom, and the three remaining fingers are raised to symbolise the Three Jewels of Refuge- Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. In each hand she holds the stem of a blue impala flower. Each flower consists of three blossoms, indicating that Tara, the embodiment of enlightened activities, is the Mother of Buddhas of the past, present and future.
Tara is dressed in the silken robes of royalty. She wears rainbow coloured stockings, a white half-blouse and various jewel ornaments. These symbolise her mastery of the perfection of generosity, morality and so forth. The tiara fastened in her black hair is adorned with jewels, the central one is a Red Ruby symbolic of Amitabha, her spiritual father and the head of her Buddha family.
She is seated in a distinctive posture, her left leg withdrawn to symbolise her renunciation of worldly passion and her right leg extended to show that she is always ready to arise and come to the aid of those who need her help. With a warm compassionate gaze, she looks down upon each sentient being as a mother regards her own child. Her emerald green colour- related to the wind element and hence to movement, signifies her ability to act swiftly and without delay to bring benefits to sentient beings.
Tara is known as “Mother of all Buddhas”. This is because she is the wisdom of reality and all Buddhas and bodhisattvas are born from this wisdom. This wisdom is also fundamental cause of happiness and our own spiritual growth comes from this wisdom. That is why Tara is called the Mother. And Mother Tara has much wisdom to manifest many aspects, sometimes peaceful, sometimes wrathful, in different colours; all to help sentient beings.
Tara’s mantra is:
OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA
OM represents Tara’s holy body, speech and mind
TARE means liberating from true suffering, the suffering of samsara, our aggregates being under the control of delusion and karma
TUTTARE means liberating from the 8 fears, the external dangers, the delusions and also karma
TURE means liberating from the ignorance of the absolute nature of the I; it shows the true cessation of suffering.
NOTE: This irreplaceable message was shared with me by a very good friend, Sher from Nepal.
Love and light,