The Origins of Tara Bodhisattva
The literal origins of Tara as a female goddess first appear in the Buddhist text “Prajnaparamita”. Her appearance there was vague and coincided with the rapidly evolving popularity of Mahayana Buddhism. However, about 5 centuries later her essence evolved to become expressed as the “compassion of perfected wisdom”.
Additionally, the first identifiable image of Tara appeared in the 7th century A.C.E. This standing stone statue is still view able today at cave 6 in the Ellora Cave complex located at Maharashtra India. Although this stone image is rather plain her character and appearance would soon become more elaborate.
Evolution of Tara Bodhisattva
The worship of Tara spread rapidly with the rise of the Pala Empire in 8th century India. Additionally, Tantric Buddhism would play an important role in the evolution and growing popularity of Tara. As Tantrism evolved with the Pala Empire it was introduced to Tibet by Padmasambhava in the 8th century. It is in Tibet that the character and physical appearance of Tara would become much more complex.
Tara Bodhisattva & Tibetan Buddhism
In Tibetan Buddhism, Tara was born from a teardrop that fell from the eye of Avalokitesvara. Tibetan Buddhists also believe that she is the female aspect and consort of Avalokitesvara. Additionally, as a result of Tibetan Buddhism Tara developed into 21 different emanations.
In fact, Tara is believed to represent an entire class of deities. Each is depicted with a different color or shade of the same color. Also, her images are depicted standing or seated in different postures such as full lotus, half lotus and sometimes one one leg extended. Furthermore, she can be depicted as wrathful, semi-wrathful and peaceful.
Green Tara “Khadiravaṇi”
The most popular and common embodiment of Tara is known as “Green Tara” or Khadiravaṇi. In this form she is known as a forest goddess. Her pure land in Mt Potala is described as a lush evergreen paradise with waterfalls, birds, flowers and trees.
Green Tara is also associated with quickness of movement and she is always ready to come to the aid of suffering life. As a result, sculptures of Green Tara are depicted with one leg extended and the other leg pulled in to reflect meditative contemplation.
Additionally, Green Tara is strongly associated with protection from fear and the eight obscurations of pride, delusion, hatred, jealousy, wrong views, avarice, desire and deluded doubts. As a result, her statues are depicted with the Abhaya mudra. This is known as the mudra of fearlessness and protection.
Green Tara is also strongly affiliated with the blue lotus flower (uptala). This flower has a special characteristic in that it releases it’s fragrance at night with the moon. Thus, she has become affiliated with the moon and night time. Her emanation as White Tara is believed to glow with the brightness of a thousand white moons.
Green Tara Mantra Benefits
The Green Tara mantra is “oṃ tāre tuttāre ture svāhā”. The English translation means “I prostrate to the Liberator, Mother of all the Victorious Ones.” The Green Tara Mantra benefits induce strength in devotees to overcome their fears and the above mentioned obscurations. It is one of the most common mantras used in Tibetan Buddhist practice to induce a deep meditative state.
White Tara “7-Eyed”
White Tara is believed to glow with the radiance of a thousand full moons. She is associated with healing, longevity and compassion for all sentient life. It is believed that her compassion for sentient beings exceeds that of their own mothers. In the seven eyed embodiment of White Tara she has an extra eye in the middle of her forehead between the brows and one eye on each of her hands and feet. As a result, all of her thoughts and actions are governed with the ultimate compassion and wisdom.
In contrast with Green Tara, White Tara sits in full lotus or diamond pose. However, White Tara also depicts the Varada mudra with her right hand and the Abhaya mudra with the left. White Tara is known as “Cintachakra” or the wish fulfilling wheel.
One common method of venerating White Tara is to recite her mantra: “Om Tare Tuttare Ture Mama Ayuh Punya Jñana Pustim Kuru Svaha”. The White Tara mantra benefits will inspire devotees to defeat the defilements and overcome their resultant bad karma.
Dancing Red Tara “Kurukulla”
Red Tara is a wrathful emanation of Tara. This deity is also known as “Kurukulla” and she is a deity of enchantment. As a result, her devotees believe that she can give them the power to induce people to their will. For example, gratuitous recitation of her mantra can influence a politician, estranged lover of even a King.
Her mantra is recited is “Om Kurukulle Hrih Svaha” – 10,000 recitations will fulfill your desires, 30,000 recitations will subdue a government minister and 100,000 can subdue a King. However, a condition of the mantra’s effectiveness is that the intentions of the inducer must be virtuous and not evil.
Kurukulla has a frightening appearance compared to both White and Green Tara. Kurukulla is depicted with 4 arms and a frightening countenance and she is usually standing in Dakini pose. She is standing on a human corpse and is surrounded by a ring of flames that represent pristine awareness. Additionally, she holds a flower bow and arrow that is drawn back and ready to fire. In her other hands she holds a flower noose and flower goad.
World Class Tara Statues
I hope you enjoyed our brief introduction to the Bodhisattva Tara. Please enjoy our world class selection of Buddha and Bodhisattva statues that we have on display in our gallery.
All our statues were hand crafted by highly skilled artisans and each statue is unique and original. All statues come with free shipping world wide and your satisfaction is guaranteed.