Bodhisattva, Protective Goddess, and a Buddha
Tara's Mantra: Om Tare Tutare Ture Svaha
Who is Tara?
The word Tara is etymologically rooted in the word "star", but the most popular meaning of "Tara" is "she who saves", or "saviouress". As a popular Buddhist deity in the Mahayana tradition--especially in Tibet--Green Tara is compassionate, wise, and quick-acting. If one needs Tara and recites her mantra (above), it is said that Tara will quickly come to assist.
Mythologically, the Green Tara came into being when the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara cried upon seeing all of the suffering in the Universe. He cried so much that a pond grew out of his tears. Out of this pond grew a blue lotus flower, and on this flower appeared a beautiful woman. Her translucent green color was luminous with a great energy. She held a deep blue lotus, symbolizing limitless giving and refuge. The color green is said to symbolize her quick action, and also her role as a forest deity.
Tara is usually depicted with her right leg extended, ready to spring into action, while her left leg is folded in the Buddhist contemplative position. The right leg symbolizes compassion and the left leg wisdom. These are the two virtues that, when developed together, lead one to enlightenment.
Tara is primarily thought of in three different ways: as a Bodhisattva, a deity, and a Buddha. Here are explanations of each:
Tara as a Bodhisattva
Tara as a Deity
Tara as a Buddha
author: Jenna Maack firstname.lastname@example.org 2001