This is just a page that one student has made - in Praise of Tara.
Here are a few notes about Tara, for those of you that may not have met up
with her before. However these are not the notes or comments of a lama, but only
of a foolish and egotistical student who does not attend to what he is
WHO OR WHAT IS TARA?
Tara is a deity in the Mahayana Buddhist, especially the Tibetan Buddhist religion. She seems to be like a goddess, but actually Tara is not a goddess. She is an actual being, like you or me.
Uncounted ages ago, Tara was a king's daughter who met a great deal of suffering. She made a vow to take rebirth always in a woman's body, and she vowed to find enlightenment to help and heal all sentient beings.
For countless ages, Tara has followed this vow. Now she is a female Buddha, with total capacity to help and heal beings insofar as they will or can accept that help.
Tibetan children are told to always pray to Tara for protection, because she loves protecting women and children. Strong men pray to Tara. Mothers especially pray to Tara. All are told that Tara will grant all of their wishes.
Tara is the shield of the weak and the helper of the simple. But she is also the guide of great mystics. Tara means both Saviouress and Star. She is the guide and protector through the deep realms of Mind. She is the guide and instructor of many, many great saints, gurus and lamas in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. By herself she can bring us to enlightenment.
Many people, especially Western people, greatly desire to have some true religious inspiration or mystical experience. If we do the practice of Tara, we will not fail. We will inevitably gain that religious or mystical experience.
Tara has a number of different manifestations (see the pages on the WHITE TARA and the 21 TARAS). The main Tara, and the Tara I am talking about in these pages, is the Green Tara. All the others are a manifestation of her.
If you look at the picture of Green Tara, well, firstly, she is
green. Green is a colour indicating action. It also indicates karma. This means
quickness of action applied to our relative condition: that is, Green Tara will
help us quickly.
If we look at her hand, we see that her left hand is in the
posture of meditation, indicating her enlightened wisdom. Her right hand is in a
posture called Supreme giving.
Tara gives both relative gifts and supreme gifts. Relative gifts are things like nice house, nice job, money, car, life-partner and so on, as well as mystical experience and knowledges. If we are asking for this, we can visualise Tara with the hand with the palm turned upward: this is the hand-gesture of relative gift.
But in reality all these gifts are just part of, or steps to, the supreme gift: the gift of Buddhahood itself. This is the Supreme gift, so we picture Tara here with her hand turned that way.
Then what else? Tara's leg is stepping forward, because she is ready at any moment to jump up and help us. She wears the ornaments of one who has taken the vow to gain Buddhahood for the benefit of all beings. She carries three night-lotuses: bud, half-bloomed, and bloomed. This is to symbolise spiritual unfoldment.
Her face is peaceful. Her eyes are wise and compassionate. Her gaze is like the ocean.
Tara usually takes the form of a sixteen-year old girl. She has a tendency to be somewhat mischievous. She is friendly and joyful. She is extremely beautiful and attractive.
Tara is seated on a lotus. Lotuses are very beautiful, but they grow in muddy water. In Buddhism the lotus represents the way that Enlightened Mind grows up out of the mud of the world.
Always when you call, she will come.