White Tara Thangka painted 2010 by ariya
between June and July 2010 (roughly 350 hrs) in Bhaktapur, Nepal.
Who is Tara?
Tara or Arya Tara, also known as Jetsun Dolma in Tibetan, is a female Bodhisattva or female Buddha in different Buddhist traditions. She is also a tantric meditation deity used to develop certain inner qualities and understand secret teachings about compassion and emptiness.
The most widely known forms of Tara are:
- Green Tara, known as the Buddha of enlightened activity
- White Tara, also known for compassion, long life, healing and serenity; also known as The Wish-fulfilling Wheel, or Cintachakra. She is pictured as being endowed with seven eyes (at the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and her forehead) to symbolize the watchfulness of the compassionate mind. She is said to be as white and radiant as the moon.
Within Tibetan Buddhism, Tara is regarded as Bodhisattva of compassion and action. She is the female aspect of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig – the Buddha of Compassion) and in some origin stories she comes from his tears. She eventually came to be considered the "Mother of all Buddhas," which usually refers to the enlightened wisdom of the Buddhas, while simultaneously echoing the ancient concept of the Mother Goddess in India. As one of the three deities of long life, White Tara is associated with longevity. White Tara counteracts illness and thereby helps to bring about a long life.
H.H the Dalai Lama said about Tara (at a conference on Compassionate Action in Newport Beach, CA in 1989): "There is a true feminist movement in Buddhism that relates to the goddess Tara. (…) She looked upon the situation of those striving towards full awakening and she felt that there were too few people who attained Buddhahood as women. So she vowed, "I have developed bodhicitta as a woman. For all my lifetimes along the path I vow to be born as a woman, and in my final lifetime when I attain Buddhahood, then, too, I will be a woman."
The main Tara mantra is the same for Buddhists and Hindus alike: om tare tuttare ture svaha. But for the White Tara, several words connected with long life, merit, wisdom and abundance, are added to the play on the name of Tara. Her particular mantra is therefore: Om Tare Tuttare Ture Mama Ayuh Punya Jñana Pustim Kuru Svaha.