Green Tara and the Murderer

OM Tare Tuttare Ture Swaha

In the high-security prison, where all the murderer’s lived, he spent hours with felt-tip pens colouring in a large picture of Green Tara .

He took special care when colouring the lotus blossoms and peonies that surrounded her. Deep pink, he thought. Pure feminine. Light pink at the tips. Dainty curlicues to finish.

Like a small child the point of his tongue was extended beyond his lips as he concentrated. He would not stray outside the lines.

It took a long time, but that was okay. There was not much to do here anyway. The other Republican prisoners did not fraternise with him overly much as they distrusted his religious leanings. They were still deeply Catholic though they like him had murdered and maimed and bombed. It was in their genes, couldn’t be helped, their religious and political persuasions. Rosary beads and small laminated pictures of the Blessed Virgin under their pillows. Whispered bravado tales of the ArmaLite rifle. His idols of green, bare-breasted goddesses provoked their contempt.

When he was finished, he prepared his letter. Wrote with a flowing hand.

Thank you for the lovely Incense,” he wrote. ”A friend sent me a packet and I saw your addressI use it every day during my prayers. It really makes a difference. I wanted to send you this token of my love.”

Then, again with what must have been great care, he dismembered the large picture of Green Tara into four equal quarters and smoothed them out.

I have to cut her up because the guards at the desk won’t let me send large pictures.”

(Why did you not just fold her, Mr Murderer?)

Please write back to me,” he finished.

She did not.

He scared her. A murderer in a high security prison! A man who was obviously mad, for had he not cut up the goddess rather than fold her! Tuck that letter and picture away, forget about such people, take your address off the packets.

Decades passed. One day he came to her mind. He must be dead now, she thought, as he was already getting on when he had so carefully coloured Green Tara, (for she had looked up his records when he had signed his name.) Had he found peace? Where was the picture? She rummaged around in some books, but there was no sign. A whole heap of books collapsed then and on the bottom was an old German colouring book of tantric Tibetan deities. She could not remember where it had come from. She flicked through. None of the pictures were coloured. Bare black and white outlines. Except for the second to last. This was not the picture he had sent her, for it was still intact. A carefully coloured picture of Green Tara. Pink peonies around her.

She imagined suddenly some unknown one with the point of their tongue stuck a little beyond their lips, trying to stay between the lines.

green tara

Green Tara (Sanskrit: Syamatara; Tibetan: Sgrol-ljang), filled with youthful vigor, is a goddess of activity. She is the fiercer form of Tara, but is still a savior-goddess of compassion. She is the consort of Avalokiteshvara and considered by some to be the original Tara. Like Avalokiteshvara, the Green Tara is believed to be an emanation of the “self-born” Buddha Amitabha, and an image of Amitabha is sometimes depicted in Tara’s headdress.

Green Tara is believed to have been incarnated as the Nepali wife of the Tibetan king Srong-brtsan-sgam-po. In Buddhism, the color green signifies activity and accomplishment. Thus Amoghasiddhi, the Lord of Action, is also associted with the color green.

Green Tara is iconographically depicted in a posture of ease and readiness for action. While her left leg is folded in the contemplative position, her right leg is outstretched, ready to spring into action. Green Tara’s left hand is in the refuge-granting mudra (gesture); her right hand makes the boon-granting gesture. In her hands she also holds closed blue lotuses (utpalas), which symbolize purity and power. She is adorned with the rich jewels of a bodhisattva.

In Buddhist religious practice, Green Tara’s primary role is savioress. She is believed to help her followers overcome dangers, fears and anxieties, and she is especially worshipped for her ability to overcome the most difficult of situations. Green Tara is intensely compassionate and acts quickly to help those who call upon her.



Generally just Being. Nothing in particular, no claims to fame. I like gardening and the sea, nature, art in all forms from poetry to films and everything in between, and being in the company of my family.

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