”Homage to White Tara, a Female Buddha exquisite with youth,
Radiant as the eternal snows in all their glory,
She sits on a white lotus and a silvery moon,
Indicating fully developed compassion and knowledge’.’
White Tara is one of the oldest representations of Goddess – she was originally a Hindu Goddess, but was adopted by Buddhism around the 3rd century BC and is noted now more within Tibetan Buddhism. She is a Protectress (”she who ferries across the ocean of samsara”) and bringer of long life and peace. Her name in Tibetan is Jetsun Drolma – or ”She who Saves”. Tara also translates as ”Star”.
Tara as a Goddess appears in many traditions, in the Finnish, she is Tar (Woman of Wisdom); she is the Celtic Goddess Tara, the mother Goddess; she is the sea Goddess in Polynesia; and in south America she is the earth Goddess, Tarahumara. In Tibetan Buddhsim, she is regarded as Bodhisattva, one who chooses to reincarnate for the benefit of all human beings, rather than be liberated.
The word “goddess” or “deity” is not an accurate rendering of what Tara really is. In Tibetan Tara is called a yidam. Yidams represent the inseparability of emptiness and clarity, emptiness and luminosity, emptiness and compassion. They are expressions of the dynamic nature of absolute reality. Absolute truth refers to the true nature of mind and reality which is empty and yet aware, luminous clarity. Tara is not separate from our
own true nature, but until the time when this is actually fully realized, Tara appears as separate from our-selves.
(LA M A PA L D E N DR O L M A )
It is also said she specifically chose to reincarnate always in a female form. She said that in the realm of Bodhisattva there is no male or female, but the androgynous being…… It is said she also made this choice because the female was/is treated in such a derogatory fashion in so many cultures.
“There are many who wish to gain enlightenment
in a man’s form,
And there are few who wish to work
for the welfare of living beings
in a female form.
Therefore may I, in a female body,
work for the welfare of all beings,
until such time as all humanity has found its fullness.”
She embodies compassion, wisdom, purity and spiritual endurance. Also gentleness and virtue. Her White colour represents the absolute Truth, the absence of dualities. It is said her compassion for humans is stronger than a mothers love for her children. She is said to instantly respond when called upon for help. She sprang from the compassionate tears of Avalokitesvara, who cried upon witnessing the suffering of humans on earth. From the tears on his left side sprang White Tara, and from those on the right sprang Green Tara, the more dynamic, ferocious, energetic form of the Goddess who will not tolerate transgressions.
In Buddhism we see embodiments of all aspects of pure form. Tara is both peaceful and wrathful, beautiful and powerful, the actuality of wisdom and sensuality, compassionate and sexual, empty and yet fully manifest. In this way she transcends dualistic limitations. Meditating on Tara helps to awaken our Buddha nature as
well as the qualities of our Buddha nature. Tara leads us beyond duality to the infinite bliss and emptiness that is our most precious opportunity.
(Lama Palden Drolma)
White Tara is often compared to the beautiful Kuan Yin. Both chose to continue to dwell on earth until all beings are freed. White Tara is said to protect the aspirant and remove obstacles on the spiritual path.
It is said White Tara became enlightened during one of her lifetimes as Princess Moon of Wisdom Knowledge, when after a million years of devotion to the teachings she gained liberation. Her inspiration as Goddess is the gentle purification of the heart, the development of compassion for all beings. She transforms the negative emotions into positive, ridding us of anger, fear and sadness.
One of her mantras is ”Om Tare Tuttare Ture Swaha.’‘
Dedication of Positive Potential
Due to this merit may I soon
Attain the enlightened state of Arya Tara
That I may be able to liberate
All sentient beings from their suffering.
May the precious bodhi mind
Not yet born arise and grow;
May that born have no decline,
But increase forever more.
White Tara is sometimes called the Mother of All Buddhas. She is often represented with 7 eyes, the third in the middle of her forehead and then eyes on her palms and feet – which enable her to watch over all humans and come to their aid in their suffering.