White Tara

The knowledge, compassion and perfect actions of all buddhas
appear in the form of the beautiful goddess.
I take refuge in you and offer you my prayers;
pray, eliminate all my obstacles and fulfil all my aims.

~ From A Praise Of White Tara by the First Dalai Lama

In true reality Tara is a great wisdom being, the feminine principle of Buddha. She is the Lady Buddha who generated a pure motivation in the Lady’s form, who accumulated all the merits in the Lady’s body, who purified and took hardship and difficulty in a female body, and who obtained the final stage of buddhahood, the stage of no more learning, in the physical form of a female. She is the Lady Buddha who insisted to help and carry out all the activities in female form, though that was not an easy job in the old Indian society where there was a lot of male domination and male hierarchy. Even under those circumstances she insisted to function as a female buddha.

Not only that. She is also the embodiment of the activities of all enlightened beings in many different manifestations, such as White and Green Tara, the 21 Taras or the 108 Taras. In Tibet she is called Drolma, in China Kwan Yin or Kwan Shi Yin. There are different physical appearances of Tara; some are green, some are white, some are yellow, some are red and they carry different implements.  These different manifestations, Wrathful Tara, Powerful Tara, Peaceful Tara, etc, are all one Tara with different qualities and a different effect on the individual practitioner. This is why these manifestations are there. Red Tara, White Tara and Green Tara and so on are not separate personalities, but at the same time they are not the same personality either.

Known as a mother goddess who responds quickly and effectively to any heartfelt request, White Tara is particularly associated with healing, protecting, and stabilizing your life force. Her practice is especially active and helpful during these difficult times, times when our lives are often dominated by intense emotions and fear.

Practiced by all four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, White Tara has been the main deity practice of many well-known Buddhist scholars and siddhas in both India and Tibet, foremost among whom where Nagarjuna and Atisha. White Tara’s special function is to promote long life, peace, prosperity and health through her enlightened activities, both for the practitioner and for others.

She is seen as is a beautiful loving mother figure, with a body that is the brilliant white of a thousand autumn moons. She seated in the posture of the vajra (thunderbolt) above a white moon disc and an open lotus. Her aura glows, as various colored rings framed with lotus blossoms surround her. Her garments are elaborately decorated with ornaments; on her head she wears a sparkling crown, crested by Amitaba himself; and she is adorned with beautiful jewelery – a long and a short necklace, as well as various gold and jewel ornaments. Her right hand rests across her knee in the mudra of supreme generosity, while her left hand holds near her heart the stem of a uptala flower, which is blossoming near her left ear. White Tara is always depicted as a peaceful deity.

White Tara has seven eyes. She has three eyes on her face, the third eye in her forehead symbolizing her ability to see the unity of ultimate reality, while her two other eyes simultaneously see the relative and dualistic worlds. She has one eye on each palm of her hands and feet, showing that all her actions are governed by her ultimate wisdom and compassion. It is said that White Tara’s seven eyes enable her to clearly “see” all beings in all the realms of existence. Her expression is one of the utmost compassion.

She is the protective, helpful and comforting mother who shows limitless kindness, generosity and protection towards those who are tossed in the ocean of suffering, and if we recite her mantra and make a connection to her, we draw closer to developing her enlightened qualities in ourselves.

Ultimately, she is the very nature of the Dharmakaya – “the ultimate nature or essence of the enlightened mind, which is uncreated, free from the limits of conceptual elaboration, empty of inherent existence, naturally radiant, beyond duality and spacious like the sky” (definition by Karma Lingpa). Her practice is a means for attaining liberation.

Her mantra is:

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Mama Ayuh Punya Jnana Pushtim Kuru Svaha

Sources:

Gelek Rinpoche, “Healing And Self-Healing Through White Tara”

Rigdzin Dharma Foundation