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An Invitation to Meet, Green Tara

From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
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If we rely upon Mother Tara sincerely and with strong faith she will protect us from all obstacles and fulfil all our wishes. Since she is a wisdom Buddha, and since she is a manifestation of the completely purified wind element, Tara is able to help us very quickly.Tara is our common mother, our Holy Mother. When we are young we turn to our worldly mother for help. She protects us from immediate dangers (internal and external), provides us with all our temporal needs, and guides and encourages us in our learning and personal and spiritual development.

Tara’ means ‘Rescuer’. She is so called because she rescues us from the eight outer fears (the fears of lions, elephants, fire, snakes, thieves, water, bondage, and evil spirits), and from the eight inner fears (the fears of pride, ignorance, anger, jealousy, wrong views, attachment, miserliness, and deluded doubts).

Green Tara, A description of the Devine:
In the sadhana she appears seated on a pale-blue lotus and a moon mat. She is described as: Green in colour. She sits with her left leg drawn up in meditation posture, and her right leg extended, the foot resting on another small pale-blue lotus and moon mat ready to move into action to assist. Her right hand is at her right knee, palm turned outwards, in the mudra of supreme giving, holding a crossed vajra. Her left hand is in front of her heart, ringing a silver vajra-bell. Tara’s head and body are surrounded by auras of light. She is young, beautiful, and smiling compassionately.”

Symbolic Significance of Her Imagery:
Tara is in the nature of green light, with one face and two arms. Her face is very peaceful, with a slight smile. Her hair is very dark, half tied up and half loose, and decorated with an utpala flower at the crown. Tara is adorned with jewel ornaments of necklace, bracelets, armlets, anklets, and so on. Her eyes, very loving and compassionate, are not opened widely but are fine and a little rounded. Tara’s eyes express compassion for you, like the look of loving kindness a mother gives her beloved only child. Tara’s right hand, holding the stem of an utpala flower, is in the mudra of granting sublime realizations. Her left hand holds the stem of another utpala flower, with three fingers standing upright to signify refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. With fully developed breasts, Tara is adorned with a jewel necklace and also with jewel garlands and various scarves. Her right leg is stretched out, and the left one contracted. Behind her is a moon disc. Tara is adorned with the complete holy signs and exemplifications of a buddha. On her forehead is a white OM, essence of the vajra holy body; at her neck, a red AH, essence of vajra holy speech; and at her heart, a blue HUNG, essence of the vajra holy mind.


White nectar beams come from the OM, strike your forehead, and enter inside you to purify all the obscurations and negative karmas you have accumulated with the body from beginningless rebirths until now. From the AH at Tara’s throat, red nectar beams are emitted and strike your own throat; all obscurations and negative karmas accumulated with your speech are completely purified. Then, from Tara’s heart syllable HUNG, blue nectar beams are emitted and enter your heart; all the obscurations and negative karmas accumulated with your mind from beginningless rebirths until now are purified. Out of compassion for you and all living beings, Mother Tara has purified you. Concentrate on this as you recite the mantra: OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA.

Tara is seated upon a cushion, in this image you can see just a little of the white cushion She’s seated upon. That’s what’s called the lunar disk, the moon symbolizing pacification, peacefulness. So her nature is peaceful She brings peace and is by nature peaceful. That is on top of a lotus, She’s seated on a large lotus blossom. The lotus here symbolizes Her freedom from any defilement, just as the lotus rises out of the dirt and mud but the blossom itself is pure and undefiled, so Green Tara arises in the world but is completely undefiled by the world.

The symbolism of the figure is quite extensive, but to say just briefly a few of the things, you can see that she’s not seated in the full lotus position, but rather has the right leg extended and the left held in. The extension of the right indicates that she is pressing down on something with her right foot, and that means that she’s actively holding down or subduing all untoward phenomena, that is, anything that could hinder, interfere with, or cause a problem. In particular, there are lists of the eight great fears and the sixteen calamities, the things which She is able to overcome. The extension of the right foot indicates the reaching out to hold down and suppress such obstacles. The left foot is held inward, which means the holding inward of the two great assemblages, which are merit and wisdom — these are the things which we have to accomplish and always keep hold of — the accumulation of merit through all manner of good deeds, proper activities, or proper Dharma practice, and the assemblage of wisdom, which is the accomplishment of all aspects of wisdom.


This is symbolized by the left foot being held inward. The right hand is extended with the palm outward, in the gesture of giving called the dhana mudra, the gesture of giving charity, which in this case is the great charity of the two types of accomplishment, called the ordinary and the sublime accomplishments. The ordinary are the eight great siddhis, the high spiritual accomplishments of those who engage in proper meditation to attain spiritual status, spiritual accomplishment. Those are called the ordinary siddhis, the ordinary accomplishments. She bestows those, and in particular she bestows the sublime accomplishment, which is the attainment of ultimate, perfect enlightenment. The left hand is held up, again with the palm facing outward, and grasping the lotus. This is called the Kyabchin Chagya mudra, the “gesture of refuge”. It is granting refuge from all of those things which would obstruct or cause trouble, and here again we have the lists of the eight great terrors, which are fires, poisons, snakes, and things like that; anything that could harm you or cause you trouble she is granting protection from. There are two types of “halos”. One is the halo around Her entire body, and that’s the yellow or orange, the large one.

We should understand when we look at the picture that the halos there are the representations which have been given by the artist of the, you could say, aura. The aura is not something which you can really paint. It’s a radiance, a powerful, energetic radiance which comes forth as if it’s a halo like that. So we should understand it not as something we can reach out and touch, but rather something which is like rays of light, invisible like that. And the one around the body, the larger one, shows the perfect awareness, the state of perfect supreme awareness or highest wisdom, which gives forth this radiance all around her whole body. There are several lotuses here, and the type of lotus is called “utpala”. Utpala is a type of lotus, and it’s a blue or greenish lotus. The lotus she’s seated on is that type, it’s an utpala. There are two other lotuses. If you look closely you can see that between her thumb and forefinger of the right hand and then also held in the left hand there are stems of a flower. That flower is the utpala, the blue or green lotus. The symbolism there is of the active principle of the fully-enlightened being, that is the enlightened activity of the enlightened being or the Buddha, which accomplishes all of the tasks of the Buddha to help living beings. If you look, she has various types of bodily ornaments. These are various types of metal or precious stones, jewelry all around on different parts of her body.

These are precious jewels. The bracelet, armlets going around the upper arm, necklace, earrings, the long necklace — there’s a short necklace that goes around the neck and a long one that goes down the front of her body — anklets, and various other things: these symbolize her status as being a diving being, in particular the three bodies of the BuddhaDharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, Nirmanakaya — the second being the Sambhogakaya, the body of perfect enjoyment — the deities who posses this body of perfect enjoyment always have these types of ornaments that indicate their status as that type of enlightened being enjoying all of the powers and prerogatives of the heavens. So the importance of this is that she is possessed of the great power of the divine being, the great opulence of the diving being, and has all of these jewels, valuable things, with which she can clear away the miseries of deprivation or poverty of all living beings. If you look very carefully, you can see that on the crown of her head she has a crown ornament that looks like a hat, and in the very center of that there’s a red figure. That red figure is the Buddha Amitaba, who’s always red in color, and it’s at the very center of the reddish halo around her head, it’s the red figure Amitaba.

This indicates her affiliation with the lotus lineage, in other words she’s a part of this lotus lineage. The Buddha of the lotus lineage is Amitaba, or in Tibetan Amwa Tayay, infinite light. She is, again, the representative of that lineage. There are five lineages of Buddhas. The lotus lineage is just one of these five. The five are always in relation to one another according to the cardinal directions. So there is the lineage of the north, of the east, of the south, of the west, and of the center. Amitaba is the Buddha of the west, associated with the color red and the lotus.