Tara (Buddhism)

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Green Tara, Kumbm, Gyantse, Tibet, 1993

Tārā or Ārya Tārā, also known as Jetsun Dolma in Tibetan, is a female Buddha linked with Buddhist tantra practice in Tibetan Buddhism. She is called the "mother of liberation". She stands for success in work and achievements.

Tārā is a tantric deity whose practice is used by followers of the Tibetan branch of Vajrayana Buddhism to develop their inner qualities and understand outer, inner and secret teachings about compassion and emptiness. Tārā is not found in the Japanese branch of Vajrayana Buddhism, Shingon.

There is more than one form of Tārā. They have to do with different forms of the same quality. Bodhisattvas are often considered metaphors for Buddhist virtues.

The most widely known forms of Tārā are:

  • Green Tārā, known as the Buddha of enlightened activity
  • White Tārā, also known for compassion, long life, healing and serenity; also known as The Wish-fulfilling Wheel, or Cintachakra
  • Red Tārā, of fierce aspect associated with magnetizing all good things
  • Black Tārā, associated with power
  • Yellow Tārā, associated with wealth and prosperity
  • Blue Tārā, associated with transmutation of anger
  • Cittamani Tārā, a form of Tārā widely practiced at the level of Highest Yoga Tantra in the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism, portrayed as green and often conflated with Green Tārā
  • Khadiravani Tārā (Tārā of the teak forest), who appeared to Nagarjuna in the Khadiravani forest of South India and who is sometimes referred to as the "22nd Tārā."

In some schools of Buddhism there are twenty-one Tārās. A practice text with the title In Praise of the 21 Tārās is recited during the morning in all four sects of Tibetan Buddhism.

The main Tārā chant or mantra is Oṃ tāre tuttāre ture svāhā. This Sanskrit mantra is pronounced by Tibetans and Buddhists who follow the Tibetan traditions as Oṃ tāre tu tāre ture soha.