Green Tara: The mother of liberation

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Buddhism is full of unique religious expressions, in which faith combines with culture to shape all those beliefs that make up this ancient religion. Within Buddhism there are many deities with special characteristics that are worthy of veneration by believers; whether they are from Hinduism or other beliefs, these deities are important and the rituals to worship them are always present. That is why deities such as Tara, a goddess with many forms in which the green Tara stands out, is important to Buddhists, as this divine mother has qualities such as helping you achieve success and get ahead.

Deities in Buddhism

Many people, especially in Western countries, may think that within Buddhism there are no expressions of veneration towards different deities, because people usually have the idea of monks meditating and dedicating their lives only to the teachings of Buddha; this idea is reinforced by the fact that within Buddhism there is no a supreme creator, that is, there is no main deity who has shaped the universe. However, the truth is that Buddhism is full of religious expressions that can vary by country, as believers adopt regional customs. For example, this religion has adopted from Hinduism figures such as the deva, asuras and yakshas, who have different qualities and hierarchies; in other countries like China the ancient Chinese general Guan Yu is worshiped by Buddhists and in Japan the Kami (spirits of the Shinto religion) are worshiped by Buddhist believers.

In the particular case of Tara, it is venerated throughout the Asian continent, but especially known for its importance within Tibetan Buddhism. Due to the great extension of believers in her, the mother of liberation is considered a female Buddha within the Vajrayana School while within the Mahayana Buddhist School she is considered a bodhisattva: a being in search of Buddhist enlightenment. Her origin is not yet clear, as some relate it to a deity of Hinduism while others assure that it is a deity of Buddhism, but the truth is that she has earned a very important place as a deity of compassion and meditation.

Tara's qualities

Tara literally means "star" or "planet" and is associated with spiritual navigation to reach enlightenment. Properly speaking it is a Yidam, that is, an enlightened being with whom Buddhists identify during meditation since during this practice Buddhists identify themselves, as well as their mind and attributes with those of the deity to achieve transformation and spiritual growth. In the same way, venerating Tara during meditation contributes to understanding, as it helps to understand concepts such as Karuna (compassion and forgiveness), Maitrī, kindness and goodwill towards others to achieve selfless affection and śūnyatā, which is a meditative state to understand that all things are void of intrinsic existence.

Tibetan Buddhist Deities Chenrezig, Amitabha, Vajrasattva, White Tara and Green Tara (Set of 5 Sculptures)

Tara helps Buddhists to understand these concepts, but it also has other qualities depending on its form, since what we know as Green Tara is only the most popular of the multiple representations of this deity; For example, other versions such as the white Tara is known for its compassion, healing and ability to provide a long life, in its red color called Kurukullā she has the quality of magnetizing good things, while the Blue Tara contributes to the transmutation of anger. There are 21 forms of Tara, which cover different areas according to the needs of each person; therefore it is a universal deity with different manifestations.

The Green Tara

Of all the existing Taras, the Green Tara is undoubtedly the most popular of her manifestations, as Buddhists have found in her a mother full of mercy and compassion. It is especially popular in Tibet, where believers portray it as a representation of the Nepalese princess Bhrikuti, who according to tradition was the wife of the Tibet emperor Songtsen Gampo. Green Tara is usually represented with her right foot extended, in reference to the fact that she is ready to jump to the aid of those who need her. Her right hand is open on her knee, thus representing a gesture of generosity, while his left hand holds a lotus flower, which blooms next to her left ear. For Buddhists this flower represents physical and spiritual purity, qualities of Tara.

Goddess Green Tara in Green Color (Tibetan Buddhist Deity)

The human need to seek help in difficult moments makes Tara a very important deity, since believers know that they can count on her even in the most difficult moments, because with her help and protection they can face the Samsara: the cycle of life, death and resurrection as well as the suffering present in this concept. Tara is open to all believers, which unlike other expressions within Buddhism can only be venerated by monks and to connect with her meditation and prayer are necessary, since it is the tool through which she benefits those who come to her. For them it is necessary to establish a relationship of trust with her, to open up to her with the mind and the heart

The 8 Great Fears

Day by day we face situations that can be difficult, these moments of tension put us to the test and many times we succumb to them, which can have an impact on our emotions. Buddhist philosophy defines this as the 8 great fears or eight obscurations and it is the Green Tara who can help us deal with these problems by enlisting her help.

Goddess Green Tara -Tibetan Buddhist

These fears are symbolically represented and are: Lions (pride), elephants (ignorance), fire (anger), snakes (jealousy and envy), thieves (wrong views), bondage (greed), demons (doubts), and floods (desire and attachment). As humans many times we succumb to these acts that we must avoid, however many times it is not easy and it is there that Tara helps us with her mercy, because she knows that we are beings capable of suffering and she extends her hand towards peace and goes to the call of Buddhists when they pray or meditate to help them cope with any uncertainties.

Veneration

Buddhists have different ways of invoking Tara, methods that can be very different depending on the country in question since it must be remembered that Buddhism covers an important part of the Asian continent. However, if Tara is known for something, it is because of the devotion that Buddhists feel towards her and therefore they have elaborated a traditional prayer known as Praises to the Twenty-One Taras in which they offer 21 verses composed of a specific mantra to honor the mother of Buddhists. But in particular there is a very special verse that is recited by the believers in the Green Tara: “Om tare tuttare ture soha” which literally means “Om O Tara, I pray O Tara, O Swift One, So Be It”, “Om” Is a sacred mantra within Buddhism and Hinduism.

Tibetan Buddhist Goddess Green Tara

Believers often pronounce this mantra multiple times as a call for help to her spiritual mother and thereby free themselves from the suffering. Each word of this mantra has a special meaning: "Om" is an approximation to divinity, "tare" is liberation from suffering, "tuttare" is a protection against dangers, "ture" is a protection against disease and a word of peace, "soha" is long-term protection against any danger. In the same way, there is a list known as the 108 Names of the Holy Tara, through which believers can refer to their mother in multiple ways because it must be remembered that Buddhism is broad and no matter how it is known, its message of peace and support is the same for everyone.

Depictions

The Green Tara has been represented throughout the history of Buddhism in different ways, believers, mainly in Tibet, have represented her in multiple artistic ways, because for them it is important and deserves veneration on all altars. Statues and images of several centuries of antiquity, made of bronze or carved in rock have been found; These representations cover a huge area, as they have been found in Indonesia, India, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, China, etc. This shows us the interest of the faithful in venerating the Green Tara due to her qualities, since her ability to intercede among us makes it a very popular religious expression.

Seated Green Tara, Under A Densely Engraved Aureole

On the other hand, painting is another way of representing it and various artistic works have been made, especially in recent years; while in Tibet it is usually represented in huge silk tapestries known as thangkas, representations that are very popular in Tibetan Buddhism to represent deities, or Buddhist themes. The Green Tara in thangkas often adorns Buddhist monasteries or family altars, where they are worshiped. Similarly, during religious processions it is common for these images to be carried to ceremonies, mainly by monks. Even the famous Thongdrel (huge thangkas of several meters) made in Bhutan often represent this deity, especially during Buddhist festivals celebrated in this country, as a way to venerate and thank all that he does for the believers. Tara is also usually the main theme of many sand mandalas made in Tibet, where the monks create geometric designs with some representation made from colored sands, which are later destroyed to symbolize the transitory nature of material life.

Importance

The green tare is a fundamental figure in Buddhism, as it is considered a spiritual mother for all believers and throughout the centuries she has won the devotion of millions of people who turn to her when they need it most, because they know that she will come to help them. To this day the Green Tara remains the best known and most revered of the multiple representations of Tara, because despite its multiple purposes, the Green Tara in particular offers something that we all need: mercy, help to face difficult moments, even when we feel like we can't take it anymore. This is why the Green Tara is even an important figure in the West, where her mantra has spread and is recited by people interested in Buddhism or Hinduism as a powerful prayer for difficult times.

Goddess Green Tara (Tibetan Buddhist Deity)

The Green Tara is one of the most important religious expressions within Buddhism and Hinduism, because thanks to her qualities she has won the affection and devotion of a large part of the believers, people who through meditation and prayer request her help in the most difficult moments. Its enormous popularity is not surprising due to our human needs, because we are people capable of suffering and in the dark moments what we need most is divine mercy. It is important to know the Green Tara, as well as how to invoke and venerate her, especially when there are many manifestations of the mother of all Buddhists. Whether you are a Buddhist or not, it is majestic how believers dedicate their lives to this deity, and how they have expressed themselves to represent her through various artistic manifestations throughout the centuries. Tara will continue to be an important figure for Buddhism, and will continue to gain more adherents who seek her help when they need it most.

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