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Female Deities of Tibetan Buddhism: Tara

Did you know that Tibetan Buddhism has many different deities? The deities represent different aspects or elements that you are trying to channel while meditating. Think of them as having aspects you’re trying to aspire to, like compassion for yourself and those around you. During meditation you can gaze upon the visuals of the deities to remind yourself of what qualities you’re trying to cultivate and bring forth during your practice.

Tibetan Buddhism has a myriad of female deities. One of the most recognized is Tara, known as Tara the Liberator (liberation from samsara, or the endless cycle of repeated birth). Her mantra is OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SVAHA, which means, “There are many different versions of her.” We’ve outlined a few of them below!

White Tara:

Known for conferring longevity, White Tara helps to bestow attainment of Enlightenment onto practitioners. She embodies balance, awareness, and the ability to inspire people and practices to grow to their full potential. She instills appreciation for how short time is and that none should be wasted if one is to gain wisdom and share it with others.1

Green Tara:

Referred to as the ‘quintessence of compassion’ and known as a protectress, Green Tara is filled with fearlessness and spontaneous helpfulness, giving aid and protection to any living being who calls upon her. She guides with wisdom and compassion.

One story about Green Tara states that monks prayed for her to be reborn as male, but she objected because male and female were both concepts of experience and not reality. Since there was less representation of females reaching Enlightenment, she chose to stay in her female body.1

Red Tara:

Goddess of love and sensuality, also referred to as She Who is the Cause of Knowledge, Red Tara is called onto foster healing and courage from suffering. Though sometimes fierce, her purpose is to be of service to mankind by removing challenging obstacles.

Historically she was invoked to enchant and magnetize people. She may be helpful when it comes to guiding your sensual power and deepening intimacy with lovers, as she can remove blocks that are keeping others at a distance.

We look to her to manifest compassion and love from raw desire.2

Blue Tara:

Referred to as the Mother of the Mother of all Buddhas, Blue Tara is the guardian of the secret Dzogchen teachings. She represents ultimate unity and is one of the most powerful goddesses of Vajrayana Buddhist mythology.

Often, she appears as a liberator in the mandala of the Goddess Green Tara. Her powers include removing the fear of enemies, spreading joy, and removing personal obstacles on the path to Enlightenment.3

Leave a comment below with your thoughts on the different Taras and if you use any of them in your meditation practice!

Works Cited:

  1. Meeting the Buddhas: A Guide to Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Tantric Deities, Vessantara (Tony McMahon), Windhorse Publications, 1993.
  2. Red Tara – Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia, 3 Jan. 2016, chinabuddhismencyclopedia.com/en/index.php/Red_Tara.
  3. Mantras Meditation, 7 July 2016, mantrasmeditation.com/buddhist-mantras/blue-tara-mantra/.

Published on Mar 12 02 : 09 pm