'TAM' is the sacred seed-letter that symbolizes Arya Tara, the female Buddha of active compassion. It is important to recognize that Tara and her seed-letter are the same nature, and in the Tantric meditation practice of Tara we imagine that she arises from this letter. By visualizing or reciting this seed-letter with strong faith and concentration we invoke the great power of this holy being and receive her blessings.
The female Buddha of active compassion who, as the manifestation of the ultimate wisdom of all the Buddhas, is known as the ‘Mother of the Conquerors’. She is also known as the ‘Great Liberator’ who pacifies all sickness, poverty, misfortune, fighting and quarreling, and causes the Dharma and all good fortune to flourish. Her green-colored body symbolizes that she is also the manifestation of the fully purified wind element of all the Buddhas, and like the wind is quick to respond to the prayers of those in need.
We can think that Green Tara is our Buddha Mother and feel very close to her. Tara can appear as anyone and anything, and she is always in our life—watching over us, guiding, and encouraging us, and giving us what we need. Whenever we find ourselves in a difficult situation, all we need to do is to stop worrying and ask Tara for her help. With the great love of a Buddha Mother, Green Tara will quickly solve our problems and fulfill our wishes.
Tharpa Publications, Meeting the Buddhas-Our Closest Friends and Helpers
One day, Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, looked out at all the suffering in the world and he began to weep—so much help was needed. His tears formed a deep pool, and a beautiful lotus sprang up in its center. The lotus opened and Green Tara was born. “Please do not cry! I will help you free living beings from sorrow,” Tara said.
~ Tharpa Publications, Meeting the Buddhas-Our Closest Friends and Helpers
The KMC-Texas annual 24-hour Green Tara Chanting event starts this Friday and goes through Saturday.
This retreat is in six sessions, every four hours through the night. Everyone is welcome to attend any or all of the sessions. You may sleep at the Center if you wish. Please bring a sleeping bag and pillow. The sessions are at 7pm, 11pm, 3am, 7am, 11am, and 3pm. Vegetarian potluck dinner at 8pm Friday.
HAPPY TARA DAY ~ You, who having abandoned all bodily faults, Possess the signs and indications, Who having abandoned all verbal faults, Possess a heavenly voice, Who having abandoned all mental faults, Realize all objects of knowledge; O lady of blessed, glorious renown, May there be the auspiciousness of your presence
If we rely upon Mother Tara sincerely and with strong faith, she will protect us from all obstacles and fulfill 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. If we recite the twenty-one verses of praise, we shall receive inconceivable benefits. These praises are very powerful because they are Sutra, the actual words of Buddha. It is good to recite them as often as we can.
The eighth day of every month, today included, is Buddha Tara Day. Tara is a female Bodhisattva in Mahayana Tibetan Buddhism. She represents the virtues of success in work and achievements, and is known as the “Mother of Liberation.”
According to legend, she became a Bodhisattva during her life as a princess, when she had devoted herself to the teachings of the Buddha. She eventually attained the “Thought of Enlightenment” in order to save all beings. Prior to, it was unheard of for a woman to perform this deed, so the monks (called bhiksus) advised her to pray to be reborn as a male in order to properly fulfill the teachings. Tara told the bhiksus that in the realm of Bodhisattva there is neither male nor female but only androgynous being (androgynous meaning ‘partly male and partly female in appearance; of indeterminate sex’).
Tara made a promise:
“There are many who desire Enlightenment in a man’s body, but none who work for the benefit of sentient beings in the body of a woman. Therefore, until samsara is empty, I shall work for the benefit of sentient beings in a woman’s body.”
Samsara is a result of the accumulation of bad karma. It is the endless cycle of death and rebirth, forever bounding that person to the material world. Tara’s main purpose is to free us from this suffering, liberating us and getting us closer to reaching full enlightenment. She acts as a spiritual facilitator, guiding us through potentially difficult times and helping us to overcome samsara.
“Tara is the power to transcend all things.”
Isn’t it amazing how, even so many years ago, there were women who stood up for themselves and denied that men were superior? This story can be so inspiring, especially if you look deep.
Don’t forget to always believe in yourself. Stand strong when you know you’re right, and stay poised even when you’re not.
Thank you for adding Tara’s story; I was thinking of doing the same thing today and you beat me to it :) Her story is one of my favorites, and I credit Mother Tara with bringing me to the Buddhist path.
I have so much respect for Buddhism. I remember distinctly the story of a buddhist teacher (I unfortunately can’t remember the name of his role) who was asked about the lack of female buddhist teachers. He apologised, stating that it wasn’t the fault of Buddhism or in the teachings of the Buddha that this occurred, but a result of the cultural influences on people themselves and serious issue.
That was Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, my Guru/Spiritual Guide, who gave that reply to a woman who asked him that question. He’s done a lot to remove the sexism within Mahayana Buddhism, or within the New Kadampa Tradition at least, which is one big reason why myself am in the NKT.