All About Green Tara
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.
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, provides us with all our temporal needs, and guides and encourages us in our learning and personal and spiritual development.
Table of Contents
- 1 - Green Tara as a Meditation Deity
- 2 - The mantra of Green Tara
- 3 - Green Tara, A description of the Devine
- 4 - Symbolic Significance of Green Tara
- 5 - Green Tara Mantra and meditation
- 6 - The detailed symbolism of Green Tara
- 7 - Spiritual accomplishments of Green Tara
- 8 - Lotus and Green Tara
- 9 - Jewelry and Green Tara
- 10 - Green Tara in lotus lineage
- 11 - Tara as a saviouress
- 12 - Types of Green Tara
- 12.1 - Khadiravam Tara
- 12.2 - Vasyatara
- 12.3 - Aryatara
- 12.4 - Mahattari Tara
- 12.5 - Varada Tara
- 12.6 - Mahasri Tara
- 12.7 - Durgottarini Tara
- 12.8 - Dhanada Tara
- 12.9 - Jahguli
- 12.10 - Parnasaban
- 13 - Homage to Green Tara by First Dalai Lama (1391-1474)
- 14 - The mantra of Green Tara with Beautiful music
Green Tara as a Meditation Deity
Tara is a meditation deity whose practice is used by practitioners of the Tibetan branch of Vajrayana Buddhism to develop certain inner qualities and understand outer, inner and secret teachings about compassion and emptiness. Tara may more properly be understood as different aspects of the same quality, as bodhisattvas are often considered metaphors for Buddhist virtues.
Green Tara is one of the most beloved figures in Tibetan Buddhism. As a bodhisattva, she helps people pass beyond the troubles of earthly existence and move toward enlightenment. She also protects people from numerous worldly dangers. The loving expression on the sculpture’s face embodies Tara’s maternal compassion.
‘Tara’ means ‘Rescuer’. She is so-called because she rescues us from the eight outer fears i.e the fears of lions, elephants, fire, snakes, thieves, water, bondage, and evil spirits, and from the eight inner fears i.e he fears of pride, ignorance, anger, jealousy, wrong views, attachment, miserliness, and deluded doubts.
The mantra of Green Tara
OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA.
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 color. 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 on 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 Green Tara
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 the necklace, bracelets, armlets, anklets, and so on. Her eyes, very loving and compassionate, are not opened wide but are fine and a little rounded.
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.
Green Tara Mantra and meditation
On her forehead is a white OM, the essence of the vajra holy body; at her neck, a red AH, essence of vajra holy speech; and at her heart, a blue HUNG, the 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.
The detailed symbolism of Green Tara
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.
Spiritual accomplishments of Green Tara
The ordinary is 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, 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 Kachin 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.
Lotus and Green Tara
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.
Jewelry and Green Tara
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 Buddha, Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, Nirmanakaya, the second being the Sambhogakaya, the body of perfect enjoyment, the deities who possess 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.
We 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 Amitabha, 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.
Green Tara in lotus lineage
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 Amitabha, or in Tibetan Amwa Taytay, 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, to the east, to the south, to the west, and of the center. Amitabha is the Buddha of the west, associated with the color red and the lotus.
Tara as a saviouress
Tara also embodies many of the qualities of the feminine principle. She is known as the Mother of Mercy and Compassion. She is the source, the female aspect of the universe, which gives birth to warmth, compassion, and relief from bad karma as experienced by ordinary beings in cyclic existence. She engenders, nourishes, smiles at the vitality of creation, and has sympathy for all beings as a mother does for her children.
As Green Tara, she offers succor and protection from all the unfortunate circumstances one can encounter within the samsaric world.
Types of Green Tara
There are 10 different types of green tara. Each Tara id differentiated from each other on the basis of their symbolism, appearance, mudra, and iconography. The following are the types of Green Tara
- Khadiravam Tara
- Vasya Tara
- Arya Tara
- Mahattari Tara
- Mahasri Tara
- Varada Tara
- Durgottarini Tara
- Dhanada Tara
- Jahguli Tara
- Parnasaban Tara
Khadiravani Tara is represented in the Sadhansmala as of green color with two hands displaying the varada mudra in the right and the utasla in the left. She can be identified by the presence of Asokakanta Marici and Ekajata. She bears the image of Amoghaslddhi on her crown.
The iconography of Khadiravani Tara
She is represented standing or seated. She is green in color. The right-hand displays the varada mudra and in her left hand, she holds a half blown blue lotus. She is accompanied by AsokakantI (Marici) and Seagate.
Sightlines are on the prabhava carrying the lotus in their left hands and the right hand is displaying the Abhaya mudra. A krittimukha maybe is on the top and a short inscription at the bottom.
Vasyatara has as her characteristic feature the Bhadrasana or the European fashion of sitting. It may be noticed however that she is described as single and as such is not accompanied by any god or goddess.
She is represented with Khadiravani class with attendant Taras.
Iconography of Vasyatara
Vasyatara is represented in the Sadhanamala as seated in the bhadrasaha. She is of green color with two arms – the right displays the varada mudra and carrying the utpala in the left. She bears the image of Amoghasiddhi on the crown.
The characteristic feature of this form of Tara is that she sits in the Ardhaparyahka attitude and like Vasyatara is entirely alone.
It is said that Arya Tara is another name of Vasyatara
The iconography of Arya Tara
She is represented seated alone in the Ardhaparyahka attitude. She is of green color with two arms.
Mahattari Tara may be distinguished by the Vajraparyahka attitude in which she sits, and also by the fact of her being represented without any companion whatsoever. Mahattari Tara is green in color.
Mahasri tara is similar to Varada Tara. She emanates from the Dhyani Buddha Amoghasiddhi as her color is green.
Iconography of Mahasri tara
Mahasri Tara is represented seated on a golden throne covered with many kinds of flowers with one face and two heads displaying the Vyakhyana Mudra. She is decked with ornaments and crown bearing the image of Amoghasiddhi.
Arya, jahguli is to the left of Mahasri Tara and Asokokanta and Mahamayuri to the right, Ekajata is seated in the ardhan pose and bears an angry face with a swelling abdomen She holds in her two arms the kartri and the kapala and she wears a dress made of tiger skin.
Durgottarini Tara has green complexion, the lotus for her seat, and garments of white color; she has four arms and she carries the first pair of hands the noose and the goad and displays in the second the lotus and the Varada mudra.
Dhandada tara is also known as Wealth Granting Tara.
Her first right-hand displays the gesture of ultimate generosity, the second one holds a rosary. Her two left hands hold utpala and book.
She has an animal for her Vahana, is accompanied by eight goddesses originating from the eight syllables of her mantra and bears the image of Amoghasiddhi on the crown.
Jahguli emanates from Aksobhya and may have three different colors, yellow, white and green. When green, she is four-armed, and carries the Trisula, the peacock’s feathers and a snake in three hands and exhibits the Abhaya mudra in the fourth.
Parnasaban has different forms and color. Some of them are described below:
When Parnasaban is green in color it emanates from Amoghasiddhi.
When Parnasaban is in the yellow form it represents Aksobhya.
Parnasaban is generally three-faced and six-armed but may in rare cases, have four arms also. The peculiarity of the green variety is that all the three faces depict irritated smile.
Homage to Green Tara by First Dalai Lama (1391-1474)
On a lotus seat, standing for the realization of voidness, (You are) the emerald-colored, one-faced, two-armed Lady In youth’s full bloom, right leg out left drawn in, Showing the union of wisdom and art – an homage to you! Like the outstretched branch of the heavenly turquoise tree, Your supple right-hand makes the boon- granting gesture, Inviting the wise to a feast of supreme accomplishments, As if to an entertainment-homage to you! Your left hand gives us refuge, showing the Three Jewels; It says, “You people who see a hundred dangers, Don’t be frightened-I shall swiftly save you!” Homage to you! Both hands signal with blue utpala flowers, “Samsaric beings! Cling not to worldly pleasures. Enter the great city of liberation!” Flower-goads prodding us to effort-homage to you!