A few days ago I had a wonderful meditative experience. This is particularly interesting after having spent some time reading The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying of late. As per usual, when I meet a new character in these meditations I usually haven't a clue who they are. Normally my meditations lead me to a temple of Hermes Trimegistus - a large stone, sandalled foot broken at the ankle to what would have been a massive statue of Hermes Trimegistus facing out to the ocean. This time though, I remained facing out to the ocean with my back to the temple and the waves started to behave strangely, curling in an unusual way. The sun was directly in front of me on the horizon like the morning sun and the moon was directly above my head. From the horizon I could start to see the waters parting and slowly, a beautiful woman with long wavy white hair, a Nepalese face covered in white clay in an all-white costume came towards me very calmly, serenely. I patiently waited for her and she embraced me in a beautiful hug, where she then proceeded to put me on like a piece of clothing by slipping her hand through my back like a puppet with the rest of her body following until we were merged as the one being. I felt the coolness of water throughout me, a white glow and wonderful feeling of peace. Who was this Goddess? I then looked her up...
Sometimes called Mother of the Buddhas, White Tara is meant to have so much compassion for humankind that she exudes more love than a mother for her child. Tibetan Buddhists refer to her as the Mother of Liberation as the word
Tara itself is derived from the root 'tri' (to cross), hence the implied meaning:' the one who enables living beings to cross the and Suffering'. She protects her followers on their spiritual journey to enlightenment, particularly to overcome obstacles which may inhibit the practice of religion. Ocean of Existence
Many myths surround her, but always as an incredibly pious character whether those stories had her derive from an actual person or purely in the form of deity. One myth tells of the White Tara being born from the tear of Avalokiteschvara, also known as Chenzering, who the Dalai Lama is a reincarnation of. One day Avalokiteshvara looked upon the world with such compassion that he began to cry over the suffering of mankind in its imbalance. Tears from each eye created the White Tara and Green Tara respectively. Another similar myth states that Avalokiteshvara cried an entire lake where a fully opened lotus formed and the White Tara emerged like Venus from her shell, as did Green Tara’s lotus, but not completely open. White Tara was born into the world to relieve suffering and provide longevity to her followers for the long journey through the
. Ocean of Suffering
Green Tara, with her half-open lotus, represents the night, and White
Tara, with her lotus in full bloom, symbolizes the day. Green Tara embodies virtuous activity while White Tara displays serenity and grace. Together, the Green and White Taras symbolize the unending compassion of the goddess who labors day and night to relieve suffering. (1)
Some believe that the Green and White Taras represented ancient royalty:
, Tibet Tara was believed to be incarnated in every pious woman. She especially came to be associated with two historical wives of the first Buddhist king of , Srong-brtsan-sgam-po (d. 649). His wife from imperial Tibet was said to be an incarnation of White China Tara, while the king's Nepalese wife was an incarnation of Green Tara. It may be that the desire to regard both these pious women as incarnations of Tara led to the concept of the goddess's green and white forms.
She is pictured as being endowed with seven eyes (on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and her forehead) to symbolize the watchfulness of the compassionate mind.
(text in Tibetan Uchen)
Oṃ Tāre Tuttāre Ture Mama Ayuḥ Punya Jñānā Puṣtiṃ Kuru Svāhā
“Omm Taraye, Tuttaraye Tooraye
Mahmah Aryoob Punya-Gnyana Pooshtim Kuru Swa-ha”
My interpretation of this chant:
Tara, Hail! May I be blessed with wisdom, happiness & long life. May my experiences teach the importance of living ethically and with wisdom. May the merit my actions of compassion and devotion be felt by others, in their hearts and amongst all of nature itself. May we all feel the wealth of these efforts. For those who live with such compassion and merit will always live in Kuru - make it so! I will take into me the serenity and grace of White Tara in her love, compassion and piety. Blessed Be.
from which creation was born. It is the Cosmic vibration.
other mantras to work and for their specific meanings to be known. We must first contact
Mama = mine. You or you would like your friend to have long life, merit, wisdom and happiness.
Ayuh is long life (as in Ayurvedic medicine).
Punya = the merit that comes from living life ethically, and this merit is said to help one to live long and happily.
Jnana = wisdom.
Punya and Jnana are known as the Two Accumulations. In order to become enlightened we need to accumulate merit (that is, to develop positive qualities through living ethically and meditating) but we also need to develop wisdom through deep reflection. Wisdom cannot arise without a basis of merit, but merit alone is not enough for us to become enlightened, meaning that becoming a nicer person isn’t enough — we have also to look deeply into ourselves and the world around us and to see the impermanent and insubstantial nature of all things.
Pushtim = wealth, abundance, or increase.
Kuru is a mythical land to the north of the
Himalayas, which was said to be a land of long life and happiness (it may have been the original northern home of the aryans). Perhaps the association with the mythical realm of Kuru doesn’t hurt when doing the mantra. But (and with due thanks to Arpad Joo’s comment below) it’s also a verb form meaning “do it!” or “make it so!” (second person singular active imperative or the root k.r if that’s of any interest to you) which is what it means here. The “make it so!” refers back to an increase in wisdom, merit, and long life (for the practitioner). We’re imploring White Tara for these things so that we can gain enlightenment and help all sentient beings.
svaha = an exclamation meaning “hail” or “may blessings be upon” and is a common ending to Buddhist mantras. So after making the rather bold request of White Tara above, we end with an equally emphatic salutation.
Direct quote from