Known for the swiftness of her compassionate activity, Tara is present before anyone who thinks of her, offering her protection and love.
White Tara, known as the Wish-Fulfilling Wheel, is a widely practiced deity in the Karma Kagyu tradition, being the personal deity of both Nāgārjuna and Atiśa. She has seven eyes: three on her face, two on her palms, and two on the soles of her feet. Her right hand is in the mudra of offering and the left holds an utpala flower in the mudra of granting refuge. She is particularly beneficial for health, pacification of obstacles, and longevity,and is the manifestation of Buddha Locana.
Having made a vow that he would not rest until every being was freed from saṃsāra, Avalokiteshvara looked down upon myriad sentient beings of Tibet with unbearable compassion. Seeing that despite his efforts, the infinite number of sentient beings in saṃsāra had not decreased, he shed two tears. These tears formed a lake and from this lake a lotus arose, revealing Tara. Tara then pledged to join Avalokiteshvara in his compassionate activity, working ceaselessly for the benefit of sentient beings. For this reason, she was given the nameArya Tara, meaning“Noble Liberator.”
As expounded in the famed supplication,The Twenty-One Praises of Tara, Tara appears in 21 separate manifestations, each representing a unique aspect of her compassionate activity. Of these 21 Taras, the two most popular are Green and White Tara.
The root text reads:
Homage to you, Tara, the swift heroine,
Whose eyes are like an instant flash of lightning,
Whose water-born face arises from the blooming lotus
Of Avalokiteshvara, protector of the three worlds.
- 2 in by 0.7 in, 4.1 oz