Thursday, October 16, 2014

TARA: The Female Buddha and The Mahavidya Wisdom Goddess


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"In Hinduism, the goddess Tara (Bengali:দেবী তারা মা )(Sanskrit: Tārā, Devanagari: तारा) meaning "star", is the second of the Dasa (ten) Mahavidyas or "Great Wisdom [goddesses]", is a form of Durga or Parvati. Tantric manifestations of Durga or Mahadevi, Kali, or Parvati. As the star is seen as a beautiful but perpetually self-combusting thing, so Tara is perceived at core as the absolute, unquenchable hunger that propels all life."

"Tara (Sanskrit: तारा, tārā; Tib. སྒྲོལ་མ, Drolma) or Ārya Tārā, also known as Jetsun Dolma (Tibetan language:rje btsun sgrol ma) in Tibetan Buddhism, is a female Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism who appears as a female Buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism. She is known as the "mother of liberation", and represents the virtues of success in work and achievements. In Japan she is known as Tara Bosatsu (多羅菩薩), and little-known as Duōluó Púsà (多罗菩萨) in Chinese Buddhism."

Mahavidya...."Mahavidyas (Great Wisdoms) or Dasha-Mahavidyas are a group of ten aspects of the Divine Mother Durga or Kali herself or Devi in Hinduism. The 10 Mahavidyas are Wisdom Goddesses, who represent a spectrum of feminine divinity, from horrific goddesses at one end, to the gentle at the other......The development of Mahavidyas represents an important turning point in the history of Shaktism as it marks the rise of Bhakti aspect in Shaktism, which reached its zenith in 1700 AD. First sprung forth in the post-Puranic age, around 6th century C.E., it was a new theistic movement in which the supreme being was envisioned as female. A fact epitomized by texts like Devi-Bhagavata Purana, especially its last nine chapters (31-40) of the seventh skandha, which are known as the Devi Gita, and soon became central texts of Shaktism.".....

10 Mahavidyas, Wisdom Goddesses....Kali, Tara, Shodashi, Bhuvaneshvari, Bhairavi, Chhinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi & Kamala . Consort - Shiva.

The Mythology of Venus: Ancient Calendars and Archaeoastronomy By Helen Benigni

Deva (देव in Devanagari script) is the Sanskrit word for deity. Its related feminine term is devi. Devas, in Hinduism, can be loosely described as any benevolent supernatural being. In Hinduism, Devas are also called Suras and are often mentioned in the same context as their half-brothers the Asuras.Devas are also the maintainers of the realms as ordained by the Trimurti. They are often warring with their equally powerful counterparts, the Asuras.

Asuri....Feminine of Asura, a group of power-seeking deities...In Hinduism, the asuras (Sanskrit: असुर) are a group of power-seeking deities related to the more benevolent devas (also known as suras). They are sometimes considered nature spirits. They battle constantly with the devas.

The feminine divinity Devi.....Maya or Dirghajihvi, a Rakshasi....Asuri metre of the Zend Avesta

"Bṛhaspati (Sanskrit: बृहस्पति, "lord of prayer or devotion", often written as Brihaspati or Bruhaspati) also known as Deva-guru (guru of the gods), is a Hindu god and a Vedic deity. He is considered the personification of piety and religion, and the chief 'offerer of prayers and sacrifices to the gods' (Sanskrit: Purohita), with whom he intercedes on behalf of humankind.....He is the guru of the Devas (gods) and the nemesis of Shukracharya, the guru of the Danavas (demons). He is also known as Ganapati (leader of the group [of planets]), and Guru (teacher), the god of wisdom and eloquence, to whom various works are ascribed, such as the Barhaspatya sutras.....He is described as of yellow or golden color and holding the following divine attributes: a stick, a lotus and beads....His second wife, Tara, gave birth to seven sons and a daughter."

"Tārakā (or Tārā) was the second wife of Hindu God Brihaspati, God of planet Jupiter. According to the Puranas, Tara sired or mothered child named Budha (God of Mercury) through Chandra (Soma)."....Dowson, John (1820-1881). A classical dictionary of Hindu mythology and religion, geography, history, and literature. London: Trübner, 1879

"...In the Puranic mythology Soma, as the moon, is commonly said to be the son of the Rishi Atri by his wife Anasuya.....the Brihad Aranyaka, an older work, makes him a Kshatriya.....He performed the Rajasuya sacrifice, and became in consequence so arrogant and licentious that he carried off Tara, the wife of Brihaspati, and refused to give her up either on the entreaties of her husband or at the command of Brahma. This gave rise to a wide-spread quarrel. The sage Usanas, out of enmity to Brihaspati, sided with Soma, and he was supported by the Danavas, the Daityas, and other foes of the gods. Indra and the gods in general sided with Brihaspati. There ensued a fierce contest, and "the earth was shaken to her centre." Soma had his body cut in two by Siva's trident, and hence he is called Bhagnatma. At length Brahma interposed and stopped the fight, compelling Soma to restore Tara to her husband. The result of this intrigue was the birth of a child, whom Tara, after great persuasion, declared to be the son of Soma, and to whom the name of Budha was given: from him the Lunar race sprung...."....Dowson, John (1820-1881). A classical dictionary of Hindu mythology and religion, geography, history, and literature. London: Trübner, 1879

"The moon has many names and descriptive epithets, as Chandra, Indu, Sasi, 'marked like a hare;' Nisakara, 'maker of night;' Nakshatranatha, 'lord of the constellations;' Sitamarichi, 'having cool rays;' Sitansu, 'having white rays;' Mriganka, 'marked like a deer;' Shivasekhara, 'the crest of Siva;' Kumudapati, 'lord of the lotus;' Swetavaji, 'drawn by white horses.'"

"Tara is the Hindu Goddess of liberation. She is one of the Mahavidyas, the Wisdom Goddesses. The Hindu Tara is usually depicted as fierce and horrifying, in contrast to the beautiful and compassionate Tara of Buddhism. She sits on a white lotus, and holds a knife or a pair of scissors, a skull, a sword, and blue lotus. Her complexion is often shows as blue, and she has three red eyes. Tara wears snakes and a tiger skin, and is seated on the heart of a corpse. Her depiction is very often like that of Kali, and she shares many names with Kali.".....

The main Tārā mantra is the same for Buddhists and Hindus alike: oṃ tāre tuttāre ture svāhā.

"Whether the Tārā figure originated as a Buddhist or Hindu goddess is unclear and remains a source of dispute among scholars. Mallar Ghosh believes her to have originated as a form of the goddess Durga in the Hindu Puranas.....('Development of Buddhist iconography in eastern India: A study of Tara, Prajnas of five Tathagatas and Bhrikuti'... by Mallar Ghosh (1980)........Today, she is worshipped both in Buddhism and in Shaktism as one of the ten Mahavidyas. It may be true that goddesses entered Buddhism from Shaktism (i.e. the worship of local or folk goddesses prior to the more institutionalized Hinduism which had developed by the early medieval period (i.e. Middle Kingdoms of India) as Buddhism was originally a religion devoid of goddesses, and in fact deities, altogether......Possibly the oldest text to mention a Buddhist goddess is the Prajnaparamita Sutra (translated into Chinese from the original Sanskrit c. 2nd century CE), around the time that Mahayana was becoming the dominant school of thought in Indian and Chinese Buddhism..... Thus, it would seem that the feminine principle makes its first appearance in Buddhism as the goddess who personified the "Perfection of Wisdom" (Prajnaparamita)...... Tārā came to be seen as an expression of the compassion of perfected wisdom only later, with her earliest textual reference being the Mañjuśrī-mūla-kalpa (c. 5th–8th centuries CE)...... The earliest, solidly identifiable image of Tārā is most likely that which is still found today at cave 6 within the rock-cut Buddhist monastic complex of the Ellora Caves in Maharashtra (c. 7th century CE), with her worship being well established by the onset of the Pala Empire in Northeast India (8th century CE).....Tārā became a very popular Vajrayana deity with the rise of Tantric Buddhism in 8th-century Pala India and, with the movement of Indian Buddhism into Tibet via Padmasambhava, the worship and practices of Tārā became incorporated into Tibetan Buddhism as well.".....Stephen Beyer (1978). The Cult of Tārā: Magic and Ritual in Tibet

"Anahita.....the Persian form of Durga.....Anahita … the Persian Goddess … The Lady of the Waters and the Lady who has a chariot that is pulled by four horses named wind, rain, clouds and sleet.....Aredevi Sura Anahita-.....the similarity in her name to the Hindu Devi (Shakti!). As well, her name Harahvati bears a resemblance to Parvati and Saraswati...She is sometimes depicted as riding a tiger (like Durga!) or lion. ."....

"The enlightened women or female figures all come from Vajrayana or "Tibetan" Buddhism, the school of Mahayana which originated in India and later moved to Tibet and the other Himalayan countries. Hence, most figures are identified first by their Sanskrit name, with the alternate Tibetan form appearing in parentheses. When it is the other way about, e.g. Achi Chökyi Drolma, Machig Labdrön and Palden Lhamo, it is because their practices developed or were practised principally in Tibet.....
Achi Chökyi Drolma - Dharma protector of the Drikung Kagyu tradition
Dechen Gyalmo - yidam, guru and historical figure - see Yeshe Tsogyal
Dorje Yudronma - Dharma protector
Ekajati (Ralchigma) - Dharma protector - protectress of mantras
Ekajati - yidam - wrathful Black Tara
Kakasya - yidam
Kuan Yin - Chinese bodhisattva of compassion
Kurukulla - yidam - deity of power
Lamanteri - wrathful yidam
Machig Labdrön - historical figure and yidam - the founder of Chöd
Magzor Gyalmo - Dharma protector - see Palden Lhamo
Mahamaya - historical figure
Mandarava - yidam and historical figure - long-life deity
Marici - yidam - goddess of the sun
Mayadevi - historical figure - mother of Sakyamuni Buddha
Nairatmya - yidam
Niguma - lineage guru and historical figure - lineage dakini
Palden Lhamo (Sri Devi) - Dharma protector - wrathful protectress of Tibet
Prajnaparamita (Yum Chenmo) - guru and yidam - Mother of all the Buddhas
Samantabhadri (Kuntuzangmo) - guru and yidam - Primordial Mother of all the Buddhas
Sarasvati - yidam - goddess of learning and the arts
Simhamukha (Sengdongma) - yidam - lion-headed Dakini
Sukkhasiddhi - guru and historical figure - lineage Dakini
Tara, Green (Drolma) - yidam - beloved Saviouress
Tara, Red - yidam of bountifulness
Tara, White (Drolkar) - yidam - she who grants long life and wisdom
Troma Nagmo (Rudrani) - yidam - see Machig Labdrön
Tseringma - Dharma protector - goddess of the mountain
Ushnisha-sitatapatra - yidam - goddess of the glorious white umbrella
Ushnisha-vijaya - yidam - the long-life deity
Vajrayogini / Vajravarahi (Dorje Naljorma / Dorje Phagmo) - yidam - the queen of Dakinis
Yeshe Tsogyal (Dechen Gyalmo) - yidam, guru and historical figure - mother of Tibetan Buddhism
Women Active in Buddhism (WAiB).....


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….October 2014



  1. nice post! The Idols of Gods & goddess are very nice, At home I too had the Idol of Goddess Durga daily I offer her prayers by chanting durga mantra with devotion.