Tara is a deity from tantric Buddhism, which originated in ancient India. Her name was derived from the Sanskrit syllable “tra”. Translated as “protecting” or “saving”, this lends Tara’s name the meaning of “savioress”. This goddess is honored as the mother of all Buddhas, and she serves as an example of wise and benevolent action.
With the constant vigilance of active compassion, she lovingly shares the teachings of Buddha with the people. The depictions of Tara in different forms and colors symbolize her range of traits and abilities. The White Tara is a goddess of healing and longevity.
In the German article entitled “Tara, die Befreierin” for Buddhismus Heute, Sabine Boyens-Hansen writes that
“Tara can be experienced as an all-encompassing principle in the game of the spirit with itself. Its veracity can be found in the most diverse cultures of this era. Thus, the name Tara seemed to be a well known Indo-European name for the goddess Earth from India to Ireland.”
This principle was also manifested in Taran the thunder god of ancient Wales, in the ancient Greek celebration “Taramater” to honor the Earth goddess, and in the Taran-Tara of the Fanfares, the magical cry that originally signified the unity of feminine and masculine divinity.According to legend, Tara – born into royalty as Yeshe Dawa – was the first woman to reach enlightenment. She vowed not to eat anything more until she had freed millions of people from suffering and led them to the path of enlightenment. When one of Buddha’s male students wished that she would be reborn as a man, she promised to return to Earth only as a woman from then on in order to demonstrate the universal principle of unity and to free all students from identification with dualistic thinking. For under the concept of unity, there is no difference between man and woman.
During meditation, deities such as Tara can be used as mental images to achieve equal forces through their light energy. They don’t act as patron saints, but rather serve as representations of enlightenment and symbols of transcendence. They are not meant to be understood by thinking, but rather by the power of visualization. Because our self-perception is limited, it requires a great conversion of energy to reach liberation. It is a decision against limitation and for one’s own greatness. The real power is the spiritual, not the material.
Material power comes from the spirit. With meditation and Tara Yoga practice, we try to break through conditioning and convert our consciousness to the divine.