Tara is the Buddhist goddess noted for her universal compassion
and her popularity
s. Her place in the Buddhist pantheon
is somewhat comparable
to that of the Blessed Virgin Mary
among Roman Catholics
. It is said that her name is derived from the root tri
( = "to cross over"), which suggests that her function is to enable all creature
s to cross the Ocean of Existence
. In her infinite love
for all beings, greater than the love of a mother
for her child
ren, Tara wishes only to protect
her children from the suffering of this world
The story is told that in the distant past Tara was a princess
of great spirituality
who regularly made offerings to monk
s and nun
s in her father
. In gratitude
for her many gifts and in recognition
of her many viritue
s, they offerred to pray
that she be be reborn
as a man
so that she could spread
. Her response was that of a very modern feminist
, for she told them that male
were part of maya
, the illusion
of this world. Therefore she would retain the female form to serve all beings until they had attained enlightenment
of her great compassion, another legend
has Tara born from the compassionate tear
s of Avalokiteshvara
, the Buddha
Homage! Tara, swift, heroic!
With a glance like flashing lightning,
born from a blooming lotus sprung from the tears on
the face of the Lord of the World!
Avalokiteshvara, also known as Kwan-Yin among the Chinese
and Kannon in Japan
, upon seeing the suffering and pain of the world, wept tears of compassion - from the tears of the left eye emerged the peaceful white
Tara, and from the right a fierce green
Some have a vision of you (Tara) as red as the sun with rays
more brilliant and red than the lac and the vermilion.
Others see you blue like the sapphire.
Some again see you whiter than the milk churned out of the milky ocean.
Still others see you golden.
Your visva-rupa is like a crystal which changes its color with
the change of the things around it.