Sisters of the Burning Branch Presents....

Goddess of Many Faces

Part I

Green Tara:
She from Whom All Others Emanate

Protection against Lion (Pride)

Protection against Elephant (Delusion)

Protection against Carnivour

Protection against Earthly Disaster

Protection against Evil Spirits (Doubt)

She of increasing Activities

Protection against Thief (Wrong Views)

Protection against Untimely Death

Protection against Drowning (Avarice)

Protection against War

Dharma Media
White Tara

Protection against Famine

Protection against Fire (Anger)

Protection against Drowning (Attachment)

Protection of Indestructibility

Protection Against Politics

Protection Against Sickness

Protection Against Snakes (Envy)

Protection Against Weapons

Protection Against Wind Disasters

She of increasing Power

(Tara's Mantra) -


There is so much information on Tara that it is difficult to condense it into a single, short research paper. Tara is still worshipped today and there are many, many apparently conflicting sources of information on her. These exist because she is a living Goddess. There are many groups that each have their own beliefs and views of her. There are also many Goddesses throughout history and today that are related to her in some profound way. Part I of my research on Tara will consist of some basic background information and a few tales of how she came into being as a Buddhist Goddess. Part II and III wil give more information on Tara, the Buddhist Goddess, and Tara, the Hindu diety.


The Goddess Tara has had many incarations now and far into the past. Her name is linked to many other Goddesses from around the world. She was the Star Woman of the Cherokees - Tara means Star in Sanskrit. She became the Earth to feed her people. She was the Goddess of the Druids. The great hill of the Druids, Tara, bears her name. Her name is linked to the Tar, a group of Goddess women of ancient Finland who were wise and powerful. She was worshipped by ancient Hindus as an aspect of Kali. She is living Goddess today to the Hindus of the Tantric tradition. She is one of the 10 Mahavidyas or Mothers, manifestations of the Devi. She is the most beloved diety of the Tibetan Buddhists. She is very similar to Kuan Yin of the Chinese Buddhist tradition - she is a Goddess of Compassion. She is also similar to Pavarti of today, with her many different forms, both friendly & fearsome. Kali is considered to be an aspect of Parvati. There is a form of the Goddess Tara in every culture. It is believed that she will assume as many forms on Earth as needed by the people. In all aspects, she loves and helps the people of the Earth in every way she can.

Following are several very beautiful stories concerning the origin of the Buddhist Tara. Please note that these legends are copied directly from the sources noted below each section, as they are so beautiful as to require no changes.

There is a short definitions page included that define some of the Buddhist terms mentioned in the stories.

  • This story describes Tara's royal birth, her spiritual journey, and her choice to remain a woman to do her work. Long ago, in an age before which there was nothing else, the Jina, the Tathagata Dundubhishvara [some say Amoghasiddhi] came into existence and was known as the Light of the Various Worlds. The princess Jnanachandra, 'Moon of Wisdom', had the highest reverence for his Teaching, and for ten million and one hundred thousand years she made offerings to this Enlightened One, to his shravakas and to the countless host of the Sangha of Bodhisattvas. . . . Finally, after all this, she awoke to the initial steps of bodhichitta. At that time some monks said to her, "It is as a result of these, your roots of virtuous actions, that you have come into being in this female form. If you pray that your deeds accord with the Teaching, then surely you will change your form to that of a man, as is befitting."

    After much discourse, she replied, "In this life there is no such distinction as 'male' and 'female', neither of 'self-identity', 'person' nor any perception of such, and so attachment to 'male' and 'female' is quite worthless. . . . Therefore may I, in a female form, work for the welfare of beings right until Samsara has emptied.". . . Then the Tathagata Dundubhishvara prophesied, "As long as you can possibly continue to manifest such supreme bodhi, you will be exclusively known as Goddess Tara."

    The Origin of the Tara Tantra            TARANATHA
    Theosophy Library Online

  • This story describes Tara's birth from the compassionate tears of Avalokiteshvara, who is currently incarnate as the Dahli Lama. "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!"

    ... Chapter III, Tara Tantra
    Exotic India

    The homage is made to Tara, who was born from the tears of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, embodiment of the mercy of all Buddhas, a protector of all beings in the realms of desire, form and formlessness who arise as an 'I' based upon samsaric aggregates.

    It is said that once the Bodhisattva of Compassion became dismayed on seeing that, even though he had striven with all his might to free the sentient beings from samsara, the number of the beings suffering in samsara was not significantly decreasing. He burst into tears and from the pool that formed from the water issuing from the lotus eyes of the Compassionate Bodhisattva there sprung forth a lotus. From the lotus appeared Arya Tara, whose exquisite face embodies the delicacy of a million lotus blossoms.

    Thus the compassion of all Buddhas emanated as a fountain of enlightened energy, Arya Tara, divinity of mystical activity who turned to the Bodhisattva of Compassion and said "O noble one, I offer myself in the service of freeing countless sentient beings from the cyclic existence as quickly as possible. Shed no more tears. We shall work together to turn the battle against samsara"., Praises in Reference to Legend - Tara the Heroine

  • This story a historical rendition of the origins of Tara. In the seventh century, Tibet made its entrance onto the international political stage. King Songtsen Gampo (617-649) unified Tibet and conquered parts of China and Nepal. He made two important political marriages with princesses from these neighboring countries. Both ladies practiced Buddhism, and therefore Buddhism temporarily gained a solid footing in Tibet. They brought a form of civilization to the then still barbaric Tibet.

    Both princesses brought Buddha figures with them to Songtsen Gampo’s court. The Chinese princess Wen-che’ng, a niece of the T’ang emperor, had a gilt figure of Shakyamuni Buddha with her. This jobo was installed in the Jo-khang Temple, Lhasa’s most important shrine.

    The princesses practiced Buddhism by doing good deeds. Their ensuing popularity and the fact that both remained childless - therefore pure, contributed to their later being identified with the White and Green Taras. Songtsen Gampo himself was said to be an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara.

    Exotic India

    Sacred Symbols

    Her name:  

    Star, One who Saves, The Protectress, Mother Earth, She who brings forth Life
    The Star, seven eyes
    Owl, Raven, Hare
    Lotus (blue & white), any orange flower
    rose quartz, emerald, & any other green or pink stones
    Green, white, blue, yellow, & red

    The Lotus in different aspects is a great spiritual symbol all by itself, as well as a symbol of Tara. She is often pictured in her many aspects both sitting on a lotus and holding one. The lotus is a beautiful water lily that rises from the mud to bloom, making it a symbol of both purity & resurrection. Tara rose from the lake of tears in the same way


    Tara Mandala:
    The 7 all-seeing eyes, The Star, The Tara Brooch Celtic knot
    The Crescent Moon, The Blue Lotus, The Full Moon, The Colors of Tara
    Original Art By Holly

    Original art by Holly
    Tibetan Homage to Manifestations Of Tara
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   who saves from the eight fears.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   of infinite fame.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   the world's benefactor.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   sure curer of sorrow.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   of a thousand hands and eyes.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   infinite as space.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   adorned with the Marks and the Signs.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   whose limbs are like the moon.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   who is as bright as the sun.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   unchanging in the three times.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   supporting like earth.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   cohering like water.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   ripening like fire.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   expanding like air.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   who is the Sovereign of Doctors.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   subduing disease like medicine.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   the river of compassion.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   skilled in means like taming.
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   lovely yet free of desire
    I bow to the Body of Tara,   who teaches the Way of Freedom.


    "Goddess Days" by Nancey Blair, pp 132, 292
    Fair Winds Press
    Gloucester, MA

    365 Goddess, March 3 entry
    Patricia Telesco
    Harper-Collins Publishers
    New York, NY

  • - The Twenty-one Praises of TARA

  • Western Buddhist Review - Tara: Her Origins and Development by Dharmachari Purna

  • Lady of the Flame - Green Tara: Notes for Performing her Puja by Drea Bradley

  • - Tara, Goddess of Peace and Protection

  • - Tara, Goddess of Peace and Protection

  • - Tara, Goddess of Peace and Protection

  • - Tara, Goddess of Peace and Protection

  • - Tara, Goddess of Peace and Protection

  • - Female Deities

  • - TARA - Tibetan Goddess of Compassion

  • - Traditional Tara Brooch

    This page is the intellectual and creative property of Holly.