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The White Tara, Deity of Longevity and Compassion

 The White Tara Buddha

There are 21 manifestations of Tara, who is depicted often as a bodhisattva and a Buddha alike. Many say that this is because Tara is such an advanced and enlightened bodhisattva that she can be considered to have ascended to a Buddha. Typically bodhisattvas are not yet wholly enlightened, but remain on the cusp.

Each of the manifestations of Tara is representative of a quality of the Buddha. The White Tara is representative of longevity, and the compassion all manifestations of Tara are known for. The White Tara offers strength, improved health, and longevity for oneself or for someone else you are thinking about.

The White Tara has seven eyes, which is indicative of the idea that she sees all of the suffering and pleading for help and guidance. In addition to her usual two eyes, Tara has eyes are on the soles of her feet, the palms of her hands, and she has an eye on her forehead. The seven eyes are said to be due to compassion’s ability to see suffering and pain.

The most distinguishing feature of the White Tara is, of course, the fact that her skin is snowy white in color. This is indicative of her being pure and also that she sees the truth, and is the truth. The White Tara is also considered to be the embodiment of grace and serenity, which the color white is reflective of. Closely associated with the moon, wisdom, and delicate feminism, the White Tara offers a serene image upon which to gaze.

The Green Tara is represented by a young girl of about 16 years old, but the White Tara is represented as a more mature and wise woman. Many followers of the White Tara have the belief that the energy she shares is different from that which the Green Tara offers. This is said to be attributed to the immediate action of the youth that the Green Tara represents, while the slower-to-action guidance from the White Tara can be said to be attributed to the wisdom of understanding longer-term situations and problems, like those that related to mental or physical well-being.

With the close connection that the White Tara has to longevity and good health, many believe that she encourages her followers to appreciate the fragility of life while seeking out methods that will ensure a wholly fulfilled and compassionate life; all leading towards the path of enlightenment.

Statues and illustrations of the White Tara differ from the Green Tara where the green manifestation of Tara is seen stepping down from her throne in order to aid those who are in need of compassion and other compassionate guidance. White Tara is depicted with both of her legs folded serenely in a meditative pose, from which she is said to offer the wisdom and guidance needed for improved good health and longevity. The White Tara is depicted with her right hand resting on her right knee, open in the gesture of generosity. Her left hand is chest high and typically holds the stem of a lotus that blossoms around the level of her left ear. She is typically adorned in the silks and ornate jewels that are familiar to all of the bodhisattvas. Seated upon a moon disk, with the rays of the moon behind her, the White Tara is the picture of serenity and peace.

There are many mantras that hold specific relevance to the 21 manifestations of Tara. However, the White Tara mantra applies directly to the White Tara and is often recited with another person in mind, with the hope that longevity and good health will be bestowed upon the person you are thinking of.

The White Tara mantra of Om Tare Tuttare Ture Mama Ayurjnana Punye Pushtim Kuru Svaha is similar to the Green Tara mantra of Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha, with Om and Svaha included in both of the mantras. While the exact meanings and translations of these types of mantras can be a challenge to translate directly into English, there are numerous representations associated with each of the mantra’s syllables that can make it somewhat easier to understand.

·         Om – while some say that Om has no actual conceptual meaning, it can also be reflective of an awareness of the surrounding universe. It is used at the start of many mantras.

·         Tare – this is representative of salvation from suffering and other forms of mundane dangers. Tara is very often depicted as being one who can alleviate suffering from accidents, crime, and natural disasters.

·         Tuttare is representative of the delivered down the right spiritual path, and the need for protect from dangers to the spirit. Delusion, hatred, and greed are the three primary spiritual dangers that are responsible for suffering in us all.

·         Ture – this is representative of the deliverance to the true spiritual path of a bodhisattva. With this syllable, Tara is said to liberate us from the suffering we are inflicted with, while helping us to progress along the path that will allow us to have compassion for others.

·         Mama means “mine” and is indicative of the desire to possess the qualities of wisdom, happiness, long life, and more. These qualities can be asked for someone else, or for the person reciting the mantra.

·         Ayuh is representative of long life.

·         Punya is representative of the merit that is earned from living an ethical life and is said to guide one to a life that is happy and long.

·         Jnana is representative of wisdom, which is something we all seek.

·         Pushtim is representative of abundance or an increase in wealth.

·         Kuru is said to be a mythical land located in the northern regions of the Himalayas but can also be taken to mean “make it so.”

·         Svaha is said to be representative of “allow the meaning of this mantra to take root in my mind.”

The White Tara offer teachings of patience and a healthy respect for life. With these things, along with wisdom and compassion, good health and longevity are sure to follow.

If you, like many, are a fan of the White Tara Buddha, here is a great thangka with the image of the White Tara. White Tara Thangka

We also carry White Tara statues, like this one. White Tara Statue

And White Tara prayer flags! White Tara Prayer Flags