White Tara and Green Tara are believed to have been born from the tears of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. Tara is the 'Liberator or Saviouress', and in her white aspect as 'seven-eyed' (saptalocana) Tara she is one of the three principal long-life deities that are invoked for prolonging life, averting death, and removing life-threatening obstacles. White Tara is beautiful, youthful and radiant like an autumn moon, and she sits in vajra-posture upon a white moon disc and a multicoloured lotus. She is adorned with the five silk garments and eight jewelled ornaments of a goddess, and her golden tiara is adorned with divine flowers and jewels. Half of her sapphire-black hair is bound up into a topknot, while the other half hangs freely about her shoulders. The three eyes of her face symbolize the purities of her body, speech and mind; and the four eyes in her palms and soles represent the 'four immeasurables' of her boundless compassion, loving kindness, sympathetic joy and perfect equanimity. With her lowered right hand she makes the boon-granting gesture, and with her left hand held before her heart in the gesture of giving refuge, she holds the stem of an immaculate lotus flower. Red Amitabha Buddha appears amidst the clouds and rays of rainbow light above White Tara's head.
© text by Robert Beer