Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Tara (Buddhist Deity) - Green

སྒྲོལ་མ། སྣང་བརྙན་ཡོངས། 度母(本尊)(全像)
(item no. 2199)
Origin Location Tibet
Lineages Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Private
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Female

Interpretation / Description

Tara, Ashtabhya (Tibetan: drol ma jig pa gye. English: Tara of the Eight Fears): drowning in water, attacked by lions, burnt by fire, bitten by snakes, rampaging elephants, robbed by thieves, false imprisonment and preyed upon by ghosts and demons.

Tara, a meditational deity in either her white form or green, is associated with the Eight Great Fears: (1) water, (2) lions, (3) fire, (4) snakes, (5) elephants, (6) thieves, (7) false imprisonment and (8) ghosts are meant literally, but also have a deeper significance. Tantric Buddhism commonly presents an interpretive model having three and sometimes four levels of meaning: 1. Outer, 2. Inner, and 3. Secret. The outer meaning of the eight fears are exactly as described above which are real fears experienced in ancient times and even now in the present day world. They all relate to the physical person and the fears presented in a physical material world. The inner meaning relates to passions, ego and negative emotional characteristics. The inner meaning relates to the mental world. The secret meaning has to do with tantric techniques and philosophies to transform these negative mental states into enlightened, or realized, states.

From Indian sources Tara is a completely enlightened buddha who had previously promised to appear, after enlightenment, in the form of a female bodhisattva, goddess-like, for the benefit of all beings. In one Tibetan tradition, based on the apocryphal text called the Mani Kabum, Tara is described as emanating as a tear from the form of Avalokiteshvara with eleven heads and one thousand hands.

At the top center is Amitabha Buddha, red in colour. At the left side is Chaturbhuja Lokeshvara, white, with four arms. On the right side is Padmasambhava wearing heavy robes and a lotus hat.

At the bottom left side is King Gesar, a Tibetan fold hero. On the right side is Shri Devi Magzor Gyalmo.

Jeff Watt 4-2017

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Collection: Jongen-Schleiper (Paintings)
Buddhist Deity: Tara, Eight Fears (single painting)
Buddhist Deity: Tara Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Tara, Green Main Page
Buddhist Deity: Tara, Green (Golden Coloured)
Collection: Bonhams London (Meditational Deities)