White Tara (Forms & Types)
Many traditions of White Tara employ the six pavilions of light however they are not usually depicted in paintings. The two examples shown here follow the Dzongsar Monastery painting style which is similar to, but more decorative than, the Palpung Monastery style.
The name Chintamani Tara, known for the rainbow spheres enveloping the body, should not be confused with another form of Tara with a similar but different Sanskrit name - the green form of Tara known as Chittamani Tara.
White Tara Surrounded by the Six Pavilions of Light:
"...with a hue white like an autumn moon - radiant like a stainless crystal jewel, shining with rays of light, one face, two hands, and having three eyes; with the conduct of having sixteen years of age. The right hand is in the mudra of supreme generosity; the left holds with the thumb and forefinger the stem of a white utpala to the heart with the petals blossoming at the ear. Representing the buddhas of the three times the single stem is divided into three, in the middle is a blossoming flower, the right in fruition, the left in the form of a bud; adorned with various jewel ornaments; having various silk upper garments and a lower garment of red silk; seated with the legs in vajra posture. The palms of the hands and feet each have an eye - the seven eyes of pristine awareness." (Sachen Ngagwang Kunga Lodro, 1729-1783).
Tara is a completely enlightened Buddha and as a young bodhisattva she promised that in the future, after achieving complete enlightenment, she would always appear in the form of a female bodhisattva and goddess for the benefit of all beings and especially to protect from the eight fears. In this white coloured form she specifically performs the activity of bestowing longevity. Practiced in all Schools of Tibetan Buddhism Tara is second in popularity only to Avalokiteshvara. Her practices are found in all classes of tantra - Nyingma and Sarma. White Tara specifically is a longevity bestowing emanation of Green Tara. All Schools of Tibetan Buddhism, new and old, practice White Tara. Within the Sarma Schools there are four famous lineages: Bari Lotsawa, Jowo Atisha, Kashmiri Pandita Shakya Shribhadra and Nyen Lotsawa Dharma Drag.
Jeff Watt 6-2014 [updated 1-2022]