Himalayan Art Resources

Glossary: Tara, Technical Glossary

Tara Religious Context | Glossary Main Page

Amitabha Buddha: the spiritual mentor, head of the Padma Buddha Family to which White Tara and Lokeshvara in Tantric literature belongs.

Arya Tara: a female deity, regarded as a Buddha. She is a meditational deity with many different forms and functions. She can also be a consort to Amoghasiddhi Buddha and Lokeshvara.

Atisha (982-1054): a north Indian teacher that popularized the cult of Tara in Tibet. (See the Twenty-one Taras Tradition.

Avalokita: the all-seeing. One of the common names for Avalokiteshvara.

Avalokiteshvara: one of the common names for Lokeshvara.

Bari Lotsawa Rinchen Drag (1040-1112 [P3731]): a Tibetan teacher from the Kham region who popularized the cult of Tara in Tibet.

Bhrikuti: a female deity sometimes associated with Tara. She is found in the retinue of the Five Deity Amoghapasha practice and others. She can also be found as a practice outside of the Amoghapasha. She is believed to be emanated from the Buddha's frown.

Chogyur Lingpa Tradition: of the Twenty-one Taras.

Dharani: a series of syllables, often long, that function as the sound essence of a particular deity.

Dzigar Terton Tradition: of Red Tara.

Eight Fears Tara:

Ekajati: a popular Indian deity that can be found in the retinue of the Three Deity Tara, Amoghapasha and other deities. She also functions as an independent meditational deity with many different forms. In the Nyingma Tradition of Tibetan Buddhism she is considered a special protector deity for the 'Revealed Treasure' Tradition.

Golden Drop Tara:

Green Tara:

Guru Chowang (1212-1270): an influential teacher of the 13th century that promoted the cult of Lokeshvara, Tara and Padmasambhava in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

Kadam Four Deities:

Kadam Lhashi: Green Tara included in the group of four principal Kadam Tradition deities: Akshobhya, Chaturbhuja Avalokiteshvara, Green Tara and Achala.

Kadam Legbam Text: a text based on what is believed to be the oral teachings of Jowo Atisha relating the previous incarnations of Dromton Gyalwa'i Jungne beginning with Lokeshvara. This text in the late 17th century was included into the previous life stories of the Dalai Lamas.

Lokeshvara: lord of the world. One of the common names for Avalokiteshvara.

Longchen Nyingtig Tradition: of the Twenty-one Taras.

Mala: garland, garland of beads.

Manidatta Tara:

Mani Kabum Text: an early Tibetan Buddhist text containing stories of Tara believed to be loosely based on the Karandavyuha Sutra and various commentaries by King Songtsen Gampo.

Mantra: meaning 'mind' 'to protect' is a short series of syllables embodying the essence of the speech of a deity. It also means that the mantra is the deity in the form of sound. Related to bija and dharani.

Mitra Yogin: an Indian yogi who visited Tibet and popularized various forms of Tara.

Nyangral Nyima Ozer (b.1124/1136 - d.1192/1204 [TBRC P364]): an influential teacher of the 12th century that promoted the cult of Lokeshvara, Tara and Padmasambhava in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

One Hundred & Eight Names of Tara: a turn of the millennium text, popular in Nepal, that lists all one hundred and eight names of Arya Tara.

Peaceful by Day, Wrathful by Night:

Protecting from the Eight Fears: typically found in painting with a single composition containing all or a set of paintings highlighting each of the eight fears: (1) water, (2) lions, (3) fire, (4) snakes, (5) elephants, (6) thieves, (7) false imprisonment and (8) ghosts.

Potala Palace (Tibet): a building in Lhasa, Tibet, built in the 17th century to be the seat of government and the home of the Dalai Lama.

Potalaka Mountain (Pureland): the heaven (or pureland) of Avalokiteshvara. The pureland of Tara called the 'Sandalwood Forest' is also located here. In China it is believed that Puto Island south of Shanghai is the Potalaka.

Pushpa Mala: garland of flowers.

Red Tara:

Rinjung Lhantab (Green Tara): the different traditions and forms of Green Tarra in the Rinjung Lhantab.

Sadhana-samucchaya Tradition: of the Twenty-one Taras.

Sakya Tradition: of Red Tara.

Samaya Tara Yogini with Eight Arms

Seventeen Deity Mandala:

Shakyashri Bhadra Tradition:

Songtsen Gampo: an early king of Tibet, believed to be an emanation of Lokeshvara, who married an emanation of Tara and Bhrikuti. He was an early promoter of the cult of Lokeshvara and Tara.

Sukhavati: the western heaven (or pureland) of Amitabha Buddha. There are several compositional styles: square, circular and Namcho Tradition.

Suryagupta Tradition: Twenty-one Taras.

Tara: a female deity related to Lokeshvara as a retinue figure, a consort, and sometimes as a female manifestation.

Three Deity Configuration: Green Tara, Marichi and Ekajati.

Twenty-one Taras (Five Systems): 1. Suryagupta Tradition, 2. Atisha Tradition, 3. Longchen Nyingtig Tradition, 4. Chogyur Lingpa Tradition, 5. Sadhana-samucchaya Tradition.

Utpala Flower:

White Tara:

Jeff Watt 4-2017 [12-2018, 3-2020]

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).