PAINTINGS: “MASKS OF GOD … “ SERIES
The standing Green TARA represents the “Mother Earth” for Tibetan Buddhists and works to overcome obstacles and saves us from physical and spiritual danger. She holds an unopened blue lotus blossom.
The peaceful, compassionate White TARA gently protects and brings long life and peace. She is seated holding an opened white lotus blossom while seated within a Mandala that contains masks of the nineteen additional TARAs.
TARA. GODDESS of Peace and Protection
Goddess TARA is probably the oldest goddess who is still worshipped extensively in modern times. Tara appears to have originated as a Hindu goddess, a Great Goddess – the mother Creator, who represents the eternal life force that fuels all life. In Sanskrit the name Tara means Star. She was also called She Who Brings Forth Life, The Great Compassionate Mother, The Embodiment of Wisdom, and the Great Protectress. She has become the most widely revered deity in the Tibetan pantheon. In Buddhist tradition, Tara is actually much greater than a goddess … she is a female Buddha (One who can take human form and who remains in oneness with every living thing.)
A version of the Goddess Tara exists in most cultures: the Celts called their Great Goddess Tara; her name is echoed in Latin with the word for earth, Terra; Kuan Yin, the great Chinese goddess of compassion; in South America she was known as the ancient mother goddess Tarahumara; the Cheyenne people revere the Star Woman who fell from the heavens and whose body became the earth that provided them with food; the Egyptian Goddess Ishtar was yet another incarnation of the Goddess Tara; the Druids had their mounds of Tara; and Her name is linked to the Tar, a group of Goddess women of ancient Finland.
In the legends of Tibet it is told that the Goddess Tara is the feminine counterpart of the Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva who is reincarnated as the Dalai Lama. Bodhisattvas are beings who have reached enlightenment and are “eligible” for Buddha-hood but have postponed their own nirvana, choosing instead to remain in the cycle of birth and rebirth in order to serve humanity and assist every being on Earth in achieving nirvana themselves.
Examples of the psychological flexibility that is granted to the female spirit, the Goddess Tara can be quite fierce and wild. Refugees fleeing the horrors of the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese armies recounted numerous stories of the Green Tara that protected them during their torture and guided their flight to freedom. In another of her forms, such as the White Tara, she embodies inner peace and spiritual acceptance. “ In Praise of the Twenty-one Taras” is a practice text recited during the morning meditation in all four sects of Tibetan Buddhism. Each of these Taras are represented in different colors that signify different powers and energies of spiritual assistance.
THE GODDESS TARA VOWED:
“There are many who wish to gain enlightenment in a man’s form,
And there are few who wish to work for the welfare of living beings in a female form.
Therefore may I, in a female body, work for the welfare of all beings, until such time as all humanity has found its fullness.”
26"H x 20" W
Acrylic & gold paints, inks, pastels, craypaux on Bristol Board
Now in the Collection of Joan and Bertrand Shapiro
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