Friday, March 18, 2011

She Who Hears The Cries Of The World

I received a wonderful treat in the mail today, a White Tara With Deer" painting by friend and amazing artist, Lasha Mutual who is working her way toward 108 White Tara paintings. Sharing our Buddhist practice and art, we decided to do a little trade. The piece is exquisite, full of delicious detail. Someone has called her a modern, Canadian Thangka painter and I think this is quite apt. I even got a sneak preview of her beautiful paintings as a "Tara Deck", an amazing presentation for her paintings.

I have been turning this lovely Tara into Goldilocks, taking her around to try every room in the house. She has not complained once about the porridge or the chairs. I am like a kid with a new toy. I am reminded of my daughter as a small child, who loved some new running shoes so much, they needed to sit at the end of the bed at night! (Tara is a bit too delicate for that and I fear her fate in this case would be quite distressing!)

Thinking about this beauty I headed off to the great library in cyberspace to read about Tara and what I found seems strangely appropriate for the world these days, making me feel doubly grateful for her presence.

The word Tara itself is derived from the root 'tri' (to cross), hence the implied meaning:' the one who enables living beings to cross the Ocean of Existence and Suffering'. Her compassion for living beings, her desire to save them from suffering, is said to be even stronger than a mother's love for her children. Suffering seems to be in great abundance around the world these days so Tara's help is needed on so many fronts.

White Tara, specifically is often referred to as the Mother of all the Buddhas. She represents the motherly aspect of compassion. Her white colour indicates purity, but also indicates that she is Truth, complete and undifferentiated.

She has seven eyes: the two usual eyes, plus an eye in the centre of her forehead and eyes in each of her hands and feet. These indicate that she sees all suffering and all cries for help in the human world using both ordinary and psychic or extraordinary means of perception. They thus symbolize the vigilance of her compassion.

May her compassion emanate out to you and to all corners of the world. And now what room will I take her to next?


  1. The painting is beautiful, and I love where you have it in the first photo - looks like she might be part of an altar. Compassion - what an important thing to remember and practice right now, and always.

  2. yes she is sitting on the altar in what I refer to as the Zendo. It is actually a living room sans furniture but the placement of the Buddha made it feel like a meditation room.

    looks like we are being called in a big way to experience and express compassion.

  3. thats a gorgeous painting and i think the tara deck will be wonderful. thanks for the story about tara.

  4. this is beautiful, lovely too! a deck of her art seems like a wonderful thing to experience and way to enjoy them. Thank you also for sharing about the meaning of Tara. May compassion prevail.

  5. Very nice. I actually read this post late last night before bed and it was quite helpful - very comforting. The tones are soft and gentle - like the deer. Tara reminds me of Quan Yin - they seem to have very similar descriptions. I have a small statue of Quan Yin, so I placed her in my bedroom last night, and will move her to a more prominent place where I can see her today to remind of the presence of "she who hears the cries of the world" - however she is named... I like this imagery. Lovely.

  6. Suki - it is even more amazing in person!

    Tammie - it is fun to have a little run down on Tara. I agree.

    MeANderi - Yes, thanks for the reminder, it is Quan Yin who is tagged as "she who hears the cry of the world", but Tara does seem, in this description to have the same qualities. Perhaps they are sisters in the Dharma. I think Tara is specifically Tibetan while Quan Yin crosses some cultures and takes on different names. I do love this image too of one who hears the cries of the world.