I have quite a large tattoo on my back representing (to me) Goddess Tara, a female Buddha. People often ask me about what it represents and why I have decided to put a rather large tattoo my back, so I decided to write a little post about it.
Tara is considered to be the goddess of universal compassion who represents virtuous and enlightened activity. In Buddhist art she is presented differently than the one I have chosen for my tattoo, but what matters is what she represents to me.
Tara is believed to be born from the compassionate tears of Avalokiteshvara, The Buddha of compassion:
"Homage! Tara, swift, heroic! With a glance like flashing
lightning, born from a blooming lotus sprung from the tears on
the face of the Lord of the World!"
(From the Tara Tantra)
It is believed that Avalokiteshvara was looking down from his heaven on the world of suffering beings, and, as he wept to see that more and more of them were in pain, two Taras were born from the tears streaming down his face. A peaceful white one from the tears in his left eye, and a fierce green one from the right. Green Tara represents the night, and White Tara symbolizes the day. Green Tara embodies virtuous activity while White Tara displays serenity and grace. Together, the Green and White Taras symbolize the unending compassion.
Even though I read and study different Eastern philosophies, Buddhism is a philosophy I feel very close to and have studied for many years now. I have decided to tattoo Tara on my back to keep reminding me of the symbol she represents – compassion. And Green Tara felt closer to me as, well, I feel closer to her ways of ‘virtuous activity’ :)
My daily yoga practice for the past many years have come down to three things. Compassion, Love and Truth – all of unconditional kind. This is the practice that frees my Soul. So, when people ask me how many times I practice yoga I say every day all the time:). Asana keeps my body healthy, pranayama and meditation keeps my mind focused and practicing love and compassion makes my soul free - which to me is the most important part of my practice.
And Tara is here to remind me of my daily practice, in case I ever forget.
Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha