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Green Tara

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Green Tara, one of the most revered and beloved figures in Tibetan Buddhism, is a profound symbol of compassion, enlightenment, and feminine wisdom. Her name, Tara, translates to “Star” or “She Who Liberates,” representing her capacity to guide and protect beings through the darkness of ignorance and suffering. As the embodiment of enlightened activity, Green Tara is a significant deity within the pantheon of Buddhist figures, particularly in the Vajrayana or Tantric traditions.

In this extensive exploration of Green Tara, we will delve into her origins, iconography, significance in Buddhism, her various forms, the practice of Tara sadhana, and her influence in both historical and contemporary contexts.

I. Origins and Legends

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A. Etymology and Historical Background

B. Legend of Tara’s Origin

C. Historical Evolution of Green Tara’s Worship

II. Iconography of Green Tara

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A. Physical Appearance

B. Symbolism and Attributes

C. Depictions in Art and Statuary

III. Green Tara in Buddhist Philosophy

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A. Tara in Mahayana Buddhism

B. Tara in Vajrayana Buddhism

C. Relationship with Bodhisattvas and Buddhas

D. Connection to the Wisdom Aspect (Prajna Paramita)

IV. Green Tara’s Role in Tibetan Buddhism

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A. Importance in Tibetan Buddhist Lineages

B. Green Tara and Dalai Lamas

C. Green Tara and Panchen Lamas

D. Green Tara and Other Prominent Lamas

V. Various Forms of Green Tara

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A. Twenty-One Taras

B. White Tara (Sitatara)

C. Red Tara (Kurukulla)

D. Black Tara (Ekajati)

E. Other Regional and Folk Forms of Tara

VI. Practice and Rituals of Green Tara

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A. Introduction to Tara Sadhana

B. Green Tara Mantra and its Significance

C. The Role of Mudras and Mandalas in Tara Practice

D. Benefits and Goals of Tara Sadhana

VII. Symbolism and Meaning of Green Tara’s Iconography

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A. Four Dignities (Karmas)

B. Mudras and Their Interpretations

C. Lotus and Moon Representations

D. Significance of Tara’s Seven Eyes

VIII. Green Tara in Cultural Context

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A. Tara in Tibetan Art and Thangka Paintings

B. Green Tara in Himalayan Folk Traditions

C. Tara Festivals and Celebrations

D. Tara’s Influence on Tibetan Poetry and Literature

IX. Contemporary Practices and Devotion to Green Tara

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A. Green Tara’s Popularity Beyond Tibetan Buddhism

B. Influence on Western Buddhism and New Age Movements

C. Modern Interpretations of Green Tara’s Teachings

D. Green Tara’s Role in Feminist Spirituality

X. Green Tara’s Influence on Social Welfare and Humanitarian Initiatives

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A. Tara as a Symbol of Compassionate Action

B. Green Tara and Environmental Consciousness

C. Tara’s Role in Empowerment of Women

XI. Pilgrimage Sites and Temples Dedicated to Green Tara

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A. Major Pilgrimage Sites in Tibet and Nepal

B. Renowned Green Tara Temples in India and Bhutan

C. Notable Monasteries and Centers of Tara Worship

XII. Conclusion

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In conclusion, Green Tara remains a prominent figure in Tibetan Buddhism, a guiding light for countless practitioners seeking liberation and enlightenment. Her compassionate and nurturing presence continues to inspire devotion and wisdom, providing solace and hope to those treading the path towards spiritual awakening. As her teachings and iconography continue to spread globally, the legend and legacy of Green Tara are sure to endure for generations to come.

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