Category Archives: Deities (individual)

Descriptions of various deities.

Green Tara

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Category: Deities (individual)

Buddhist Bodhisattva

Buddha of enlightened activity, savior goddess of compassion

Mantra: Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha

The word “tara” means star. The taras are a group of Buddhas particularly popular in Tibetan Buddhism, representing various spiritual attainments.Green Tara is a compassionate helper in difficult and dangerous situations. In her role as a savior, she is able to overcome despair in even the most hopeless situations. Modern Tibetans pray to her when they are sick, beginning a journey, or looking for success in some venture. But the first Dalai Lama also identified eight symbolic perils, representing negative thought modes, that Tara can help us overcome: lions (pride), wild elephants (delusion and ignorance), forest fires (hatred), snakes (jealousy), robbers (wrong views, including fanatical views), prisons (greed and miserliness), floods (desire and attachment), and demons (doubts caused by delusion).

 

Symbols:

  • Her lotus seat represents the purity of emptiness.
  • Her right hand gesture is the mudra of granting boons
  • Her left hand gesture is the mudra of refuge
  • Her left leg is relaxed in a pose of contemplation, while her right leg is outstretched and ready for action.
  • She holds a blue lotus, symbolizing purity and power.

Kwan Yin

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Category: Deities (individual)

Buddhist Pantheon (Chinese origin)

Bodhisattva of Compassion and Mercy, protector of women, children & sailors, patron of vegetarians

Also known by Guan Yin, Quan Yin,  Kannon (in Japan)

Kwan Yin is a goddess of compassion, whose name means “One who hears the cries of the world.” She is regarded as a feminine bodhisattva, an enlightened being. Her worship took its current form when Buddhism came to China. As the female analog of The Buddha of Mercy, Avilokiteshvara, she’s loved by all. One variation is Kwan Yin of 1000 Arms, who has vowed never to rest until she has freed all humankind from mortal suffering. People of certain walks of life and situations traditionally seek her  favor, and many of the symbols we see on statues reflect this. Here’s a key to some symbols and other features of statues, along with their meanings:

  • dragon for ancient wisdom and spiritual transformation
  • with a baby, giving strength and blessings to mothers and children
  • lotus for contemplation and purity
  • bottle of medicine, sometimes with a stream of water, for healing
  • sea serpent, as a protector of sailors
  • waterfall for tears of compassion
  • sprig of foliage from the weeping willow, also signifying tears of compassion
  • rice bowl, for having one’s material needs met
  • hand cupped in the yoni mudra representing the universal feminine
  • pearls of illumination