oṃ tāre tuttāre ture svāhā
The mantra we are chanting at end of the class at the moment is that of Green Tara. This intimate, approachable, enchanting aspect of the compassion of the enlightened mind is traditionally visualised as a beautiful sixteen year old woman. She is the colour of verdant vegetation and has long flowing blue-black hair. Smiling down at us, the figure has her left foot drawn up in cross legged meditation posture and her right extended as if she is stepping down to help us. Her right hand is making a gesture of giving. Her left is held in front of her heart, the fingers are positioned in a delicate mudra with the third finger and thumb touching. The remaining fingers are straightened as a reminder of the the Three Jewels. Tara is often depicted as holding her emblem an exquisite blue lotus flower (Utpala). To see some of the ways Tara is depicted try an image search on Google.
Tara is often considered the most approachable of the Buddhist figures and traditionally is said to always respond to cries of help. She is known as Samaya Tara because she is always faithful to the bond of those who call on her. She is popular in Tibet (Dolma in Tibetan) where there are said to be other Tara’s. Another popular figure is White Tara which we will look at on another occasion.
Here is a sound file of the Green Tara mantra.
Best wishes to you all
Nandaketu and David