White tara seeds

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White Tara

White Tara (‘white saviouress’), goddess of purity and transcendant wisdom, is the consort of the fourth Dhyani Buddha. She is seated with legs crossed and soles facing upward in meditation pose. Her raised right hand is in vitarka mudra, her left rests on her left knee. The thumb and first finger of each hand are touching. She wears the thirteen ornaments of a Bodhisattva and the scarf of divinity. Nearly all these ornaments are enriched with precious stones, particularly the elaborate tiara and the lotus earrings. She is nude to the waist, but wears a skirt. In the forehead is turquoise symbolising the eye of foreknowledge and in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet is the eight-petalled lotus with the seed-capsule replaced by the Chinese yin-yang symbol (ie: the creative monad dividing into its male and female elements). Behind each upper arm is a lotus stem terminating in a full-blown lotus with prominent seed capsule.

Gilded copper, cast by the cire perdue process, set with garnets, turquoise (blue and green), rock crystal (reverse painted red), and green and blue transparent glass.

Seated White Tara, gilt copper, garnets, turquoise, rock crystal (reverse painted red), glass. Nepal, 16th century, Malla dynasty

White Tara (‘white saviouress’), goddess of purity and transcendant wisdom, is the consort of the fourth Dhyani Buddha. She is seated with legs crossed and soles facing upward in meditation pose. Her raised right hand is in vitarka mudra, her left rests on her left knee. The thumb and first finger of each hand are touching. She wears the thirteen ornaments of a Bodhisattva and the scarf of divinity. Nearly all these ornaments are enriched with precious stones, particularly the elaborate tiara and the lotus earrings. She is nude to the waist, but wears a skirt. In the forehead is turquoise symbolising the eye of foreknowledge and in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet is the eight-petalled lotus with the seed-capsule replaced by the Chinese yin-yang symbol (ie: the creative monad dividing into its male and female elements). Behind each upper arm is a lotus stem terminating in a full-blown lotus with prominent seed capsule.

  • Figure height: 76.2cm
  • Figure width: 56cm
  • Torana height: 172.7cm
  • Torana width: 114.3cm

White Tara 1650–1700 Nepal Malla dynasty Gilded copper White Tara is one of the most revered and loved bodhisattvas in Tibet. Here, she is shown with her usual symbols, two open lotus flowers on stalks, one behind each shoulder. Her right hand makes the gesture of teaching a point of doctrine (vitarka mudra). Museum no. IM.28-1919(1/4/2009)

Orientations; vol. 40. no. 4; May 2009; The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum. Cam Sharp Jones, Interpreting the Iconography of Tara in Sculptural form. p.65

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White Tara

Tibetans usually think of Tara as having 21 manifestations, as she does in the common Tibetan Buddhist prayer — In Praise of the 21 Taras. In each form she takes a different color — like Blue Tara and Black Tara — and offers a different energy or virtue to help us on our spiritual paths.

White Tara Thangka from Nechung Dhrama Center, El Cerrito, California.

Of these 21 Taras, the two most popular are Green Tara and White Tara. Tara’s name in Tibetan is Dolma, and you can see then that White Tara’s Tibetan name, Dolkar, is a short form of Dolma Karpo, which means White Dolma.

Long Life

Tibetans pray to White Tara especially for health, healing and longevity. She offers healing to our wounds, whether it is our bodies or our minds that have been hurt.

The White Tara Long Life Initiation (Dolkar Tsewang) is very popular among Tibetans. At the 2011 White Tara Long Life Initiation by Tritul Jampa Kalden Rinpoche at the US Tibet House, this nice explanation of its purpose was offered:

Benefits of and Reasons for Seeking White Tara Initiation

You might have obstacles in your life that could cause your untimely death. If the obstacles are due to your good karma and merit being exhausted, then in order to prolong your life now and to have longevity in future lives, you need to practice powerful ways to collect a lot of merit, such as taking long life initiations, reciting the mantras of long life deities, saving the lives of animals and people, offering medicine to people and taking care of sick people, offering food, clothing and shelter to the poor people.

If the obstacles in your life and untimely death are due to negative karma, the solution is to purify it. You can also make butter lamp (light) offerings to the Triple Gem. Butter lamp offerings help you develop Dharma wisdom and clairvoyance due to their nature of dispelling the darkness around holy objects.

White Tara is extremely powerful. Tara is very close to sentient beings, like a mother to her children. She is very quick to fulfill our wishes and to grant us happiness and a long life, as well as to help us develop wisdom. By taking refuge in Tara and practicing meditation, visualizations, and having faith, you have the power to remove obstacles to your life and to prolong your life.

Compassion

Tara is closely related to Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara), the Bodhisattva of Compassion. One story of her origin says that she was born from Chenrezig’s compassionate tears. 1 People also think of her as the female manifestation of Chenrezig, or his consort.

Though all the manifestations of Tara share the characteristic of compassion through this connection to Chenrezig, it is White Tara who is most closely linked to his essential compassionate nature.

Her pure compassion for our suffering, which is thought to be greater even than a mother’s love for her child, is symbolized in images of White Tara by her white color. Her whiteness also indicates the “undifferentiated truth of the Dharma.” 2

In comparison to Green Tara, who is shown seated with one leg on the ground, ready to come to our defense, White Tara is seated in the more meditative diamond lotus position, with both legs folded under her, and her feet facing skyward. 3

White Tara has 7 eyes — with an eye in her forehead, and one on each hand and foot — symbolizing her compassionate vigilance to see all the suffering of the world.

Detail of White Tara Thangka from Nechung Dhrama Center, El Cerrito, California

Her left hand is in the protective mudra and her right in the wish-granting mudra. In her left hand she usually holds a stem of the Utpala lotus flower with three blossoms. One blossom is represented as a seed, a second as ready to bloom, and the third in full bloom. These represent the Buddhas of the past, future and present.

Often, a small image of Amitabha, a Buddha known for longevity, is portrayed as seated in White Tara’s headdress or slightly above her head.

There are infinite varieties of Tara statues and images in Tibet. (If you wish to experience them for yourself, you can learn how to visit Tibet here.)

There are different ways to pray to White Tara, including the Praises to the 21 Taras prayer and the White Tara Sadhana.

We can also recite White Tara’s mantra, which has a multitude of variations.

White Tara Mantra

First, let’s look at the mantra, then talk about how we can use it.

The White Tara mantra has a number of variations, but a common one in its Sanskrit form is:

OM TARE TUTTARE TURE MAMA AYUH PUNYA JNANA PUSTIME KURU SVAHA.

The Tibetan way to say the mantra is this:

OM TARE TUTTARE TURE MAMA AYUR PUNE GYANA PUNTIN KURU SOHA

What Does the Mantra Mean and How Do You Use It?

The White Tara mantra begins in the same way as the basic Green Tara mantra, with OM TARE TUTTARE TURE . (We leave off the final SOHA).

You can see a deeper explanation on our Green Tara mantra blog post, but one short way to interpret that mantra is “I prostrate to the Liberator, Mother of all Victorious Ones.”

In the White Tara version of the mantra, we add MAMA AYUR PUNE GYANA PUNTIN KURU SOHA .

This is essentially a strong request (even a demand 4 ) for increased longevity, merit and wisdom, where AYUR, PUNE, and GYANA refer to life, merit and wisdom. The White Tara mantra and seed syllables article at the Visible Mantra site, notes that “Mama __X__ puṣṭiṃ kuru means something like ‘make my X increase.’”

In an article on the White Tara mantra on the Wildmind Buddhist Meditation site, they break the mantra down this way:

  • mama = mine, means that I would like to possess the following qualities.
  • ayur = long life
  • punya = merit that comes form living life ethically. [Tibetan: pune]
  • jnana = wisdom [Tibetan: gyana]
  • pushtim = increase [Tibetan: puntin]
  • kuru = do so! do it now!
  • svaha = hail, or may blessings be upon [Tibetan: soha]

The mantra is flexible, so if you wish to increase something else, you can just substitute in words for that which you wish to increase, and if you want to pray for your spiritual master’s long life, you can replace the word MAMA (which refers to me or mine) for your master’s name.

So for example, we might pray for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama thus:

OM TARE TUTTARE TURE TENZIN GYATSO AYUR PUNE GYANA PUNTIN KURU SOHA

We can’t think of a better way to use the prayer!

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Reader Interactions

Comments

Thank you for this posting. I very appreciate it. I’m lucky to see this posting about White Tara. KD

Lobsang and Yolanda says

It’s our pleasure, thank you Katy!

Shalini Nagar says

I suffer from epilepsy.
Lately it is bothering me more and more .
What to add to this mantra for healing?

Shalini Nagar: I do not know the answer to your question. But I have practiced tonglen for you and hope it helps to reduce the frequency of the epilepsy. Perhaps others who read these words can do the same practice for you.
Metta, winston

This is medicine Buddha’s mantra
“tayatha om bekandze bekandze maha bekandze radza samudgate soha.”

Hello, which tara mantra is chanted to achieve success plz help me with this

Namaste. The late Thomas Ashley-Farrand wrote a book on Shakti Mantras. Many of the mantras he listed I actually could not find anywhere else. One of which that I have been interested in is Om Tara Tuttare Ture Sarva Akalamrityu-bhyu Raksham Kuru Swaha. Do you know if he created this Tara mantra or is it actually a traditional White Tara mantra?

Lobsang and Yolanda says

Hi James, Sorry, we don’t know the answer to that. Wish we could help you more!

Is the credit for where the images come from spelled correctly? Isnt dharma spelled with the R before the M?
Thank you for your kind presentation on the mantra.
Casey

Thank you very much for this wonderful and comprehensive article about White Tara and her blessings.

If possible, can you please expain the offerings which often appear in front of Tara in Thangkas? Such as conch, fruit, flute, and so on. Are there objects which must always be placed in Tara thangkas?

Thank you Claire, We don’t know exactly, but these are common offerings for many different deities in tangkhas. For example, we have these on our Green Tara and Avalokitshvara tangkhas, too. We have a long list of things to check out, and we will add this to it, to see what exactly are the meanings. Our best to you!

Wow! The thangka of the White Tara is very beautiful.
Thank you for sharing such nice blessing.