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Readings: Figures in Buddhism

In Buddhist tradition, Tara is the Saviouress of Compassion, formed from the tears of the enlightened Avalokiteshvara as he wept in response to the condition of the world. Being of 21 forms, this describes the Green Tara as represented in Buddhist art, and prepares us for a Lady Day fire ritual to the past, present and future.

She is turquoise of jade green in colour, slender and beautiful. Her right foot hangs down - emphasising the spontaneous quality of Compassion which is prepared to respond instantly to a situation in which help is needed, as a mother will plunge unheeding into danger to rescue her child. Her right hand rests on her knee, palm outwards in the gesture of giving, whilst her left hand holds the stem of a lotus flower which has three buds: one tightly closed, one half open and one in full bloom. The past is gone, the future yet to be, and the present ungraspable as a lightning flash. On her head is a jewelled diadem, for she is like a queen of a spiritual universe. Her body gives off rainbow light.

(Puja and the Transformation of the Heart, Windhorse, p. 53)