A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

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Minobu
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A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

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Why do we refer to Her as a Goddess and not just a Buddha ?
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

Post by Hazel »

Minobu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 5:51 pm Why do we refer to Her as a Goddess and not just a Buddha ?
I was actually wondering the same thing.

Happy Pride month to my queer dharma siblings!
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

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Hazel wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:34 pm
Minobu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 5:51 pm Why do we refer to Her as a Goddess and not just a Buddha ?
I was actually wondering the same thing.
like today?
which would be so cool.
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

Post by Malcolm »

Minobu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 5:51 pm Why do we refer to Her as a Goddess and not just a Buddha ?
We don't refer to her as a goddess in Buddhism. Hindu's do, however.
"Conceptuality is great ignorance,
causing one to fall into the ocean of samsāra."
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

Post by Minobu »

Malcolm wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:59 pm
Minobu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 5:51 pm Why do we refer to Her as a Goddess and not just a Buddha ?
We don't refer to her as a goddess in Buddhism. Hindu's do, however.
Ok this makes sense then.

Ta very much
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

Post by SilenceMonkey »

It's often a mistranslation into English. She's well known to be a Buddha in Tibetan tradition, not merely a deva. But sometimes Buddhas, bodhisattvas and dharma protectors are referred to as Lha, the Tibetan word for deva. Sometimes Tara is referred to as Lhamo (skt. Devi, a female deva). One theory I have is that people need a more personal feeling with their Buddhas, so they might conceptualize them as a god. They can be easier to relate with that way. But in reality, Tara is a buddha.

Guan Yin is also sometimes called a goddess, "Goddess of Mercy" but this is a misunderstanding, probably translated by Christian missionaries. In Chinese Buddhism, Guanyin is universally understood to be a 10th level bodhisattva and not a god or goddess (deva). Daoists might conceive of Guanyin as a goddess because they have their own pantheon of gods and goddesses, in which they have Guanyin as yet another divine.
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

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SilenceMonkey wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:25 pm It's often a mistranslation into English. She's well known to be a Buddha in Tibetan tradition, not merely a deva. But sometimes Buddhas, bodhisattvas and dharma protectors are referred to as Lha, the Tibetan word for deva. Sometimes Tara is referred to as Lhamo (skt. Devi, a female deva). One theory I have is that people need a more personal feeling with their Buddhas, so they might conceptualize them as a god. They can be easier to relate with that way. But in reality, Tara is a buddha.

Guan Yin is also sometimes called a goddess, "Goddess of Mercy" but this is a misunderstanding, probably translated by Christian missionaries. In Chinese Buddhism, Guanyin is universally understood to be a 10th level bodhisattva and not a god or goddess (deva). Daoists might conceive of Guanyin as a goddess because they have their own pantheon of gods and goddesses, in which they have Guanyin as yet another divine.
hey thanks very much
I'm a Nichiren Buddhist as you know and we do this thing in gongyo where we offer nourishment in the form of Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo to the gods.

and it's sort of weird for me to offer this to a Buddha.
but seeing she was considered a goddess before a Buddha ...thats what i get from malcolm maybe i should include her.


hey good question for malcolm.
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

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Malcolm wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:59 pm
Minobu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 5:51 pm Why do we refer to Her as a Goddess and not just a Buddha ?
We don't refer to her as a goddess in Buddhism. Hindu's do, however.
So would the Hindus have considered Her a goddess ,historically speaking , before The Tibetans started to refer to Her as a Buddha.
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

Post by SilenceMonkey »

Minobu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 11:35 pm
SilenceMonkey wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:25 pm It's often a mistranslation into English. She's well known to be a Buddha in Tibetan tradition, not merely a deva. But sometimes Buddhas, bodhisattvas and dharma protectors are referred to as Lha, the Tibetan word for deva. Sometimes Tara is referred to as Lhamo (skt. Devi, a female deva). One theory I have is that people need a more personal feeling with their Buddhas, so they might conceptualize them as a god. They can be easier to relate with that way. But in reality, Tara is a buddha.

Guan Yin is also sometimes called a goddess, "Goddess of Mercy" but this is a misunderstanding, probably translated by Christian missionaries. In Chinese Buddhism, Guanyin is universally understood to be a 10th level bodhisattva and not a god or goddess (deva). Daoists might conceive of Guanyin as a goddess because they have their own pantheon of gods and goddesses, in which they have Guanyin as yet another divine.
hey thanks very much
I'm a Nichiren Buddhist as you know and we do this thing in gongyo where we offer nourishment in the form of Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo to the gods.

and it's sort of weird for me to offer this to a Buddha.
but seeing she was considered a goddess before a Buddha ...thats what i get from malcolm maybe i should include her.


hey good question for malcolm.
That’s a bad idea! Tara is a Buddha. You shouldn’t put a Buddha in along with lesser beings. To do so would be denigrating the three jewels, thus breaking the refuge vow.

And it wasn’t the Tibetans who started venerating Tara as Buddha, it was in India. I think that Tara may actually have been originally a Buddhist deity before a Hindu one. So even in some kind of “historical” sense, the “original Tara” would not be merely a goddess.

If you’re Buddhist, why would you want to use another religion’s view of Buddhist deities as a basis for your practice?
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

Post by zerwe »

Minobu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 11:36 pm
Malcolm wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:59 pm
Minobu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 5:51 pm Why do we refer to Her as a Goddess and not just a Buddha ?
We don't refer to her as a goddess in Buddhism. Hindu's do, however.
So would the Hindus have considered Her a goddess ,historically speaking , before The Tibetans started to refer to Her as a Buddha.
I think that the answer is yes, but the aspects/qualities between the two are quite different.

Shaun :namaste:
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

Post by tkp67 »

Your gohonzon probably has the bodhisattva Perceiver of Sounds on it.
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

Post by Minobu »

SilenceMonkey wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 12:29 am
Minobu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 11:35 pm
SilenceMonkey wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:25 pm It's often a mistranslation into English. She's well known to be a Buddha in Tibetan tradition, not merely a deva. But sometimes Buddhas, bodhisattvas and dharma protectors are referred to as Lha, the Tibetan word for deva. Sometimes Tara is referred to as Lhamo (skt. Devi, a female deva). One theory I have is that people need a more personal feeling with their Buddhas, so they might conceptualize them as a god. They can be easier to relate with that way. But in reality, Tara is a buddha.

Guan Yin is also sometimes called a goddess, "Goddess of Mercy" but this is a misunderstanding, probably translated by Christian missionaries. In Chinese Buddhism, Guanyin is universally understood to be a 10th level bodhisattva and not a god or goddess (deva). Daoists might conceive of Guanyin as a goddess because they have their own pantheon of gods and goddesses, in which they have Guanyin as yet another divine.
hey thanks very much
I'm a Nichiren Buddhist as you know and we do this thing in gongyo where we offer nourishment in the form of Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo to the gods.

and it's sort of weird for me to offer this to a Buddha.
but seeing she was considered a goddess before a Buddha ...thats what i get from malcolm maybe i should include her.


hey good question for malcolm.
That’s a bad idea! Tara is a Buddha. You shouldn’t put a Buddha in along with lesser beings. To do so would be denigrating the three jewels, thus breaking the refuge vow.

And it wasn’t the Tibetans who started venerating Tara as Buddha, it was in India. I think that Tara may actually have been originally a Buddhist deity before a Hindu one. So even in some kind of “historical” sense, the “original Tara” would not be merely a goddess.

If you’re Buddhist, why would you want to use another religion’s view of Buddhist deities as a basis for your practice?
well like i said it sort of weird.

so like i'm doing this offering thing..and the thought that Buddha Goddess Tara , whom I've had stuff happen with , and did Both generation stage and completion stage Cittamani Tara practice for years... might be a good to offer as well , cause of this goddess label ...

So like the first tibetan initiation i got was Buddha Avalokiteshvara and the secound was Green Tara . Both from Kalden Geshe La..

after the weekend of Buddha Goddess Tara (some reason i feel more comfortable referring to her that way)..i was dead asleep...now my bedroom window had like a i dunno 9 inch by 12 inches where one could look out on this sliding window thing...the rest was covered up to be dark...

So like the this is almost 25 years or so ago..so like i can't recall if it was a two day or three day retreat thing..anyway on either the last night or the night after the last night ...i wake up at like 2 AM only to look through that small opening and Woosh a huge Green Ball of Light flashes...next day i thought i might have dreamt it but on the news it said a Green fireball shot across the sky and could be seen from Ottawa to Detroit...or something like that...
So how cool is that...so yeah if the thought of offering her some of my chanting time came to mind...what would you do...

so i finally asked about why she is referred to Buddha Goddess Tara,,,i don;t go to Hindu temples but i was taught their gods are like considered true to Buddhists...

it's arya vedic stuff...so for me i feel close to them


same thing when Lord Ganesha was drinking milk for three days all over the world...i was not clued in...the Canadian news was mocking the process here in toronto...but like on the fourth day i was going to go to a temple and did not..No longer happening anyway...but for days when i closed my eyes it was always there in my mind vision ..plain as day a Black Lord Ganesha ...
so they are like friends to me.

Something protects me...i got a few stories...like im 17 and my cousin's boyfriend had a Triumph Bonneville ...visiting her in the Ottawa valley at my uncles.

So i ask the guy for a ride and he hands me the keys and a helmet and asks if i ride...i lie...say yeah...never having been on one except to ride as a passenger like two or three times on a kawasaki and once a harley...

so anyways i knew what to do and i knew the transmission was different on Triumphs so i asked to remember...

so like i'm out and about and started to get cocky....so like there is this large stone gravel road and it curves ...you are looking at this marsh with a bunch of dead trees still growing in water...
i'm going fast and i decide to try downshifting just before the turn and the wheels lock and the bike is like practically on it's side touching the ground...and i'm heading for the trees...something grabs my hand and yanks the throttle and like it's a powerful bike and vroom the bike rights itself...some bike gravitational weirdness...


ahhh memories.. the gods are cool... i offer to all the major ones everyday lots of ODaimoku a recital of the three parts Lotus sutra we use and lots of ODaimoku so they can get more energy and life to make Lotus Sutra practitioners happy and protected ...
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

Post by SilenceMonkey »

Minobu wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 4:27 am ...
Oh, I see. So generally the offerings to Buddhas and bodhisattvas would be separate from the offerings to other gods and beings in samsara. We offer to the three jewels because they are our refuge. We offer to all the rest of sentient beings because they would need merit and connection with the Dharma.
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

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Malcolm wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:59 pm
Minobu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 5:51 pm Why do we refer to Her as a Goddess and not just a Buddha ?
We don't refer to her as a goddess in Buddhism. Hindu's do, however.
Does anyone have any idea how Tara ended up as a bloodthirsty deity in Hinduism?
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

Post by Anders »

Malcolm wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:59 pm
Minobu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 5:51 pm Why do we refer to Her as a Goddess and not just a Buddha ?
We don't refer to her as a goddess in Buddhism. Hindu's do, however.
In Indian Buddhism, female mahasattvas were often referred to as goddesses. Not sure why, seems gender specific too, but nonetheless....
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

Post by Giovanni »

I think a deeper question is why did Hindus and Buddhists appropriate the western concept, and name and call certain beings Goddesses ? As Anders point to no one calls Avalokita or Manju Shri a God.
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

Post by Ayu »

I'm not sure, what you're talking about.
In German even Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri are called 'meditation diety' . Deity (Gottheit) contains the word Gott=God. And nobody knows a difference between Gott and Gottheit. I don't know, if there is a difference between God and diety in English.

Anyhow, everybody knows that it's only a term and that they are Buddhas. :shrug:
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

Post by Minobu »

SilenceMonkey wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 4:41 am
Minobu wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 4:27 am ...
Oh, I see. So generally the offerings to Buddhas and bodhisattvas would be separate from the offerings to other gods and beings in samsara. We offer to the three jewels because they are our refuge. We offer to all the rest of sentient beings because they would need merit and connection with the Dharma.
very interesting point for me..you got me to thinking about a lot of things

Please indulge me to get this out of the way from mr.OCD here
((oh i sort of feel weird sharing that stuff with the world ..when ever i read someone else's stuff like that i always think they are whack jobs...so another lesson learned ...i'm one of those whack jobs)))))


So I don't know if you know about Nichiren style practice...it's different..

So i recite all three sections of the Lotus sutra designated by Nichiren..then do ODaimoku..
So for me the three jewels are The Eternal Buddha Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo Lord Sakyamuni Buddha. the Dharma as i say it in prayer SadDharmaPundarika Sutra and Nichiren Shonin's Teachings and the Sangha
Lord Guru Sakyamuni Buddha
Lord Guru Nagarjuna Buddha
Venerable Tien Tai The Great
Venerable Mia-lo
Venerable Dengyo the Great
Nichiren Shonin
Nikko Shonin
Nichimoku Shonin
All The Nichiren Priests who have upheld The Teachings and handed them down correctly
And finally
All the lat persons who have tried their best to understand and practice the teachings.


So how do you offer to these jewels ODaimoku with the gongyo thing as well?... So that thought runs in the background as i do the chanting ...I settle it with trying my best to develop ...same thoughts occur every time...

When it comes to this , which is a really interesting take .
So generally the offerings to Buddhas and bodhisattvas would be separate from the offerings to other gods and beings in samsara.
When it comes to the gods
We offer to all the rest of sentient beings because they would need merit and connection with the Dharma.
I don't try to shakkabukku them . at all...

and i don't know if one can transfer merit ..if thats what you mean ..rereading your post ,more than a few times because it really sparked something for me...you might have meant feeding them so they have the energy to contemplate Dharma.

so for me it's just about a food offering in the form of NMHRGK. ..life giving food ..and use it for what you are born into as a god for ..

now my take on the gods...


first up Rinpoche once said the previous set of gods , Brahma in particular loathed people doing Dharma ...he did not want people to even know about dharma...so this was a problem for the enlightened ones and they got together and i forget who or how but ended his life prematurely .

Then this new set of gods came and love Dhamra and

((this next thing about Lord Ganesha is my take on it not His words)

even gave birth to Lord Ganesha who makes way for dharma practice..He takes away obstacles to the paths.

So then I asked Rinpoche about the gods ...like what are they really?

He said it this way.
"exact quote"
"Because there is Agni the god of fire when you lite a match , it works . They are sort of the creators . They make the world beautiful instead of it being all smoke and volcanoes and toxic fumes ..."

after the meeting i talked to this guy from India on the subject and his exact words "Lakshmi is like a ripe beautiful delicious fruit "

so this how i view them from that.

thanks for your post...very inspiring..
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

Post by Minobu »

cyril wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 7:22 am
Malcolm wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:59 pm
Minobu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 5:51 pm Why do we refer to Her as a Goddess and not just a Buddha ?
We don't refer to her as a goddess in Buddhism. Hindu's do, however.
Does anyone have any idea how Tara ended up as a bloodthirsty deity in Hinduism?
really i thought that was Kali Ka ..and she became mad like that after stretching out her tongue to eat a bunch of evil being spread all over the universe or something like that.
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Re: A question about Buddha Goddess Tara

Post by Minobu »

Giovanni wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 8:26 am I think a deeper question is why did Hindus and Buddhists appropriate the western concept, and name and call certain beings Goddesses ? As Anders point to no one calls Avalokita or Manju Shri a God.
hmmm i think god and God are two entirely different concepts .

the gods are a samsaric realm where as God is the Abrahamic Creator of everything and like rules over everything
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