Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Ann Moir-BussyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_684


The goddess Tara, one of many female deities, was first found in early Hinduism and later was adopted by Tibetan Buddhism in the early third century BCE. She is worshiped throughout Tibet, Nepal, and parts of Southeast Asia. Some schools of Buddhism recognize 21 Taras. The Chinese call her Kwan Yin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, her name meaning “one who hears the cries of the world.” Tara is known as the Mother of Mercy, the Goddess of Compassion, the “mother of liberation,” and the “one who saves.” According to one legend, she emerged from a lotus that grew in a lake made by the tears of Avalokitesvara as he wept for the world’s sufferings. In the early Sanskrit tradition, she was also known as Dhruva, the Pole Star, and so has also been associated with Mary, the Mother of God known as Star of the Sea. There are different forms of Tara represented by different colors, including blue, green, red, yellow, black, and white aspects of White Tara, reflecting her responsiveness to...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social SciencesUniversity of Sunshine CoastSippy DownsAustralia