Green Tara is the loving deity waiting to help suffering beings cross the ocean of samsara, which is the illusory world perceived by the ego. Traditionally offering protection from drowning, thieves, lions, snakes, fire, spirits, imprisonment and wild elephants, Green Tara brings courage and quick aid. White Tara is the emanation of Tara that protects longevity.

Historically, the Nepalese princess who married Songsten Gampo (the first Buddhist King of Tibet) is considered to be an emanation of Green Tara. The same king also married a Chinese princess, considered an emanation of White Tara.

The Tibetan Language Institute has a unique selection of unique books about Tara.

International Orders: Email TLI before placing order so as to determine the cost of shipping.

Tara, The Feminine Divine (Bokar Rinpoche)

Tara, the most famous female deity in Tibetan Buddhism, is a personification of the Prajnaparamita and a mother dedicated to protecting her followers. From nomads to scholars, Tibetans are profoundly devoted to her. Bokar Rinpoche presents the various aspects of Tara and the origin of her tantra, and he relates contemporary examples of her benevolent activity.

Then he provides an explanation of her praise (the famous "Praise to the Twenty-One Taras": first the complete Tibetan text with English translation on facing pages, then four-line stanzas in Tibetan with commentary).

Finally, there is a chapter entitled "Buddhism and Women": herein, descriptions of remarkable women in Indian Buddhism (Gelongma Palmo, Mandarava, Niguma, and Sukhasiddhi), remarkable women in Tibetan Buddhism (the two spouses of Songtsen Gampo, Yeshe Tsogyal, and Machik Lapdron), and lastly, Bokar Rinpoche's personal encounters with remarkable women (Ugyen Tsomo, Drikung Khandro, and Ani Yesang).

This book would be useful for practitioners of Tara, as well as those interested in Eastern philosophy, general subjects in Tibetan Buddhism, Women's Studies, or cultural anthropology.


The Cult of Tara: Magic and Ritual in Tibet (Stephan Beyer)

A wonderful book for those interested in the Tara ritual in particular or Tantric rituals in general. Includes a long bibliography and index.

"Opens a new door for the Western student of religion to the understanding of ritual in one of its most sophisticated and artistic forms....The author provides a precise and descriptive representation of the actual rituals [associated with Tara]. He gives a very readable translation of the important parts of the ritual texts such as the visualizations of the contemplated deity, prayers, praises, offerings and innovations along with a detailed account of what the participants actually do. These descriptions are much aided by simple and comprehensible sketches of the hand gestures to be performed as well as attractive drawings of the different deities involved... and photographs of the preparation of the rituals and ritual in progress." --Artibus Asiae

"The fullest (almost an encyclopedic) description of the Tantric model of religious life yet published. It is an outstanding achievement, from the foreword by Kees W. Bolle to the notes and index." --Times Literary Supplement


How to Free Your Mind: Tara the Liberator (Thubten Chodron)

The beloved deity Tara is the feminine embodiment of enlightenment. For centuries, practitioners have turned to her for protection from both external and internal dangers, ranging from fire to anger and arrogance. Any reader interested in pursuing the enlightened qualities of the Buddhist deities will be drawn to this well-written and authoritative book. Presented in a conversational style, How to Free Your Mind will appeal to both a general audience and to those specifically interested in female manifestations of the divine.

"With her usual clarity, Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron skillfully weaves the practice and theory of Arya Tara together with the Lam-rim path to provide a fascinating and very helpful guide for those interested in the Tara practice."--Ani Tenzin Palmo, author of Reflections on a Mountain Lake.


In Praise of Tara: Songs to the Saviouress (Martin Willson)

Amongst all Buddhist deities, the most dearly loved is the blissful, beautiful, and often mischievous goddess Tara. As bodhisattva, she defied tradition when she attained omniscience in female form. As mother goddess, she embodies the feminine archetype in us all and shares a close kinship with Demeter, Inanna, and the Virgin Mary. And as deity of tantric Buddhism, she acts with lightning speed to aid those in distress and fulfill her supplicants' wishes. For centuries, Tara has inspired some of the most marvelous Buddhist literature ever written.

This collection includes a history of the origin of the Tara Tantra, canonical and practice texts, and lyrical praises. Line drawings, beautiful color plates, extensive glossary, and a complete bibliography of literature about Tara (Kangyur texts by Sanskrit title, Tangyur texts by author, Tibetan texts by author, and general (Tibetan and Western) texts). This book is useful for those in Women's Studies, Eastern Philosophy, Buddhist Studies, Comparative Cultural Studies, as well as those actively practicing the Tara ritual.

"Delightful, blissful, comforting, protective, and terrifying goddess Tara! Every library -- every psyche -- should contain these thousand songs, stories, and praises connecting us straight to the sublime feminine. Praise for Martin Willson's meticulous research. This book rewards the lightest as well as the deepest reading."-- Kate Wheeler, author of Not Where I Started From.  


The Origin of Tara Tantra (Jo Nang Taranatha, trans. David Templeman)

The Origin of Tara Tantra by Taranatha, one of the most accomplished scholars of the unorthodox Jo-nan sect, strings together from various fragmentary sources a mine of legends and episodes on the origin and diffusion of Tara's tantra.

Translated by Templeman, this work is supplemented with voluminous notes, an excellent appendix and a comprehensive bibliography for the serious readers. It also contains the Tibetan text. Similar in style to the author's bkar.babs.bdun.ldan (1600), this work heralded Taranatha's major historic work History of Buddhism in India written four years later in 1608.

The Origin of Tara Tantra, though dependent on legends and largely anecdotal, has nevertheless about it a strong feeling of historic time and provides an important and accurate account of the lineages of the Siddhas (adepts) who worshipped Tara and passed on the Upadesas, revelations and Tantra besides giving a background to the masters of the Tibetan Siddhas who grew from India's rich tantric soil.


Wish-Fulfilling Wheel: The Practice of White Tara (Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche)

Practiced by all four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, White Tara has been the main deity practice of many well-known Buddhist scholars and siddhas in both India and Tibet, foremost among whom were Nagarjuna and Atisha. White Tara's special function is to promote long life, both for the practitioner and for others. Ultimately, she is the very nature of the dharmakaya, and her practice is a means for attaining realization and accomplishing liberation.

In this book, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche has given a complete and detailed guide to the practice of White Tara based on the commentary of the great 19th-century master, Jamgon Kongtrul the Great. Presenting the various stages of the practice in a warm and straightforward style, he makes this profound practice accessible through a wealth of detailed explanations, poignant anecdotes, and down-to-earth examples. Rinpoche makes it very clear that, if done with sincerity and devotion, this practice "...can lead to the experience of perfect awakening."

Includes many line drawings, photos (of mudras), and an appendix with the Daily Practice of White Tara in English translation, phonetics, and the original text in Tibetan. 

Supplementary Reading:

Those who read these books might also be interested in the following books on women practitioners, some of whom are identified as emanations of Tara.

Lives and Liberation of Princess Mandarava: The Indian Consort of Padmasambhava (Lama Chonam and Sangye Khandro) 


Machik's Complete Explanation: Clarifying the meaning of Chod: A Complete Explanation of Casting Out the Body as Food (trans. Harding)  

Sky Dancer: The Secret Life and Songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyal (Keith Dowman)   
Reflections on a Mountain Lake: Teachings on Practical Buddhism (Ani Tenzin Palmo)

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