Today, and the 8th of every month, is Buddha Tara Day, so here are a couple of anecdotes to celebrate her — one by me and another by a guest.
There are also more Tara stories in the comments — please check them out and add your own.
I just got a rescue cat, a small panther to be more precise. A dream cat just like the ones painted by Henri Rousseau, and hence his name.
Rousseau stands on his back legs without leaning on anything and growls deeply like a bear if he sees or hears anything out of the ordinary outside. Out of the ordinary at this point includes anything with skin, fur, feathers, or scales.
So he was growling at the door in the dark of night when my Russian neighbor ran up to it, all in a fluster, saying that there was a man who needed an ambulance but her phone was dead and I had to “hurry help”.
We ran over a couple of streets while I spoke on the phone to 911, to find a large rather respectably dressed man in the midst of a psychotic episode, yelling into a cell phone with no one the other end, staring blankly at everything and nothing, lurching violently around, repeatedly slamming his body hard on the pavement, and, most alarmingly, staggering into oncoming traffic.
Irena is about 5 foot 2 but she was trying to touch him: “Please seet down sir, you hurt self.” The policeman on the line (I’d called medical emergency but they decided I needed the police too) heard him scream and told us firmly to “Step away from him immediately and wait at a distance.” We didn’t have to wait long, and I guess this is the point of my story. The fire/rescue paramedics turned up in minutes, sirens blazing, followed fast on their heels by the ambulance and police. It seemed that Irena and I were no longer needed 🙂
It was the same when someone, probably Mr. Magoo, flew off an embankment, having mistaken the gas pedal for thebrake, and smashed onto my car several years ago – the entire rescue brigade was there in no time at all. And what struck me then and now was how kind all these emergency people are. They didn’t know (me or) this psychotic fellow personally, but they were still going to do what they could to help him. The fact that they felt sufficiently responsible for him to appear within minutes of the call for help was impressive, and shows the power of community and our dependence upon others. We can say skeptical things like, “Yeah, well, they’re paid to do it”, but when we meditate on the kindness of others we can see that a kindness is a kindness, regardless of motivation (and in any case, let’s face it, we find it hard enough figuring out our own motivation half the time, let alone that of others.)
Their speed reminded me of Tara, the “swift one, the heroine”. She is right there, swift as the wind, whenever we need her. If human beings can show up that fast, clearly it is no problem for her to show up the instant we call.
Tara is seated but her right leg is outstretched, showing how quickly she will jump up and help us, her total commitment to us. But Tara doesn’t run around like a headless chicken focusing exclusively on the outer world, getting entirely stressed out. Her left leg in the meditative posture shows how we need to focus on compassion and wisdom in our heart so that our actions of helping others flow naturally from there. Responsibilities born from compassion and love are not stressful or burdensome but joyful; hence her beautiful smiling face and energetic posture.
(On that point, we can be very busy doing the things we naturally want to do and not find it in the least stressful because we’re mainly having fun. Buddhas are always enjoying themselves — one of their bodies is even called “the Enjoyment Body”.)
by Abby Citron
But the moment I opened that book, there was a shifting of my internal tectonic plates that is really impossible to describe. For the next three months this book became my daily salvation and sanity, which in itself was miracle one … they generally take the book back in one week, but they never took it away from me. So I began to consume this book like a child consumes ice cream, but blindly, and this is where I met holy Arya Tara. There was a very brief commentary on Tara, and a prayer … one I memorized just by reading it once, I had absolutely no idea what it meant, but it comforted me, actually just the sound of her name brought comfort, despite not having any understanding of “Tara”.
Illustrious Tara, please be aware of me.
Remove all obstacles and quickly grant my excellent aspirations.
More on Tara here, Being Buddha Tara.
A short Tara practice here: Getting by with a little help from our enlightened friends.
If you have one, please share your Tara story in the comments!