Tara, a Christmas Star of Peace
Knowing something of Christian and Buddhist traditions it occurred to me that the Buddhist Bodhisattva ‘Arya Tara’, (‘Bringer of Life’, the ‘Compassionate Mother’, the ‘Embodiment of Wisdom’), is the perfect model for the Christian Christmas Star. In Sanskrit her name means ‘Shining’ and in Hindi ‘Star’.
Her two principle emanations; White Tara and Green Tara portray the long associated qualities surrounding the birth of Christ; peace embodied, transcendent wisdom, compassion, love, protection and healing. As the light of that special star guided and illuminated the profound birth so the ‘Star Tara’ empowers enlightened activity arising from pure compassion and wisdom. Just as the Magi were guided by the Shining Star of the East so too were numerous Tibetan refugees, fleeing the horrors of occupied Tibet, guided by Tara over the Himalayan mountains to freedom and safety.
Tradition tells us that Tara will assume any form to help those in need. Indeed there appears to be a manifestation of her found in virtually every culture known on Earth. Five thousand years ago in what is now Finland there was a group known as the ‘Tar’ or the ‘Women of Wisdom’. The Celts called their great goddess ‘Tara’; she who is bathed with spiritual energy. The latin word for earth, ‘Terra’, echoes her presence. She is ‘Kuan Yin’ in China, ‘Tarahumara’ in South America, ‘Star Woman’ to the native Cheyenne and ‘IshTar’ in ancient Egypt. She is an archetype of our own inner wisdom, our inner knowing, that guides and protects us as we navigate the samsaric depths and storms of life. Her teachings reminds us of our shared oneness in spirit and creation. Her shining in this world is embodied in her vow; “I shall work for the welfare of all beings, until such time as all humanity has found its fullness."
Surely this is the Star of Christ, the Star of love, compassion, understanding, wisdom and the deepest meaning of Christmas.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All - Richard Rudis
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