Tara Who Protects from the Eight Great Fears

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Tara Who Protects from the Eight Great Fears (Tib. འཕགས་མ་སྒྲོལ་མ་འཇིགས་པ་བརྒྱད་ལས་སྐྱོབ་པ་, pakma drolma jikpa gyé lé kyobpa, Wyl. ‘phags ma sgrol ma ‘jigs pa brgyad las skyob pa) - the practices relating to this form of Tārā find their origin in The Sūtra of Tārā Who Protects from the Eight Fears.

Usually the form of Green Tara, also known as Tara of the Khadira Forest (Skt. Khadiravani Tara, Wyl. seng ldeng nags kyi sgrol ma, Tib. སེང་ལྡེང་ནགས་ཀྱི་སྒྲོལ་མ། sengdeng nak kyi drolma), is the main deity who is considered to give protection from the eight great fears. But there are also individual forms of Tara for each of the eight fears as well.

The eight fears are considered to have an outer aspect such as lions, elephants, etc. and an inner aspect, the mental defilements they represent. While the outer fears, or dangers, threaten our life or property, the inner ones endanger us spiritually by obstructing or turning us away from the path to enlightenment.


1. water or drowning representing attachment

2. thieves representing false views

3. lions representing pride

4. snakes or serpents representing jealousy

5. fire representing anger

6. spirits or flesh-eating demons representing doubt

7. captivity or imprisonment representing greed

8. elephants representing ignorance

Another way to think of them is to consider the flood of attachment, the thieves of wrong views, the lion of pride, the snakes of jealousy, the fire of anger, the carnivorous demon of doubt, the chains of miserliness or greed, and the elephant of ignorance. [1][2]


1. Tara who protects from fear of Water (Tib. ཆུའི་འཇིགས་སྐྱོབ་སྒྲོལ་མ་, chü jik kyob drolma, Wyl. chu’i ‘jigs skyob sgrol ma)

2. Tara who protects from fear of Thieves (Tib. མི་རྒོད་འཇིགས་སྐྱོབ་སྒྲོལ་མ་, mi gö jik kyob drolma, Wyl. mi rgod ‘jigs skyob sgrol ma)

3. Tara who protects from fear of Lions (Tib. སེང་གེའི་འཇིགས་སྐྱོབ་སྒྲོལ་མ་, sengé jik kyob drolma, Wyl. seng ge’i ‘jigs skyob sgrol ma)

4. Tara who protects from fear of Snakes (Tib. ཀླུའི་འཇིགས་སྐྱོབ་སྒྲོལ་མ་, lü jik kyob drolma, Wyl. klu’i ‘jigs skyob sgrol ma')

5. Tara who protects from fear of Fire (Tib. མེའི་འཇིགས་སྐྱོབ་སྒྲོལ་མ་, mé jik kyob drolma, Wyl. me’i ‘jigs skyob sgrol ma')

6. Tara who protects from fear of Flesh-eating demons (Tib. ཤ་ཟའི་འཇིགས་སྐྱོབ་སྒྲོལ་མ་, shazé jik kyob drolma, Wyl. sha za’i ‘jigs skyob sgrol ma)

7. Tara who protects from fear of Imprisonment (Tib. ཆད་པའི་འཇིགས་སྐྱོབ་སྒྲོལ་མ་, chepé jik kyob drolma, Wyl. chad pa’i ‘jigs skyob sgrol ma)

8. Tara who protects from fear of Elephants (Tib. གླང་པོའི་འཇིགས་སྐྱོབ་སྒྲོལ་མ་, langpö jik kyob drolma, Wyl. glang po’i ‘jigs skyob sgrol ma)

References

  1. *Thubten Chodron, How to Free Your Mind, Published by Snow Lion, page 41.
  2. *Bokar Rinpoche, Tara, The Feminine Divine, Published by Clear Point Press, page 25.

Tibetan Texts

  • Kangyur -Derge edition - Vol 94 pp. 444-448 - The Sutra of Arya Tara Who Protects from the Eight Fears (Skt. Ārya-tārā-astaghora-tāranā-sūtra, Wyl. ‘phags ma sgrol ma ‘jigs pa brgyad las skyob pa’i mdo, Tib. འཕགས་མ་སྒྲོལ་མ་འཇིགས་པ་བརྒྱད་ལས་སྐྱོབ་པའི་མདོ། pakma drolma jikpa gyé lé kyobpé do).

Further Reading

  • Martin Willson, In Praise of Tara: Songs to the Saviouress, published by Wisdom Publications, 1986, page 87-95
  • Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron, How to Free Your Mind, published by Snow Lion Publications, 2005

External Links