Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Tara: Powerful Feminine Force in Buddhism

Tara: Powerful Feminine Force in Buddhism

Tara, called Jetsun Dölma, is a significant figure in Buddhism. She is mainly revered in Tibetian Buddhism. In Mahayana Buddhism, she appeared as a female bodhisattva. If it comes to talk about Vajrayana Buddhism, she appeard as a female Buddha. We know her as the "mother of liberation," who is the symbol of virtues of success in the field of work & achievements. In addition, people know her as Duōluó Púsà in Chinese Buddhism. However, people in Japan know her as Tara Bosatsu .

Tara, who is Tibetian Sgrol-ma, a Buddhist saviour goddess, is very famous in Nepal, Tibet, and Mongolia. People consider her as bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara's feminine counterpart. People believed that there is a story behind her existence. The story is one day, a tear of Avalokiteshvara has fallen to the ground and has formed a lake. In its water, an opening lotus rose up which revealed the Goddess. She is considered as a compassionate deity who helps the people who are in distress.

Origin as a Buddhist Bodhisattva:

You can find multiple stories that give different explanations of her origin as a bodhisattva. This story tells about a young princess spending her life in another world system. She is Jnanachandra or Yeshe Dawa, meaning of which is the "Moon of Primordial Awareness." She was offering that world system to the Buddha for an era. The system was known as Tonyo Drupa. He gave her instructions related to bodhicitta which is Bodhisattva's compassionate mental state. Later a few monks came to her to give suggestions. They said that she should pray so that she could be reborn as male in her next life to get progress. Then, she told the monks that "weak minded worldlings' ' think that gender is a barrier and women can't progress in life.

However, later, she noticed that only a few were there who wanted her to work for the well-being and prosperity of sentient beings in the form of a female. That's why she decided to be reborn always as a female bodhisattva, but until samsara is no more. Later she starts meditating in a palace for nearly ten million years. Her power of these practices helped to heal the health issues of many people. Then, Tonyo Drupa, told her that she can manifest supreme bodhi in the upcoming world system as the Goddess Tārā.

Symbols and Associations:

Generally, the term Tārā's refers to "star" or "planet," and based on that, this goddess is connected with travel and navigation. The goddess is known as "she who saves" in Tibetan. While there are one hundred and eight names of Holy Tara, she is the 'Leader of the caravans ..... who showeth the way to those who have lost it'. However, she is known by the name Dhruva also. Remember that Dhruva is the Sanskrit name for the North Star. Miranda Shaw who considered motherhood as the central to Tara's conception, gave some titles to her including "loving mother," "supreme mother," "mother of the world," "universal mother" and "mother of all Buddhas."

Mostly she appeared with her blue or night lotus (utpala). These flowers release the fragrance when the moon appears. Therefore, it is considered that Tārā has connections with the moon & light. In addition, she is a forest goddess who appears in the form of Khadiravani , a "dweller in the Khadira forest." Her life is connected to plant life, flowers, acacia (khadira) trees, and the wind. As she is connected with nature and plants, she is known as a healing Deity. In addition, she is known as the deity of nurturing quality and fertility.

People have described her land in Mount Potala as covered with many manifold trees and creepers. While chirping of birds can be heard, the forest allows the people to enjoy the murmur of waterfalls. Different kinds of flower species can be seen growing everywhere.

Tara Emergence as a Buddhist Deity:

In Tibetan Buddhism, this goddess is renowned as the symbol of action and compassion and considered as the female aspect of Avalokiteśvara.

Finally, Avalokiteshvara reached the summit of Marpori, in Lhasa. We know the Marpori summit as the 'Red Hill' also. On Otang, he realized that the lake called the 'Plain of Milk’ looks like the Hell of Ceaseless Torment.

There, the myriad beings faced many challenges like burning, boiling, hunger, thirst, etc., but still, they did not perish, sending forth grievous cries of distress all the while.

Once he viewed this, his eyes filled with tears. Then, one drop of this tear from his right eye fell to the plain. As soon as the tear falls, it becomes the reverend Bhrikuti.

After the declaration of Bhrukuti, the princess got reabsorbed into Avalokiteshvara's right eye. Later, Bhrukuti was reborn as the Nepalese princess Tritsun. When a teardrop fell upon the plain from the left eye, it became Tara. After that, she was reabsorbed into the left eye of Avalokiteshvara.

The goddess Tārā appears in various forms. In Tibet, Green Tārā appeared as the Nepalese Princess named Bhrikuti. White Tārā appeared as the Chinese princess Kongjo (Princess Wencheng).

As a Saviouress:

The Statue of this deity, in Nepal, is20.25" tall and consists of gilt copper inset full of precious stones. While this goddess has several characteristics of the feminine principle, we know her as the Mother of Mercy and Compassion.

This goddess gives birth to compassion, warmth, and relief. She has the same sympathy as a mother for all her kids. The form Green Tārā protects all beings from unfortunate circumstances. On the other hand, White Tārā represents maternal compassion. She can heal the health issues of all beings, especially those who are wounded physically or mentally.

The form of Red Tārā lets us learn discriminating awareness about any incident and how to convert raw wishes into love & compassion. If it comes to talk about Blue Tārā (Ekajati), remember that this form is a protector in the Nyingma lineage. This form expresses a formidable, female energy that can be invoked for destroying dharmic obstacles. You should know that each form is linked to any color and energy. Every form includes feminine attributes.

Forms of Tara:

There are several forms of Tārā. We know Green Tārā as śyāmatārā. This form indicates peacefulness and enlightened activity. It is the central aspect of Tārā from which all forms emanate. We know the Green form as Khadiravaṇi-Tārā, also known as Tārā of the acacia forest. She came to Nagarjuna in South India's Khadiravani forest to protect all beings from eight fears. Mārīcī and Ekajaṭā, her two attendants, give her accompany.

Sarvajnamitra says that this goddess has a universal form also, and we call it visva-rupa. This form encompasses living beings. There are other forms of Tārā also including:-

White Tārā (Sitatārā): 

We call the form The Wish-fulfilling Wheel, or Cintachakra, whom we know as the deity of healing and compassion. In this form, we can see that her two arms are seated on a white lotus, whereas the eyes are on hands and feet. The third eye is on the forehead, due to which she is called "Seven eyed."


She appears in a red-colored form where she holds a bell and vajra, bow and arrow, wheel, conch, sword, and noose in her eight arms. We know her as "Tārā Swift and Heroic" also.

Kurukullā (Rigjema): 

It is a form of red color and fierceness that can magnetize good things.

Black Tārā (Ugra Tārā): 

She is famous for power.

Yellow Tārā or Golden colored Tārā: 

These have connections with wealth and prosperity. Yellow Cintamani Tārā is considered a "Wish-Granting Gem Tara" because she is holding a wish-granting jewel. Besides, there is another form "Vajra Tārā" with eight arms. The other form, golden "Rajasri Tārā" , holds a blue lotus.

Blue Tārā (Ekajati): 

In this form, she has a lot of heads and hands, referring to a connection with the transmutation of anger. A few authors said that this form has similarities to Ugra Tārā and Ekajati.

Cintāmaṇi Tārā: 

At the Highest Yoga Tantra level in the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism, this form of Tārā is worshipped. This form is portrayed in green color.

Sarasvati (Yangchenma): 

This form is renowned for arts, knowledge, and wisdom.

Bhṛkuṭītārā (Tronyer Chendze): 

She is known as "Tārā with a Frown." This form is renowned for protecting from the spirits.

Uṣṇīṣavijaya Tārā: 

This form is called White Tārā or "Victorious Uṣṇīṣa." Hence, she has three faces and 12 hands in this form. Remember that this form symbolizes long life.

Golden Prasanna Tārā: 

In this form, she wore a necklace of bloody heads. Besides, in his 16 hands, she holds many weapons and Tantric attributes.

Yeshe Tsogyal: 

She is known as "Wisdom Lake Queen" in this form.

Rigjay Lhamo: 

We know her as "Goddess Who Brings Forth Awareness."

Sitatapatra Tārā: 

She protects against supernatural danger.


The Tibetian branch of Vajrayana Buddhism worships this meditation deity, Tara, for developing inner quality. Moreover, this deity is worshipped for understanding inner, outer, and secret teachings like compassion known as Karunā, loving-kindness known as mettā, and emptiness known as shunyata. You can understand the depth of the term Tārā by realizing various aspects of the same quality. The reason for this is we often consider bodhisattvas as the personifications of Buddhist methods.

There is a text named Praises to the Twenty-One Taras, which is a vital text in Tibetan Buddhism. Tantra is one of the essential texts that describes All the Functions of Tara, Mother of All the Tathagatas. For both Hindus and Buddhists, the primary Tārā mantra is the same, which is: oṃ tāre tuttāre ture svāhā. Buddhists & Tibetans follow the Tibetan traditions and pronounce them as oṃ tāre tu tāre ture soha. If it comes to talk about the the literal translation, the answer will be O Swift One, So Be It!"

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. What is Tara the goddess of?

In Buddhism, people worship the Goddess Tara as the goddess of compassion and protection. In Hinduism, the goddess appears in a primordial female energy form and we know her as shakti. The root of the word tara is the Sanskrit word "Tar" which indicates "protection." But in other languages, the term means "star."

Q. Why is Tara important for Buddhists?

She is a saviour deity liberating souls from suffering.

Q. Is Tara a Buddhist?

She is a Buddhist goddess and saviour, Tibetan Sgrol-ma, who has many forms. She is mainly renowned in Nepal, Tibet, and Mongolia.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Lycurgus Cup - History Mystery

The question that may come to your mind is if the old Romans were ahead of their period or not. Hence, the famous Lycurgus Cup in the British Museum proves that Romans were highly advanced and talented in science, mainly in the Nanotechnology field.

What makes the 1,600-year-old glass goblet unique is that its color changes from green to red, but it depends on the direction of its illumination. If the light source is on the front, it will appear green. But when the light source is at the rear side, it will change to red. We know this incident as Dichroic behavior.

It is believed that the Roman craftsman had a deep knowledge of the science they used to make the artwork. The Romans were the first who accidentally discover the colorful potential of nanoparticles. But we must accept that they have made the world's best instance of the phenomenon.

You should know that the Lycurgus Cup is a 4th-century artifact to design in which dichroic glass is used. Depending on the passing through of light, it shows a different color. Remember that this one is the only Roman glass object design in which this kind of glass is used. People described it as the "most spectacular glass" of that time.

What is the Lycurgus Cup?

The glass chalice is known as the Lycurgus Cup. Behind its name and design is a myth involving King Lycurgus of Thrace (Balkan Peninsula).

In this regard, you need to know one thing: Lycurgus was a violent-tempered man who was behind the attack on the god of wine, Dionysius, and Ambrosia, a female follower of Dionysius.

Mother Earth called Ambrosia, and later she transformed Ambrosia into a vine. After that, she had coiled herself about the king. This coiling scene was captured on the Cup.

The change of green color to red indicates the red blood of Ambrosia. Besides, it can represent the red wine of Dionysius, the god of wine. On the flip side, the green refers to the ultimate triumph of Ambrosia. The vase indicates that Mother Earth saved the girl from Lycurgus and his evil behavior.

This cage cup comes with an outer cage and an inner glass. First, the artist cast a thick blank glass. Then, he had cut and grounded it. The process will continue until the figures are in high relief. Next, the artist needs to ground up gold & silver into nanograins to create the changing colors on the artifact. These grains should be finer than even sand. After that, he needs to fuse these proportionally into the glass to produce subatomic effects. Scientists still haven't found out how it was accomplished.

The Roman chalice, which is 1600 years old and now placed at the British Museum, is the key to the new technology which can be used to diagnose several human diseases.

What does Lycurgus Cup mean?

We call this cup "dichroic glass." "Dichroic" refers to "two colors" in Greek. The Romans are experts in the art of creating one color on a goblet while a specific light and different color will be seen in a different light but in the same goblet.

People believe it can change colors when you pour different substances into it. Thus, the artifact can detect temperatures. So naturally, nano technicians are excited after seeing these chances of old technology.

Like other medical and advanced technologies, Lycurgus Cup nanotechnology has both good and bad sides. However, when it comes to discussing its drawback, it is suspected that it can lead to abortion and euthanasia. Whereas this technology can be used to cure diseases. Besides, to recognize microbes and clean up water sources, it can be used. These are the benefits of this technology.

Romans used excellent techniques to make their wonders last for years. But once Rome died, the Dark Ages began. As a result, we saw that cement and indoor toilets were no more because these went away for more than 1,400 years. In addition, the Cup lets us know that humans can experience more than what they could have imagined.

If you see the Cup in reflected light, like in a flash photograph, the glass will appear green in color. But if you view it in transmitted light, the glass will look red.

Basically, this Cup is a rare example of a Roman cage cup or diatretum. To design the Cup, artists need to work hard as they need to cut the glass efficiently. Whereas they need to leave a decorative "cage" at the surface level.

In most cases, we can see cage cups come with a geometric abstract designed cage. Whereas the figure on this artifact displays the killing incident where Lycurgus attempted to kill Ambrosia. Later, she got transformed into a vine which has twined around the angry king and killed him. Whereas Dionysus, with two followers, were seen taunting the king.

The glass offers the dichroic effect because it is made up of nanoparticles of gold and silver in a small ratio. Although the process was not cleared. However, it is suspected that it was discovered due to accidental "contamination" with a little bit of ground gold and silver dust.

Although the glass-makers were confused about whether gold was involved in making it or not, as the quantity of gold was very little, it is suspected that they may have come from a tiny proportion of gold in silver added (most of the Roman silver ornaments contains little proportions of gold), or from traces of gold or gold leaf left accidentally in the workshop, as residue on tools, or from other work.

History of the Lycurgus Cup:

It was probably made in Alexandria or Rome around 290-325 AD. The size of this artifact is 6 1/2" x 5," and we are telling the measurement after judging it in the best condition. People probably never buried this because they kept it like a treasure. The Cup was placed in a noble Roman's villa first. After that, people placed it in a church and the elite's collections. Besides, according to a few people, it was recovered from a sarcophagus. Some people believe that the Cup was stolen from the church during the French Revolution. However, none of us know its original history.

The Science Behind the Chalice:

In French writings in 1845, we can find its mention. But we do not know why the item changed colors. The gold Nanoparticles on a microscopic level were behind the reason for the color change.

Hence, remember that the puzzle behind the incident of color Changing was not solved by scientists for decades. However, It was the 1950s when the British Museum acquired this Cup, but they were not capable of solving the mystery until 1990.

Then, researchers used broken fragments to examine these under an electron microscope. According to them, the Roman artisans were the pioneers of nanotechnology. As per their statement, Nano-particles of gold is the reason behind the color changing of the Cup.

As per the researchers, the particles are as small as 50 nm in diameter. It is less than one-thousandth of the size of a grain of table salt. Ian Freestone, the archaeologist at University College London, says that the existence of the exact mix of valuable metals indicates the amazing work of the Romans.

As soon as light hits, electrons of the metal flecks try to reflect the frequencies into human eyes. However, the color-changing process depends on the observer's position in relation to the light.

Was the Lycurgus Cup a Poison Detector?

According to the ruling class, glassware and goblets were created on Murano island in the Venice lagoon. These will be shattered if you pour poison into them.

Gang Logan Liu is a renowned engineer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He focused on discovering the process of using this nanotechnology to diagnose and treat diseases. And he said that when it comes to beautiful art, Romans know how to use nanoparticles very well. But, he added that we all want to make it a part of scientific applications. For example, he said that if you fill a nano-treated vessel with different liquids, the vibrating electrons can change the glass color, but it is based on the liquid type used.

Were there Other Dichroic Cups in the Ancient World?

Yes, there could be other Dichroic Cups, and the ruling class was expected to be conscious of these. It is suspected that they were the owners of the cups. Besides, they gave these as gifts and used them to drink on special occasions. But there are only a few Roman dichroic glass objects. However, less than ten dichroic glass objects are found.

Privileged Romans purchased these objects to enjoy the rarity of the products of changing color.

The bottom line:

From Vopiscus' life of the third-century pretender Saturninus, a letter that is claimed to be written by emperor Hadrian (117–138), we have come to know a few facts regarding this. First, these texts represent similar drinking vessels like the Lycurgus Cup. The second text lets us think about the artifact from the drinker's perspective.

According to a drinker, it was full of dark red wine while the outer part was green. Once the drinker lifts the glass and peers into it, the light source will be passed from the rear side. Then, it will look like the grapes have turned red. It is an artifact from Roman royalty, and people have been caring for it for the last 1600 years until modern scientists solved the puzzle.

Romans might know how to create nanoparticles and use them to make the beautiful artifact. However, according to modern scientists, nanotechnology is helpful in chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. How does the Lycurgus Cup work?

This old glass artifact displays dichroism because it can look green if you reflect white light. Whereas the color turns into red if you transmit white light through it. Remember that the peculiar dichroic effect is seen due to silver & gold nanoparticles that are available in the glass.

Q. Where was the Lycurgus Cup found?

It is suspected that the manufacturing location of this Cup was Rome, and the time was the fourth century AD. Currently, this one is housed in the British Museum, London.

Q. How did they make the Lycurgus Cup?

Researchers could not put liquid into this artifact, due to which small wells were imprinted onto a plastic plate by them. In addition, they have used sprays of gold or silver nanoparticles on wells.