Published May 12 2013, by

From the Vault: Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the loving mothers out there, from the Crow Collection of Asian Art!

I pulled an object from the permanent collection to help us think about how we should appreciate those who protect us and hear our cries. Mother Tara from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.


(Tara, Tibet, 18th Century, parcel-gilt bronze, Crow Collection of Asian Art, 1982.44)

The Mother of mercy and compassion. The Mother of liberation.

Tara, in almost all forms and variations of Buddhism, is the heavenly deity who hears the cries of beings experiencing misery. She protects humanity from fear, danger, and demons. In this image, her right thumb and ring finger touch, symbolizing the union of skill and knowledge. Her left hand is extended in varada mudra, the mudra of charity, offering protection and relief to all sentient beings. Sitting in vajra posture (full lotus posture), shows she is devoid of emotional defilement. Her story and teachings can be found in the Ashtasahashirika Prajnaparamita, the Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 verses.

I think it’s safe to compare our loving mothers to such a swift and courageous “savioress”. The perfection of wisdom, devoid of emotional defilement, offering protection and relief. That’s so much work and so much love.

Give your mother a hug and thank her for protecting you from your fears, dangers, and demons!

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