Black Tara

  • The Immeasurable Feeling of the Black Tara is Repentance.
  • Her organ is gallbladder.
  • Her fundamental doctrine is the Adoption of Samaya Vows.

Repentance is usually perceived as a necessary but unpleasant thing. A person works their way through repentance and then tries to avoid it in order not to remain in guilt. This approach is deeply flawed because Repentance is an Immeasurable Feeling. And like any other Immeasurable Feeling, it frees. When we experience other Immeasurable Feelings such as Loving Kindness, or Peace, we don’t feel this need to “get away” from them. When it comes to Repentance a practitioner suddenly has a very different attitude. This is not the right attitude toward Repentance.

True Repentance purifies the mind from external and internal actions which are an expression of an incorrect motivation. In the process of Repentance, we begin to separate between the purified mind and our passions and desires (the Three Thirsts). This liberated mind begins to be filled with all the other endless feelings and becomes joyful and pure. In the process of right Repentance, a practitioner comes to all the experiences of meditation (to the Bliss, Clarity and Silence of mind). Genuine Remorse is joyful, because the practitioner rejects the causes of negative behavior – the desires. The mind experiences joy of freedom as it is now free from the tendency to sink into dark states of consciousness.

Guilt that often arises when doings are wrong, is based on the fear of punishment and treated with proper Repentance. Why? Because Repentance frees us from the causes of the commission of certain acts (desires), it eliminates the subject, that feeling of “I”, which feels a sense of guilt. Correctly done Repentance is similar to the light of a candle, illuminating the darkness, while the guilt is like the darkness, in which consciousness sinks.

The Black Tara corresponds to the gallbladder. Bile has a fiery character. It is where all the filth of the mind is burned. Bile fire is clear and hot. Healthy bile (and its healthy flow in the body) gives mental clarity.

The Black Tara teaches us about the Bodhicitta, about the Samaya vows and about the Bodhisattva ideal. They all are the basis for proper Repentance. The ideal of the Bodhisattva is bright, fiery, full of Repentance, because it is based on awakening. A person suddenly realizes how ridiculous and absurd it is to live in pursuit of worldly goals. The ideal of the Bodhisattva, therefore, provides a correct understanding of Repentance. The main object of Repentance for a practitioner is that he is currently not yet enlightened. And if he is enlightened, he regrets that the whole world and the whole mandala in which he resides are not yet enlightened. Therefore the Repentance is an Immeasurable Feeling.

The Black Tara is ascetic. She is portrayed either completely naked or in jewelry made of bones. Black color is a sign of the energy of protection. Nothing protects a person better than Repentance. Therefore Black Tara does not require robes. In Repentance the mind appears naked: reset are all the worldly accumulations of the mind, the whole “make-up“. Her look is wrathful and strict, stern and merciful all at the same time, because the Black Tara is a defender of all practitioners.

By Natalia Tsimbler
Translation by Daniel Tsimbler