Monday, August 12, 2013

Tara the Liberator

Tara the Liberator: How to Free Your Mind by Thubten Chodron is available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and BooksAMillion

The Blurb

Tara, the feminine embodiment of enlightened activity, is a Buddhist deity whose Tibetan name means "liberator," signaling her ability to liberate beings from the delusion and ignorance that keep them trapped in ever-recurring patterns of negativity. She embodies a challenge—to transform our minds and become like her, whose tranquility, compassion, and wisdom make her so beautiful—but one that is profoundly nurturing. In the author's words, "We can relax in her presence and look at ourselves honestly, knowing that Tara will not judge, reject, or abandon us due to our shortcomings. Like a mother, she sees her child's potential—in this case, our spiritual potential or Buddha-nature—and wants to nurture it." Ven. Chodron describes a simple meditation on Tara, explaining its benefits and its application to daily life. She then presents two well-loved praises to Tara, together with reflections on their meanings for modern practitioners. Included here are the "Homage to the Twenty-one Taras," verses that are frequently chanted in Tibetan monasteries and homes, and "A Song of Longing for Tara, the Infallible," by Lama Lobsang Tenpey Gyaltsen.

My Review
Tara the Liberator: How to Free Your Mind by Thubten Chodron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Like most books of this nature, the opening pages offer promises of enlightenment and claims of radical cures. If that kind of stuff annoys you - steer clear.

I'm aware that many of the problems in the world could be solved by changing the way we think (but physical illness requires treatment of the physical cause in order to properly heal). If you know that your problems are caused by negative thinking, then this book could be beneficial as it requires readers to question and re-evaluate their thought-processes.

I'm eclectic pagan and my education in Hinduism is spotty and, as I am with most religions, I don't care what the general consensus is on the interpretations of the text - I almost always prefer my own. Parts of the book felt new-agey, which may frustrate adept readers of Hindu philosophy. I'm neither an expert at Hinduism nor familiar with Tara, though some of her iconography is similar to Kali. I enjoyed the prayer-mantras scattered through the book and may use them in meditations of Kali. "A Song of Longing for Tara" and "Reflections on A Song" was my favorite part of this book.

The book is geared for a general audience and many Buddhist concepts are explained as they are introduced for readers who don't have the cultural background. I expected more parables revolving around Tara; this book was more like an introduction to the Devi.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a free review.

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