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TARA

The Liberating Power of the Female Buddha

By Rachael Wooten

Sounds True 2020; 312 pp., $17.99 (paper)

The figure of the female buddha Tara emerged in the sixth century as part of both Hindu and Buddhist tantra. According to one legend, she lived eons ago in a world called “Multicolored Light.” There, it came to the attention of some monks that she’d cultivated bodhichitta, the mind of enlightenment, and they suggested she pray to be reborn as a man so she could become fully enlightened. “Awakening is possible in a female body,” she corrected them, “because ultimate reality has no such distinctions as male or female.” She then vowed to achieve enlightenment and to work continuously to free sentient beings from suffering—in female form. Today, Tara is seen as

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