the tārā tantra

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A groundbreaking English translation of a key tantric text in the history of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism.

“Famously vowing to become a Buddha in the body of a woman, Tārā is the most important female figure in the vast Buddhist pantheon. In this impressive work of translation and exegesis, Susan Landesman presents Tara’s root tantra, a welcome gift to scholar and practitioner alike.”

Donald S. Lopez Jr., Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies, University of Michigan


Tārā’s Fundamental Ritual Text (Tārā-mūla-kalpa)

Susan A. Landesman

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This volume contains an English translation of the “root text” of the Tārā-mūla-kalpa, a scripture-ritual compendium that captures an important Buddhist tantric tradition in mid-formation. In this regard it is utterly unique and unlike any other text in the Buddhist canon. Its contents document the emergence of the quintessential female Buddha Tārā in seventh-century India. As her popularity grew, her cult spread throughout Southeast Asia, as well as Tibet, where she became revered as the “Mother” of the Tibetan people. Tārā is worshiped for a variety of reasons, from health and long life, to wealth, protection from enemies, and ultimately, the mind of enlightenment. Her presence pervades the evolution of Buddhism in Tibet, including within royal circles, as well as mentor and guide to many important Buddhist scholars, practitioners, and lineage holders.

about the author
The Tārā Tantra

Susan Landesman is an independent scholar and educator living and working in New York City. She is the author of “Tārā and the Tārā-mūla-kalpa: The Tara Cult’s Formative Period in India,” “Goddess Tārā: Silence and Secrecy on the Path to Enlightenment,” “Tara” (in the Oxford Bibliographies), and The Tārā Tantra: Part II: The Uttara-tantra (forthcoming). She specializes in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan art, and women in Buddhism, having completed her doctorate in Indian and Tibetan languages and cultures at Columbia University.

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