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I got introduced to this "Female Buddha" when I was looking name for my friend's daughter.

So what does female Buddha mean?

Wikipedia :

Tara (Buddhism)
Tara (Sanskrit: तारा, tārā; Tib. སྒྲོལ་མ, Dölma), Ārya Tārā, or Shayama Tara, also known as Jetsun Dölma (Tibetan language: rje btsun sgrol ma) in Tibetan Buddhism, is an important figure in Buddhism. She appears as a female bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism, and as a female Buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism. She is known as the "mother of liberation", and represents the virtues of success in work and achievements. She is known as Tara Bosatsu (多羅菩薩) in Japan, and occasionally as Duōluó Púsà (多羅菩薩) in Chinese Buddhism.

My question is what does this concept mean is she a person who appeared in past who's name is Tara?

Or is it philosophical concept that meditators seen she's appearing?

Also why this is not exist in Thervada Buddhism when statue is in Bihar state of India?
Tara image from Bihar, 10th century

  • There's this in the article you referenced -- Origin as a Buddhist bodhisattva -- is that unclear, insufficient, are you asking more than that? – ChrisW Jul 5 at 8:36
  • There are also articles like Female Deities In Vajrayana Buddhism -- but I don't know how reliable they are -- also I wonder whether this may be, partially, a topic which Tibetan teachers would prefer you learn from a teacher instead of discussing it in public (I know very little about it but I think might be true of a lot of Vajrayana and/or Tantra). – ChrisW Jul 5 at 8:41
  • Semi (but not very) related topic -- What is a wrathful Buddha? – ChrisW Jul 5 at 8:47
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Also why this is not exist in Thervada Buddhism when statue is in Bihar state of India?

Probably because there's no concept of a female Buddha according to Early Buddhism (by Early Buddhism, I mean the earliest text strata translated into both the Theravada's Nikayas and Mahayana's Agamas).

“He understands: ‘It is impossible, it cannot happen that a woman could be an Accomplished One, a Fully Enlightened One—there is no such possibility.’ And he understands: ‘It is possible that a man might be an Accomplished One, a Fully Enlightened One—there is such a possibility.’ He understands: ‘It is impossible, it cannot happen that a woman could be a Wheel-turning Monarch…that a woman could occupy the position of Sakka [66]…that a woman could occupy the position of Māra…that a woman could occupy the position of Brahmā—there is no such possibility.’ And he understands: ‘It is possible that a man might be a Wheel-turning Monarch…that a man might occupy the position of Sakka…that a man might occupy the position of Māra…that a man might occupy the position of Brahmā—there is such a possibility." ~~ MN 115 ~~

Now before some modern-day feminist about to start a massive protest, pay close attention to the next sentence too, basically it said that on the flip side, men's evil has no equal, so much that this gender is the only one capable of occupying the most evil office ever exists, Mara!

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  • Not sure feminists would accept that men only can be top good or top evil - that is just complete patriarchy. The Buddhas description that Buddhas could not arise, in his spacetime, as female, makes sense because women were second class citizens.. They did not have the position to teach all sentient beings - at least half would have had the impulse to rebell. Of course, this is a delineation of a delineation. It's just unlikely, but so long as women have access to figure out anicca, dukkha, and anatta, and can teach, sure. Imo the message was more time sensitive than generally considered. – Ilya Grushevskiy Jul 4 at 20:29
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    @IlyaGrushevskiy That topic was asked and has answers here and was also discussed here -- but I don't think that's relevant to this answer or at least not relevant to the OP's question. – ChrisW Jul 4 at 21:51
  • @IlyaGrushevskiy, oh I don't know about that. Have you seen any feminist's march protesting the fact that there's yet to be any female leader who caused unimaginable atrocities, the scale of which are on par with Gengis Khan, Hitler, or Pol Pot? – santa100 Jul 5 at 1:31
  • @santa100 But it could be possible or impossible for both to be... But I want to know what is exact concept Female Buddha mean. A person or philosophy. – Swapnil Jul 5 at 6:37
  • @santa100 There are many stories I also found this source . tricycle.org/trikedaily/himalayan-buddhist-art-101-who-tara – Swapnil Jul 5 at 6:56
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In the Early Buddhist Texts, some texts have these statements attributed to the Buddha, and some do not. A recent discussion by scholars is occurred here https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/democracy-or-immobilism-in-the-sangha-based-on-ebt/16544/49

Further materials can be found in that forum, and might also be referenced here https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/buddhism-women-gender-a-bibliography/7579

Also of interest is well respected scholarship of Theravada bhikkhu Anālayo https://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg.de/pdf/5-personen/analayo/bahudhatuka.pdf

Whereas the inability of a woman to be a Buddha can still be seen as an expression of leadership conceptions held in ancient Indian patriarchal society, once her ability to be a Pacceka-buddha becomes part of the listing of impossibilities, the implications are clearly a diminishing of the spiritual abilities of women. This tenden-cy can safely be assumed to stand in contrast to the original teachings of early Buddhism, where—as far as the texts allow us to judge—gender was not considered to have an impact on spiritual abilities.

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