lha rnam gsum
These are the three deities of long-life: Amitayus in the middle,
White Tara to his lower left, and Ushnishavijaya to his lower right.
Amitayus, whose name means Limitless Life, is a sambhogakaya manifestation
of the Buddha. He represents the realization that life has no beginning
and no end. It was as Amitayus and his consort Chandali that Guru
Padmasambhava and Lady Mandarava achieved immortality in the cave
of Maratika in Nepal.
White Tara grants every wish and dispels every fear and so she is
often called upon to extend a person's life. A human woman who became
a bodhisattva, Tara goes from lifetime to lifetime as a saviouress
from the horrors of samsara. As a goddess, she is represented in
all classes of tantra and, in company with Amitayus and Ushnishavijaya,
Long-Life Arya Tara inspired 19th century teachings uniting Mahamudra
Ushnishavijaya, the Crown Adornment's Victory, is meditated upon
as the build-up of matter, the ushnisha, which appears upon a Buddha's
head. From there she supplies her practitioner with a constant stream
of ambrosia (amrita) which brings victory over the death lord Mara.
Her first three right hands hold a vishvavajra, Amitabha seated
on a lotus, and an arrow, and the fourth makes the gesture of giving.
Of her four left hands, one makes the gesture of protecting, and
the other three hold a lasso, a bow, and a vase filled with the
ambrosia, the elixir of immortality.
James Rutke (Palden Lotsawa)