The Sacred Garden is a non-denominational sanctuary which honors the truth and beauty of all aspects of God and evokes one’s spirituality through its awe-inspiring beauty and deep sense of peace found in nature. The Mother Shrine specifically honors God in the feminine form found in many cultures around the world. You are welcome to enjoy the shrine room for prayer or meditation, journaling or reading.
Goddess Tara, a female Buddha and meditational deity, is arguably the most popular goddess in the Buddhist pantheon. She is considered to be the goddess of universal compassion who represents virtuous and enlightened activity. The Mother Shrine of The Sacred Garden currently holds the White and Green Tara.
As a Bodhisattva, she made a vow is to continue to return to this world until all sentient beings achieved enlightenment.
White Tara is the “mother of liberation,” and represents the virtues of success in work and achievements. Her love heals at the source of dis-ease, bringing health, serenity, strength, longevity and beauty.
The White Tara evokes the innate desire to share love with all, recognizing our oneness. She is the experience of oneness of all colors, all beings and her love and compassion for all comes from loving herself which is all. She has seven eyes, the two usual ones, one in the middle of her forehead and eyes in her hands and feet. This symbolizes that all of her activities are done with omniscient awareness. She is said to bring health and prolong life. Operating from the space of this compassionate love generates a long and fulfilling life.
Green Tara is known as the Buddha of enlightened activity. She is often depicted in a posture of ease with right leg extended, signifying her readiness to spring into action. The left leg is folded in the contemplative position on the lotus pedestal, the two together thus symbolizing the integration of wisdom and art.Her left hand, in the gesture of granting refuge holds the stem of a blue lotus that floats over her left shoulder as a symbol of purity and power. With her right hand she makes the boon-granting gesture.
His.Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke about Tara at a conference on Compassionate Action. He explained, “There is a true feminist movement in Buddhism that relates to the goddess Tara. Following her cultivation of bodhicitta, the bodhisattva’s motivation, she looked upon the situation of those striving towards full awakening and she felt that there were too few people who attained Buddhahood as women. So she vowed, “I have developed bodhicitta as a woman. For all my lifetimes along the path I vow to be born as a woman, and in my final lifetime when I attain Buddhahood, then, too, I will be a woman.”
Quan Yin is the embodiment of compassionate loving kindness. As the Bodhisattva of Compassion, She hears the cries of all beings. Quan Yin enjoys a strong resonance with the Christian Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the Tibetan goddess Tara.
In many images she is depicted carrying the pearls of illumination. Often Quan Yin is shown pouring a stream of healing water, the “Water of Life,” from a small vase. With this water devotees and all living things are blessed with physical and spiritual peace. She holds a sheaf of ripe rice or a bowl of rice seed as a metaphor for fertility and sustenance.
Quan Yin is represented in several places at The Sacred Garden—she overlooks both of the labyrinths and is in the Mother Shrine.
Like Tara, Quan Yin, as a true Enlightened One, or Bodhisattva, vowed to remain in the earthly realms and not enter the heavenly worlds until all other living things have completed their own enlightenment and thus become liberated from the pain-filled cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
The word Shakti, meaning sacred feminine force, and Durga reflects the warrior aspect of the goddess, embodying a traditional male role. She is also strikingly beautiful and each god also gave her their own most powerful weapons, Rudra’s trident, Vishnu’s discus, Indra’s thunderbolt, Brahma’s kamandal, Kuber’s gada, etc. Himalayas gifted her a fierce whitish golden lion.
Durga’s Vehicle — the Lion
The lion represents power, will and determination. Mother Durga riding the lion symbolises her mastery over all these qualities. This suggests to the devotee that one has to possess all these qualities to get over the demon of ego.
Kali is the goddess celebrated for the slaying of the demon Mahiśāsura. Kali is known to be fierce and cause destruction of all evils, including ignorance. Kali symbolizes the death of the ego in the ultimate goal of human life in Hindu dharma — moksha (liberation from the cycle of rebirth). Kali is the embodiment of time (kaala) and the female form of Shiva (Kaala). Her name literally means “she who is black”.
Mary, Blessed Mother of Jesus, is also honored in the Mother Shrine.
In addition to her obvious important role, Mary exudes a loving sweetness and gentle nurturance while simultaneously being incredibly humble.
Mary is appropriately honored in gardens as hundreds of flowers were named in medieval times as symbols of the life, mysteries and privileges of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as recorded by botanists, folklorists and lexicographers.
Holy Mother, also known as Sri Sarada Devi, was the wife and spiritual counterpart of Ramakrishna a nineteenth century mystic of Bengal.
Sarada Devi was a spiritual giant in her own right and yet, in her simple and unassuming way, she served Ramakrishna and his disciples for many years. After Ramakrishna’s passing away, she carried on his religious ministry, serving as guide and inspiration of the new spiritual movement.
Offered as a donation to the garden, this beautiful painting of Ananda Maya Ma blesses the mother shrine.
Anandamayi Ma was an Indian saint and yoga guru, described by Sivananda Saraswati as “the most perfect flower the Indian soil has produced.” Precognition, faith healing and miracles were attributed to her by her followers. Paramahansa Yogananda translates the Sanskrit epithet Anandamayi as “Joy-permeated” in English.
Pele is the goddess of volcanoes and fire and the creator of the Hawaiian Islands. Her powerful energy is both destructive and creative and she is greatly respected within Hawaiian Culture.
Mātā Amritānandamayī Devī, often known simply as Amma, is an Indian Hindu spiritual leader, guru and humanitarian, who is revered as ‘the hugging saint’ by her followers.
Radhika, is a Hindu goddess and a chief consort of the god Krishna. She is worshiped as the goddess of love, tenderness, compassion and devotion.
We appreciate her beauty in every plant, flower, tree, rock, animal, and fish. We recognize her grace in the elements—earth, water, fire, air and spirit.
We offer our gratitude to the earth as our home, our caretaker, and our responsibility.