YOU CANNOT POST. OUR WEB HOSTING COMPANY DECIDED TO MOVE THE SERVER TO ANOTHER LOCATION. IN THE MEANTIME, YOU CAN VIEW THIS VERSION WHICH DOES NOT ALLOW POSTING AND WILL NOT SAVE ANYTHING YOU DO ONCE THE OTHER SERVER GOES ONLINE.

Tantric Theravadins? - Dhamma Wheel

Tantric Theravadins?

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
mudra
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:33 am

Tantric Theravadins?

Postby mudra » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:35 pm

I have, over the years, come across vague references to the existence of what seem like tantric practices in Theravada, or to be more precise, in Myanmar, though I have no indication whether this included neighboring countries (Tibet aside of course).

Given that the Burmese (is it Myanmarese? help!) language is part of the same language group as Tibetan, it is not unthinkable that there could be some cultural influence that would extend as far as some meditation practices.

My question is: does anyone here know of any specific practices within Theravada or in the traditionally Theravadin regions of Myanmar that would lead to such rumors of tantric practices there? Or perhaps even some practices that resemble tantra?

Thanks.

M

PS:
About 35 years ago I briefly followed a Thai forest monk teacher from the north, and elderly Mahathera, who taught me a meditation with breath which really resembled Tibetan 'tong-len' meditation. Though this is a bodhisattva practice and not necessarily a tantric practice, years later when I understood a little more about the various schools of Buddhism it surprised me.

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 17855
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:36 pm

Greetings Mudra,

As you've done, it's certainly useful to distinguish between "Theravada" itself and "traditional Theravadin countries".

Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking, "oh that happens in Thailand" or so on, and assuming it must therefore be a Theravadin thing.

As a side question, I'd be interested to know whether the traditional Theravada commentaries mention Tantra in any way, such as in texts like the "Points of Controversy".

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

User avatar
jcsuperstar
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska
Contact:

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:55 pm

it would also be good to know just what you mean by tantra....
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby Ben » Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:00 am

Hi Mudra

What were the vague references you came across?
It could be possible that there have been through the centuries the genesis of 'vernacular' practices that may have arisen out of the adoption and mixing of practices from Hinduism, animism and Bon. Which shouldn't be confused as Theravada.

I too would like to know whether Tantra was referenced in the commentarial literature, and what was said about the Tantra.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

mudra
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:33 am

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby mudra » Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:23 am


mudra
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:33 am

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby mudra » Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:27 am

:oops: didn't mean to imply that 99% of the practtioners were deluded. meant they were mostly just "practicing" as in practice run! My bad.

Ben, I can't really specify, I have just heard rumours over the years, even once saw a reference in E-sangha. That's why I was wondering if there was anything to it.

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 17855
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:06 am

Greetings Mudra,

So is the common theme behind tantra effectively the visualisation of realisation?

I (like many others here presumably) aren't familiar with precisely what tantra is... because we've never had any inclination to investigate it given its conspicuous absence in the Pali Canon.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8502
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby cooran » Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:07 am

Hello all,

Some info about Tantric Buddhism in Burma:
"If, before the foundation of Pagan in the second century A. D., Buddhism prevailed at Prome, it appears to have been of the Southern School, which was probably corrupted, later on, by the tenets of the Northern School as well as by Saivaism and Vaishnavaism. Burmese history relates that,. on the accession of Thaiktaing, the 13th King of Pagan, who began his reign in 513 A.D., the Naga-worship, with the Aris as its priests, arose at Pagan. It lasted for over five centuries, till it was finally suppressed by Anawrata. There is not much information available about the Aris or the system of faith taught by them. About the same period, i.e., 6th century A. D., in Northern India, Buddhism had lost its vigour of expansion,** and Indian Buddhists had migrated to China and neighbouring countries. Buddhism itself had been corrupted by the Tantric system, which is a mixture of magic, witchcraft and Siva-worship; and this Tantric Buddhism apparently percolated into Burma through Bengal, Assam and Manipur, and allied itself with the Northern School prevailing at Pagan. Indeed, Wilson observes in the preface to his Vishnu Purana: "it is a singular and as yet, uninvestigated, circumstance that Assam, or at least the north·east of Bengal (i.e., Kamrup) seems to have been, in a great degree, the source from which the Tantrika and Sakta corruptions of the religion of the Vedas and Puranas proceeded." All that we know about these priests is that they called themselves 'Aris' or 'Ariya,'— the 'Noble' that their robes were dyed with indigo, like those of the Lamas of Tibet and China; that they wore their hair at least two inches long; that they were not strict observers of their vow of celibacy; that the Jus primae noctis prevailed among them; and that the basis of their doctrines was that sin could be expiated by the recitation of certain hymns".
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/tawsein5.htm

"The earliest written evidence of Theravada in the country is some inscriptions in Pali dating from about the 5th century AD. In later centuries though, Mahayana and Tantra became popular, although the scandalous behaviour of the Aris, the Tantric priesthood, eventually led to the discrediting and finally the disappearance of Tantric Buddhism".
http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:d7M ... ma-txt.htm

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 3521
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Huai Bong, Lamphun

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby Dhammanando » Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:05 am


mudra
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:33 am

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby mudra » Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:18 am

Thank you Bhante, that sounds like a promising lead. I will follow up.

:anjali:

M

mudra
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:33 am

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby mudra » Wed Mar 04, 2009 3:40 am


User avatar
adeh
Posts: 215
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:42 pm
Location: Mexico City

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby adeh » Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:14 am

The basic idea behind hindu tantric practices is the awakening of kundalini and the moving of that energy up through the chakras and out through the crown chakra to attain union with the cosmic consciousness.....is this the idea behind tantric buddhist practices? Adeh.

davcuts
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:03 am
Location: Asheville, North Carolina

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby davcuts » Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:33 am


User avatar
gavesako
Posts: 1720
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby gavesako » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:57 am

From: Thailand. DONALD K. SWEARER. Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Ed. Robert E. Buswell, Jr. Vol. 2. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2003.

As part of the Indian cultural influence into "greater India," elements of
MAHĀYĀNA, TANTRA, and MAINSTREAM BUDDHIST SCHOOLS entered different regions of Thailand through the
Mon, the expansion of the Sumatran-based Śrivijāya kingdom into the southern peninsula, and the
growing dominance of the Khmer empire in the west. These diverse Buddhist expressions, in turn,
competed with Brahmanism, Hinduism, and autochthonous animisms. Rather than an organized sectarian
lineage, the early religious amalgam in Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia might be more
accurately described as a syncretic collage of miraculous relics and charismatic monks, Hindu
dharmaśāstra, Brahmanic deities, Mahāyāna buddhas, tantric practices, and Sanskrit Sarvāstivādin and
Pāli Theravāda traditions.

Syncretism and tantric Theravāda
François Bizot describes the eclectic nature of Buddhism in premodern Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia as
a congruence of Vedic Brahmanism, tantrism, and a pre-Aryan Austro-Asiatic cult of guardian spirits and
protective divinities. Interacting with Mon Theravāda beliefs and practices, and possibly influenced by
the Mūlasarvāstivādins, it resulted in what Bizot has characterized as "Tantric Theravāda," identified with
a mystical tradition known as Yogāvacara (practitioner of the spiritual discipline). The features of this
tantric Theravāda, at odds with the stereotypical view of classical Theravāda, include identifying one's
body with the qualities of the Buddha; the use of esoteric syllables and words (DHĀRANĪ, MANTRA, yantra) to
represent the identity of microcosm and macrocosm; the dharmic potency of sounds and letters; and
esoteric initiation for the realization of both soteriological and mundane ends (Crosby).
...
Syncretism continues to define many Thai religious practices.
Temple festivals begin by invoking the guardian deities of the
four quarters, zenith, and nadir. Monastic ordinations are often
preceded by an elaborate spirit calling (riak khwan) ceremony.
Yantric tattoos and magical amulets are worn by the devout to
ward off danger. Offerings are made at the shrines of deities
protecting mountain passes, and elaborate altars to the Hindu
god Brahmā occupy a prominent place at the entrance to hotels.
In Chiang Mai, northern Thais inaugurate the New Year by
three sequential events: appealing to the spirit of a palladial
buddha image; invoking the god, INDRA, resident in the city
pillar; and sacrificing a buffalo to the spirits who guard the
mountains overlooking the valley. The veneration of King Rāma
V (Chulalongkorn, r. 1868–1910), which originated as a cult of
his equestrian statue before the parliament building in Bangkok, has spread nationwide. And, as if to
validate Bizot's theory of tantric Theravāda, Thailand's fastest-growing new Buddhist movement, Wat
Thammakāi, espouses a Yogāvacara form of meditation claimed by the founder to be an ancient method
rediscovered by the late abbot of Wat Paknām, a royal monastery located on Bangkok's Chao Phraya River.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations

User avatar
jcsuperstar
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska
Contact:

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:06 am

i was going to mention dhammakaya's meditation style.. but i'm not sure it fits, though it is similar. :shrug:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

mudra
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:33 am

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby mudra » Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:21 am

Bhante Gavesako,

Thanks for that post. It does put things into better perspective. The syncretism described was pretty much eveident in Java too
from early days up to around the 14th century. Not many people realize for example that the Borobudur was started as a Shivaite
temple, then the dynasty changed....

User avatar
srivijaya
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:31 pm
Location: UK

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby srivijaya » Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:17 pm


mudra
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:33 am

Re: Tantric Theravadins?

Postby mudra » Wed Mar 04, 2009 6:07 pm



Return to “Discovering Theravāda”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine