Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

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Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby Jikan » Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:44 pm

I have to confess: as a somewhat badly informed outsider, I find the distinction between Sutra Mahamudra & Tantric Mahamudra somewhat baffling. Would someone please clarify for me what these categories mean in practical terms? eg, generally speaking, are these different approaches to practice, are they integrated into one trajectory of practice, or...? by that I mean, are there practitioners solely of Sutra Mahamudra, or Tantric Mahamudra, or are these paths different aspects of the same phenomenon?

Many thanks
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby Malcolm » Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:49 pm

Jikan wrote:I have to confess: as a somewhat badly informed outsider, I find the distinction between Sutra Mahamudra & Tantric Mahamudra somewhat baffling. Would someone please clarify for me what these categories mean in practical terms? eg, generally speaking, are these different approaches to practice, are they integrated into one trajectory of practice, or...? by that I mean, are there practitioners solely of Sutra Mahamudra, or Tantric Mahamudra, or are these paths different aspects of the same phenomenon?

Many thanks



Read Kongtrul's encylopedia on practice lineages, he describes it perfectly.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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http://atikosha.org
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby Jikan » Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:27 pm

Good stuff, thanks once more Malcolm.

:cheers:
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby KonchokZoepa » Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:39 pm

i just participated in mahamudra teachings a few weeks back so i can give you a little information


in sutra mahamudra you develop shamatha and actually achieve the whole path of Shamatha and beyond to the four higher absorptions, then you achieve mahamudra by applying Vipashyana. and that you do by listening to pith instructions, pointing out instructions, dohas etc.

and in tantra mahamudra you first do generation stage, and after that completion stage practices, which involve tummo, six yogas, and integrating the deitys body and mind through moving the winds and drops in your body. and that way you ''go beyond '' the mind, achieve the deity and the realization and actualization of mahamudra that way.

very very different paths. i take no authority in this, this is just what i learned that what the difference is.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby conebeckham » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:32 pm

Kongtrul's Encyclopedia is The Bomb.

Simply stated, Sutra Mahamudra is samatha with luminous clarity as object..in practice, it includes the common and uncommon ngondro, as well. It also includes "introduction." Some folks think that "Introduction" is only "Essence Mahamudra," but that's incorrect.

Tantric Mahamudra is the union of bliss and emptiness, and the various means and methods of bringing this about, including empowerment, etc.

Essence Mahamudra is a dream. :smile:
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby heart » Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:48 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Essence Mahamudra is a dream. :smile:


No, it isn't. But if you prefer it like this it is ok by me.

/magnus
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby conebeckham » Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:57 pm

It was a bit of a joke, Magnus....

But you should know, Kongtrul says that Essence Mahamudra is the path where Empowerment and Liberation are spontaneous. The "Descent of Vajra Essence" empowerment, given by a qualified master, to a qualified disciple, resulting in Immediate Liberation, is really the definition of Essence Mahamudra. He goes on to say that, after this, obtaining normal empowerments, etc., is a root downfall of samaya.

So.....although it is a "Path," a part of the "Tradition of Mahamudra," ....I think you can understand my lame attempt at humor after reading this?
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby heart » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:07 pm

conebeckham wrote:It was a bit of a joke, Magnus....

But you should know, Kongtrul says that Essence Mahamudra is the path where Empowerment and Liberation are spontaneous. The "Descent of Vajra Essence" empowerment, given by a qualified master, to a qualified disciple, resulting in Immediate Liberation, is really the definition of Essence Mahamudra. He goes on to say that, after this, obtaining normal empowerments, etc., is a root downfall of samaya.

So.....although it is a "Path," a part of the "Tradition of Mahamudra," ....I think you can understand my lame attempt at humor after reading this?


It is just like Trechö, no difference at all. Essence Mahamudra introduce you directly to the nature of non-meditation. And just like Trechö even if you recognize the nature of the mind you are still not fully realized because you can't stay very long there. So I am afraid the joke is on you. But perhaps you think all Dzogchen practitioners are fully enlightened? I can't quote Jamgon Kongtrul but this is the teaching by my own Guru. I go with that. :smile:

/magnus
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby conebeckham » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:22 pm

Well, many people believe that what you're describing is Essence Mahamudra, Magnus. In fact, many people think "Sutra Mahamudra" has no "Pointing Out Instructions," and they think if they have gotten those instructions, they're practicing Essence Mahamudra. Or they think they're practicing a blend...but Kongtrul clearly indicates "Sutra Mahamudra" is a name, only, and it is a mix of sutra and tantra...thus, Guru Yoga (and other ngondro), etc. In the same way, merely practicing deity yoga is not practicing Tantra Mahamudra unless one is specifically working with the path of methods. "Sutra Mahamudra" does not merely mean "samatha/Vipassana" and the paramitas.....those elements which are found in sutras and are devoid of Tantric content.

Clearly, per Kongtrul, Sutra Mahamudra talks of "non meditation." It clearly has "Pointing Out" methods. And, in some sense, it is "gradual," in that even when one "recognizes," one must continue to train. Thus, all of the material on "enhancement" and "remedies," that you will find in the Mahamudra manuals like Chagchen Ngedon Gyamtso and Chagchen Dawai Ozer. I'd bet you your Lamas have run through the material related to remedies, antidotes, obstacles, etc.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter, you know, what one calls one's path, it matters that one applies oneself. But from the POV of Orthodox Kagyu Dharma (tm), Kongtrul is the man. If you read his explanation, you will understand that the Essence Mahamudra is the Path of the Siddhas, and that in a sense, this path is "no path," and that is certainly no joke.
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby smcj » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:07 pm

...merely practicing deity yoga is not practicing Tantra Mahamudra unless one is specifically working with the path of methods.

Ok, ya got me. I'm going to totally guess that "the path of methods" in this context are the Yogas of Naropa. But even if that guess is right, I still don't understand what you meant. Even a little elaboration would be appreciated.
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby conebeckham » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:21 pm

smcj wrote:
...merely practicing deity yoga is not practicing Tantra Mahamudra unless one is specifically working with the path of methods.

Ok, ya got me. I'm going to totally guess that "the path of methods" in this context is the 6 Yogas. But even if that guess is right, I don't understand what you meant. Even a little elaboration would be appreciated.


Your guess is right--but to be even more specific, the practice of Tantric Mahamudra relates to the coemergent Bliss/Emptiness. This is really the function of Tummo. Coemergent Appearance/Emptiness is seen as a more coarse method....but it is surely the main way deity yoga is practiced and taught for most of us. Then, to get a bit more subtle, one can talk about the bindus, winds, etc. the Six Yogas deal with all of these levels in a tantric context, via the two stages, and in particular the Six Yogas, which are really a collection of completion stage methods.This coemergent bliss/emptiness "produced" or "revealed" by Tummo, which is the primary yoga of the Six Yogas, and the means to accomplish the Nirmanakaya in this life time, for those fortunate enough to carry the practice to conclusion, is also the focal point of Tantric Mahamudra.

Deity Yoga can be said to encompass Samatha and Vipassana. It can also be a method of understanding Emptiness, when explained in a certain way. It can also be used as a means of carrying out the four activities, and also can be a sublime method for developing the Relative Bodhicitta. But not all deity yoga practices explicitly concern themselves with the coemergent subtle bliss and emptiness which is the focus of Tantric Mahamudra.
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby Lhug-Pa » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:51 pm

Sutra Mahamudra

Tantra Mahamudra

Ground Mahamudra

Essence Mahamudra

Gampopa's Mahamudra

Saraha's Dohas Mahamudra

Coemergent or Co-Emergent Mahamudra

Tilopa's Ganga or Ganges Upadesha Mahamudra

Can all of the above be condensed into three or four types of Mahamudra (and did I miss any?)?
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby conebeckham » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:58 pm

I think they can all be subsumed into your location, Lhug-pa, the Single Sufficient Bindu.

:smile:

It is my understanding that the Ultimate Mahamudra is one....all of these names, labels, etc., can be seen as Paths, or explanations of aspects, etc.

My teachers have said that it is certain that the result of Mahamudra practice, of whatever Mahamudra one is talking about, is the same.
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby anjali » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:18 pm

conebeckham wrote:Kongtrul's Encyclopedia is The Bomb.

Simply stated, Sutra Mahamudra is samatha with luminous clarity as object..in practice, it includes the common and uncommon ngondro, as well. It also includes "introduction." Some folks think that "Introduction" is only "Essence Mahamudra," but that's incorrect.

Tantric Mahamudra is the union of bliss and emptiness, and the various means and methods of bringing this about, including empowerment, etc.

Essence Mahamudra is a dream. :smile:


Perhaps it is overly simplistic (or even incorrect), but I've always more or less taken this statement by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche in his commentary on Pointing Out the Dharmakaya as the essential difference between sutra and tantra, "The primary difference between the sutra approach and the approach of Vajrayana (secret mantra or tantra) is that in the sutra approach, we take inferential reasoning as our path and in the Vajrayana approach, we take direct experience as our path."
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby conebeckham » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:29 pm

Well, I've had Mahamudra teachings from Thrangu Rinpoche, and of course I can't disagree with that statement. But I think at some point inferential reasoning leads to experience. Certainly the Sutra Mahamudra path depends on investigative techniques, that's clear. the "give-and-take" is what often leads to "Introduction" in fact.

Tantric Mahamudra doesn't rely on "inference," it relies on "creating an experience," if you will. I'll just leave it at that.
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby invisiblediamond » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:46 am

Pls read Water Crystal by HH Chetsang Rinpoche. It's definitive by a lineage leader.
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby smcj » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:48 am

Your guess is right--but to be even more specific, the practice of Tantric Mahamudra relates to the coemergent Bliss/Emptiness. This is really the function of Tummo. Coemergent Appearance/Emptiness is seen as a more coarse method....but it is surely the main way deity yoga is practiced and taught for most of us. Then, to get a bit more subtle, one can talk about the bindus, winds, etc. the Six Yogas deal with all of these levels in a tantric context, via the two stages, and in particular the Six Yogas, which are really a collection of completion stage methods.This coemergent bliss/emptiness "produced" or "revealed" by Tummo, which is the primary yoga of the Six Yogas, and the means to accomplish the Nirmanakaya in this life time, for those fortunate enough to carry the practice to conclusion, is also the focal point of Tantric Mahamudra.

Deity Yoga can be said to encompass Samatha and Vipassana. It can also be a method of understanding Emptiness, when explained in a certain way. It can also be used as a means of carrying out the four activities, and also can be a sublime method for developing the Relative Bodhicitta. But not all deity yoga practices explicitly concern themselves with the coemergent subtle bliss and emptiness which is the focus of Tantric Mahamudra.

OK, let's start with 1. I'm not an advanced practitioner, and 2. I'm at best a pseudo-intellectual. So with your permission I'm going to keep my overly simplistic idea that Tantric Mahamudra is deity yoga (+ the Yogas), and Sutra Mahamudra is the classic "look at your mind" kind of thing. I mean, for the purposes of the level of discussion here, I hope that's good enough, even if it isn't 100% accurate.
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby conebeckham » Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:34 am

You don't need my permission. No one needs my permission. In the end, we can say any practice can be Mahamudra, if understood in a certain way. But my point is that So-called Sutra Mahamudra has tantric elements, and Tantra Mahamudra is about very specific tantric practices. Kongtrul is clear on this, and also clear that Essence Mahamudra is what I will call an Instantaneous Realization "path."
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby smcj » Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:56 am

conebeckham wrote:You don't need my permission. No one needs my permission.

What I meant was that if I say something about Sutra Mahamudra without the caveats you've given, that it isn't that I didn't understand you, just that I'm being lazy. You don't need to explain again.

In the end, we can say any practice can be Mahamudra, if understood in a certain way.

Ok, that's a weird statement. This time I'm not going to ask for clarification though. I really don't want to wrap my mind around that one.

...and also clear that Essence Mahamudra is what I will call an Instantaneous Realization "path."

'Bout time somebody that knew what they were talking about stood up for Mahamudra!
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Re: Sutra Mahamudra, Tantric Mahamudra, & Mahamudra

Postby heart » Wed Oct 16, 2013 5:24 am

conebeckham wrote:Well, many people believe that what you're describing is Essence Mahamudra, Magnus. In fact, many people think "Sutra Mahamudra" has no "Pointing Out Instructions," and they think if they have gotten those instructions, they're practicing Essence Mahamudra. Or they think they're practicing a blend...but Kongtrul clearly indicates "Sutra Mahamudra" is a name, only, and it is a mix of sutra and tantra...thus, Guru Yoga (and other ngondro), etc. In the same way, merely practicing deity yoga is not practicing Tantra Mahamudra unless one is specifically working with the path of methods. "Sutra Mahamudra" does not merely mean "samatha/Vipassana" and the paramitas.....those elements which are found in sutras and are devoid of Tantric content.

Clearly, per Kongtrul, Sutra Mahamudra talks of "non meditation." It clearly has "Pointing Out" methods. And, in some sense, it is "gradual," in that even when one "recognizes," one must continue to train. Thus, all of the material on "enhancement" and "remedies," that you will find in the Mahamudra manuals like Chagchen Ngedon Gyamtso and Chagchen Dawai Ozer. I'd bet you your Lamas have run through the material related to remedies, antidotes, obstacles, etc.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter, you know, what one calls one's path, it matters that one applies oneself. But from the POV of Orthodox Kagyu Dharma (tm), Kongtrul is the man. If you read his explanation, you will understand that the Essence Mahamudra is the Path of the Siddhas, and that in a sense, this path is "no path," and that is certainly no joke.


That is exactly how Trechö is described, a path with no path. All Dzogchen practitioners are Siddhas in your opinion? I can assure you it isn't like that. In essence Mahamudra you point out directly the yoga of non-meditation, thus instantly traversing the complete path of sutra and tantra Mahamudra. This corresponds completely with what Kongtrul says, no? This is the teaching I received by Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche.

/magnus
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