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?
Essence Mahamudra is a dream.
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?
...merely practicing deity yoga is not practicing Tantra Mahamudra unless one is specifically working with the path of methods.
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.
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.
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.
conebeckham wrote: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.
...and also clear that Essence Mahamudra is what I will call an Instantaneous Realization "path."
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.