Does Vajrasattva exist?

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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby dzogchungpa » Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:05 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:The point is this: Buddhism establishes that there is nothing that one can truly regard as a self...

"Buddhism" might establish that, but actually I'm not so sure that that is the view of mahayoga.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:03 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:The point is this: Buddhism establishes that there is nothing that one can truly regard as a self...

"Buddhism" might establish that, but actually I'm not so sure that that is the view of mahayoga.


Who said anything about mahayoga?
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:28 am

Really, I think the question that comes up in peoples minds is whether these yidams and other personifications, protectors, buddhas, dieties and so forth 'exist' the way they are portrayed in pictures and in texts. And part of the way we in the west look at this comes from the way God is seen in the Abrahamic traditions, as a sort of thinking individual, someone who can see you or hear your prayers or reveal things to you or whatever. So, the question is usually about whether they literally are real beings, or are they merely representations of various aspects of enlightened mind. Compassion with a face stuck on it, like a Mr. Potato Head.

And what I have been putting forth in this thread is basically the idea that we ourselves are also personifications. we stick the "me" face onto our bodies, onto our thoughts. So, it's something to think about, but it may not actually address the question. However, i do think it presents a better way of looking at the question.

I think that Buddhism can be approached from a literal standpoint as well as a more or less atheistic standpoint, and simultaneously at that. I find myself answering that these beings are both real and not real. I have a very hard time, for example, believing that Avalokiteshvara is actually standing or sitting on a lotus somewhere hearing the cries of all suffering beings, or that Chanting "Namo Amitabha" really does anything at all. At the same time, I have experienced enough things in my life, associated with dharma practice, with teachers, and so on, and specifically with Chenrezik and Amitabha practice, that I am firmly of the conviction that there is a great deal more going on in what we call 'reality', in the universe, than my 'rational' understanding of things can account for.

So, I would agree that they 'exist', or at least that they do for all intent and purposes. How they actually exist, what 'exist' even means at that point, is another question altogether.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby futerko » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:36 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Compassion with a face stuck on it, like a Mr. Potato Head.


Sooooo... erm...

does Mr. Potato Head exist? :thinking:
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby futerko » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:46 am

nuuuu, he's just aggregates :crying:

the sum of his parts is greater than his whole! :tantrum:
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby dharmagoat » Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:03 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Compassion with a face stuck on it, like a Mr. Potato Head.

This is an excellent description that in no way belittles the importance of ascribing a personality to an inanimate thing.

Humans, as highly social beings, are well equipped to relate to one another, person to person. It is natural for us to create a personality around an abstract quality in order to relate more closely to that quality. By giving compassion (which surely exists) a face, we bring it to life.

PadmaVonSamba, as usual, has hit the nail on the head.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:28 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:The point is this: Buddhism establishes that there is nothing that one can truly regard as a self...

"Buddhism" might establish that, but actually I'm not so sure that that is the view of mahayoga.

Who said anything about mahayoga?

This is the Nyingma forum and Vajrasattva is a yidam, yes?
Note that, in the higher tantras, there is talk of a self and an I, even though in the lower teachings the absence of self and the absence of I is what is always proclaimed. - Tony Duff
To educate the educated is notoriously difficult. - Jacques Barzun
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby futerko » Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:32 am

dzogchungpa wrote:This is the Nyingma forum and Vajrasattva is a yidam, yes?


Vajrasattva is a form of outer tantra practice in the 9 fold yana classification.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:11 am

dharmagoat wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Compassion with a face stuck on it, like a Mr. Potato Head.

This is an excellent description that in no way belittles the importance of ascribing a personality to an inanimate thing.


...and what we do with ourselves is to ascribe a personality to the neurological activities of a very complex lump of water and fat that forever lives within the darkness of the human skull.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:15 am

futerko wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:This is the Nyingma forum and Vajrasattva is a yidam, yes?


Vajrasattva is a form of outer tantra practice in the 9 fold yana classification.

I believe Vajrasattva is also a yidam in mahayoga, maybe I'm wrong. Be that as it may, this thread was intended to be about the kind of yidams used in mahayoga also. Sorry if that wasn't clear.
Note that, in the higher tantras, there is talk of a self and an I, even though in the lower teachings the absence of self and the absence of I is what is always proclaimed. - Tony Duff
To educate the educated is notoriously difficult. - Jacques Barzun
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby futerko » Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:47 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
futerko wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:This is the Nyingma forum and Vajrasattva is a yidam, yes?


Vajrasattva is a form of outer tantra practice in the 9 fold yana classification.

I believe Vajrasattva is also a yidam in mahayoga, maybe I'm wrong. Be that as it may, this thread was intended to be about the kind of yidams used in mahayoga also. Sorry if that wasn't clear.


Reading your OP, it seems the question tends more towards Tsoknyi Rinpoche's understanding. As it concerns his discussion of ngondro then I take it that he is referring to Vajrasattva as outer tantra, but having no personal experience of his teachings, I can't comment further on his viewpoint.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:04 am

The OP was really just a way to broach the subject of whether and in what sense yidams exist. :smile:
Note that, in the higher tantras, there is talk of a self and an I, even though in the lower teachings the absence of self and the absence of I is what is always proclaimed. - Tony Duff
To educate the educated is notoriously difficult. - Jacques Barzun
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby futerko » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:34 am

dzogchungpa wrote:The OP was really just a way to broach the subject of whether and in what sense yidams exist. :smile:


At the risk of being unhelpful and/or obtuse, any possible answer is going to be dependent on your understanding of sambhogakaya.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Nov 04, 2013 4:36 am

futerko wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:The OP was really just a way to broach the subject of whether and in what sense yidams exist. :smile:


At the risk of being unhelpful and/or obtuse, any possible answer is going to be dependent on your understanding of sambhogakaya.

No doubt.
Note that, in the higher tantras, there is talk of a self and an I, even though in the lower teachings the absence of self and the absence of I is what is always proclaimed. - Tony Duff
To educate the educated is notoriously difficult. - Jacques Barzun
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby smcj » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:05 am

In the triple refuge of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, each has its own esoteric expression:

The esoteric expression of Buddha is the Dharmakaya, the unborn/formless "truth-body" that is the enlightened mind.
The esoteric expression of Dharma is the Sambogakaya, the means by which the Dharmakaya is communicated to practitioners.
The esoteric expression of Sangha is the Nirmanakaya, an enlightened teacher here in the flesh.

If I may I'd like to quote Kalu R. from "Writings of Kalu R.":

In every situation, dharmakaya is present. It pervades all samsara and nirvana, is beyond all intellectual postulation, and is devoid of origination, duration, and cessation.

The framework of the sambhogakaya of buddha arises before the brilliance of all tenth-level bodhisattvas in the supreme buddha realm which transcends the three realms of samsara. This confluence of buddha's own brilliance and that of the bodhisattvas is termed the sambhogakaya of interacting brilliance.

The nirmanakaya of buddha has three aspects. Nirmanakaya as skill trains sentient beings by presenting skills in various situations. Nirmanakaya as an individual trains sentient beings by taking various forms of existence, such as a king or deer. Nirmanakaya as perfection works for the welfare of sentient beings through the twelve great deeds.

The two form kayos appear through the previous aspiration for some manifestation in order to train beings, and from the inherent dynamism and inspiration of dharmakaya.

The kayos can also be distinguished according to their manifestation: dharmakaya appears when the limitation of conceptual knowledge are cleared away; sambhogakaya when the limitation of emotionality are cleared away; and nirmanakaya when the limitations of karma are cleared away.


I find it interesting that the Dharmakaya is said to have "inherent dynamism" even though it is unborn.
Last edited by smcj on Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:45 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:25 am

smcj wrote:So if you were asked if a Nirmanakaya manifestation were real, what would you say?

I don't know, but if you asked me if my teachers were real I would say yes.
Note that, in the higher tantras, there is talk of a self and an I, even though in the lower teachings the absence of self and the absence of I is what is always proclaimed. - Tony Duff
To educate the educated is notoriously difficult. - Jacques Barzun
སརྦ་དྷརྨ་དྷཱ་ཏུ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby smcj » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:47 am

Oops. I got quoted before I edited. :toilet:
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby smcj » Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:20 am

Another Kalu R. quote from the same book:

The assembly of deities, the yidams who are the roots of attainment, arise from the play of activity through which buddha, the accomplished transcendent conqueror and embodiment of the five transcending awarenesses and the three kayos, trains beings. The lama is the root of inspiration and blessing, and confers the initiations which mature, the oral instruction which liberates, and the authorization through reading which provides support, all of which are for the pith of the transformation and perfection techniques for the yidams. In this framework, the dakinis and defenders are the roots of buddha activity, through whom you achieve mastery of all forms of activity, pacifying, enriching, influencing, and subduing. These are the Three Roots.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby hop.pala » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:03 am

Does vajrasattva exist?


The question is still on the variety of forms:(somethig) exist or not exist.The subject of the conceptualization is interchangeable at will.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby smcj » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:28 pm

Just to be clear; I don't think that Vajrasattva, regardless of his status, has a "personality". It is fundamental to all Dharma that the personality isn't the basis for being. So by saying that Vajrasattva is true, or authentic, or valid, or whatever, isn't the same as saying that he's got things like personal attitudes or pet peeves.
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