Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

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Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:08 am

This is what Indian scholars say about the identity of the teacher who taught the Cakrasamvara Tantras, according to extensive history of Cakrasamvara written by the great Sakya Polymath and 28th throne holder of Sakya, Ngawang Kunga Sonam (1597-1659/1660, http://tbrc.org/link?RID=P7900).

He writes:
"Bhavabhata and Bhavyakirit both hold that "This teacher (i.e. Śakyamuni) having attained buddhahood in the beginningless past taught the Cakrasamvara tantras, but later, after becoming the son of Śuddodana, did not teach it. Their reasoning holds that since Cakrasamvara is continually practiced by the heros and yoginis of the twenty four countries, even when eon forms and perished (the twenty four countries) do not form and perish so [the Cakrasamvara] does not disappear. Even though other dharmas may have also been taught in the beginning, since they are destroyed by the formation and perishing of the eon, since they disappear during the interval, they must be taught again by Śākyamuni.

The commentary on the root tantra by Indrabhuti II gives a citation:

"Having tamed the maras, which shows the manner of awakening,
having seen the strength of the activity of the Sugatas,
in the place called Mt. Dhanyakata
the source of the dharma that exhausts passion,
in the mandala circle the hero well taught
the great secret to a countless assembly
eight hundred million yoginis and more…" etc.


Guided by this, first, the Cakrasamvara tantra is taught without interruption in the Akaniṣṭa, the location of the buddhas (as opposed to the god realm Akaniṣṭa); in middle, having emanated on the peak of Sumeru, and later, having manifested the twelve deeds in Jambudvipa after turning the three wheels of Dhrma, for the benefit of fortunate disiples the Bhagavan entered into the samadhi of Śrī Cakarasamvara on the mountain of Śrī Dhanyakataka, emanated the mandala circle and taught the Cakrasamvara tantras to eight hundred million yoginis. Having also demonstrated the method of taming Rudra-Bhairava with his retinue, he [Indrabhuti II] holds that once again it was recited and taught by Śākyamuni

The Ḍākārṇava Tantra (one of the commentary tantras of Cakrasamvara) states:
In the kali yuga this will
be taught by countless bhagavans.
The tantra taught by Śākyasimha
carry one to the other shore of yoga.


The Commentary on the Ḍākārṇava tantra [by Padmavajra] states, "Again, in the kali yuga, three million, six hundred thousand major tantras were taught by Śākyasimha."

Therefore, after having first been explained by the heruka of the cause, the sambhogakāya, it explained that it was repeated again and taught.

The commentary by Master Vajra states, "During the Dvāparayuga, Rudra Maheśvara was tamed. Though it [the root tantra] was taught at that time, here, the one to tame, Iśvara also arose at the beginning of the Kaliyuga. After they were tamed by Heruka with his retinue, the tantra was taught as it was stated in the Ḍākārṇava tantra.

Now the reason for teaching [the root tantra] in the Kaliyuga is stated in The Vajrapātāla Tantra:

Time is divided into four ages
the tantra division is divided into four sections.


The four tantra divisions are taught intending disciples of the four ages. Also the reason the anuttarayoga is taught in Kaliyuga is that the disciples of that age are very afflicted, it is intended for those with coarse three poisons to take the path or root of awakening, as it is stated in the Herukābhyudaya Tantra:

Having been cared for by Śrī Heruka,
there will be success in the degenerate age.


Therefore, in terms of the [perfect] time, when it was time to tame Rudra with his retinue in Jambudvipa, inside the mandala emanated in Mt. Meru, Bhagavan along with his retinue were arranged in the mandala wheel. According the explanatory tantras, after Śrī Vajrapani offered a ganacakra, since he requested that the root tantra be explained, in the perfect place, the peak of Mt. Meru, the nature of the teacher's body, speech and mind, the result Heruka, Cakrasamvara, placed the tamed retinue, Rudra Bhairava with retinue into the mandala. And he taught the perfect Dhama the trio of extensive, medium and concise root tantras of Cakrasamvara to the deities of the five wheels, and moreover, the buddhas and bodhisattvas equal with the atoms in Mt. Meru, the fortune gods and humans, the retinue, the petitioner and the collator, Vārāhī, and so.

However, Vajrapani's [i.e. the tenth stage bodhisattva] Commentary on the Upper Section explains the petitioner for that mandala demonstrated above was Vajravārāhi and also she was the teacher of the Cakrasamvara tantras. Vajrapani's Commentary on the Upper Section states:
In this time of the five degenerations,
in order to attain the result of merit and wisdom,
Vārāhi made a supplication, and the one with the vajra
clarified this concise tantra.


And the Herukābhyudaya Tantra states:
After that, after all the heros stood
the hero Vajrapani and so on,
and made a request to the lady of the mandala.


Having called on the mother to intercede, it is explained that she was requested to teach the tantra.

Though it may be so that someone explains she taught the Vārāhī tantra, and Vajradhara is the petitioner, Buton Rinpoche explains there is no contradiction because of the vision of the individual person to be tamed.

Therefore, Bhavyakirti and so on’s explanation that this tantra was not repeated again by our teacher (Śakyamuni) as it was shown above and the citation from The Ḍākārṇava Tantra i.e. “In the kali yuga this will be taught by countless bhagavans” may seem to be in conflict but in reality they are not in conflict. The former positions intends that this teacher (Śakyamuni) did not again recite and teach the tantra after having performed the twelve deeds in Jambudvipa. The latter citation intends a time in the Kali Yuga prior to performing the twelve deeds. When it is explained that the tantra was taught after [Sakyamuni] performed the twelve deeds, though Śakyamuni himself taught many tantras of secret mantra to the uncommon disciples and the some like Guhyasamaja were by taught by other emanations of the powerful Muni, the Tattvasaṃgraha and the Cakrasamvara tantras were not taught at that time as it is explained by Loppon Sonam Tsemo, “Other than his general activities, he did not recite or teach later on. Having taught the Tattvasamgraha in the beginning, after completing that tantra he arrived in human lands....” and so on.

Likewise, "...he performed the deeds of arriving in Jambudvipa, etc., but he did not recite or teach the Śrī Cakrasamvara Tantra later on” is the position of master Bhavyakirti. Since his commentary on the root tantra starting from “The category of Dharma has a continuity of beginningless time, taught by the Bhagavan Śakyamuni in the past....” to the end of that citation “...like it is explained”, the position of Bhavyakirti is made our position. Having summarized the meaning of those, also the The Clear Ornament of The Three Modes states “...not including the Tattvasamgraha and Cakrasamvara”.


So there you have it, according to the Sakya school, the Cakrasamvara Tantra (and the Tattvasamgraha) was not taught this time around by Śakyamuni Buddha.

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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby Enochian » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:25 am

Has anyone read David Gray's book on this tantra?

I have.

Apparently the ORIGINAL purpose was all about jizzing in a menstruating vagina and then eating that shit. I'm not joking.
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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby adinatha » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:36 am

Don't knock it till you try it? :shrug:
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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby Enochian » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:49 am

Only later did this tantra come to be interpreted through creative commentary as being about tummo.

From what I can tell, tummo as practiced today has no textual justification save for a couplet from the Hevajra tantra.

Not that it matters, since these things were taught by omniscient Mahasiddhas.
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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby adinatha » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:02 am

Enochian wrote:Only later did this tantra come to be interpreted through creative commentary as being about tummo.

From what I can tell, tummo as practiced today has no textual justification save for a couplet from the Hevajra tantra.

Not that it matters, since these things were taught by omniscient Mahasiddhas.


That's wrong. The Chakrasamvara refers to the channels, and raising of heat, but in code-language. It is not through creative commentary, but the oral tradition that accompanies the dissemination of a tantra. Rarely are details about completion stage tantras written in the tantra. A tantra is not a book. A tantra is a continuum of a realization.
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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby kirtu » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:06 am

Enochian wrote:Has anyone read David Gray's book on this tantra?

I have.

Apparently the ORIGINAL purpose was all about jizzing in a menstruating vagina and then eating that shit. I'm not joking.


The Indian Mahasiddhas were wild people. But that was not the *purpose*. Admitedly that kind of thing is in there. Thanks for the reminder on Gray's book.

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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby Enochian » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:10 am

adinatha wrote:That's wrong. The Chakrasamvara refers to the channels, and raising of heat, but in code-language.


Right that is what later commentators said. That the tantra is in code.
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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:25 am

Enochian wrote:Only later did this tantra come to be interpreted through creative commentary as being about tummo.

From what I can tell, tummo as practiced today has no textual justification save for a couplet from the Hevajra tantra.

Not that it matters, since these things were taught by omniscient Mahasiddhas.



well, this is not exactly true -- for example, in Yoga Tantra they practice an "inner fire puja" and the chapter on the fire puja in Cakrasamvara is understood to indicate tummo practice.

The common source of tummo in Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug is the tummo instruction from Krishnacarya. This is the origin of tummo in the six yogas of Naropa, and is preserved as an Independent instruction in Lamdre.

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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby Adamantine » Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:33 am

So what's the source of Tummo in Nyingma then?
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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:31 pm

Adamantine wrote:So what's the source of Tummo in Nyingma then?



That is an interesting question. We actually have complaints by Nyingma authors from the tenth century expressing concern about new-fangeled, new-age clap trap yoga practices using cakras, and so on, borrowed from Hindus and being imported from India. It suggests that tummo was adapted from the mother tantras when they came to Tibet.

However, it is very hard to be certain because Tummo and so on are mentioned in various Nyingma tantras which are hard to date.

Interestingly, Guru Chowang has a terma of the six yogas of Naropa which is in the Rinchen Terzö.

The opinion of several western scholars is that Nyingmapas borrowed many practices from the mother tantras, such as body mandalas and so on forth after the 11th century. Or for another example, the notion of the twenty four pithas is entirely based on the Cakrasamvara/Hevajra tradition. While it is possible that this idea was introduced to Tibet with Padmasambava (these two tantras were certainly extant in India during the eighth century), or later in the ninth century or tenth century (because we have Cakrasamvara completion stage documents at Tunhuang that may date to the mid tenth-century) we don't really see this idea expressed, so far as I know, in the the classical set of Nyingma tantras. However, the caveat is that the 40 or so volumes of Nyingma tantras have been largely unexplored.

N

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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby username » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:22 pm

Chakrasambhava, always interesting and probably the most discussed tantra in terms of origin. Even the Hindu scholars come into this picture regularly. And the ever flexible Nyingmas, though could simply be early inter-sect general rhetoric and dangerous to deduce specifics from vague generalities. Plus, almost all was deeply hidden within inner chambers back then, unlike the last few centuries. David Gray's piece http://www.kamakotimandali.com/blog/ind ... &tb=1&pb=1 and his PhD thesis: http://vajrayana.faithweb.com/rich_text_1.html
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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:28 pm

username wrote:Chakrasambhava, always interesting and probably the most discussed tantra in terms of origin. Even the Hindu scholars come into this picture regularly. And the ever flexible Nyingmas...


Not vague at all. Some Nyingmapas were quite hostile to the new spread of tantras.

Plus, almost all was deeply hidden within inner chambers back then, unlike last few centuries.


I don't think so -- otherwise there would be no reason for Lha Lama Yeshe Od to complian about corrupt tantric practices, and his nephew would have had no reason to write Atisha explaining that while mother tantra was excellent, maybe Atisha should not bring it to Tibet, etc. This suggests a much higher profile than "hidden in back chambers" indicates.




Yup.
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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:33 pm

adinatha wrote:It is not through creative commentary, but the oral tradition that accompanies the dissemination of a tantra


I would argue it is both.
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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby username » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:46 pm

By vague deduction I meant deducing for sure that the bad mouthings as 'fancy new chakra-works' by some Nyingmas do not mean for certain that they didn't have their own older versions. Just can't be proven either way as you also agree.

And although there was degeneration in 'some valleys', as early zealot sarma propaganda over emphasized, in terms of abuse or exposure, most ancients remained healthy. And much more secretive from the general public than the last 6 centuries or so. Everything was outed specially in the last few centuries. Adding the muddying factors of distant time and decentralization after empire's collapse, we just can't be sure. Dunhuang's still the best bet.
Dzogchen masters I know say: 1)Buddhist religion essence is Dzogchen 2)Religions are positive by intent/fruit 3)Any method's OK unless: breaking Dzogchen vows, mixed as syncretic (Milanese Soup) 4)Don't join mandalas of opponents of Dalai Lama/Padmasambhava: False Deity inventors by encouraging victims 5)Don't debate Ati with others 6)Don't discuss Ati practices online 7) A master told his old disciple: no one's to discuss his teaching with some others on a former forum nor mention him. Publicity's OK, questions are asked from masters/set teachers in person/email/non-public forums~Best wishes
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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby Tenzin1 » Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:57 pm

kirtu wrote:
Enochian wrote:Has anyone read David Gray's book on this tantra?

I have.

Apparently the ORIGINAL purpose was all about jizzing in a menstruating vagina and then eating that shit. I'm not joking.


The Indian Mahasiddhas were wild people. But that was not the *purpose*. Admitedly that kind of thing is in there. Thanks for the reminder on Gray's book.
Actually, it was the purpose. Women were believed to have transformational spiritual power, as well as generative power, so mixing sexual fluids and then consuming them was one way men believed they could gain this power for their own purposes.
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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:11 pm

Tenzin1 wrote:Women were believed to have transformational spiritual power, as well as generative power, so mixing sexual fluids and then consuming them was one way men believed they could gain this power for their own purposes.



Certainly, but this does not really encompass the meaning of this tradition. The meaning of this tradition is attaining buddhahood.

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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby adinatha » Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:00 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Adamantine wrote:So what's the source of Tummo in Nyingma then?



That is an interesting question. We actually have complaints by Nyingma authors from the tenth century expressing concern about new-fangeled, new-age clap trap yoga practices using cakras, and so on, borrowed from Hindus and being imported from India. It suggests that tummo was adapted from the mother tantras when they came to Tibet.

However, it is very hard to be certain because Tummo and so on are mentioned in various Nyingma tantras which are hard to date.

Interestingly, Guru Chowang has a terma of the six yogas of Naropa which is in the Rinchen Terzö.

The opinion of several western scholars is that Nyingmapas borrowed many practices from the mother tantras, such as body mandalas and so on forth after the 11th century. Or for another example, the notion of the twenty four pithas is entirely based on the Cakrasamvara/Hevajra tradition. While it is possible that this idea was introduced to Tibet with Padmasambava (these two tantras were certainly extant in India during the eighth century), or later in the ninth century or tenth century (because we have Cakrasamvara completion stage documents at Tunhuang that may date to the mid tenth-century) we don't really see this idea expressed, so far as I know, in the the classical set of Nyingma tantras. However, the caveat is that the 40 or so volumes of Nyingma tantras have been largely unexplored.

N

N


Clearly the early Ati masters knew about channels and chakras. They were aware of the bindu in the heart, the central and side channels, the crown, throat and heart chakras at the very least? Thogal practices are dependent on this knowledge, no? But you are saying it's hard to know when these truly appeared, because they don't appear until Chetsun Wangchuk 10th Cen, and there are uncanny similarities between practices in Nyingthig tradition and Kalachakra which arrives also around 10th Cen and thrived in a nearby or same region as Nyingthig?
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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby Malcolm » Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:51 pm

adinatha wrote:
Clearly the early Ati masters knew about channels and chakras.



It depends on what you mean by "early".


They were aware of the bindu in the heart, the central and side channels, the crown, throat and heart chakras at the very least? Thogal practices are dependent on this knowledge, no?


These seem to make their first appearance with tantras such as Hevajra and Dakarnava, etc. Mid 9th century or so.



But you are saying it's hard to know when these truly appeared, because they don't appear until Chetsun Wangchuk 10th Cen, and there are uncanny similarities between practices in Nyingthig tradition and Kalachakra which arrives also around 10th Cen and thrived in a nearby or same region as Nyingthig?


The seventeen tantras do talk about the three channels, four cakras, and so on. But as we known, Chetsun was mid 11th -- early 12th century. As I mentioned to you, he met with Zhangton Tashi Dorje in 1123 and passed away (i.e. rainbowed) shortly thereafter.

Cakras and so on do not figure much into Guhyasamaja practice at all. So while Guhyasamaja practice entered Tibet very early, during the eighth century, its completion stage practices were not well developed until ninth century in India (i.e. the Pañcakrama,etc.).

Three channels and four cakras is, in Indian Buddhist tantra, apparently a mother tantra sort of thing. Seems to show up first in Hevajra (Cakrasamvara root tantra is arguably older than the Hevajra), then in other Cakrasamvara commentary tantras and so on.

Kalacakra arrives in Tibet in 1027 CE i.e. early 11th century. 1027 is the first year of the sixty year cycle of the Tibetan calendar. One of the reasons dates before this time are so sketchy is that well, 1027 CE is the first totally reliable date we have in Tibetan history and everything is calculated from that date. Tibetans themselves are quite unclear about dates, and for many dates in the Imperial period we have had to rely on external documents from Chinese records to date events in Tibet History. Western scholars too did not invent this system. This approach to fixing Tibetan dates by using Chinese annals is also used in the Blue Annals by the 15th century Kagyu historian Go Lotsawa Zhonnu Pal. A good book about early Tibetan history is The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia by Beckwith.

But limitation of the text critical approach is that you cannot measure the age of an idea, only the age of the first text in which an idea appears. As we know, the ideas of channels and so on is much older in Hindu literature. For example, the Candogya Upanishad discusses nadis including a nadi than seems to resemble the central channel.

http://www.ashtangayoga.info/philosophy ... upanishad/

There are many ideas in the Buddhist tantras that make their first textual appearance in the pre-Buddhist Upanishads.

But in terms of when these ideas first appear in Buddhist texts, they seem to appear extremely late in Buddhist history.

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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby adinatha » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:32 am

Namdrol wrote:It depends on what you mean by "early".


They were aware of the bindu in the heart, the central and side channels, the crown, throat and heart chakras at the very least? Thogal practices are dependent on this knowledge, no?


These seem to make their first appearance with tantras such as Hevajra and Dakarnava, etc. Mid 9th century or so.



But you are saying it's hard to know when these truly appeared, because they don't appear until Chetsun Wangchuk 10th Cen, and there are uncanny similarities between practices in Nyingthig tradition and Kalachakra which arrives also around 10th Cen and thrived in a nearby or same region as Nyingthig?


The seventeen tantras do talk about the three channels, four cakras, and so on. But as we known, Chetsun was mid 11th -- early 12th century. As I mentioned to you, he met with Zhangton Tashi Dorje in 1123 and passed away (i.e. rainbowed) shortly thereafter.

Cakras and so on do not figure much into Guhyasamaja practice at all. So while Guhyasamaja practice entered Tibet very early, during the eighth century, its completion stage practices were not well developed until ninth century in India (i.e. the Pañcakrama,etc.).


But as to Guhyasamaja, the central channel does play an importance. One can't help noticing the terminology of these tantras mirrors for example the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali with terms like pratyahara, dharana, etc.

As to Nyingthig, one wonders, if they were not working with channels and chakras, what Vimalmitra, etc. were really doing?

Three channels and four cakras is, in Indian Buddhist tantra, apparently a mother tantra sort of thing. Seems to show up first in Hevajra (Cakrasamvara root tantra is arguably older than the Hevajra), then in other Cakrasamvara commentary tantras and so on.

But limitation of the text critical approach is that you cannot measure the age of an idea, only the age of the first text in which an idea appears. As we know, the ideas of channels and so on is much older in Hindu literature. For example, the Candogya Upanishad discusses nadis including a nadi than seems to resemble the central channel.


Well, that and the Yoga Sutras, where other common terms were. Then, it would seem these do not show up in buddhist literature until later too.
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Re: Sakya POV on the origin of the Cakrasamvara Tantras

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:48 am

adinatha wrote:Well, that and the Yoga Sutras, where other common terms were. Then, it would seem these do not show up in buddhist literature until later too.


What it basically looks like is that Buddhists first appropriated the external Vedic rituals after the Gupta period [lower tantras up to Yoga tantra]. Then, slowly, Buddhists began to adopt the language of the Pan-Indian yogic tradition as well.

The principle unique development in Buddhist Indo-Tibetan Yoga seems to be Dzogchen. If we ignore traditional accounts, text critically speaking the yogas we know about from Dzogchen all seem to date after 950 CE., developed in Tibet and never existed in India, apart from proto-thogal of the type we find in the Kalacakra "empty forms" [shunyatā bimba] practice.

The yogas underpinning the mahāmudra movement and tantras and their terminology as we know have non-Buddhsit origins and are heavily informed by Ayurveda, etc.

N
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