What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:13 am

tamdrin wrote:Kagyu Mahamudra is nothing like Chan. Usually its Dzogchen that gets compared with Chan, but actually sense all Tibetan schools assert that one must follow the gradual path of the 5 paths and the 10 bhumis to achieve enlightenment they are in accordance with the traditions of the Dharma preserved by the Indian panditas at the likes of Nalanda and Vikramalshila monasteries and not like the Buddhism that went to China and was influenced by Daoism and Confucianism.



Kagyu Mahāmudra in many respects is very similar to Chan, and even uses Chan sūtras like the Vajrasamadhi sutra to supports its dkar po gcig thub presentation. When Sapan was criticizing a "Chinese Dzogchen" he had in mind dkar po gcig thub i.e. Lama Zhang's presentation of Gampopa's Mahāmudra system. He does not criticize Dzogchen, actually since he regards it as part of the Nyingma completion stage.

Not all Dharma systems in Tibet assert that one must follow the five paths and ten stages approach. For example, Dzogchen. Dzogchen is definitely a cig char ba presentation.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby tamdrin » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:24 am

Namdrol wrote:
tamdrin wrote:Kagyu Mahamudra is nothing like Chan. Usually its Dzogchen that gets compared with Chan, but actually sense all Tibetan schools assert that one must follow the gradual path of the 5 paths and the 10 bhumis to achieve enlightenment they are in accordance with the traditions of the Dharma preserved by the Indian panditas at the likes of Nalanda and Vikramalshila monasteries and not like the Buddhism that went to China and was influenced by Daoism and Confucianism.



Kagyu Mahāmudra in many respects is very similar to Chan, and even uses Chan sūtras like the Vajrasamadhi sutra to supports its dkar po gcig thub presentation.

Not all Dharma systems in Tibet assert that one must follow the five paths and ten stages approach. For example, Dzogchen. Dzogchen is definitely a cig char ba presentation.


It is as similiar in that it is Buddhist meditation involving Shamatha and vipashyana.. just like all the Buddhist schools but other than that it is much more similiar to the rest of Tibetan Buddhism than anything found in Chan - koans and the like.

Umm no its really not.. I've heard several Dzogchen Masters say that Dzogchen goes along the 5 paths and 10 stages also... How you can say it doesn't is beyond me. cig char ba has to do with the person, not what tenet system one clings to...
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:38 am

tamdrin wrote:
Umm no its really not.. I've heard several Dzogchen Masters say that Dzogchen goes along the 5 paths and 10 stages also... How you can say it doesn't is beyond me. cig char ba has to do with the person, not what tenet system one clings to...


Well you have your masters, and I have mine. According to my masters, Dzogchen is not a gradual path.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:40 am

tamdrin wrote:
It is as similiar in that it is Buddhist meditation involving Shamatha and vipashyana.. just like all the Buddhist schools but other than that it is much more similiar to the rest of Tibetan Buddhism than anything found in Chan - koans and the like.
.



Koans and the like is Post Sung Dynasty Chan.

Kagyu Mahāmudra is very similar to original Chan. This is not a bad thing, this is good thing.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby plwk » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:50 am

I found this interesting as a side step to the OP... http://zendirtzendust.com/2010/05/05/a- ... d-atiyoga/
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:33 am

plwk wrote:I found this interesting as a side step to the OP... http://zendirtzendust.com/2010/05/05/a- ... d-atiyoga/


Incidentally, A Spacious Path to Freedom has a really awesome chapter on the jung-ne-dro sum, or analyzing the origin of the mind, its place of abiding, and where it departs to... I think the whole chapter is still available as an excerpt on Snowlion. I'm surprised this guy on the above blog didn't mention that section.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby ground » Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:16 am

Jikan wrote:In this thread...

viewtopic.php?f=77&t=3556

...the question of whether nembutsu (reciting the name of Buddha Amitabha) is in itself a tantric practice. It's OT to that thread, so here it is in a new one.

Tantric Buddhism (Vajrayana, Mikkyo) is a form of Mahayana practice that necessarily involves several elements. Among these are abhiseka (empowerment), qualified guru... and a certain way of understanding reality. (tantra means "continuum.")

Not all these elements are present in nembutsu practice, so it makes no sense to say it is in fact a tantric practice. It is like tantric practice in some respects, however.

Questions, comments, or corrections?


Only one comment:
One may become obsessed with the finger pointing to the moon if there is much thinking about the finger, identifying with the finger thinking "This finger is 'mine', 'I' am the finger. By means of the finger I will attain such and such." Based on this the finger is investigated and studied in great detail.
In that way one may become an eloquent finger expert.

Kind regards
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:24 pm

TMingyur wrote:
Jikan wrote:In this thread...

viewtopic.php?f=77&t=3556

...the question of whether nembutsu (reciting the name of Buddha Amitabha) is in itself a tantric practice. It's OT to that thread, so here it is in a new one.

Tantric Buddhism (Vajrayana, Mikkyo) is a form of Mahayana practice that necessarily involves several elements. Among these are abhiseka (empowerment), qualified guru... and a certain way of understanding reality. (tantra means "continuum.")

Not all these elements are present in nembutsu practice, so it makes no sense to say it is in fact a tantric practice. It is like tantric practice in some respects, however.

Questions, comments, or corrections?


Only one comment:
One may become obsessed with the finger pointing to the moon if there is much thinking about the finger, identifying with the finger thinking "This finger is 'mine', 'I' am the finger. By means of the finger I will attain such and such." Based on this the finger is investigated and studied in great detail.
In that way one may become an eloquent finger expert.

Kind regards



The old finger and the moon snub...
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby ground » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:33 pm

Namdrol wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
Jikan wrote:In this thread...

viewtopic.php?f=77&t=3556

...the question of whether nembutsu (reciting the name of Buddha Amitabha) is in itself a tantric practice. It's OT to that thread, so here it is in a new one.

Tantric Buddhism (Vajrayana, Mikkyo) is a form of Mahayana practice that necessarily involves several elements. Among these are abhiseka (empowerment), qualified guru... and a certain way of understanding reality. (tantra means "continuum.")

Not all these elements are present in nembutsu practice, so it makes no sense to say it is in fact a tantric practice. It is like tantric practice in some respects, however.

Questions, comments, or corrections?


Only one comment:
One may become obsessed with the finger pointing to the moon if there is much thinking about the finger, identifying with the finger thinking "This finger is 'mine', 'I' am the finger. By means of the finger I will attain such and such." Based on this the finger is investigated and studied in great detail.
In that way one may become an eloquent finger expert.

Kind regards



The old finger and the moon snub...


Well known ...

One may also choose the "The vehicle and the goal (of the tour)" snub:

One may become obsessed with the vehicle that may bring one to the goal if there is much thinking about the vehicle, identifying with the vehicle thinking "This vehicle is 'mine', 'I' am the vehicle. By means of the vehicle I will reach such and such." Based on this the vehicle is investigated and studied in great detail.
In that way one may become an eloquent vehicle expert (having lost sight of the goal).


Kind regards
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby conebeckham » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:42 pm

...by the same token, if one does not know how to operate the vehicle, one has no chance of reaching the goal.

A certain amount of familiarity with one's vehicle is a good thing. I don't think increasing one's knowledge of the vehicle, to any extent, necessarily prevents one from getting to one's destination.

It is not a question of whether or not one embraces learning, gathering and accumulating information, etc., in the standard sense. It is a question of losing sight of purpose.

Maintaining a sense of purpose, and gathering knowledge, need not be contradictory.

Being a finger expert need not prevent one from seeing the moon.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby ground » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:46 pm

conebeckham wrote:...by the same token, if one does not know how to operate the vehicle, one has no chance of reaching the goal.


Provided that one drives with the vehicle towards the goal.

"...by the same token," if there is no finger pointing to the moon one will never know "the moon".


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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby dzoki » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:44 pm

Aemilius wrote:
The main point is that the method of meditation is not put into the mahayana sutras in any extensive, or detailed manner.


I am no expert on this topic, but Ithink Samadhiraja and Vajrasamadhi sutras might have some instructions on meditation.

*edited for doublequoting
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:47 pm

dzoki wrote:
Aemilius wrote:
The main point is that the method of meditation is not put into the mahayana sutras in any extensive, or detailed manner.


I am no expert on this topic, but Ithink Samadhiraja and Vajrasamadhi sutras might have some instructions on meditation.

*edited for doublequoting



Quite detailed in the case of the latter -- as well as the Samdhinirmocana, etc.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Astus » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:45 pm

Do they have the same Vajrasamadhi Sutra in Tibet as in East Asia? I mean, the one commented by Wohyo and translated by Robert E. Buswell Jr.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:10 pm

Astus wrote:Do they have the same Vajrasamadhi Sutra in Tibet as in East Asia? I mean, the one commented by Wohyo and translated by Robert E. Buswell Jr.



Yup, indeed they do, translated from Chinese.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Aemilius » Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:22 am

Astus wrote:Although in the Kumarajiva version it only says that the Buddha sat down, in Bodhiruci's translation it goes: sat peacefully in lotus-position straightening his body and posture (跏趺安坐,端身而住), or in Red Pine's translation "crossing his legs and adjusting his body". Although the Diamond Sutra is not an instruction on meditation, it does refer to proper sitting posture, and even more.

The Lankavatara Sutra 2.24, DT Suzuki translation:

"When a definite acquisition is obtained regarding the aspect of the stages [of Bodhisattvahood], the Bodhisattva will experience joy, and, gradually and successively going up the scale, will reach the ninth stage where his insight is perfected, and [finally the tenth stage known as] Great Dharmamegha. Establishing himself here, (70) he will be seated in the great jewel palace known as "Great Lotus Throne" which is in the shape of a lotus and is adorned with various sorts of jewels and pearls; he will then acquire and complete a world of Maya-nature; surrounded by Bodhisattvas of the same character and anointed like the son of the Cakravarti by the hands of the Buddhas coming from all the Buddha-lands, he will go beyond the last stage of Bodhisattvahood, attain the noble truth of self-realisation, and become a Tathagata endowed with the perfect freedom of the Dharmakaya, because of his insight into the egolessness of things."


Initiation in Diamond Sutra and in the Lotus Sutra

Diamond sutra mentions the meeting, in a very distant past, between Tathagata Dipankara and a youth who wanted to offer something to Dipankara Tathagata. Dipankara then notices this youth and makes a prediction that in a distant future he will become a Buddha with the name Shakyamuni, in the Saha world-system.
This constitues a prototypical initiation.
Same prototypical initiation is followed in the Lotus Sutra where Shakyamuni makes a similar prediction to his senior disciples, i.e. announces their future buddhahood, their future names, and the worlds where it will take place. He further gives similar predictions to 500 arhats, and 2000 disciples in training and trained. Etc...
The length of a Bodhisattva's career varies in different sources, Lotus Sutra gives an example of a Naga-daughter who achieves full enlightenment in an instance. Several sutras, like Avatamsaka and Shurangama samadhi, express the view that a Bodhisattva consciously prolongs his career into infinite kalpas so that he can be of maximum benefit to beings wandering in Samsara.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Aemilius » Sat Apr 02, 2011 10:50 am

Astus wrote:
Vajrayāna is different than sūtra teachings because the methods of deity yoga, prāṇayāma, etc., are never taught in sūtra. No cakras, no ṇāḍīs, etc. None of that newage hippy Vajrayāna stuff is found in the sūtras, nor explained by sūtra masters -- not in India, not in China, not in Japan.

We Vajrayānists assert that all of our hippy methods, deity yoga, and so on, cause our path to be faster than the pure Mahāyāna sūtra route. These criteria did not evolve in Tibet, they evolved in India.


Now this is a clear cut explanation of the difference. :thumbsup:


If something is esoteric, then it is esoteric. We can only conclude its existence from tiny signs, and from knowing the causality of things; if there are certain results, their cause must also be present.

Here is a short essay of Suniti K.Pathak, whose opinion is that has tantra existed from the earliest period of buddhism onward http://www.thlib.org/static/reprints/bot/bot_1989_02_03.pdf

We must understand that Buddha Shakyamuni was a full Buddha all of time. He always taught as a complete and full Buddha, all His teachings contain the whole teaching, even the shravakayana ones. This is an important point that The Lotus Sutra makes. He never held back anything.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Malcolm » Sat Apr 02, 2011 2:14 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Here is a short essay of Suniti K.Pathak, whose opinion is that has tantra existed from the earliest period of buddhism onward http://www.thlib.org/static/reprints/bot/bot_1989_02_03.pdf




There is one important point in this you are missing. The earliest known text in India we know of that is referred to as a "tantra" is the Agniveśa tantra -- which is the core of the important ayurvedic treatise, the Caraka Samhita. The composition of the CS is hard to date, but likely was compiled between roughly 200 BCE -- 200 CE. Before there were distinct Buddhist texts called tantras, was another ayurvedic treatise called the Aṣtaṅgahridayasamhita penned by a Buddhist physician named Vagbhata in roughly the fifth century CE -- this text refers to itself as a tantra in the colophon.

Pathak's thesis is not that tantra existed in Buddhism from the beginning. His thesis is that elements existed in Buddhism from the beginning which are consistent with later developments called Vajrayāna. I don't disagree with this thesis. I think it is correct.

However, Vajrayāna is a mature path. Reciting a mantra to remove snake venom is not a path.

N
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:46 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Aemilius wrote:
Here is a short essay of Suniti K.Pathak, whose opinion is that has tantra existed from the earliest period of buddhism onward http://www.thlib.org/static/reprints/bot/bot_1989_02_03.pdf




There is one important point in this you are missing. The earliest known text in India we know of that is referred to as a "tantra" is the Agniveśa tantra -- which is the core of the important ayurvedic treatise, the Caraka Samhita. The composition of the CS is hard to date, but likely was compiled between roughly 200 BCE -- 200 CE. Before there were distinct Buddhist texts called tantras, was another ayurvedic treatise called the Aṣtaṅgahridayasamhita penned by a Buddhist physician named Vagbhata in roughly the fifth century CE -- this text refers to itself as a tantra in the colophon.

Pathak's thesis is not that tantra existed in Buddhism from the beginning. His thesis is that elements existed in Buddhism from the beginning which are consistent with later developments called Vajrayāna. I don't disagree with this thesis. I think it is correct.

However, Vajrayāna is a mature path. Reciting a mantra to remove snake venom is not a path.

N


Suniti K. Pathak says more than that. It is intersting to see what things he associates with tantrism, things that are present in our general view of early buddhism. The snake venom removing mantra is important because it is in Vinaya Vastu and it is connected to a known tantric deity !
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:21 pm

There is practice called the Six Anu-smriti or Six Remembrances, they form a recommended lay-practice in Theravada and in Mahayana, they mentioned for example in the Pureland Sutras. The Six Objects of Remembering are: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, Generosity, Morality, and Devata. A theravada based dictionary of buddhist terms explains the last part of this practice so that we should think of the radiant gods, their majesty etc..., and then we should be confident that we too will be reborn as such caused by our practice of generosity, morality, etc... First we should think of the Heaven Of the Four Great kings, then we should think of the Heaven of the Thirty Three gods, and so on..., at each stage we should repeat our conviction that we too will be reborn as such, and continue to do this till the Akanistha Deva Realm. This makes in total 22 classes of remembering the Devata! This is very similar to the tantric visualisation of Yidams, which are Devata or Ishta-Devata in sanskrit. Here too we have different classes of Devata, albeit much more classes of Devata than in the tantra of today.
If you say that all devas are samsaric in theravada and mahayana, that is not wholly correct, many Devas know the Dharma, and are in audience in the Mahayana sutras, like Indra, Four Great Kings, etc..., then there are Devas of Suddhavasa, i.e. the Pure Abodes, the enlightened Devas. Yet all classes of Devas are included in this practice. There must be a reason for this too.
It is most significant that the highest level of Devata are called Akanistha! Is this not the name of the abode of Buddha Vajradhara in tantrism ?!
It is quite evident that the tantric form of Buddhism has evolved from this, and is thus included in the original Dharma of Buddha Shakyamuni.

___________
Buddhist Dictionary, Manual Of Buddhist Terms And Doctrines; Nyantiloka 1946 Dehra Dun India, Third revised edition of Nyanaponika 1970 Kandy Ceylon; reprint 1987
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