Advice

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Re: Advice

Postby alpha » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:57 am

Vidyaraja wrote: I haven't researched as much about Shingon as I would like and I know that Shingon doesn't have the later tantras that Tibetan Buddhism has, but is there an equivalent practice or something similar to Dzogchen within Shingon?


from what little i know shingon is a path of transformation.
And because of that i dont think there would be anything similar to dzogchen within shingon.
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Re: Advice

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:59 am

Is Shingon not primarily focused on the types of tantras Tibetans would categorize as "Yoga Tantra"?
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Re: Advice

Postby Indrajala » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:05 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Is Shingon not primarily focused on the types of tantras Tibetans would categorize as "Yoga Tantra"?


Yes. They don't have annutara-yoga-tantra.
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Re: Advice

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:08 pm

Do they have action and performance tantra?

Geshe Sonam's uncle, Khensur Delek who is now the abbot of Sera Jey, is the ex-abbot of the tantric college and has been invited to one of the Shingon monasteries in Japan to give initiations. I will try to find the photos because I'd love to know the name of the monastery.
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Re: Advice

Postby Indrajala » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:16 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Do they have action and performance tantra?

Geshe Sonam's uncle, Khensur Delek who is now the abbot of Sera Jey, is the ex-abbot of the tantric college and has been invited to one of the Shingon monasteries in Japan to give initiations. I will try to find the photos because I'd love to know the name of the monastery.


I'm not quite sure. They focus primarily on deity yoga as I understand it.

Plenty of people in Shingon take an interest in Tibetan Buddhism. It doesn't seem to go the other way around though.
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Re: Advice

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:23 pm

viewtopic.php?f=65&t=11736

Posted the photos here so as not to derail the thread too much.

Part of the problem might be visa-wise. It is very hard for Tibetans to stay in Japan.
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Re: Advice

Postby Astus » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:31 pm

If you consider Tantra your primary interest you can find Tibetan Vajrayana sources plenty in English. Shingon is a different matter and to pursue it you would soon find the need to learn Japanese because of the lack or English resources, not to mention ordination in Japan. Learning to read the canonical works is the next level. But it's not impossible, there is at least one Westerner who went through with it and he is a Shingon master living in Japan. Tibetan Buddhism is a lot easier path. In terms of ordination, however, if you were serious about becoming a monk, the easiest way is going for Theravada, second best is Taiwan and Korea.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Advice

Postby plwk » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:45 pm

...and I know that Shingon doesn't have the later tantras that Tibetan Buddhism has...
There is an interesting dissenting view on this matter... not particularly about Shingon but on this Tantra work and its relationship with the Tibetan classification of Tantra (and extending the questioning: if this Tibetan classical classification has an Indian precedent or not, and if not, as this dissertation points out on how it is a Tibetan development, that it should be distinguished from how Shingon classifies its own Vajrayana teaching and practice?), from a dissertation on the Candamaharosana Tantra (CMT) by Christopher Starr George, pages xxxvi-iii, as below...[note the bolded parts]
http://www.scribd.com/doc/58179695/TEXT ... ana-Tantra
According to formal Tibetan classification, this work is a Vyakhyatantra, or 'Explanatory Tantra' belonging to the school of Guhyasamaja Tantra, which in turn is one of the five Mulatantras, or 'Basic Tantras' in the class of Annutarayogatantras. The four classes of Buddhist Tantra are Kriya, Carya, Yoga and Annutarayoga. Within the class, Annutarayoga Tantra, the five Mulatantras are the Guhyasamaja (also referred to as the Tathagataguhyaka), the Vairocanamayajala, the Buddhasamayoga, the Candraguhyatilaka, and the Manjusrikrodha Tantra. Among works associated with the GS (Guhyasamaja) are ritual manuals (sadhana), texts on initiation (diksa) and Vyakhyatantras. It is this latter group to which the CMT belongs, along with others, viz the Vajramala and the Hevajradakinijalasamvaratantra.

It is important to note, however, that the CMT neither relies for authority upon any any particular work or school, nor is incomplete in the sense of requiring other specilized works on e.g. mandala construction, initiation, etc. After a study of this work, one has the feeling that the above Tibetan classification, established several centuries after the composition of the CMT may be rather artificial and that the cult of the Candamaharosana , although still much a part of the Vajrayana movement, enjoyed a high degree of autonomy.
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Re: Advice

Postby Konchog1 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:55 pm

I believe it was Principles of Buddhist Tantra by Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche that said Tibetan Buddhism no longer has any Yoga Tantra lineages and only a couple Charya lineages. Whereas Shingon has both in abundance. Shingon doesn't have HYT. Both sects practice Kriya.
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-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Advice

Postby Vidyaraja » Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:28 pm

Thanks for the information everyone, this has all been very useful.

JKhedrup wrote: Part of the problem might be visa-wise. It is very hard for Tibetans to stay in Japan.


This is one of the things I've worried about. Of course there are plenty of Tibetan resources in the US, as others have pointed out to me, but if I wanted to study abroad I believe India has 10 year visas for Americans if say I wanted to study in Dharamsala or elsewhere. The only issue I've had with India is (I could be wrong here) that I've heard so many horror stories about living there. One cannot live through the eyes of fear, but I've heard spiritual charlatans, malaria, rabies, filthy water, etc. are serious dangers to take into consideration.

One of the reasons I initially inquired about Chan Buddhism, and also my recent question about Tibetan Buddhism and Shingon in China, is because China is comparatively easier to get to. I had already had plans of trying to teach English in China.

Japan I am sure would be equally difficult for Westerners to get a visa to stay for prolonged periods, though of course I could be wrong about this as it is not something I've researched in any amount of depth.

Astus wrote:If you consider Tantra your primary interest you can find Tibetan Vajrayana sources plenty in English. Shingon is a different matter and to pursue it you would soon find the need to learn Japanese because of the lack or English resources, not to mention ordination in Japan. Learning to read the canonical works is the next level. But it's not impossible, there is at least one Westerner who went through with it and he is a Shingon master living in Japan. Tibetan Buddhism is a lot easier path. In terms of ordination, however, if you were serious about becoming a monk, the easiest way is going for Theravada, second best is Taiwan and Korea.


I've heard much the same about Theravada, but I'll admit I've never been as interested in Theravada as much as Zen and especially Tantra. The Thai Forest tradition sounds nice, but again, I feel my heart lies in tantric Buddhism.

Regarding Shingon, I've managed to procure some resources online so I've been studying it, been trying to read Kukai's works, etc. in conjunction with my study of Tibetan Buddhism. I know this is a bit of a subjective question and may have no right answer, but could anyone say that Shingon is "inferior" to Tibetan Buddhism because of their lack of the later Tantras or perhaps because of the cultural atmosphere being that Japan has Westernized/secularized to a greater degree than Tibetans (or so it seems)? Is there any benefits or anything unique to Shingon that would make it worthy of pursuing further over simply going straight into Tibetan Buddhism?

I suppose culture shouldn't factor in so highly as the teachings and spiritual potential of a tradition, and while I don't dislike Tibetan culture by any means (quite fascinated by it),since childhood I've had an interest in North East Asian cultures. I suppose my love of traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean culture is what has made me even consider Shingon or, previously, Zen over Tibetan Buddhism. It also seems to me that the East Asian languages might have a more practical use beyond just the study of Buddhism and more resources available compared to Tibetan. In any case, I hope to I can learn more from the learned members of this forum and from my own study, and I am sure with continued effort and exploration I will find my niche. Thanks again everyone.
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Re: Advice

Postby Konchog1 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:59 pm

Vidyaraja wrote:could anyone say that Shingon is "inferior" to Tibetan Buddhism because of their lack of the later Tantras
Yes. Highest Yoga Tantra is superior as its name implies. Of course, this is the Tibetan view. As far as I am aware, Yoga Tantra is lesser only in the sense that one can not attain Enlightenment in one life through it without using Tantric methods of life extension.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Advice

Postby Astus » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:31 pm

There is only one type of inferior tradition in Buddhism and that is what another tradition imagines to be so. Buddhism per definition is the path to liberation, no matter what tradition. Shingon (and Tendai, another Japanese school that maintains an esoteric tradition) are different from Tibetan Vajrayana in several ways, especially because it is East Asian Mahayana and therefore contains teachings unique to that cultural-religious sphere.

It is an important doctrine of Shingon that one can attain buddhahood in this body (sokushin jobutsu), and you can also read Kukai's short work on it, the Sokushin-jobutsu-gi. (As a cultural footnote (not to be confused with Kukai's teaching) look at what sokushinbutsu means.) So, as I said, it is only from the biased interpretation of another tradition that a school is inferior.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Advice

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:37 pm

Since claims of superiority are ubiquitous to every tradition, of everything, everywhere I try to just see them as expressions of enthusiasm:)
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Advice

Postby Konchog1 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:54 pm

Konchog1 wrote:Of course, this is the Tibetan view.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Advice

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:01 pm

Konchog1 wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:Of course, this is the Tibetan view.



I know, it wasn't a comment about one person, tradition or another, just the universal nature of preferring one's own tradition.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Advice

Postby Konchog1 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:36 pm

Don't worry :smile: It wasn't for you, I just figured I should cut everyone off at the pass and make myself clear.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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