Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

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yegyal
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby yegyal » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:36 am

"Believing in things that aren't there"
Doesn't that describe most of the "things" people believe in?

As for health problems, the most widespread issue that Buddhist practitioners face are lung/wind problems, which covers a variety of nervous conditions. I think is what they refer to in Japan as "Zen sickness," and it's pretty much caused by those that either push themselves or practice ina very forceful or tight way. But this has much less to do with secrecy, than it does the need for the guidance of a teacher who can notice and help you correct these kinds of deviations.

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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:21 am

Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

yegyal
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby yegyal » Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:42 am

Ya, the landing is the tough part.

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Astus
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Astus » Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:28 am

Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



yegyal
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby yegyal » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:14 pm

Wind problems refers to disorder or imbalance in the rlung or wind energy, which can result in a slew of nervous conditions. Tibetans just refer to this imbalance as "lung" and it's very common problem for people practicing in long retreat. If anybody as ever been to a Tibetan doctor and been given "sem de" (or happy mind) pills, this is for lung. However, somebody who is more familiar with Tibetan medicine could explain this much better than I can.

And a quick search turned up this site http://meditatorswindimbalance.org/ I'm not sure how reliable it is, but it will give you the basic idea.
Last edited by yegyal on Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Astus
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Astus » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:36 pm

yegyal,

You say nervous conditions. Is that a reference to actual bodily problems, or only to energetic issues? I mean, can you describe probable health related dangers in modern medical terms, or does it only exist in the old Indo-Tibetan view of the human body? I think this is a relevant question as far as the reason for secrecy goes, because if it can be shown that certain practices cause actual physical and/or mental damage to people, it'd require stricter control (similarly to psychotherapists and doctors).

After reading the section on that site, I'd say such problems with trying too hard and doing the meditation wrong can occur with any type of practice. That is, Vajrayana doesn't require any special treatment in this case.
Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



yegyal
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:02 am

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby yegyal » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:56 pm

As I mentioned in a previous post, I don't think this should necessarily be counted among the reasons for secrecy as it's not something that exclusively plagues Vajrayana practitioners. But to try and answer your question, this is something that is specific to Indo-Tibetan medicine as lung is one of the three humors, along with bile and phlegm, that this system is based on. So you're not going to be able to put this into modern medical terms, but it is a very commonly diagnosed and treated by Tibetan doctors. But, again, I'm not suggesting that this is a reason for secrecy in terms of the Vajrayana, as much as it is an indicator of the need for proper training and guidance. So, sorry if I'm derailing the secrecy conversation, but I just wanted to point out that these are the kinds of health problems most commonly associated with Buddhist practitioners, at least in the Tibetan tradition.

Dharmaswede
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Dharmaswede » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:45 pm

I have seen a couple of unstable individuals in Vajrayana. Although there was no way to judge what came first (where they attracted to Vajrayana because they were unstable, or did they become labile due to their involvement in Vajrayana?), I think I saw enough to think that their condition certainly was not improved by Tantric practices.

There are many layers and finer points to ponder upon when it comes to secrecy in Vajrayana, and there good examples of that in this thread. But to me it is just a given that not all practices are for everyone. Yidam is but one very straight forward example.

Best Regards,

Jens

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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby byamspa » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:31 am

I think if someone had been frank about all the cr*p that comes up with a solid meditation practise, i'd have been loathe to even start, much less keep it up for 20 yrs or so.

Its not a path for wimps, that is certain.
Phenomenon, vast as space, dharmata is your base, arising and falling like ocean tide cycles, why do i cling to your illusion of unceasing changlessness?

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Konchog1
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:48 am

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

yegyal
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby yegyal » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:52 am

This thread started with the question of the "historical" reason for secrecy in the Vajrayana and if that's the question, then you really have to go way back to the spread of the teachings in India and Tibet. However, it seems that some a more interested in justifications for why it should be kept secret now. And that's a different kind of discussion, but a very interesting one nonetheless. For me, I would say that tantra and secrecy go together like marriage and fidelity. Sure, not everybody that gets married is faithful, but those that aren't certainly undermine the sanctity of that relationship. On the other hand, it's a pledge you make when recieving certain teachings, as most of those that do practice in this tradition know that some things are more secret than others, and this usually based on the explicit command to keep them secret. And if you can't keep that pledge, then you really have no business requesting those teachings. If you break a confidentiality agreement in regular life there will be consequences, so why wouldn't you think the same thing applies on less mundane level. And then there is the idea of the benefit of keeping one's practice secret as an enhancing practice. One previous poster mentioned upaya, but I would take it a step further and call it upadesha, or a pith instruction. To illustrate this point, first imagine that you're given a teaching to make you humble and it works incredibly well. You used to be extremely arrogant and now you're not and you see all the benefits of being humbles and it's a whole new world for you. Do you think that there would be the slightest benefit in going around telling people how humble you have become? Wouldn't all you workd for just fly out the window, the moment you bragged about it? In the same way, vajra pride turns into regular pride pretty damn quick if you start to make a show of it.

Anyway, that's what I think. Just a few more pieces of the puzzle to add the ones that have already been put out there by the rest of you.

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byamspa
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby byamspa » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:09 am

Phenomenon, vast as space, dharmata is your base, arising and falling like ocean tide cycles, why do i cling to your illusion of unceasing changlessness?

Jnana
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Jnana » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:26 pm


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Grigoris
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Grigoris » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:51 pm

"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Grigoris
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Grigoris » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:59 pm

"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Jnana
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Jnana » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:30 pm


oldbob
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby oldbob » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:33 pm


MalaBeads
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby MalaBeads » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:41 pm

OB,
for an old bozo, you make alot of sense.
I am well aware of my idiocy. I am also very aware that you too are an idiot. Therein lies our mutuality.

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Astus
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Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Astus » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:58 pm

Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



User avatar
Grigoris
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Posts: 14670
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Historical reasons for secrecy in Vajrayana?

Postby Grigoris » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:09 pm

Secrecy does not apply only to the practices per se but to your practice.

For example: if you know what lineage I practice in then chances are you know the main protector of the lineage so if you want to mess with me (on a magical level) you will know what to avoid. But do you know my personal protector practice? If I am smart enough to keep it secret then chances are you won't know. You could make an educated guess (since almost all their practices are out there somewhere in cyber space) but you would still just be guessing. There are plently of practices (both wrathful and other) that are not freely available.

Now Tibet was a land of magic (both "black" and "white") and we don't live in Tibet. But here in Greece, for example, there are still magical practices. Local protectors still have animals sacrificed to them (albeit the rituals now have a Christian slant). There are plently of viable power places (even in the big cities), etc... Even the official Orthodox Church still has magical practices (and practices that you can only learn directly from a spiritual teacher). Buddhism is officially condemned by the Greek Orthodox Church as a heresy and there have even been instances of Buddhist practice centres being torched. So secrecy is actually quite important. The reasoning behind secrecy is still VERY apparent. Imagine what it is like for Buddhist practitioners in neighbouring Turkey. Even mainstream Islam was frowned upon in Turkey under the Kemalists and Sufism was impossible to practice openly (except as a tourist side show attraction) until recently.

Secrecy definitely has it's advantages.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde


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