Mahamudra and tantra

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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:19 am

Yes. Any swift attainment is due to past karma. In Co-Emergent Mahamudra where emotions are taken onto the path "abiding," is the shyamatha application of realization, the resting. The vipashyana realization is three parts: 1) Mahamudra of the nature of mind, 2) Mahamudra of thought, and 3) Mahamudra of appearance. Rounded up, there is just clarity-emptiness. But the test of whether one has a stable realization is whether one can abide in the nature of mind, whether thoughts of the three times resolve into their own place, and whether one can recognize that emotions arising in connection between sense organs and objects have the nature of space. Although true "Essence," does not need to take emotions on the path, these qualifications are helpful to know if one has real experience of "Mahamudra." Anyway a real cig char ba will never come across these issues, because the guru will have known that person is ready; after pointing out, the cig char ba goes directly to buddhahood. I have never heard of any teacher report any real cig char ba.
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby In the bone yard » Sat May 04, 2013 6:25 pm

Chogyam Trungpa has said Mahamudra is lower tantra (first 3 yanas of tantra).

Because Buddhism steers us away from intellect, there can be many meanings to one word.
Because this religion teaches us to look inward rather than outward to find god, there are more meanings to just one word.
The deeper the teaching the more meaning a word may contain.
Consider one's level of understanding.

Mahamudra as a lineage can be traced back to Saraha but lineages don't have to hold their own.
For instance Mahamudra in practiced in the Kagyu lineage.

Practioners get hung up on terminologies within lineages, but there can only be one path, although many different methods (lineages) to traverse it.
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby muni » Sat May 04, 2013 6:46 pm

In the bone yard wrote:Chogyam Trungpa has said Mahamudra is lower tantra (first 3 yanas of tantra).

Because Buddhism steers us away from intellect, there can be many meanings to one word.
Because this religion teaches us to look inward rather than outward to find god, there are more meanings to just one word.
The deeper the teaching the more meaning a word may contain.
Consider one's level of understanding.

Mahamudra as a lineage can be traced back to Saraha but lineages don't have to hold their own.
For instance Mahamudra in practiced in the Kagyu lineage.

Practioners get hung up on terminologies within lineages, but there can only be one path, although many different methods (lineages) to traverse it.

Practioners get hung up on terminologies within lineages, but there can only be one path, although many different methods (lineages) to traverse it.
Thank you very much. :smile: :namaste:
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby heart » Sat May 04, 2013 10:20 pm

In the bone yard wrote:Chogyam Trungpa has said Mahamudra is lower tantra (first 3 yanas of tantra).


Where did Chogyam Trungpa say that? In the Sarma tradition there is only one level of higher tantra, not three like in the Nyingma.

/magnus
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby In the bone yard » Sun May 05, 2013 8:42 pm

heart wrote:
In the bone yard wrote:Chogyam Trungpa has said Mahamudra is lower tantra (first 3 yanas of tantra).


Where did Chogyam Trungpa say that? In the Sarma tradition there is only one level of higher tantra, not three like in the Nyingma.

/magnus


heart,
One of his seminars in the early 70s that was eventually published... LION'S ROAR: An Introduction to Tantra.


Thank you muni. :smile:
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby heart » Mon May 06, 2013 5:30 am

In the bone yard wrote:
heart wrote:
In the bone yard wrote:Chogyam Trungpa has said Mahamudra is lower tantra (first 3 yanas of tantra).


Where did Chogyam Trungpa say that? In the Sarma tradition there is only one level of higher tantra, not three like in the Nyingma.

/magnus


heart,
One of his seminars in the early 70s that was eventually published... LION'S ROAR: An Introduction to Tantra.




You must have misunderstood, your statement makes no sense to me.

/magnus
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby Lingpupa » Tue May 07, 2013 3:06 pm

Magnus said that the statement that mahamudra belongs to the outer three tantras makes no sense to him. Me neither.

If we leave aside things like sutra or essence mahamudra and seek to locate mahamudra in the tantric scheme, it turns out to be dead easy. It belongs to HYT. There isn't really any scope for discussion there - it simply is so, as has been explained innumerable times by every authority who has addressed the issue.

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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby randomseb » Tue May 07, 2013 4:35 pm

Mahamudra seems to be the highest level of practice in the Kagyu lineage, and the Karmapa said Trungpa was "The Guy" in the West for Kagyu, at the time, so this doesn't make too much sense, but then again Trungpa might have been addressing the attachments of a specific crowd, something that happens a lot with good teachers, apparently

On the other hand, Tantra practice, that is to say the mantra practice, seems to me to be similar to a shamata, where you are using the mantra as an object of focus and keeping your awareness on it and the visualization is the same kind of focus as keeping awareness on some visual object and your breathing, let's say.. Just using sense organ of the brain instead of sense organ of the eye, you know?

:shrug:
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby conebeckham » Tue May 07, 2013 6:09 pm

randomseb wrote:On the other hand, Tantra practice, that is to say the mantra practice, seems to me to be similar to a shamata, where you are using the mantra as an object of focus and keeping your awareness on it and the visualization is the same kind of focus as keeping awareness on some visual object and your breathing, let's say.. Just using sense organ of the brain instead of sense organ of the eye, you know?

:shrug:


This is just one element of Tantric practice....there is much, much more. But we'll not go there, here.

Mahamudra as a term has so many meanings...but it can be understood not only as a path or practice, but as the True Nature. As such, by definition, it's the highest "teaching" of the Buddha, the very apex of Dharma. As Lingpupa said, it is clearly explicated in the Highest Yoga Tantras. That's not to say that Sutras and Shastras don't have any bearing on it.

I'd like to see the exact Trungpa quote referred to here, but I'm going out on a limb and saying it was some sort of skillful means.
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue May 07, 2013 6:30 pm

Some tantric sadhanas include mahamudra meditations!

Speaking purely as a tantra newbie, my limited experiences seems to be that tantra by definition includes the elements of vipassana and shamatha, the weird thing is they happen the same time as normal awareness and appearances, unlike doing sutra practices in isolation where one either "steps into sunyata" or is in normal awareness.

Mahamudra is such an encompassing term, it seems like trying to define it is somewhat pointless, everything i've read on the subject seems to avoid just that, and encourage letting go of definitions.

I actually don't remember anything like that from Lion's Roar ( not to say it isn't there, just don't remember it)..all I remember was the usual metaphors I have read elsewhere..reality as it is, kind of experience of reality without a center, etc.
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue May 07, 2013 10:28 pm

All sadhana are Mahamudra practices (that's what my teachers tell me, now if only I could put their teachings into practice... :(
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby anjali » Wed May 08, 2013 12:38 am

Here is Traleg Kyabgon's perspective on the relationship between Mahamudra and Tantra. It may be just his perspective, not shared by others. These extended quotes are from Mind At Ease, pages 7-11.

From about the eighth century onward, we start to see numerous examples of Indian mahasiddhas repudiating traditional tantric methods and advancing instead a direct perception of the nature of the mind as the quintessential method for realizing enlightenment. According to the well-known Tibetan author and translator Go Lotsawa (ca. 1392--1481), "the great brahmana Saraha was the first to introduce the Mahamudra as the chief of all paths."
...
The situation arose where some mahasiddhas continued to promote Mahamudra as the apex of tantric practices and conventions, while others, such as Saraha and Maitripa, began to disassociate themselves and their Mahamudra teachings from Tantrism.
...
[Shifting to a discussion of the Kagyu school] It was not until the eleventh and twelfth centuries that Mahamudra doctrine attained a distinct position within the Kagyu school, after Gampopa formally introduced the approach into the mainstream Buddhist practices of his lineage. ... It was only Gampopoa, toward the end of his life, who began to emphasize a practice of Mahamudra independent of tantric practices and empowerments that became a separate practice unto itself. As Takpo Tashi Namgyal explains in his famous Mahamudra manual:
The teachers of this meditational lineage up to Milarepa meditated mainly on the key instructions of the Mantrayana mysticism [Tantra] while at various times incorporating vital instructions on mahamudra from the discourses on the yogas of inner heat and lucid awareness [tantric practices]. Yet, the great master Gampopa, having been moved by immeasurable compassion, expounded mainly on the quintessential instructions on mahamudra. As a result it became widely known as the single path for all predestined seekers.

Go Lotsawa also mentions that, prior to Gampopa, the Mahamudra teachings were exclusively given as a highly secret instruction to practitioners who had received tantric initiation. Gampopa was revolutionary in this matter as well. Not only did he extract the Mahamudra practice as a self-sufficient doctrine; he also significantly liberalized its dispersion by giving instructions outside of the tantric environment. While Milarepa did not teach Mahahmudra separate from the tantric teachings, Gampopa began to give tantric initiations to select students and Mahamudra teachings to all the rest without giving them tantric initiations. He thus initiated a widespread practice of separating the Mahamudra cycle of teachings from their tantric origins.
...
The Tibetan tradition usually divides the different historical and philosophical approaches to Buddhist practice into three vehicles (yanas). These are the Hinayana (small vehicle), the Mahayana (great vehicle), and the Vajrayana (indestructible vehicle). Sometimes a fourth vehicle is also included in Tibetan literature, as noted by some twentieth-century Indian historians. This is the Sahajayana (the vehicle of coemergence). In Tibetan this is called lhen chig kye pa (lhen chig equivalent to saha and kye is the same as ja). Sahaja literally denotes "being born (ja) together with (saha)" and was applied to the teachings and dohas of many of the Indian mahasiddhas who were associated with the Indian Mahamudra lineage. Therefore the Mahamudra approach can also be described as the Sahajayana (the vehicle of sahaja) as opposed to the Tantrayana (the vehicle of Tantra). It might be useful to use the notion of the Sahajayana here to emphasize that the Mahamudra teachings are a unique and separate vehicle in their own right.

The Kagyu tradition extends this classification further by identifying four fundamental approaches to enlightenment: renunciation, purification, transformation, and self-liberation. Each approach corresponds to one of the four vehicles. The Hinayana corresponds to the approach of renunciation, the Mahayana to the apporach of purification, the Vajrayana to the approach of transformation, and the Sahajayana (or Mahamudra) to the approach of self-liberation.

We shall add one further overarching typology to those above. All the Buddhas teachings can be divided into exoteric, esoteric, and mystical categories. IN general terms, these three could be said to correspond respectively to codified orthodoxies, secret teachings given only to initiates, and mystical teachings that transcend the reference points of most worldy activities. The Hinayana and Mahayana fall into the general category of the exoteric approach, the Vajrayana (tantric) is the esoteric approach, and the Mahamudra tradition is the mystical approach.
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby randomseb » Wed May 08, 2013 1:26 am

I once was told that mahamudra is sort of the Tibetan version of Zen practice, if that's of any help to anyone in making a frame of reference. Assuming one's studied and contemplated the texts of the Patriarchs and ancient Masters, as opposed to just sitting militantly in some modern group

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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby MalaBeads » Wed May 08, 2013 1:19 pm

Thank you Anjali for the post. It was helpful.
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 08, 2013 2:29 pm

randomseb wrote:I once was told that mahamudra is sort of the Tibetan version of Zen practice, if that's of any help to anyone in making a frame of reference. Assuming one's studied and contemplated the texts of the Patriarchs and ancient Masters, as opposed to just sitting militantly in some modern group
What is Zen practice? As far as I am aware of there are many practices in the Zen tradition. Which practice are you refering to?
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One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby lama tsewang » Sat May 11, 2013 10:10 am

originally there was just one practice of just sitting. later they developed koans, the original zen practice is done by the soto zen lineage.
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby Astus » Sun May 12, 2013 8:38 pm

lama tsewang wrote:originally there was just one practice of just sitting. later they developed koans, the original zen practice is done by the soto zen lineage.


Says so the Soto Zen people. :) But it is true that kanna zen (practice with koans) is a 12th century development. Although, so is the idea of emphasising zazen. However, this is not the forum for this topic.
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby dzogchungpa » Sun May 12, 2013 11:52 pm

lama tsewang wrote:originally there was just one practice of just sitting. later they developed koans, the original zen practice is done by the soto zen lineage.

I suggest you have a look at "Just Sitting? Dogen's Take on Zazen, Sutra Reading, and Other Conventional Buddhist Practices" - T. Griffith Foulk
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby In the bone yard » Wed May 15, 2013 1:46 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Some tantric sadhanas include mahamudra meditations!

Speaking purely as a tantra newbie, my limited experiences seems to be that tantra by definition includes the elements of vipassana and shamatha, the weird thing is they happen the same time as normal awareness and appearances, unlike doing sutra practices in isolation where one either "steps into sunyata" or is in normal awareness.

Mahamudra is such an encompassing term, it seems like trying to define it is somewhat pointless, everything i've read on the subject seems to avoid just that, and encourage letting go of definitions.

I actually don't remember anything like that from Lion's Roar ( not to say it isn't there, just don't remember it)..all I remember was the usual metaphors I have read elsewhere..reality as it is, kind of experience of reality without a center, etc.


Johnny,
There's an index in the book, just look up Mahamudra.
I believe there's also a chapter titled Mahamudra and Maha ati where he explains the difference fully between Mahamudra and higher tantra.

Dharma friends,
I would like to see these references where Mahamudra is supposed to be highest tantra.
Would you gentlemen please direct me?

Also, we have to understand that translations sometimes come with mistakes. If you do not understand tantra or have the experience of what an author is trying to convey, how can he or she translate the dharma effectively? It is for this reason I only read sacred texts, books translated by Rinpoches or where the dharma is taught in English by Rinpoches. This is one reason why dharma is so misunderstood, trying to learn from un-sacred translations.

This brings me to the other problem where many here try to understand dharma that is not meant to be understood intellectually. Or you are just competing with other people with how much you know. Texts can only point the way to the experience, and if you are unable to take the teaching, you will not be able to understand the message. It is a waste of time and you are wasting time that could be made meditating and aiming for the goal yourself.
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Re: Mahamudra and tantra

Postby conebeckham » Wed May 15, 2013 2:28 am

Bone yard-

You'll find the term "mahamudra" in the Highest Yoga tantras, especially the Mother and Nondual subclasses.

You'll also find it in the dohas of the Mahasiddhas. You should check out the Third Karmapa's "Aspiration prayer of Mahamudra," along with any commentary you can find on the text--there are a variety of books with this material published. This should quickly clarify any misconceptions you may have about Mahamudra being a "lower" teaching.
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