Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

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Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby DaftChris » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:13 pm

What are some esoteric, mystical or ritual-based, non-Vajrayana schools that can be found in Mahayana or, possibly, Theravada?

I would love to be a Shingon practitioner, but there seem to be absolutely no centers in my region of the U.S. (Southeastern) and there is very little information online. I once upon a time was Tibetan, but no longer identify as such.

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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby Adamantine » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:15 pm

DaftChris wrote:What are some esoteric, mystical or ritual-based, non-Vajrayana schools that can be found in Mahayana or, possibly, Theravada?

I would love to be a Shingon practitioner, but there seem to be absolutely no centers in my region of the U.S. (Southeastern) and there is very little information online. I once upon a time was Tibetan, but no longer identify as such.



Shingon is still Vajrayana. Is your problem with Vajrayana or Tibetan culture?
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby plwk » Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:58 am


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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:22 am



Tiendai is still Vajrayana (presumably Tien Tai is as well since Saicho originally took that transmission).

Kirt
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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby plwk » Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:27 am



Tiendai is still Vajrayana (presumably Tien Tai is as well since Saicho originally took that transmission).

Kirt

I doubt Jikan will agree with that as they are not a full fledged Vajrayana unlike Shingon and their chief emphasis is still the Lotus Sutra... so this is the closest one may get to I guess with Sutrayana/Bodhisattvayana without the full Vajrayana deal, perhaps with just some as what some may call, lower Tantra stuff at the very least... yeah but Saicho did not set up Tendai the way Kukai did with Shingon now did he?
Last edited by plwk on Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby Indrajala » Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:28 am

kirtu wrote:


Tiendai is still Vajrayana (presumably Tien Tai is as well since Saicho originally took that transmission).

Kirt


Chinese Tiantai was not esoteric. Saicho got his empowerments on the continent from others. The esoteric wing was developed by Ennin and Enchin.

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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:02 am

Indrajala wrote:
kirtu wrote:


Tiendai is still Vajrayana (presumably Tien Tai is as well since Saicho originally took that transmission).

Kirt


Chinese Tiantai was not esoteric. Saicho got his empowerments on the continent from others. The esoteric wing was developed by Ennin and Enchin.


I had wanted to avoid the "Saicho got his empowerments from Kukai" thing although Stevens (and others) point this out concerning the time when Saicho had returned to Japan or shortly before.

So Saicho was syncretist from the start? From whom did he get empowerments in China?

Kirt
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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby Indrajala » Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:20 am

kirtu wrote:So Saicho was syncretist from the start? From whom did he get empowerments in China?

Kirt


It was really just fortuitous that he could receive empowerments from Shunxiao 順曉 in 805. He was supposed to be on a ship to return home, but was delayed, so he sought out some further teachings, texts and implements.

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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:36 am

Indrajala wrote:
kirtu wrote:So Saicho was syncretist from the start? From whom did he get empowerments in China?

Kirt


It was really just fortuitous that he could receive empowerments from Shunxiao 順曉 in 805. He was supposed to be on a ship to return home, but was delayed, so he sought out some further teachings, texts and implements.


Who was Shunxiao?

Kirt
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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby plwk » Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:13 pm

So Saicho was syncretist from the start? From whom did he get empowerments in China?

Kirt


It was really just fortuitous that he could receive empowerments from Shunxiao 順曉 in 805. He was supposed to be on a ship to return home, but was delayed, so he sought out some further teachings, texts and implements.


Who was Shunxiao?

Kirt

http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/opend ... ions/3333/
It is said that the Japanese monk Saicho (767-822), during his nine-month stay in China, was initiated by his chief Chinese Esoteric mentor Shunxiao (n.d.) into an illustrious esoteric lineage starting from a prestigious Indian Esoteric master Subhakarasimha (637-735). It is also believed that Shunxiao, based on three Esoteric texts translated by Subhakarasimha, transmitted to Saicho some particular forms of Esoteric Buddhist teachings, the core of which is preserved in one of the two "dharma-transmission documents" (fuhomon) supposedly written by Shunxiao to certify the esoteric transmission conducted between himself and Saicho.

This is the conventional view regarding the roots of Tendai Esoteric Buddhism in Japan. This dissertation subjects this conventional view to a critical examination. It argues that the two fuhomons ascribed to Shunxiao were not written by Shunxiao himself, but were prepared in Japan for re-interpreting the meaning, and strengthening the legitimacy, of the initiation Saicho received from China. The three siddhi texts attributed to Subhakarsimha were also composed in Japan as the scriptural support for Saicho's esoteric transmission.

The Tendai form of Esoteric Buddhism in the name of Saicho was for the main part created not by Saicho himself but by his followers. These negative conclusions can be turned into a positive agenda for future research of Japanese Tendai Buddhism. Scholars can turn from a fruitless search for the roots of Tendai Esoteric Buddhism in China to look more closely in Japan. On the other hand, this study might invite more scholarly attention to a host of Buddhist apocrypha which, long regarded as Chinese, might have been actually produced in Japan or Korea.

More here

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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby plwk » Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:30 pm

On the other hand, to meet the OP's choice, there's another choice in Chinese Mahayana if one joins this tradition under any present living lineages/schools to like either Ch'an (Chinese form of Zen) or Pure Land or those who advocate dual practice of both where besides learning Ch'an meditation and/or Buddha Name recitation, if one is fortunate to connect with a learned community or a willing worthy teacher, there are esoteric practices like the 42 Hands & Eyes of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, the Maha Cundi practices, the East Asian form of Mahakala practice, the daily food offerings like the mid morning & evening Meng Shan ceremonies, the Yogacara Ulka Mukha rite and many many others that one can learn on besides the daily standard morning recitations which has 3 major parts of various mantras sets: the 5 Part Surangama Mantra, the Great Compassion Mantra & the Ten Small Mantras. For the ones mentioned earlier, many places and teachers would have insist on one having already taken the basic Refuge and Lay Precepts, the Bodhisattva Vows, observing vegetarianism and that one is a stable practitioner.

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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:19 pm

plwk wrote:This dissertation subjects this conventional view to a critical examination. It argues that the two fuhomons ascribed to Shunxiao were not written by Shunxiao himself, but were prepared in Japan for re-interpreting the meaning, and strengthening the legitimacy, of the initiation Saicho received from China. The three siddhi texts attributed to Subhakarsimha were also composed in Japan as the scriptural support for Saicho's esoteric transmission.


Yeah, I read that too. So Shunxiao may or may not have been fictitious. Was he recorded in history? Who was Subhakarasimha?

Kirt
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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby DaftChris » Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:39 pm

Adamantine wrote:
DaftChris wrote:What are some esoteric, mystical or ritual-based, non-Vajrayana schools that can be found in Mahayana or, possibly, Theravada?

I would love to be a Shingon practitioner, but there seem to be absolutely no centers in my region of the U.S. (Southeastern) and there is very little information online. I once upon a time was Tibetan, but no longer identify as such.



Shingon is still Vajrayana. Is your problem with Vajrayana or Tibetan culture?


Is isn't a problem with either. After a while I just could no longer emotionally or intellectually identify with Tibetan anymore. I'm highly interested in Shingon, but it is even more secretive than Tibetan and there are very little resources online and no centers anywhere near me. Which is why I asked if there are any other mystical branches of Mahayana to consider.

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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:55 pm

DaftChris wrote:
DaftChris wrote:What are some esoteric, mystical or ritual-based, non-Vajrayana schools that can be found in Mahayana or, possibly, Theravada?

I would love to be a Shingon practitioner, but there seem to be absolutely no centers in my region of the U.S. (Southeastern) and there is very little information online. I once upon a time was Tibetan, but no longer identify as such.

...
I'm highly interested in Shingon, but it is even more secretive than Tibetan and there are very little resources online and no centers anywhere near me. Which is why I asked if there are any other mystical branches of Mahayana to consider.


I don't know what you mean by "mystical". I don't see Vajrayana as "mystical" but must confess that the English definition of mystical is nonsensical to me unless you mean magical (and Vajrayana isn't magical).

There is a Shingon group in the US other than in Hawaii and just California: Shinnyo-en USA, but they may be officially classified as a New Religion in Japan. Otherwise you will need to basically invest time going to California and attending Shingon Shu services. In the 90's there was a Shingon priest who tried to start something up in Vermont but I lost track of it.

However Shudengo may also be possible. In the Northern VA area Tendai is possible (see Jikan if interested).

Kirt
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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby Nilasarasvati » Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:03 pm

I have wondered about Shinno-En and they seem really cool...but after meeting a member and hearing about their practices....it sounds like a cult. Moreover, an eternalist/theistic cult. I'd love to hear opposing views on this if anybody has other experiences.

I'm also happy to extrapolate if anybody is really skeptic or wonders what I mean by cult.

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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby Nilasarasvati » Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:14 pm

After a while I just could no longer emotionally or intellectually identify with Tibetan anymore.


You mean Tibetan the language? Or the culture? Or...

And am I correct in assuming that you can identify with Japanese culture?

Because identifying or not identifying with either of those is not Buddhist. Not Buddhism. Not the path. It's exoticism and spiritual materialism.

As a retired very-hungry-caterpillar of world religions, I can assure you, you will never immerse yourself in a beautiful exotic religion that does not lose its sparkle . If the container and not the content of the practice is your focus, you'll eventually be up a creek and miserable like I was so many times.

Image

Don't get me wrong. There's plenty (tons in fact) about Tibetan culture that I downright abhor. Or, more commonly, sigh about in exasperation.
Last edited by Nilasarasvati on Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby cataractmoon » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:05 am

I once upon a time was Tibetan, but no longer identify as such.


I'd like to know more information, too. I practice Tibetan Buddhism. I certainly am an open-minded person and do not mind articulated reasons.

In my geographical area, there are many who have given up on Tibetan Buddhism. They have had issues with lamas more than the practices. Others have issues because they don't view themselves as visual learners.

What are your reasons?

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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby DaftChris » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:02 am

What do I mean by "Tibetan"?

I DON''T mean the language or culture. Those, at least to me, are different entities in themselves. If one chooses a religion based on the culture alone, then they are choosing a religion for a wrong reason. A religion should stimulate one intellectually as well as emotionally. When I say I no longer Identify as a Tibetan Buddhist, it simply means that it's beliefs no longer resonate with me. I don't agree with strong adherence to lineage (I'm aware this is also done in Shingon, but I don't believe as strongly); I'm skeptical of the Dalai Lama as well as the politics of him and/or the Lamas returning to power in Tibet; I don't like the apparent fundamentalism found in many followers and, I'm probably opening a can of worms by saying this, there are some other controversies that are ridiculous. It seems that most would rather fight over these controversies rather than following the teachings of the Buddha and being compassionate.
Last edited by kirtu on Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited after PMing/consulting with author to avoid TOS issue

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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby plwk » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:47 am

Who was Subhakarasimha?
1 2 3 4
Was he recorded in history?
I have no idea other than sources from the Japanese Shingon side, the revived sister tradition of the Chinese Tang Mi and the earlier links I gave seem to also mention the Koreans but I wonder if he's included in other works like 'Biographies of Eminent Monks', 'Further Biographies of Eminent Monks' and other collections...

I am also curious abt the OP as his own thread title and opening is on 'esoteric/mystical, non Vajrayana Buddhist Schools' yet wanting to be involved with a full fledged Vajrayana School like Shingon?
Or perhaps the former is a second choice or 'back up' in case the latter is not available as the expressed difficulty in finding a Shingon community and teacher?
Last edited by plwk on Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Esoteric/Mystical, non-Vajrayana Buddhist schools?

Postby DaftChris » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:49 am

I am also curious abt the OP as his own thread title and opening is on 'esoteric/mystical, non Vajrayana Buddhist Schools' yet wanting to be involved with a full fledged Vajrayana School like Shingon?
Or perhaps the former is a second choice or 'back up' in case the latter is not available as the expressed difficulty in finding a Shingon community and teacher?


I could have worded my OP better. I feel a draw to Shingon, but realize how difficult that may be when there are no centers and very little information on it. As such, I wanted to know if there were any esoteric non-Vajrayana schools that I could possibly consider.


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