Indian Vajrayana

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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby Malcolm » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:42 pm

Khechara wrote:
Hello there. Well, I don't know him personally but from what I do know about him, he is far from being an 'ordinary syncretic Hindu'. The Vajrayana tradition which he belongs to is an old Nath lineage. I came across one of his short books, ''In Search of Tantra: Vajrayana'' on Scribd. This was published for an academic session on the subject a few years ago. I'd like to know what you discussed with him. :)
http://www.scribd.com/doc/51812667/tantra-book-format-small


This is basically a synthesis of Shaiva-agama with Mahāyāna Buddhism with a sprinkling of Vajrayāna thrown for good measure. A lot of talk of "god" and "self" there.
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby invisiblediamond » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:57 pm

The Nath lineage is Hindu. So how could it be Vajrayana? I don't believe he has an unbroken Vajrayana lineage. Unless he got it from the Tibetans. Indians love to play with their alphabet soup. It seems he's founds ways to mix and match terms. Somehow he managed to leave out Saraha as the root of tantric teachings. That's an obvious sign something's wrong here. Also he mixes up Samkya with Vajrayana. That's another one. There are many. There's no unbroken Vajrayana lineage in India or Nepal, except with the Tibetan folks.
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby Khechara » Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:28 pm

invisiblediamond wrote:The Nath lineage is Hindu. So how could it be Vajrayana? I don't believe he has an unbroken Vajrayana lineage. Unless he got it from the Tibetans. Indians love to play with their alphabet soup. It seems he's founds ways to mix and match terms. Somehow he managed to leave out Saraha as the root of tantric teachings. That's an obvious sign something's wrong here. Also he mixes up Samkya with Vajrayana. That's another one. There are many. There's no unbroken Vajrayana lineage in India or Nepal, except with the Tibetan folks.


Yes, the modern Goraknathi orders are what you may call as 'Hindu'. However, it has been debated by scholars that the pre Gorakthnathi teachings, i.e. the Matsyendranath lineage was purely ''vamachari'' and could have been a mix of Saivite-Buddhist tantrism. In his voluminous book entitled ''The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India'', David Gordon White has also stressed on this aspect which many modern Nath yogis may not be aware of or completely ignore them. Scholars have also pointed out the influence of the Saiva-Kapalika Bhairava tantras on the 'Yoginitantras'. Now, Saiva-Kapalikas were no way 'Hindu', because they were non-Vedic and non-Puranic in origin. It is funny that the modern definition of 'Hinduism' makes people believe that it is a singular religion like Christianity or Judaism. Modern scholarly research has already shown that there were innumerable traditions within the Indian sub-continent, both Vedic and non-Vedic in origin. The word 'Hindu' itself is of Persian origin and it didn't come in prominence until the Mughal rule was completely established in India. Hindi as how we know it today is also a historically recent language, which has its origin in Khariboli dialect of North India and it used to be a mix of Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic language during the Islamic rule in India (it was called 'Hindustani' during that era).
The tantric system as how it originated in India was always considered as 'veda bahya' (outside the pale of Vedas) and its followers were condemned by the Brahmanical orthodoxy. It was only later due to the reforms made by Abhinavagupta that the Saivic tantric system was 'sophisticated' and presented as a mixed tradition. Narendra Nath Bhattacharya in classic book 'History of the Tantric Religion' has criticized the modern proponents of this mixed Vedic Tantrism like Gopinath Kaviraj and even John Woodroffe, and was one of the first modern scholars to bring light on this discrepancy in the Indian academic scenario.

Today I was going through the book ''Indian Esoteric Buddhism: A Social History of the Tantric Movement'' which was posted in this thread. The author Ronald Davidson has stressed on the aforementioned topics with more eloquence than other researchers. He has also explained how the Kapalika tradition was co-mingling with the Buddhist tantrikas.

Kulavadhuta may or may not belong to an authentic unbroken lineage of Indian Vajrayana but it may be weird to assume that this native Indian tradition is completely extinct in land where it first came into prominence. The original Charyapada or Charyagiti, which is the collection of the 'Dohas' or mystic songs of the Mahasiddhas was written in pre-Modern Bengali and Oriya languages. It was because the Mahasiddha tradition has its roots in Bengal and the neighboring areas. The Sahajiya cult of Bengal was also a Buddhist tradition before the rise of the Vaishnava Sahajiya movement. Refer to Shashibhushan Dasgupta's ''Obscure Religious Cults'' for more information on this.

The origins of the Nath cult is shrouded with mystery and thus far no authoritative scholarship has been correctly able to state its starting points. It must be noted that I am not talking about the mythical origins of this sect; the scholars too aren't bothered much on establishing proper claims based only on mythological events. Due to the simultaneous existences of the Mahasiddha and the later Nath Siddha traditions in Bengal and its neighboring areas, scholars do come to a common point that there may have been religious exchanges between both the cults. My discussion on Kulavadhuta was also based on this idea, and he is indeed respected as an Indian Vajrayani scholar and yogi in India. As I stated in my original post, it would be better to ask him directly about any questions which you might have regarding to the Vajrayana tradition he has claimed to be a part of. :)
Last edited by Khechara on Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby Khechara » Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:37 pm

Besides this discussion, I am also interested in the Newari Buddhism of Nepal and their Vajrayana tradition. I am quite attracted to the famous Vajrayogini temple in Sankhu which is a pilgrimage site for both Saktas (followers of the Indian Mother Goddess tradition) and Buddhists. Has anybody here been to the temple?
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby pemachophel » Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:59 pm

Yes, I visited Sankhu two years ago at just this time of year. What d'ya want to know about it?

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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby Khechara » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:03 pm

pemachophel wrote:Yes, I visited Sankhu two years ago at just this time of year. What d'ya want to know about it?

:namaste:


Everything, lol! I was attracted to it because both Saktas and Buddhists revere the Vajrayogini temple and it made me think how both these religious systems mix in Nepal.
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby invisiblediamond » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:15 pm

There' are no Indian yogis who don't adhere to Samkhya and the Vedas or Puranas. I used to think like you. But there is nothing resembling Buddhist Vajrayana among Indians. It is amazing to me how thoroughly this was wiped out. The sheer force of the Samkhyas has been unstoppable. Btw. When I say Hindu, I mean alphabet soup guys who claim to be masters of every lineage and makes lots of correspondences between them. This avadhuta business is just like that. Vajrayana is something that has to be precisely maintained in a cloistered setting. That practice was shipped off to Tibet. The Nepali deal is mostly devotional, with vajrayogini as a goddess. I for one would welcome meeting an Indian master with such a lineage, but it's not there. I'm sure many of us would flock there if there were.
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby Khechara » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:41 pm

invisiblediamond wrote:There' are no Indian yogis who don't adhere to Samkhya and the Vedas or Puranas. I used to think like you. But there is nothing resembling Buddhist Vajrayana among Indians. It is amazing to me how thoroughly this was wiped out. The sheer force of the Samkhyas has been unstoppable. Btw. When I say Hindu, I mean alphabet soup guys who claim to be masters of every lineage and makes lots of correspondences between them. This avadhuta business is just like that. Vajrayana is something that has to be precisely maintained in a cloistered setting. That practice was shipped off to Tibet. The Nepali deal is mostly devotional, with vajrayogini as a goddess. I for one would welcome meeting an Indian master with such a lineage, but it's not there. I'm sure many of us would flock there if there were.


Yes, a majority of the modern Indian yogic tradition adheres to the dualistic metaphysics of Samkhya, and the Vedas and Puranas. However, West Bengal and Assam still has a flock of non-Vedic Sakta, Kaul tantrikas and Aghoris. It is true that their numbers have severely dwindled and India's modern religious paradigm mostly consists of devotional dualism. This is also because of the impact of Islam and later Christian missionaries. It should also be noted that many Islamic fakirs were also initiated in the Goraknathi cult and were called 'Pir'.

Guru Padmasambhava was certainly instrumental in 'shipping off' Vajrayana to Tibet but the Indian Vajrayana tradition was still existing until the 12th Century C.E. at least. This factor and other historical researches made me feel that the Vajrayana tradition may still be alive in Bengal and neighboring areas. I think that the truth can only be learnt from personal researches and this also includes a prospective meeting with Mr. Kulavadhuta sometime in the near future. :)
Last edited by Khechara on Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:03 pm

invisiblediamond wrote:Vajrayana is something that has to be precisely maintained in a cloistered setting.

Huh?
Note that, in the higher tantras, there is talk of a self and an I, even though in the lower teachings the absence of self and the absence of I is what is always proclaimed. - Tony Duff
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby invisiblediamond » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:13 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
invisiblediamond wrote:Vajrayana is something that has to be precisely maintained in a cloistered setting.

Huh?


Closely guarded.
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby invisiblediamond » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:20 pm

Khechara wrote:
invisiblediamond wrote:There' are no Indian yogis who don't adhere to Samkhya and the Vedas or Puranas. I used to think like you. But there is nothing resembling Buddhist Vajrayana among Indians. It is amazing to me how thoroughly this was wiped out. The sheer force of the Samkhyas has been unstoppable. Btw. When I say Hindu, I mean alphabet soup guys who claim to be masters of every lineage and makes lots of correspondences between them. This avadhuta business is just like that. Vajrayana is something that has to be precisely maintained in a cloistered setting. That practice was shipped off to Tibet. The Nepali deal is mostly devotional, with vajrayogini as a goddess. I for one would welcome meeting an Indian master with such a lineage, but it's not there. I'm sure many of us would flock there if there were.


Yes, a majority of the modern Indian yogic tradition adheres to the dualistic metaphysics of Samkhya, and the Vedas and Puranas. However, West Bengal and Assam still has a flock of non-Vedic Sakta, Kaul tantrikas and Aghoris. It is true that their numbers have severely dwindled and India's modern religious paradigm mostly consists of devotional dualism. This is also because of the impact of Islam and later Christian missionaries. It should also be noted that many Islamic fakirs were also initiated in the Goraknathi cult and were called 'Pir'.

Guru Padmasambhava was certainly instrumental in 'shipping off' Vajrayana to Tibet but the Indian Vajrayana tradition was still existing until the 12th Century C.E. at least. This factor and other historical researches made me feel that the Vajrayana tradition may still be alive in Bengal and neighboring areas. I think that the truth can only be learnt from personal researches and this also includes a prospective meeting with Mr. Kulavadhuta sometime in the near future. :)


I questioned him on the inner meanings of Mahamudra. He'd never heard of them. I also looked to him based on this same theory you have, but it's a waste of time. He thinks GR held all these Samkhya ideas too. That he was an Avadhuta. They have some screwy ideas about karma; these ideas can totally run the gamut. Anyway, carry on. You can get a completely mished mashed production from him. Indian dharma is in a really bad state these days. You are better off in Colorado.
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby Khechara » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:43 pm

I questioned him on the inner meanings of Mahamudra. He'd never heard of them. I also looked to him based on this same theory you have, but it's a waste of time. He thinks GR held all these Samkhya ideas too. That he was an Avadhuta. They have some screwy ideas about karma; these ideas can totally run the gamut. Anyway, carry on. You can get a completely mished mashed production from him. Indian dharma is in a really bad state these days. You are better off in Colorado.


Aha. Thanks for passing this information. This is why I wanted to know what you had discussed with him about Vajrayana and Buddhism in general. Are you referring to Guru Rinpoche as ''GR''? If so, did he explain the reason for believing that he may have been an Avadhuta? I also saw a page on Facebook claiming that Guru Rinpoche was actually a Nath himself and was the teacher of Matsyendranath! I haven't heard this idea anywhere in the scholarly world.
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:46 pm

invisiblediamond wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
invisiblediamond wrote:Vajrayana is something that has to be precisely maintained in a cloistered setting.

Huh?

Closely guarded.

Would you say that Vajrayana was closely guarded in Tibet?
Note that, in the higher tantras, there is talk of a self and an I, even though in the lower teachings the absence of self and the absence of I is what is always proclaimed. - Tony Duff
To educate the educated is notoriously difficult. - Jacques Barzun
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby invisiblediamond » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:16 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
invisiblediamond wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:Huh?

Closely guarded.

Would you say that Vajrayana was closely guarded in Tibet?


Not all forms but anuttarayoga tantra definitely was.
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby Jikan » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:36 pm

invisiblediamond wrote:There' are no Indian yogis who don't adhere to Samkhya and the Vedas or Puranas.


It's extremely difficult to prove a blanket statement like this.
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:22 pm

invisiblediamond wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:Would you say that Vajrayana was closely guarded in Tibet?
Not all forms but anuttarayoga tantra definitely was.

Really? Maybe I don't know what you mean by "closely guarded". I'm not an expert, but I was under the impression that knowledge of the existence and character of anuttarayoga tantra level practices was widespread in Tibet and that basically anyone with the inclination and resources could receive empowerment and instruction in them. It certainly seems to be the case now, at least in the Tibetan diaspora.
Note that, in the higher tantras, there is talk of a self and an I, even though in the lower teachings the absence of self and the absence of I is what is always proclaimed. - Tony Duff
To educate the educated is notoriously difficult. - Jacques Barzun
སརྦ་དྷརྨ་དྷཱ་ཏུ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby Greg » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:05 pm

It is instructive to look at the situation with Buddhaguptanatha, who appears to have held genuine Buddhist lineages within a syncretic Nath milieu as late as c.1600 CE. I could see them being continued to this day, although in a form so syncretic as to be unrecognizable at Buddhist. Even the Kalacakra tantra appropriates a lot of Samkhya stuff. It seems clear that Indian Buddhist Vajrayana was never wiped out per se, it was just steadily subsumed over the centuries after the monastic establishment crumbled.

Of course, with any given contemporary teacher it is more likely they are just parroting stuff they read on Wikipedia.
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby Khechara » Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:30 am

Greg wrote:It is instructive to look at the situation with Buddhaguptanatha, who appears to have held genuine Buddhist lineages within a syncretic Nath milieu as late as c.1600 CE. I could see them being continued to this day, although in a form so syncretic as to be unrecognizable at Buddhist. Even the Kalacakra tantra appropriates a lot of Samkhya stuff. It seems clear that Indian Buddhist Vajrayana was never wiped out per se, it was just steadily subsumed over the centuries after the monastic establishment crumbled.


Absolutely, Greg! It is great that you mentioned Buddhaguptanatha and his syncreticism of Nath and Buddhist practices. Sometime ago I came across an article written by David Templeman on vajrayana.faithweb.com which I am sharing below for everybody who is interested in this discussion.

http://vajrayana.faithweb.com/natha/Buddhaguptanatha%20a%20late%20Indian%20Siddha%20in%20Tibet.pdf

This is a great example of the mix of Saiva-Buddhist practices which I have already referred in my previous posts.
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby Greg » Wed Oct 09, 2013 4:32 pm

Khechara wrote:
Greg wrote:It is instructive to look at the situation with Buddhaguptanatha, who appears to have held genuine Buddhist lineages within a syncretic Nath milieu as late as c.1600 CE. I could see them being continued to this day, although in a form so syncretic as to be unrecognizable at Buddhist. Even the Kalacakra tantra appropriates a lot of Samkhya stuff. It seems clear that Indian Buddhist Vajrayana was never wiped out per se, it was just steadily subsumed over the centuries after the monastic establishment crumbled.


Absolutely, Greg! It is great that you mentioned Buddhaguptanatha and his syncreticism of Nath and Buddhist practices. Sometime ago I came across an article written by David Templeman on vajrayana.faithweb.com which I am sharing below for everybody who is interested in this discussion.

http://vajrayana.faithweb.com/natha/Buddhaguptanatha%20a%20late%20Indian%20Siddha%20in%20Tibet.pdf

This is a great example of the mix of Saiva-Buddhist practices which I have already referred in my previous posts.


Yes, that is an interesting article. I wish I could get my hands on his dissertation (“Becoming Indian: A Study of the Life of the 16th–17th Century Tibetan Lama Tāranātha.” PhD diss., Monash University, 2008).

There is also some interesting discussion of late Indian Vajrayana in the nath community in "From Bodhgaya to Lhasa to Beijing: The Life and Times of Sariputra (c. 1335-1426),Last Abbot of Bodhgaya" by Arthur Philip McKeown, http://www.scribd.com/doc/117058153/McKeown-Arthur-Philip-From-Bodhgaya-to-Lhasa-to-Beijing-The-Life-and-Times-of-Sariputra-c-1335-1426-%EF%BC%8CLast-Abbot-of-Bodhgaya, particularly in the introduction. McKeown writes (pg 25):

Increasingly, denying Indian Buddhism's survival creates more problems than it solves. The real questions are how and when it finally disappeared from India. Historians like D.C. Sircar argue that it survived in "family lineages," even if Buddhism's institutional form disappeared sometime before the eighteenth century. If a date were needed to mark Buddhism's demise, the fifteenth/sixteenth to eighteenth centuries interval provides one marker. Such decline would be neither drastic, dramatic, nor cataclysmic, but a more even downward slope with periodic resurgences.
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Re: Indian Vajrayana

Postby tingdzin » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:00 am

To Indrajala (I haven't mastered the excerpt function on this site)

Actually, there is some strong evidence that Amoghavajra was a Sogdian and not Indian. Orzech acknowledges this in his book. There seems to have been a deliberate attempt to make all foreign Buddhist monks from India on the part of Chinese Buddhist historians; though I don't have the sources with me here, this has been written about by a few scholars.
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