TMingyur wrote:Dear Vajrayana followers
Take this statement:
The vajrayana is not necessary generally even for successful Mahayana practice but the "understanding" of the four noble truths (as taught in the sutta pitaka) is generally necessary for sucessful practice of any buddhist path which necessarily implies the integration of this "understanding".
Would you say that this statement is "anti-propaganda against collections other than the sutta pitaka"?
Wording changed a bit to match intention better.
It depends-- from a vajrayana POV, the vajrayana is the natural progression of the mahayana-- so once one gets to a particular point in mahayana practice vajrayana (not the brand name, but the essence) is inevitable. From the POV of a mahayana practitioner then there would be no apparent need for vajrayana practice, at least until they reached a level where it theoretically became inevitable. But we are speaking purely of the essence of vajrayana-- not the trappings or the appearance of it. I believe a student of Trungpa Rinpoche asked him if Suzuki Roshi practiced vajrayana, in the context of a teaching dialogue similar to this- and he said something terse like- "yes, good for him!". So he was obviously pointing to something beyond the way we normally identify vajrayana.
Now as far as the "understanding" of the four noble truths (as taught in the sutta pitaka
) being generally
necessary for sucessful practice of any buddhist path.. that sounds reasonable but I am not so sure. Why? Because the essential teaching of the four noble truths is found endlessly in a great deal of mahayana and vajrayana literature and practice-texts.. so one would automatically be imbibing and integrating this understanding without ever needing to refer to the sutta pitaka. And who is to say that the source of this essential understanding was the sutta pitaka prior to the physical recording of these other texts? That would be an unviable claim to make. As I mentioned earlier, it is quite plausible that the oral lineages of mahayana sutras were simply written down a bit later than the pali ones, this doesn't mean they are any less likely to be recordings of the actual historical Buddha's teachings. And vajrayana has an entirely different system of understanding transmission and revelation. But I received a quite profound teaching regarding the Maha Ati vehicle which is the natural progression or perfection of Vajrayana practice, -and the Lama taught primarily on the first words said to be uttered by Buddha Shakyamuni after his great awakening under the Bodhi tree. These were something like
"Deep and quiet,
simple, clear, unformed.
A truth that is
like nectar, I have found.
Whoever I explain it,
no one will understand.
So, in the jungle,
silent, I remain."
The Lama explained in detail how this was an expression of Dzogchen and is a Dzogchen teaching itself, and he unfolded the meaning so we received a couple hours of pure Dzogchen teaching directly derived from this first utterance. However later the Buddha was moved to leave the jungle and physically teach by the insistent requests of Indra and Brahma -where he subsequently used many relative methods and words to teach according to the varying capacities of sentient beings.. I just bring this up because it is another perspective on the "foundation" of the teachings. From the Maha Ati perspective, this realization itself beyond expression was and is the foundation- not the four noble truths. The words used to express the inexpressible will always mislead in one way or another, which is why the direct transmission from teacher to disciple through methods that aren't reliant on words alone is considered indispensable in the 'higher' yanas. In this way, a text, even the sutta pitaka, could never substitute for this, and therefore wouldn't be considered as primary.