What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby conebeckham » Wed May 11, 2011 1:40 am

Which "conclusion" should we start with? That Kalachakra Tantra teaches that Tibetans advocate a War against Islam? That Tantra somehow is misogynistic by it's very nature? That the Nazis practiced Vajrayana Buddhism?

A list of references doesn't necessarily support the claims or conclusions made...I would urge you to evaluate what they say, in light of any genuine teachings you've had, from genuine dharma teachers...
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby conebeckham » Wed May 11, 2011 3:17 am

For example, here's a quote from an interview:
The intricate Mandala, constructed during the Kalachakra Ceremony, is made with coloured sand and symbolizes the whole universe. At the end of the ritualistic performance the sand construction will be destroyed by the Tibetan monks. The so called “dismantling” of the sand Mandala symbolizes the destruction of the world and of the universe. This is part of the apocalyptic Doomsday Scenarios in the Kalachakra prophecies which culminate in a final battle and the End of our planet. Nevertheless the construction and destruction of the Mandala is presented by the Dalai Lama as a contribution to world peace.


So....what does this infer? I just read this and think..."jumping to conclusions, based on an agenda already (possibly unconsciously) adhered it....."
Anyone who's participated in a Drupchen with a sand mandala knows this is a common "ending ritual," not specific merely to Kalachakra. Does this mean that, for instance, the dismantling of the Sand Mandala of Avalokiteshvara is part of an "apocalyptic Doomsday Scenario, culminating in a final battle yadda yaddaa yadda?"

Most of what they say is similarly miscontrued, based on ulterior motives.........
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby fragrant herbs » Wed May 11, 2011 3:33 am

Any time a religion has secret teachings such as the tantric I am very suspicious. This couple published books for the Dalai Lama and came to their conclusions with much research. I think the Original Poster should check out this book, why? Because anything this subject is brought up on the Buddhist forums there is never a straight answer and often one is met with hostilities. As for myself, I am doing my own research, and depending on where it leads me I may leave the lineage that I am in and go back to Zen or even Theravada. But I have read the book by June Campbell, Traveller in Space, and I believe what she wrote to be the truth. I have been in enough yogic traditions to know that many gurus, if not all, sleep around with their disciples. I know of too many women who were hurt, and in the mean time the disciples and gurus are busy calling them liars, etc.

In the mean time I will be away from the computer until next week.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby conebeckham » Wed May 11, 2011 3:54 am

There's no doubt that there is inequality, abuse, and a host of other "-isms" that can be found in Tibetan cultural situations, including Dharma centers. But it is a mistaken assumption, I feel, to jump to the conclusions some do, that the very nature of Vajrayana promotes these issues.

In any case, everyone should be comfortable, and follow their own counsel. But I'd just urge you not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

(And, while you're at it, you may wish to investigate all the traditions you mention, for similar issues.......you will find them, I am sure).

Best of luck, sincerely! :namaste:
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby fragrant herbs » Wed May 11, 2011 11:09 am

I have read books about the other traditions, but what I object to is the sexual implications in taking some forms of tantra. I have no idea if the kalachakra believes in what Westerners call, "tantric sex," but I am trying to find out. I don't feel that women should be used as a consort for such practices. I have only read this article that I find disturbing as well as June Campbell's book. Until I can find something that satisfies me the baby and the bath water will be laid aside. What may satisfy me is to find a copy of the kalachakra sutra to see what it says.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Mr. G » Wed May 11, 2011 11:33 am

conebeckham wrote:For example, here's a quote from an interview:
The intricate Mandala, constructed during the Kalachakra Ceremony, is made with coloured sand and symbolizes the whole universe. At the end of the ritualistic performance the sand construction will be destroyed by the Tibetan monks. The so called “dismantling” of the sand Mandala symbolizes the destruction of the world and of the universe. This is part of the apocalyptic Doomsday Scenarios in the Kalachakra prophecies which culminate in a final battle and the End of our planet. Nevertheless the construction and destruction of the Mandala is presented by the Dalai Lama as a contribution to world peace.


This is another great example of how little they understand Tibetan Buddhism in general

Kalachakra Does Not Advocate or Predict an Actual World Armageddon
Kalachakra, Tantra, and Their Relation with World Peace
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Mr. G » Wed May 11, 2011 11:47 am

Urgyen Chodron wrote:Any time a religion has secret teachings such as the tantric I am very suspicious.


Which is why you should investigate as much as you can, but at least attempt to use more scholarly resources. At least papers by academics undergo peer review.

This couple published books for the Dalai Lama and came to their conclusions with much research.


Just because someone has a lengthy bibliography doesn't mean that material is completely taken out of context...which it is. You will enjoy the book "The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947" much more objective.

Because anything this subject is brought up on the Buddhist forums there is never a straight answer and often one is met with hostilities.


I don't think it's hostilities as it is surprise that of all the scholarly resources one would read, you chose this one.

As for myself, I am doing my own research, and depending on where it leads me I may leave the lineage that I am in and go back to Zen or even Theravada. But I have read the book by June Campbell, Traveller in Space, and I believe what she wrote to be the truth.


Campbell believes women were used and exploited as consorts. There are views otherwise...I'm not at home but I can dig up the resources later. Personally when you have practices like Chod created by a woman like Machig Labdron that were accepted in Tibetan Buddhism, is why I don't side with Campbell.

I have been in enough yogic traditions to know that many gurus, if not all, sleep around with their disciples. I know of too many women who were hurt, and in the mean time the disciples and gurus are busy calling them liars, etc.


All Gurus? lol. Blanket statement much?
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Aemilius » Wed May 11, 2011 1:01 pm

Urgyen Chodron wrote:I have been doing research on this very subject today. Not sure what to think about my findings, but maybe others will have something to enlighten me on it:

http://www.iivs.de/~iivs01311/SDLE/Part-1-02.htm

(This online free book is very well documented.)


Very interesting, it doesn't mean that I actually read it through, but still I say it is interesting.
If Nagarjuna and others say that there isn't the slightest difference between samasara and nirvana, what do you think it means?
Things will look different when you have climbed a little higher on the Crystal Mountain and you look back to see what you left behind.
If you believe at all that there is a path of transformation in Dharma, this path implies that (later at some point) you must have something to transform.
And so "erotic" doesn't mean the same things that it was before ( entering and advancing on the path of Dharma).
I'm sorry, but we are not equal according to the Dharma. Some have entered the Dharma, and some have not. Some have attained the Bhumis or stages of enlightenment and some have not.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Jangchup Donden » Wed May 11, 2011 3:09 pm

mr. gordo wrote:Campbell believes women were used and exploited as consorts. There are views otherwise...I'm not at home but I can dig up the resources later. Personally when you have practices like Chod created by a woman like Machig Labdron that were accepted in Tibetan Buddhism, is why I don't side with Campbell.


Especially when Machig Labdrön supposedly attained significantly more realization during consort practices than her male counterpart.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby conebeckham » Wed May 11, 2011 5:08 pm

I have read books about the other traditions, but what I object to is the sexual implications in taking some forms of tantra. I have no idea if the kalachakra believes in what Westerners call, "tantric sex," but I am trying to find out. I don't feel that women should be used as a consort for such practices. I have only read this article that I find disturbing as well as June Campbell's book. Until I can find something that satisfies me the baby and the bath water will be laid aside. What may satisfy me is to find a copy of the kalachakra sutra to see what it says.


Kalachakra is a tantra, not a sutra.
You can find some translations, but Tantra speaks in so-called Twilight Language. For example, there is an English Translation of the Hevajra Tantra available, and you can read it......if you don't understand the "code," you may come away from reading it thinking that Vajrayana Buddhism is all about sex, as well as hexes and curses, etc.

That's not to say that "sex" is not part of Vajrayana..it most certainly is--but only in very specific ways, and only for a very small number of people.

India, and indeed Tibet, were (and to a degree still are) patriarchal in many ways. It's my opinion that such cultural "norms" are not supported by the Vajrayana itself, and, to the contrary, Vajrayana actually disdains such norms. But this does not prevent situations where exploitation of perceived inequality occurs.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Astus » Thu May 12, 2011 10:23 am

"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby fragrant herbs » Sun May 15, 2011 5:28 pm

I found enough online that wasn't from The Shadow of the Dalai Lama which verified to me that the Kalachakra Tantra does teach the sexual aspects of Buddhist practice. But not all teachers engage in these practices.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Jikan » Sun May 15, 2011 9:58 pm

Fare the well, traveler. May your practice flourish.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sun May 15, 2011 10:28 pm

Urgyen Chodron wrote:I found enough online that wasn't from The Shadow of the Dalai Lama which verified to me that the Kalachakra Tantra does teach the sexual aspects of Buddhist practice. And so I am leaving my teacher and going back to Zen. This just isn't my cup of tea, and so I am leaving this forum as well.

I think you'll fit perfectly, especially in those western sanitized versions of Zen. :twothumbsup:
On the way now, and lets avoid all the drama these goodbyes usually surround themselves with.
Have a pleasant journey! :namaste:
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Jikan » Sun May 15, 2011 11:34 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:
Urgyen Chodron wrote:I found enough online that wasn't from The Shadow of the Dalai Lama which verified to me that the Kalachakra Tantra does teach the sexual aspects of Buddhist practice. And so I am leaving my teacher and going back to Zen. This just isn't my cup of tea, and so I am leaving this forum as well.

I think you'll fit perfectly, especially in those western sanitized versions of Zen. :twothumbsup:


In fairness, many of those Zen schools are themselves hosts to sex scandals* that put the June Campbell story in the dust.

Broader point: If you're afraid of sexuality, meditative practice altogether is going to be traumatic for you because eventually you'll have to come face to face with it.

*EDIT: "sex scandals" is a useless category, because the real harm is caused by abuse of trust and deceit rather than sex per se, bracketing the issue of broken precepts or vinaya
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon May 16, 2011 1:04 am

I guess she'll have to find that out for herself...
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby fragrant herbs » Mon May 16, 2011 10:34 am

you miss my point. i know that there are sex scandals in zen as well as in tibetan teachings. i have been around long enough to know this and to have read alot about it.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby tamdrin » Mon May 16, 2011 12:26 pm

geez most people are happy when they learn that Tibetan Buddhism can include sex! IT makes them flock to it.. but you, you're bound by some weird protestant morality! LOL
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Jikan » Mon May 16, 2011 12:27 pm

That's fine. As I said before, I wish you all the best in your practice. May you swiftly reach the goal.
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Re: What is a tantric teaching in Buddhism?

Postby Jikan » Mon May 16, 2011 12:29 pm

tamdrin wrote:geez most people are happy when they learn that Tibetan Buddhism can include sex! IT makes them flock to it.. but you, you're bound by some weird protestant morality! LOL


Different paths for different needs and capacities. Best to let people find their way and let them work in my humble opinion.
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