Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

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Astus
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Astus »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:55 amAstute freely admitted above he has not received any Vajrayana teaching, nor direct introduction.
I admitted that I mainly studied and heard sutra-style Mahamudra teachings, as that is what I like the most in Vajrayana. But since I was fortunate enough to receive the Fivefold Mahamudra teaching, I cannot say other parts are totally unknown to me.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Malcolm »

White Sakura wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 11:13 am
Malcolm wrote: Fri Jul 17, 2020 7:46 pm
'Rest in a state of clarity and naturalness. Rest relaxed, without tightness. Do not examine or analyze good and bad. Do not have doubts about what is or isn't. When thoughts appear, do not follow after their numerous appearances. Rest completely, like a sheaf of hay that has had its string cut. Rest. relaxed, in natural consciousness. Past thoughts have ceased, the future ones have not arisen. In this relaxed in-between state of the present, it's taught:
That mind is no mind ; the mind's nature is luminosity.
Just this mind alone, which is completely empty, clear, aware, and lucid, is what is called the perfection of wisdom, luminosity, mahamudra, dzokchen, and dharmakaya.'

(Thr Unrivaled Instructions of Shang Rinpoche, in Mahamudra and Related Instructions, p 77)
The introduction is not in the verbal instruction.
So difficult. If not examining good or bad then why to deem it "good" to have transmissions by a Guru and deem it "bad" not to have empowerments?
When introducing one person to another, there is first an experience—first you see their face. But just seeing their face does not tell you their name. So then the person making the introduction says, "This is Mr. or Mrs. X." Direct introduction is the same. First you have an experience. Then you are told what that experience means.

Trying to introduce the nature of the mind without first having an experience of the nature of the mind is like trying to introduce someone to someone when that person is not present: you can say, "Mr. X" is tall/short, has big/short nose, is fat/thin, Arabic/Asian/Jewish/Black/White, etc., but if you don't see this person first, no matter what description you are given, you will not recognize this person.
Same thing with this "radical Dzogchen" practioners in Germany. Who "need no master". They argue with that.
There are fools everywhere. What to say?
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Malcolm »

Astus wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:04 pm
Malcolm wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:55 amAstute freely admitted above he has not received any Vajrayana teaching, nor direct introduction.
I admitted that I mainly studied and heard sutra-style Mahamudra teachings, as that is what I like the most in Vajrayana. But since I was fortunate enough to receive the Fivefold Mahamudra teaching, I cannot say other parts are totally unknown to me.
Did you practice this?
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Malcolm »

Astus wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 4:54 pm The Kagyupa teachers I had met and received teachings from were from the Taklung (Phakchok Rinpoche), the Drikung (Chetsang Rinpoche, Garchen Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Drupon Konchok Jigmet), and from the Drukpa (a disciple of Adeu Rinpoche) lineages. But all this, in my opinion, is totally irrelevant for the topic.
It is completely relevant.
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Astus
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Astus »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:22 pmDid you practice this?
As much as I could.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by LastLegend »

Astus wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 6:15 pm
Malcolm wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:22 pmDid you practice this?
As much as I could.
Are you still Chan or no ?
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Astus »

LastLegend wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 6:51 pmAre you still Chan or no ?
If you mean whether I accept and apply the teachings of Bodhidharma and his heirs, then yes.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by tobes »

PeterC wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 7:43 am
tobes wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 3:46 am I can only speak for myself, where everything is rolled into some unholy mess of unrealisation....and to be clear, my practice has been across different traditions.

But I would describe the Karma Kagyu mahamudra process as: after many years of swimming freely in the ocean, you realise that you were a very conceited idiot for not appreciating how this freedom was somehow or other - by stealth, by osmosis - bequeathed to you without you even really noticing.
I guess there’s an open question around whether the pointing out is pointing out something the student has already realized. But in any case the student isn’t given something exogenous that they previously didn’t possess, so maybe that question doesn’t really matter.

It is vaguely absurd having a discussion about whether empowerment is unnecessary in the lineage of Marpa, milarepa, the karmapas, jamgon Kongtrul and people like that.
It's not absurd at all. It just so happens that your list of Karma Kagyu lineage masters skips over the one who taught (widely) so called 'sutra mahamudra.'

And in terms of influence in the dissemination of mahamudra in Tibet, has there been any more important master of mahamudra than Gampopa himself? So, I'm sorry to say that we have to deal with him in this thread - can't just skip over as if he never existed!

Back to the Jackson book - there have been plenty of defenders of Gampopa against the Sapan critique, including most Gelugs. Some even defend the so called sudden realisation/white panacea which they trace to Saraha (and thus, reject Sapan's notion that the Kagyus are merely involved in ye olde Hashang flawed-nonthought-emptiness with no Indian precedent).

So again, one could critique this in many ways, but it is a huge misrepresentation of the terrain to hold that anyone who argues against "mahamudra implies tantric empowerment" is an anomaly. It is simply isn't.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Malcolm »

tobes wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:03 am
And in terms of influence in the dissemination of mahamudra in Tibet, has there been any more important master of mahamudra than Gampopa himself? So, I'm sorry to say that we have to deal with him in this thread - can't just skip over as if he never existed!

Back to the Jackson book - there have been plenty of defenders of Gampopa against the Sapan critique, including most Gelugs.
No, this is an error. As I pointed out, Ganden Mahāmudra is quite late, formulated in the mid 17th century by the First Panchen Lama. I already pointed out that it was subject to derision by no less a personage than the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, his younger contemporary.

The first articulated defenses from the Kagyus of various stripes against Sapan's critiques waited for an entire two centuries.

Some would argue that Sapan was the most important master of mahāmudra in Tibet. He was after all an eighth stage bodhisattva. Just saying. It all depends on one's perspective and what one chooses to accept and reject. After all, oneself is the ultimate authority in all matters of religion, and no one else.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Malcolm »

tobes wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:03 am
So again, one could critique this in many ways, but it is a huge misrepresentation of the terrain to hold that anyone who argues against "mahamudra implies tantric empowerment" is an anomaly. It is simply isn't.
There is certainly no Indian precedent for the idea that there can be mahāmudra in absence of some kind of empowerment. None whatsoever. This is just a fact. There is nothing to argue about here.

But again, "authority" is up to you, not some book that says this or that. If people want to believe the realization of mahāmudra does not depend on a guru and empowerment, they are perfectly free to hold that belief. But it certainly isn't born out by an examination of his collected works that Gampopa actually believed this himself. In fact, in Gampopa's works one even finds criticisms of mahāmudra and dzogchen in favor of tattva, reality/truth. I am afraid that until his whole collected works are translated, it will be difficult for people to really understand completely what his point of view was.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by tobes »

Malcolm wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:13 am
tobes wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:03 am
And in terms of influence in the dissemination of mahamudra in Tibet, has there been any more important master of mahamudra than Gampopa himself? So, I'm sorry to say that we have to deal with him in this thread - can't just skip over as if he never existed!

Back to the Jackson book - there have been plenty of defenders of Gampopa against the Sapan critique, including most Gelugs.
No, this is an error. As I pointed out, Ganden Mahāmudra is quite late, formulated in the mid 17th century by the First Panchen Lama. I already pointed out that it was subject to derision by no less a personage than the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, his younger contemporary.

The first articulated defenses from the Kagyus of various stripes against Sapan's critiques waited for an entire two centuries.

Some would argue that Sapan was the most important master of mahāmudra in Tibet. He was after all an eighth stage bodhisattva. Just saying. It all depends on one's perspective and what one chooses to accept and reject. After all, oneself is the ultimate authority in all matters of religion, and no one else.
With respect, your view on this is very, very settled in favour of Sapan. I am not saying that this is unfounded, only that there are other sound positions and because you do not grant this there is little point engaging in a debate.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by tobes »

Malcolm wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:14 am
tobes wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:03 am
So again, one could critique this in many ways, but it is a huge misrepresentation of the terrain to hold that anyone who argues against "mahamudra implies tantric empowerment" is an anomaly. It is simply isn't.
There is certainly no Indian precedent for the idea that there can be mahāmudra in absence of some kind of empowerment. None whatsoever. This is just a fact. There is nothing to argue about here.

But again, "authority" is up to you, not some book that says this or that. If people want to believe the realization of mahāmudra does not depend on a guru and empowerment, they are perfectly free to hold that belief.
.....according to Sapan.

No one is arguing that the realisation of mahamudra does not depend on a guru btw.

To be clear, my own experience on this question depends greatly on what (and how) my own guru taught.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by PeterC »

tobes wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:03 am It's not absurd at all. It just so happens that your list of Karma Kagyu lineage masters skips over the one who taught (widely) so called 'sutra mahamudra.'

And in terms of influence in the dissemination of mahamudra in Tibet, has there been any more important master of mahamudra than Gampopa himself? So, I'm sorry to say that we have to deal with him in this thread - can't just skip over as if he never existed!

Back to the Jackson book - there have been plenty of defenders of Gampopa against the Sapan critique, including most Gelugs. Some even defend the so called sudden realisation/white panacea which they trace to Saraha (and thus, reject Sapan's notion that the Kagyus are merely involved in ye olde Hashang flawed-nonthought-emptiness with no Indian precedent).

So again, one could critique this in many ways, but it is a huge misrepresentation of the terrain to hold that anyone who argues against "mahamudra implies tantric empowerment" is an anomaly. It is simply isn't.
You’ll notice that nobody in this thread actually quoted Gampopa saying the term “sutra mahamudra”. The whole debate about this post-dated him; Sapan was born thirty years after Gampopa died. Apart from Jewel Ornament - which is a Lamrim text - as Malcolm says, not much of his work has been translated.

To turn it around and argue it the other way. If you believe the “sutra mahamudra” that one can achieve realization without empowerment. What then is the point of the vajrayana? All the people over the years practising it - was it just a huge waste of time? That’s the implication of the highly tenuous argument being advanced here.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by tobes »

PeterC wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:37 am
tobes wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:03 am It's not absurd at all. It just so happens that your list of Karma Kagyu lineage masters skips over the one who taught (widely) so called 'sutra mahamudra.'

And in terms of influence in the dissemination of mahamudra in Tibet, has there been any more important master of mahamudra than Gampopa himself? So, I'm sorry to say that we have to deal with him in this thread - can't just skip over as if he never existed!

Back to the Jackson book - there have been plenty of defenders of Gampopa against the Sapan critique, including most Gelugs. Some even defend the so called sudden realisation/white panacea which they trace to Saraha (and thus, reject Sapan's notion that the Kagyus are merely involved in ye olde Hashang flawed-nonthought-emptiness with no Indian precedent).

So again, one could critique this in many ways, but it is a huge misrepresentation of the terrain to hold that anyone who argues against "mahamudra implies tantric empowerment" is an anomaly. It is simply isn't.
You’ll notice that nobody in this thread actually quoted Gampopa saying the term “sutra mahamudra”. The whole debate about this post-dated him; Sapan was born thirty years after Gampopa died. Apart from Jewel Ornament - which is a Lamrim text - as Malcolm says, not much of his work has been translated.

To turn it around and argue it the other way. If you believe the “sutra mahamudra” that one can achieve realization without empowerment. What then is the point of the vajrayana? All the people over the years practising it - was it just a huge waste of time? That’s the implication of the highly tenuous argument being advanced here.
Such an argument - that all of this implies the futility of vajrayana - is not being advanced in anyway -by either myself, nor any Kagyu (or Gelug) defenders of so called sutra mahamudra, nor does the implication you assert follow.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by haha »

It may give light on some assertions.
First, it is the basis of the primary approach to training in samadhi used at the major spiritual establishments of the Karma Kagyu lineage. There the main meditation is on the nature of Mahamudra. The pith instructions on Mahamudra are found in the Tantra of the Bindu of Mahamudra and numerous other tantras taught by the perfectly and fully enlightened Buddha. However, for using the sutras as a background, as a support for personal practice, the King of Samadhi Sutra requested by the bodhisattva Youthful Moonlight contains the intent of Mahamudra practice. When the great master Gampopa, also known as Dakpo Rinpoche, expounded the Mahamudra systern he used just this sutra.

In the presence of the Buddha, Youthful Moonlight took a vow that, in future times, he would retain and uphold this sutra and propagate its meaning to others, without letting it die out. Accordingly, from the time of Gampopa, who himself used this sutra extensively as a support for the progressive stages of samadhi and for teaching Mahamudra, until today, there has been an unbroken lineage of advice on the method of teaching Mahamudra based on this sutra. For this reason as well, it is very important to study and understand the King of Samadhi Sutra.


Thrangu Rinpoche, King of Samadhi pp 11-12
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Malcolm »

tobes wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:25 am
Malcolm wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:13 am
tobes wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:03 am
And in terms of influence in the dissemination of mahamudra in Tibet, has there been any more important master of mahamudra than Gampopa himself? So, I'm sorry to say that we have to deal with him in this thread - can't just skip over as if he never existed!

Back to the Jackson book - there have been plenty of defenders of Gampopa against the Sapan critique, including most Gelugs.
No, this is an error. As I pointed out, Ganden Mahāmudra is quite late, formulated in the mid 17th century by the First Panchen Lama. I already pointed out that it was subject to derision by no less a personage than the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, his younger contemporary.

The first articulated defenses from the Kagyus of various stripes against Sapan's critiques waited for an entire two centuries.

Some would argue that Sapan was the most important master of mahāmudra in Tibet. He was after all an eighth stage bodhisattva. Just saying. It all depends on one's perspective and what one chooses to accept and reject. After all, oneself is the ultimate authority in all matters of religion, and no one else.
With respect, your view on this is very, very settled in favour of Sapan. I am not saying that this is unfounded, only that there are other sound positions and because you do not grant this there is little point engaging in a debate.
Well, there is the fact that no sutra mentions this word, “mahamudra.” The position Astus produced is based on cherry picked citations that do not take into consideration the whole text being cited.

I even pointed out that Sakyapas do exactly the same thing Kagyus do, that is, teach shamatha and vipashyana bolstered with mahamudra citations from Saraha, Virupa, and so on, the primary difference being that Sakyapas are a) unwilling to term this sutra mahamudra and b) unwilling to admit there are other forms of entry into Vajrayana than a major empowerment. As for b) I don’t hold the Sakya position. I never have, even though I have argued from that position as a formality. You should not assume I believe every position I defend. I’ve even defended Tsongkhapa’s presentation of the two truths for fun. It is called sharpening prajna.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by haha »



Well, there is the fact that no sutra mentions this word, “mahamudra.” The position Astus produced is based on cherry picked citations that do not take into consideration the whole text being cited.
17. 86
“ ‘It is the seal of the nature of all phenomena.
It is the transmission of a quintillion sūtras.
It is the unsurpassable wealth of the bodhisattvas.
Does the Jina teach this samādhi? {57}

या सर्वधर्माण स्वभावमुद्रा
यः सूत्रकोटीनियुतान आगमः।
यो बोधिसत्त्वान धनं निरूत्तरं
कच्चिज्जिनो भाषति तं समाधिम्॥ ५७॥

17. 144
“ ‘It is the practice of the teaching of the lion’s roar.
It originates from the supreme wisdom of buddhahood.
It is the seal of the nature of all phenomena.
This is the samadhi taught by the guides. {114}


प्रतिपत्तियं देशित सिंहनादिना-
मितु बुद्धज्ञानस्य वरस्य आगमः।
सर्वेष धर्माण स्वभावमुद्राः
समाध्ययं देशितु नायकेहि॥ ११४॥
॥ बहुबुद्धनिर्हारसमाधिमुखपरिवर्तः॥
The Entranceway to the Samadhi That Is Taught by Many Buddhas

From Samādhi rāja sutra
https://read.84000.co/translation/UT22084-055-001.html
http://www.dsbcproject.org/canon-text/book/443
Assumption is that this mudra has some distance relation with mahamudra. I don’t know how many centuries it took to became Mahamudra. So, even the profound mahayana sutras are talking about the word (at least) mudra. Some teachers have loosely spoken it as mahamudra, instead of mudra.
Last edited by haha on Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by PeterC »

tobes wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:45 am Such an argument - that all of this implies the futility of vajrayana - is not being advanced in anyway -by either myself, nor any Kagyu (or Gelug) defenders of so called sutra mahamudra, nor does the implication you assert follow.
As the major protagonist of this thread, I think Astus would advance that argument. But surely the implication does follow, unless one believes that “sutra mahamudra” is an exceedingly slow path
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by PeterC »

haha wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:37 am


Well, there is the fact that no sutra mentions this word, “mahamudra.” The position Astus produced is based on cherry picked citations that do not take into consideration the whole text being cited.
17. 86
“ ‘It is the seal of the nature of all phenomena.
It is the transmission of a quintillion sūtras.
It is the unsurpassable wealth of the bodhisattvas.
Does the Jina teach this samādhi? {57}

या सर्वधर्माण स्वभावमुद्रा
यः सूत्रकोटीनियुतान आगमः।
यो बोधिसत्त्वान धनं निरूत्तरं
कच्चिज्जिनो भाषति तं समाधिम्॥ ५७॥

17. 144
“ ‘It is the practice of the teaching of the lion’s roar.
It originates from the supreme wisdom of buddhahood.
It is the seal of the nature of all phenomena.
This is the samadhi taught by the guides. {114}


प्रतिपत्तियं देशित सिंहनादिना-
मितु बुद्धज्ञानस्य वरस्य आगमः।
सर्वेष धर्माण स्वभावमुद्राः
समाध्ययं देशितु नायकेहि॥ ११४॥
॥ बहुबुद्धनिर्हारसमाधिमुखपरिवर्तः॥
The Entranceway to the Samadhi That Is Taught by Many Buddhas

From Samādhi rāja sutra
https://read.84000.co/translation/UT22084-055-001.html
http://www.dsbcproject.org/canon-text/book/443
Assumption is that this mudra has some distance relation with mahamudra. I don’t know how many centuries it took to became Mahamudra. So, even the profound mahayana sutras are talking about the word (at least) mudra. Some teachers have loosely spoken it as mahamudra, instead of mudra.
I have always struggled to see the connection between mahamudra as taught by the Kagyus and the samadhirajasutra. Beyond the identification of Gampopa as Youthful Moonlight, the practical connection seems highly attenuated. But I’d defer to someone who has studied the sutra more than I have.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by tobes »

Malcolm wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:21 am
tobes wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:25 am
Malcolm wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:13 am

No, this is an error. As I pointed out, Ganden Mahāmudra is quite late, formulated in the mid 17th century by the First Panchen Lama. I already pointed out that it was subject to derision by no less a personage than the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, his younger contemporary.

The first articulated defenses from the Kagyus of various stripes against Sapan's critiques waited for an entire two centuries.

Some would argue that Sapan was the most important master of mahāmudra in Tibet. He was after all an eighth stage bodhisattva. Just saying. It all depends on one's perspective and what one chooses to accept and reject. After all, oneself is the ultimate authority in all matters of religion, and no one else.
With respect, your view on this is very, very settled in favour of Sapan. I am not saying that this is unfounded, only that there are other sound positions and because you do not grant this there is little point engaging in a debate.
Well, there is the fact that no sutra mentions this word, “mahamudra.” The position Astus produced is based on cherry picked citations that do not take into consideration the whole text being cited.

I even pointed out that Sakyapas do exactly the same thing Kagyus do, that is, teach shamatha and vipashyana bolstered with mahamudra citations from Saraha, Virupa, and so on, the primary difference being that Sakyapas are a) unwilling to term this sutra mahamudra and b) unwilling to admit there are other forms of entry into Vajrayana than a major empowerment. As for b) I don’t hold the Sakya position. I never have, even though I have argued from that position as a formality. You should not assume I believe every position I defend. I’ve even defended Tsongkhapa’s presentation of the two truths for fun. It is called sharpening prajna.
Fine, but I'm not really interested in wasting my time so that you can 'sharpen your prajna.'
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