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13344235 Buddhist Tantra

13344235 Buddhist Tantra

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Published by: imasospec on Jul 03, 2009
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Buddhist tantra.
The expressionsTantricBuddhism and Vajrayana are not exactly synonymous, but they are often usedinterchangeably. The kind of Buddhism that is most often associated with the Vajrayana isTibetan Buddhism.That is because Vajarayana plays an important role in it.People can make progress by relying on the written word, ie. teachings that come to us through scripture("sutra,") and/or they can rely on direct methods that have proven successful and so have been passed fromteacher to student, sometimes over centuries ("tantra.") Both play important roles in traditional Buddhism andHimalayan Buddhism is no different in this regard.Mingyur Dorje Rinpoche explains the distinction between the two methods by giving the traditional exampleillustrative of the difference between sutra and tantra:Let's say there is a person walking along carrying some stones. He sees a dog, and throws his stones atthe dog. He also sees a lion and he throws his stones at the lion, too.What does the dog do? At the sight of the stone, the dog immediately tries to bite or chase it. Then the person gets to throw another stone at the dog. The dog again tries to follow the new stone and bite it. Now this guy has got a big collection of stones, so they are not going to run out any time soon. The dog becomes very tired. Now when the man throws a stone at the lion, the lion does not look at the stone. Rather, he thinks,"Where did that stone come from? Who threw that stone?" When he sees the person who threw it, he pounces on him. A person only gets to throw one stone at a lion.
Origins of the Vajrayana
The historical Buddha, more than 2500 years ago, addressed the objective of Enlightenment from four different perspectives. He is held to have used many different approaches and techniques to do so in order to help alltypes of sentient beings. Tradition says that he taught 84, 000 different ways, but that not all of those were given by his "ordinary" self.The bodhisattva who was to emanate as Prince Siddhartha Gautama, and who eventually would beBuddha Shakyamuni, had attained the Tenth Bhumi without any Vajrayana practices. While dwelling inthe Akanistha Realm in a state of deepsamadhi, he was snapped out of that state by the Tathagatas of theten directions and three times, who all gathered together to say "This samadhi of yours is not sufficientfor attainment of Bodhi!"So, having invited the Devis to participate, the Buddhas bestowed upon the bodhisattva the last two of Four Empowerments. On engaging in the practices related to these empowerments, the final objectivewas attained.In His example, we understand that Buddhahood cannot be attained without going through the Vajrayanaor Resultant Path. Furthermore, it is possible for someone to complete the Causal Path of Shravakayanaand Paramitayana, which in this case took more than three aeons, and then to enter the Resultant Path for that final segment of the Way.We should understand, though, that Lord Buddha was actually a complete and perfect buddha before hisappearance in this world as Prince Siddhartha. It is only due to His prior aspiration and the need toset an example for sentient beings whose karma had ripened sufficiently for them to be born in thisGood Aeon, that He: appeared to be born, get married, have a child, leave home, practiced asceticism,renounce wrong paths and attained Enlightenment after subduing the Maras.After that, He turned the Dharmachakra three times and, having taught and lived for 80 years, Heeventually passed beyond existence (Skt.
,) in order to teach the lesson of Impermanence.It is clear that this achievement was not a case of "self-empowerment" and an invention of [the]Vajrayana.
He was a Hindu practitioner until the time of his bodhi. He unequivocally pointed out the flaws of thosespiritual traditions then. Many of those ideas are mirrored in some spiritual cocktails currently beingconcocted.~ edited for this page from a contribution by BB to the Kagyu email list, June 2002.Since Buddhism faded from India, authentic Vajrayana teachings owe their existence today to translators suchas
(11th century) who undertook a number of arduous journeys from the Tibetan plateau periodically toretrieve them. The texts and methods that were being preserved in the monasteries of Tibet until the mid-twentieth century, are now being collected and preserved by us.
The mechanics of Tibetan Buddhist tantric practices.
< Lynne Haekert
the thunderbolt vehicle
) is the Buddhist system that incorporating tantricmethods. It means that exercises, practices and rituals are handed down directly fromteacher to student by word of mouth, though often with the aid of teaching materials in theform of pamphlets and pictures.Even thoughBuddha Shakyamunirejected the notion of a permanent Self, heacknowledged the belief in rebirth. He said that this was not inevitable and he taught themethods that he, himself, had used to achieve enlightenment and release from the bonds of the wheel of rebirth (Skt.
or samsara) in a single lifetime.Vajrayana works to transmute one's "imperfections" and ordinary awareness by means of un-ordinary and also, some extraordinary methods. For example, the system of 
that some people know about from other contexts are also utilized in this system,where it is often called "working with the
winds and drops
."An advanced initiated student with an agreeable partner or consort can receive instructionin working with this energy as a couple. It must be stressed that the primary objective isnot enhancement of physical sensation.
The Guru
Every Buddhist takes refuge regularly in the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. The Vajrayanist addsthree others of which the first and foremost is the guru. That is because without a mentor or lama, access to anyof the special methods would not be possible. We have seen (
) that even to begin the so-called preliminaries, it is not sufficient to have read about them..Ashvaghosha's 
on Guru Devotion
, commentary by Geshe Ngawang Dhargey.)
Kinds of Guru
Tibetans say that each lama has his or her way of teaching. This is an ancient idea deriving from Indiantradition holding that there arevarious types of guru(Tib.
.) They range from "vidya gurus," teachingthrough knowledge of scripture, to charismatic or "diksha gurus," who directly transmit realization.
Creation and Completion
One of the main techniques used of any tantric practice is the use of the imagination. That is, we imagine ingreat detail, using the "mind's eye."There are usually two or three parts to a tantric practice: the visualization of the deity, the visualization of theself as deity, and then the dissolution or resolution of the visualization into Emptiness. For example, oneimagines the form, colors, clothes, and ornaments of Chenrezi not as a material body, but as a translucent formsimilar to that of a rainbow, or a virtual image like the moon in water.In the same way, the mantras, or speech element are understood as the union of sound and emptiness. Finally,the mental activity - - the imagination and the thought -- is understood as empty
Tantric "creation" uses techniques that work with body, speech and mind in new ways involving theinsubstantial union of appearance and emptiness. "Completion' is the result of this play, after which awarenessrests in the union of intelligence and emptiness to various degrees.
Creation and Completion: Essential Points of Tantric Meditation
by Jamgon Kongtrul is the recommended texton the process.Ven. Thrangu Rinpoche on
As it is said: Tantric Buddhists are in the position of a snake inside a bamboo tube; one hole faces up to theDharmakaya, the other down toward Vajra Hell. There are only two options -- up or down; no in-between.Keeping
(commitment) determines which way the snake slides.In Tibetan Buddhism, it is generally held that the paths of the Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana are a progression."There is an analogy concerning three pots: the "hinayana" vows are like a clay pot--you drop it once,it's broken ... gotta get a new pot!The Bodhisattva vows are like a brass pot -- drop it, and it'll take some work to hammer out the dents, but it's fixable, with some elbow grease and sweat ... and maybe you may have to take it back to a"licensed pot-mender!"The Vajrayana vows are like a pure gold pitcher. Since this type of pot is made of the softest metal, it isthe one most susceptible to dents! [It must be handled very carefully. ]Realistically, for those who have truly received the Highest vows, they are all constantly breaking them... Well, maybe most of them, at least. These Anuttarayoga vows are really only properly attempted in aclosed retreat, I would say -- at least until one has achieved a solid experience in maintaining divine pride. ... .Of course, for those who wish to dispense with all vows, there's the invisible pot of the Mahamudraand/or Dzokchen ... no pitcher to even worry about! Find your water at the source ... ."~ CB, the Kagyu email list, who adds, "May we keep whatever vows are appropriate to us." For those that embark upon the Vajra path, there are 14 precepts to observe.
The 14 Vajrayana Precepts
We are considered to have broken our 
or tantric commitments if we1. Show disrespect for the Guru in body, speech, or mind2. Having no regard for the rules laid down by the Buddha3. Condemn and/or create problems with one's Vajra brothers and sisters4. Abandon love for sentient beings5. Relinquish Bodhicitta due to difficulties6. Slander the scriptures of Mahayana and Vajrayana7. Transmit tantric teaching without having the proper empowerment and credentials8. Abuse and/or foster attachment to the five skandhas,
. world of appearances9. Harbor skepticism or doubt about the doctrine of Emptiness10. Maintain ties to beings with cruel intentions towards Buddha and his teachings11. Indulge in accomplishments forgetting the purpose of Vajrayana practice12. Fail to transmit authentic Dharma13. Fail in performance of tantric ritual practices14. Despise/or condemn Women

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