This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
12-06-12 4:12 PM
WHY IS TANTRA CALLED A SWIFT METHOD?
A View on Buddhism
PAGE CONTENTS Why is Tantra called a Swift Method? Initiation Deity Practice Deciding Which Tantra to Practice Mantras Sexuality in Tantra Wrathful forms of the Buddhas Is Buddhist Tantra Derived from Hindu Tantra?
"The more we train to see ourselves as such a meditational deity, the less bound we will feel by life's ordinary disappointments and frustrations. This divine self-visualisation empowers us to take control of our life and create for ourselves a pure environment in which our deepest nature can be expressed." Lama Yeshe "The wisdom that realizes emptiness, that has gained insight into the nature of reality, is of varying kinds, depending upon the level of subtlety of the consciousness perceiving the emptiness. In general, there are rough levels of consciousness, more subtle levels, and then the innermost subtle level of consciousness. It is the uncommon characteristic of Tantric practice that through it one can evoke this most subtle consciousness at will and put it to use in a most effective way. For example, when emptiness is realized by this subtlest level of mind, it is more powerful, having a much greater effect on the personality. In order to activate or make use of the more subtle levels of consciousness, it is necessary to block the rougher levels--the rougher or grosser levels must cease. It is through specifically Tantric practices, such as the meditations on the chakras and the channels, that one can control and temporarily abandon the rougher levels of consciousness. When these become suppressed, the subhttp://viewonbuddhism.org/tantra_practice.html Page 1 of 13
but perhaps even most important is the teacher. Hence. Do I really have full confidence in him/her? Have I checked this person out? Does the teacher accept me as his/her disciple? The teacher/disciple relationship is extremely important in tantra. a Guru can demand that the disciple will commit to a daily practice (like reciting a certain number of mantras or doing a daily meditation practice). Highly qualified disciples sometimes achieve immediate realisations due the combined power of this transmission and their practice (maybe in previous lives). If you seriously intend to take an initiation.html Page 2 of 13 . Bodhisattva or even tantric vows? Why do I really want to receive the permission for this practice? Do I want to practice it. a ritual is carried out in which the Guru transmits the potential of the specific tradition of the practice and gives the permission to practice. please verify the following beforehand: Do I have a reasonable understanding of renunciation.Tantric Practice 12-06-12 4:12 PM tler levels of consciousness become active. Next. http://viewonbuddhism.) What are the prerequisites of this initiation? Am I prepared to do the preliminaries? What are the vows I need to take? Am I willing to take aspiring Bodhisattva. or is it only because everyone else is going? What are the daily commitments? Am I prepared to do these daily practices every day for the rest of my life? Are there retreat commitments? What does this retreat mean? Last.org/tantra_practice. And it is through the use of the subtlest level of consciousness that the most powerful spiritual realizations can come about." From Answers: Discussions with Western Buddhists by the Dalai Lama INITIATION Depending on the specific lineage and class of tantra. bodhicitta and emptiness? (Please check out the page Preliminaries to Tantra. it is through the Tantric practice involving the most subtle consciousness that the goal of enlightenment can most quickly be realized.
It is best to check with your teacher or more experienced other practitioners on these details. signify? To begin with. If you are lucky. giving a mantra for the deity to practice etc. or empowerment. so it is important to note exactly what the practice is. our fundamental nature . This mind of ours. It is also very helpful to make notes of the visualisations and aspects that happen during the ritual. the very nature of our mind. from Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection "As for empowerment in general. also books may be available on how to do the practice. has been going on throughout beginningless time. An initiation allows one to engage in only one specific practice. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has given this initiation to hundreds of thousands of people at a time. see also the page on tantric symbols.what we term 'the buddha nature'. the subject at hand. During an initiation many different ritual implements are used.Tantric Practice 12-06-12 4:12 PM During an initiation. His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the meaning of initiation or 'empowerment'. or tathagatagarbha. what does the term wang. a commentary to the practice is given or even a retreat may be organised after the initiation.html Page 3 of 13 . like establishing your tantric name. the Kalachakra practice is the famous exception to this rule. and so has the more subtle nahttp://viewonbuddhism. Most initiations should be given to small groups of disciples at a time. try to be very alert and aware of what is happening. is inherently present within us as a natural attribute.org/tantra_practice.
it allows this special quality of mind. . For example. is a representation that honours someone who attained buddhahood.org/tantra_practice. you are empowered into the essence of the buddhas of the five families. As you focus your devotion in this way. the conditions are right for the essence of the empowerment to awaken within you.the buddha nature . as it were. So. and allows it to express itself more fully. with these auspicious circumstances established in your mindstream.Tantric Practice 12-06-12 4:12 PM ture of that mind. and when you reflect on what is taking place and maintain the various visualizations.. On the basis of the continuity of that subtle nature of our mind rests the capacity we have to attain enlightenment. it is the nature of your mind . in the presence of which we are now sitting. this beautiful statue of Lord Buddha here. Ours is as well. there dwells within us all this potential which allows us to awaken into buddhahood and attain omniscience. This potential is what we call 'the seed of buddhahood'.. The empowerment process draws that potential out.html Page 4 of 13 . He awakened into that state of enlightenment because his nature was the buddha nature.a very special state that is the inseparability of basic space and awareness. In particular. It is important to understand that this should only be done from the perspective of http://viewonbuddhism. Through the empowerment. 'the fundamental nature'. you are 'ripened' within that particular family through which it is your personal predisposition to attain buddhahood. to awaken. Deity practice is a profound meditation practice which uses the projection of already being enlightened to speed up one's good potential and reduce one's negative mind states. or tathagatagarbha. We all have this buddha nature. this new capability. as a state of wisdom which is blissful yet empty . 'buddha nature'. so in the future we can become buddhas too. When an empowerment is conferred on you." DEITY PRACTICE Much of the popular confusion around tantra can be traced back to two aspects: deity practice and sexual practice.In any case.that provides a basis upon which the empowerment can ripen you. each and every one of us. and just as the Buddha attained enlightenment in the past.
otherwise one may not be much different from the people behind bars in mental institutions who claim to be Napoleon.." In this way. ordinary rebirth is taken into the path as the emanation body of a Buddha. identify strongly with this appearance by thinking. With this compassionate motive the seed-syllable suddenly transforms into the transparent rainbow body of the deity itself. as with most things.a popular female Buddha "When you are ready. For untrained minds. free from the delusions of attachment. Understand this as being the actual emanation body (nirmanakaya) of full awakening that replaces the gross physical body of ordinary rebirth and has the nature of simultaneous bliss and wisdom. bring to mind your bodhicitta motivation to work for the sake of others and make the strong determination to arise in a form to which even more beings can relate.Tantric Practice 12-06-12 4:12 PM emptiness (or a mental arising from emptiness).org/tantra_practice. Then. anger and ignorance.) In the words of Lama Yeshe from "Introduction to Tantra": Green Tara . If one imagines in deep meditation that one is a perfect. regular practice enhances the positive feeling and gradually one's mind becomes habituated to a more positive state.. you should be convinced. Don't think that you are just pretending. loving being.html Page 5 of 13 . "This is the real nirmanakaya. then. like the actor who remains in character even after the play is finished. you should feel that you are the real emanation of the deity. one can notice a slight difference in attitude after the meditation. you might surprise yourself to find that you have actually become the http://viewonbuddhism. it is who I really am. When you see yourself as a deity. Once again. (Remember that meditation stands for habituating the mind to positive states. the time that one notices some positive difference is brief. However.
html Page 6 of 13 . Seeing one's body as the body of the deity 2. Perceiving one's enjoyments as bliss of the deity. That's why some meditators who perceive a vague mental image think they are not capable of meditating correctly on a deity. it will not arise. Seeing one's environment as the pure land or mandala of the deity 3. The eyes. They know how to meditate. but through the medium of the mind consciousness. Such divine pride . however. and therefore they are content with their meditation. Beginners do indeed meditate in the hope of attaining such clarity. free from attachment 4.org/tantra_practice. from 'Everyday Consciousness and Buddha-Awakening': "A beginner who visualizes the body of a deity and does not know the distinctive characteristics of the different aspects of consciousness would think that the deity must be seen as clearly during the mental meditation as if seen directly with the eyes. Nevertheless. altruism) During the "generation stage". tantric transformation will come naturally and be very powerful. however. do indeed so meditate. Performing one's actions only for the benefit of others (bodhicitta motivation." Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche. who understand that each consciousness perceives in a different way know that mental images aren't as clear as the forms perceived with eyes. Those."The main tantric practices can be summarised in the "Four Purities": 1. The objects of the mind consciousness are much less clear. Those people who think that tantra is only involved with pretending to be a deity are completely mistaken.Tantric Practice 12-06-12 4:12 PM deity. one imagines these four purities and familiarises oneself http://viewonbuddhism. have a much coarser way of perceiving concrete forms. With it. The mind consciousness most definitely does not work like the eye consciousness. and thus their meditation works well. The result is that they develop an aversion for the meditation.the strong sense of actually being the deity . because the meditation on a deity does not happen through the medium of the eye consciousness.is crucial.
Both mind and energies need to be fully controlled to make the transformation to Buddhahood possible. the transformation to Buddhahood gradually takes place. desire is transformed into compassion for others. like the practice of 'inner fire'. ear. pride in oneself as a deity and vivid appearance of that deity. Whatever appears to the senses is viewed as the sport of a deity. The mental energy of anger is transformed into powerful compassionate action. the extensive yogic practices found in tantra are aimed at controlling the energies within the body. mainly while working with the subtle energies in the channels and chakras. Such protection of mind together with its attendant pledges and vows is called the practice of mantra. It protects the mind from ordinary appearances and conceptions. body and mental consciousnesses -.which are to be freed.eye. A typical aspect of tantra is that limitations and obstacles are used and transformed in the path.org/tantra_practice. At a very subtle level. whatever forms are seen are viewed as the emanations of a deity and whatever sounds are heard are viewed as the mantras of a deity.). His Holiness the Dalai Lama.. The main aim is to direct all energies into the central channel. There are two factors in mantra training. body and mind are inseparable aspects.Tantric Practice 12-06-12 4:12 PM with them. 'Kundalini' (Skt. 'Mind' here refers to all six consciousnesses -. from the ordinary world. tongue. and through this transformation of attitude. ignorance into omniscience etc. this is quite something else then repressing our delusions.) or 'tummo' (Tib. Therefore. nose. the pride of being a deity emerges. The word 'mantra' means 'mind-protection'. it requires taking control over our deluded emotions. One is thereby protected from ordinary appearances. for instance. Tsong-ka-pa and Jeffrey Hopkins from Tantra in Tibet DECIDING WHICH TANTRA TO PRACTICE From an interview of Alex Berzin with His Holiness the Dalai Lama (from Berzin Archives): http://viewonbuddhism.html Page 7 of 13 . or protected. Divine pride protects one from the pride of being ordinary. and divine vivid appearance protects one from ordinary appearances. This usually involves extensive visualisations and mental exercises to achieve single pointed concentration on the emptiness of the deity and surroundings. During the "completion stage".
and we decide fully to devote ourselves to a course of generation and complete stage practice. which subtle energy-system is most prominent in us] and on our previous karmic connections. In other words. we definitely decide. since we are not yet devoting our entire energies and time. the generation and complete stages are integrally related.org/tantra_practice. Then. Thus. Based on this decision. through Kalachakra or through the joint practice of Guhyasamaja. the complete stage of that particular generation stage will follow.Tantric Practice 12-06-12 4:12 PM Berzin: When practicing in the Gelug tradition. and Vajrabhairava? His Holiness: You cannot practice both [as your actual path for reaching enlightenment]. we would accordingly practice that generation stage. We just simply get used to this generation stage or that. that doesn’t concern us now. But. on this basis. Chakrasamvara. It is impossible for someone fully practicing the Guhyasamaja generation stage to transfer on the complete stage to the Chakrasamvara complete stage. then it is best to find out whether we fulfill the defining characteristics for someone who will reach enlightenment through this path or that path. Berzin: On the generation stage? His Holiness: We are not yet at the above stage where we can concentrate fully on the generation stage. first we need to ascertain very clearly [in terms of our subtle energy-systems and so on] that our stable connection is with the Kalachakra complete stage or with the Guhyasamaja or Chakrasamvara one. Then. so there is not much harm in practicing several systems. http://viewonbuddhism. This will depend on our own physical condition [particularly. When all preparations are finished and we can put all our energies into practice of the generation stage alone. When we reach the point at which we single-pointedly practice the generation stage with fully qualified bodhichitta and a correct understanding of voidness. then that is the stage at which to decide.html Page 8 of 13 . is it only when we reach the complete stage that we need to decide the specific Buddha-figure system through which we will reach enlightenment – for instance.
.. relates to Buddha Avalokiteshvara "It is the essence of the creative word. and it is better. Thus.html Page 9 of 13 . because we make some connections with various practices and lay instincts. The sound of the mantra is not a physical sound (though it may be accompanied by such a one) but a spiritual one.. That is helpful.org/tantra_practice. mantra is a 'tool for thinking'. MANTRAS The Sanskrit word 'mantra'. as even prominent Western scholars repeat again and again... the primal sounds that give shape to the relative reality filling the ultimate reality of the void. but only by the heart. and the Word was God".. The power and effect of a mantra depend on the spiritual attitude. Similarly. and the Word was with God. It should be noted that in all main religions much importance is given to speech / the word / mantra. but only through the mind that experiences them.Tantric Practice 12-06-12 4:12 PM Berzin: Before we reach that point. the knowledge and the responsiveness of the individual. contains the root 'man' which means 'to think' and the syllable 'tra' which means 'tool'. most mantras are pronounced in the original Sanskrit. Mantras are not 'spells'. It cannot be heard by the ears." Lama Anagarika Govinda from 'Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism' In Buddhism. Mantras do not act on account of their own 'magic' nature. For example. is it helpful to practice many generation stages? His Holiness: That is what we do. in Hinduism. The mantra has power and meaning only for the initiated. and it cannot be uttered by the mouth but only by the mind. very popular among Tibetans. Sometimes mantras are are defined as 'protectors of the mind'. the sound of OM takes an essential part in the creation of the universe. A mantra is a sacred letter-form and sound that contains the genetic essence of a specific energy. http://viewonbuddhism. in the Christian bible it reads: "In the beginning was the Word. The mantra OM MANI PADME HUM.
that he uttered something important. as it is used to transform the speech as part of transforming our body. the young lady may be waiting for three very important words. of joy. speech and mind into the respective pure aspects of a Buddha). When the young lady hears this. sitting together in a park. they only become really effective after oral transmission from a teacher. If the young man is a very responsible person. A statement that has such power of transformation is called a mantra. she trembles. he probably wants to be sure of his feeling. but with your whole being. Looking deeply into the five skandhas. you look at things and see them as clearly as you see an orange that you hold in the palm of your hand. because it is such an important statement. mantras can be found for the purpose of warding off danger. speech and mind. he utters these three words. That is why his utterance is a mantra. SEXUALITY IN TANTRA http://viewonbuddhism.org. when no one else is nearby and everything is quiet. It was in that state of deep concentration." From: "The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra" by Thich Nhat Hanh A wonderful page on the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM at Amitabha Hospice You can find more information on mantras and several examples (including the proper pronunciation) at Wildmind. Then one day.Tantric Practice 12-06-12 4:12 PM The recitation of mantras is a very important part in tantric practice. but the young man has not said so yet. When you dwell in that deep concentration. Like with other tantric practices. When you say something like that not just with your mouth or intellect. it can transform the world. as well as for the creation of beneficial conditions. and he may wait a long time before saying it. "A mantra is something that you utter when your body.org/tantra_practice. and breath are at one in concentration.html Page 10 of 13 . after the two of them have been silent for a long time. When two young people love each other. of liberation. Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin Bodhisattva) saw the nature of interbeing and overcame all pain. It is interesting to note also that even in the earliest Pali (Theravadin) texts. He became completely liberated.
If the pursuit of happiness and pleasure can be separated from afflictive emotions. simply said. But using this transformation principle has two sides: it is not only a very effective means of making mental changes. It is quite the opposite of ordinary sex with attachment and craving. they are transformed into positive energy. it is built-in by nature to ensure the survival of the species.html Page 11 of 13 . or more specific in tantra. but if they are done without proper guidance of a qualified teacher. then it can be incorporated into the path and will even become a powerful aid to the attainment of enlightenment. it has very little to do with ordinary sex.Tantric Practice 12-06-12 4:12 PM Please note that this very brief explanation is merely intended to give a taste for the profundity of tantric practice as antidote to what many people think is a mere superstitious belief in thousands or strange "gods" with many arms and feet that are having sex all the time.org/tantra_practice. The union of male and female are symbolic for the union of method or compassion and wisdom. Sexual energy happens to be one of the strongest forms of physical energy. As mentioned above. Afflicted grasping and desires based on mistaken ideas are the problem. What is usually overlooked is that sexual practices in tantra should be free from the ordinary desires and lust. So very powerful psychological techniques like tantra need to be treated with much care and consideration to avoid disastrous results for the practitioner. All the images and ritual involved are merely intended to practice very advanced techniques for training the mind and controlling subtle energies within one's body. the practitioner can easily increase negative emotions rather than reducing them.) "Through the skillful methods of tantra. meditators are able to cultivate pleasure in a way that actually aids in spiritual progress. (See also Keith Dowman's website for a more elaborate explanation. Simply said. http://viewonbuddhism. not happiness and pleasure. part of the exercises in tantric practice are involving controlling and transforming bodily energies. Arousal of the sexual energy is preferably done by just visualising a consort." From 'Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism' by John Powers This also illustrates one of the typical aspects of tantra: rather than repressing negative emotions like attachment. Also these sexual energies need to be completely controlled and transformed. the union of bliss and emptiness. and only very advanced practitioners should try these practices after permission from their teachers.
But sometimes our mind is so belligerent and stuck that we need the kind of energy that goes "Pow!" to wake us up or to pull us out of unproductive behavior." or. This wisdom doesn't say. Directing anger-energy makes a powerful antidoteagainst our own negative emotion of anger. this technique will lead us to Buddhahood.an angry Buddha is a contradiction in terms? Thubten Chodron explains in 'How to Free Your Mind: Tara the Liberator': "Why are there fierce protectors? Peaceful deities such as Tara have a certain energy that calms and gladdens our mind. the Buddhas' wisdom and compassion appear in the form of these wrathful deities to demonstrate clean-clear wisdom and compassion that act directly. (See for example the meditation on anger on how this process works. "Well. we need to realise that tantra is very much a method. the confusion is complete .org/tantra_practice. However. these angry-looking Buddhaforms can wake us up towards aspects of our own deluded mind. similarly. once more. For this reason. a 'kick in the butt' may well be necessary. If we combine this insight with a compassionate motivation and advanced energy practices. wise energy to be in our face to wake us up to the fact that our afflictions and old patterns of thought and behavior are making us miserable. when someone explains that these so-called Protectors are Buddhas. Just like we sometimes have to act wrathful to make clear to a small child that something is very dangerous. This active wisdom doesn't vacillate and pamper us. it's forceful: "Cut it out! Stop those false expectations and preconceptions right now!" Sometimes we need that strong. and then by changing the mind." So. we can change this appearance.Tantric Practice 12-06-12 4:12 PM WRATHFUL FORMS OF THE BUDDHAS Many people (including myself) are confused when they first see the representation of wrathful or fierceful (angry looking) images in the Tibetan tradition. The power of tantra here is again to redirect the force of a negative emotion like anger towards negative aspects of the mind in order to transform them into positive attitudes like love and compassion. so in those cases.) http://viewonbuddhism. especially if our ego is under threat. You deserve to be treated well. maybe. not like that horrible person treated you. The aim is to realise that only our own mind determines the way in which the world appears to us. our mind tends to resists change.html Page 12 of 13 . and not a goal as such." Instead. "Poor you.
. Have a look at the page of Keith Dowman to see a large number of deity images. On mantras: Wildmind.org/tantra_practice.net site.General Buddhist Symbols Last updated: May 8. and that it is idle to say that later Buddhism is an outcome of Saivaism. The literature. Pierre Pachet. 1872 Previous Page | ^Top of Page | Next Page . the differences in methods and aims are much more significant. Although there are striking external resemblances." LINKS If you are seriously interested of engaging in tantric practice. and that the Hindus borrowed them from the Buddhists in later times. 2011 http://viewonbuddhism. arose almost immediately after the Buddhist ideas had established themselves. but in fact. the reverse may be true.Tantric Practice 12-06-12 4:12 PM IS BUDDHIST TANTRA DERIVED FROM HINDU TANTRA? It is often claimed that Buddhist tantra is a derivative from tantric practices of Shivaism. . the index page 'Tantra Teachings' of Berzin Archives leads to some essential reading.org Tantric Buddhism in India is a brief but interesting article from Wisdom Books Just for fun: Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction. More information on initiations can be found on the Khandro. Professor of Physiology at Toulouse. which goes by the name of the Hindu Tantras. without fear of contradiction. As Benoytosh Bhattacharyya notes in his 'Buddhist Esoterism': "it is possible to declare.html Page 13 of 13 . that the Buddhists were the first to introduce the tantras into their religion.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.