Tantric Theravada?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Tantric Theravada?

Postby gavesako » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:35 pm

This term itself is disputed (because nobody can really define "tantra" it seems) but it refers to certain practices which have existed in Theravada countries of SE Asia for centuries, but which do not really fit into their Pali scriptural framework.

Some references:

Theravada Buddhism of Laos and Cambodia is a different “flavor” that the scholarly, orthodox Theravada than most westerners are familiar with. The Buddhists of Cambodia and Laos, and the Mekong-valley seem to be interested in “magic” and “superstition.”

Francois Bizot, scholar of the École française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO), described the particular form of Theravada Buddhism as practiced in the Mekong-valley, as “Tantric Theravada”.

The Cambodian tradition of Buddhism seems to have been highly influenced by the heterodox Abhayagiri monastery of Sri Lanka. This tradition had established a center of Sihalarama in Java by the eighth century, and it is from this center that monk missionaries transmitted the old tradition into Angkor. The Vimuttigama, a text from the Abhayagiri monastery, was presented by a 6th century Cambodian monk of Funanese (Mekong Delta region) in an embassy to the Emperor of china.

Buddhagosa himself, who, according to tradition passed away in Angkor, refers to secret (gulha) texts on three separate occasions in his writing. These “secret traditions” were considered orthodox, in the Mahavihara lineage. Visudimaga 115-116 for example. Buddhaghosa’s Dhammapala connects those secret texts with three basic teachings of “emptiness…taking rebirth, and the law of conditionality.” (...)

http://santidhammo.blogspot.com/2011/11 ... antra.html

http://santidhammo.blogspot.com/2011/11 ... akaya.html

http://santidhammo.blogspot.com/2011/11 ... monks.html

http://santidhammo.blogspot.com/2011/09 ... -book.html

http://santidhammo.blogspot.com/2011/11 ... earth.html

http://santidhammo.blogspot.com/2011/08 ... verse.html

http://santidhammo.blogspot.com/2011/06 ... ekong.html

:buddha2:
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby Ben » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:44 pm

Thank you, Bhante!
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby gavesako » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:47 pm

BANA BHANTE of Bangladesh is regarded as an Arahant by Buddhists of Bangladesh

Bana Bhante is a forest monk of the Chakma ethnic group of Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.

He was born as Ratindra Chakma on January 8, 1920 into a middle-class family the Chakma Royal Kingdom, present-day Jummaland or Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh.
...
At age 29, when he witnessed the tragic death of a little girl, and saw the terrible suffering of her parents, he was struck by the impermanence of life and seized by a profound disillusionment, and determined to ordain as a monk

He ordained as a novice monk at Nandan Kanan Buddhist Temple in Chittagong, at age 29, in March 1949. He stayed at the monastery for four months, but was dissatisfied with the conventional temple-life, and wanted to learn to practice meditation and “pursue supreme enlightenment”.

After visiting many monasteries, unsuccessfully seeking an enlightened teacher, he wandered stage by stage until he reached Dhanapata at the end of 1949. In Dhanapata region he decided to stay in the dense forest of those areas as suitable place for him to practice meditation, and try to attain enlightenment. He did not have a teacher, but called to mind the example of the Lord Buddha, and praceiced five Dhutanga.

His secluded retreat was very far from the village. Nobody knew where he meditated, ate, slept. He depended on alms-round from the nearest village, and during the rainy season, he came to collect alms food only one time in three or four days.

During the winter endured cold weather without enough woolen clothes.
After around 5/6 years (1954/55) in the dense forest, he began to attract the admiration of nearby villagers, who built a hut for him on the bank of Jogonasuri River and invited him to stay there.

He spend 11 years, from 1949-1960, in solitary meditation, and Buddhists of Bangladesh believe he attained enlightenment at this time, and christened him “Bana Bhante” which means “Forest Monk”.

His hut was flooded in 1960, when the Bangladesh government built a dam that flooded the traditional Chakma lands, and the villagers moved away, leaving Bana Bhante alone in the forest. When he went to the abandoned village on alms-round, he could not find any people.

After the people relocated their village, they returned and invited Bana Bante to return with them to Diginala where they constructed a small hut for him in a secluded forest there.

During all this time, Bana Bhante was still a novice monk. In 1961, at age 41, he was ordained as a fully ordained bhikkhu. He now began to accept public invitations to give public Dhamma talks.

In 1974, the royal family of the Chakma, Rajmata Benita Roy, sponsored the “Kathina Chivara Dana” ceremony in the Raj vihara. The Royal family asked Bana Bhante to take up leadership roll as Dhamma teacher in Rangamati.

In 1975, a piece of land was donated by the Chakma Royal family and constructed Raj Bana Vihar, and in 1977, Bana Bhante took up permanent residence in the royal monstery.

On 14th February 1981, after reached 20 Vassa (Rain Retreat) Bana Bhante was awarded the title as “Mahathera” by the Sangha community of Bangladesh which was sponsored by the Chakma Royal Family and devotees at Raj Bana Vihar.

At present, Buddhists from all across the region come to Rangamati to venerate the Bana Bhante.

Buddhists of Bangladesh regard Bana Bhante with the most intense reverence, and regard him as an Arahant, due to his historical struggle in which he spent uncountable days and nights in secluded dense forest inside the caves, under the trees, huts, bank of the rivers, open field, and slept on the bush. He traveled many plains, slopes and hills; crossed many streams and rivers; walked uncountable kilometers on foot; suffered unbearably; shivered due to cold; wetted due to rain; unable to sleep due to hunger, cold, and rain. Millions of visible and invisible sentient beings was around him as good friends and some are as bad friends too. He spent uncountable days and nights without food; sacrificed his whole life, in the search for wisdom and happiness.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby daverupa » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:02 pm



“Repeating non-stop A RA HAM formula, the Venerable recognizes the purple letter NA at the entrance of his nose. He follows the nostril, goes through a door, takes a ladder down to the epiglottis where he reaches the blue letter MO. Climbing down a few more rungs to the neck, he gets to the yellow letter BU. He ten follows the sign of the red letters DDHA in his sternum. He finally reaches his navel, the seat of the letter YA whose color is that of crystal. He concentrates on his navel for the apparition of the Buddha sitting on the throne of Enlightenment. He inhales air and makes it go up and down from his nose to his navel. This exercise must lead him to distinguish a remote island that must be reached by crossing the ocean.”

Kundalini Shamanism =/= Dhamma

:toilet:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby gavesako » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:17 pm

See this article about the origins of the popular Dhammakaya meditation method:

Dhammakaya meditation was re-discovered by Phramongkolthepmuni on the full-moon night of September 1914 at Wat Bangkuvieng, Nonthaburi.[2] This monk had practised several other forms of meditation popular in Thailand at the time including Phrasangavaranuwongse (Phra Acharn Eam) of Wat Rajasiddharam, Bangkok; Phra Kru Nyanavirat (Phra Acharn Po) of Wat Pho, Bangkok; Phra Acharn Singh of Wat Lakorn Thamm, Thonburi; Phramonkolthipmuni (Phra Acharn Muy) of Wat Chakrawat, Bangkok and Phra Acharn Pleum of Wat Kao Yai, Amphoe Tha Maka, Kanchanaburi.[3] He claimed that the Dhammakaya approach he discovered had nothing to do with the teachings he had received from these other masters - but he did have previous knowledge of the Sammā-Arahaṃ mantra before discovering the technique. After discovering the technique, Phramonkolthepmuni first taught it to others at Wat Bangpla, Amphoe Bang Len, Nakhon Pathom in 1915.[4] From 1916 onwards, when he was given his first abbothood, Dhammakaya Meditation became associated with his home temple of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen. It is said that Phramongkolthepmuni was the rediscoverer of Dhammakaya meditation, because members of the Dhammakaya Movement believe that the Buddha became enlightened by attaining Dhammakaya, and that knowledge of this (equated with Saddhamma in the Dhammakaya Movement) was lost 500 years after the Buddha entered Parinirvana.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhammakaya_meditation
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby manas » Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:54 pm

Hi dave,

I would move carefully before judging the way others go about their practice too hastily. The above example you quoted is not how I intend to practice anapanasati, nor does it appear in any of the pali canon as I currently know it. And yet...If the monks practising it were kind, austere, virtuous men, with insight into anicca, dukkha and anatta - (who knows?) - we might hesitate to judge too quickly some of the details of their manner of practice. Goodness, most of my significant monastic instructors are either descended from or influenced by the late Ven. Ajahn Chah, and even he ocassionally said things where I ask, "where in the tipitaka does it actually say that?":

Clarity of Insight (recording of talk by Ajahn Chah - excerpt)

"Meditate reciting ''Buddho'', ''Buddho'' until it penetrates deep into the heart of your consciousness (citta). The word ''Buddho'' represents the awareness and wisdom of the Buddha. In practice, you must depend on this word more than anything else. The awareness it brings will lead you to understand the truth about your own mind. It's a true refuge, which means that there is both mindfulness and insight present..."


(source: http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Clarity_Insight1.php)

Honestly, I don't chant in the way Ajan Chah recommends on a daily basis, although in deference to his stature I have certainly opened my mind to it and given it a go. But what I really wish to point out, is that someone who did not know that Ven. Chah was such a highly attained practitioner as he was, might read that random excerpt and judge Ven. Chah on the basis that "but that's not in the pali titpitaka!" without investigating further and discovering Ven Chah's outstanding virtue, wisdom, compassion, actual understanding of the heartwood of the Teaching, and of course real knowledge of the pali canon, etc.

To sum up: let's not be too quick to judge those whose practice differs from our own.
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby daverupa » Fri Nov 18, 2011 10:31 pm

Those are all very good points. Yes, I ought to withhold (and, in fact, do withhold) judgments about individuals who engage in these practices. But I find little difficulty in criticizing the practices themselves. That's obviously a fetter for me.

:cry:

:meditate:

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:21 pm

Greetings,

daverupa wrote:But I find little difficulty in criticizing the practices themselves.

Rightly so... it's not vipassana, and at best it could lead only to the first jhana (since there's clearly vitakka and vipaka at play). So it's limited in that regard and represents a significant risk of people actually believing, or placing undue significance, on the fabrications of the mind.

There's better and far more established methods available...

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby manas » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:42 pm

daverupa wrote:Those are all very good points. Yes, I ought to withhold (and, in fact, do withhold) judgments about individuals who engage in these practices. But I find little difficulty in criticizing the practices themselves. That's obviously a fetter for me.

:cry:

:meditate:

:heart:
Hi dave,

as always I also include myself in the 'don't be too quick to judge' admonishment. I wasn't just referring to your 'smiley going down the toilet' post heheh. My mind is the same...I'm actually working on this issue within myself at present. On not judging others so much, I mean. They can practise in their chosen way...I will practise in my chosen way...what really matters is that I work on my own defilements - and being too quick to criticize is one of them. Why? Because
not being awakened myself, I'm hardly in a position to be doing so.
:anjali:


with metta,
manas.
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby Nyana » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:41 am

Good stuff Ajahn Gavesako. :anjali:

South Asian and S.E. Asian Buddhism contains a number of diverse practices.

Here's a copy of the (now quite dated) English translation of a Pāli and Sinhalese Yogāvacara Meditation Manual.
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby Sylvester » Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:30 am

I'm not sure if one could say that there's a strain of Theravada called "Tantric Theravada", although there is no denying that some Theravada monastics in SE Asia are informed by remnants of Tantra that were attested to have been prevalent in some time of Buddhism's chequered history in SE Asia.

Lembah Bujang in the northern end of Malaysia is one such example of a thriving centre for tantra. When the Asian Civilisations Museum brought in the stuff from Bujang, loads of the statuary (Taras, Avalokitesvaras etc) were immediately identifiable as "tantric" by its iconography.

Many of the Siamese Buddhist statuary are themselves the product of a tantric era, especially those from Lopbhuri. Crowned Buddhas are not something that could be accounted for in the rather austere iconography of Theravada.

One does not need to head to the villages to see monastics at work on yantras and such like. Somdet Toh, a famous Dhammayutika stalwart who was based in Wat Rakang was reputed to have consecrated his votive tablets by chanting a 15-verse gatha called the Jinapanjara gatha. That looks like a tantric visualisation.
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby gavesako » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:33 pm

Many Thai Buddhists know the tantric chant Jinapanjara Gatha by heart and it is also chanted in some of the forest monasteries of Ajahn Mun tradition. Here is a video demonstrating visually how the "protective cage" around you is gradually being built through the power of Buddhas, Arahants and Suttas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-y2rflmheic

ชินบัญชร เพลงกาพย์ยานี
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBpyh-nMKOc

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... inapanjara

Jinapañjara Gāthā
The Victor's Cage

Jay'āsan'āgatā Buddhā
Jetvā Māraṃ savāhanaṃ
Catu-saccāsabhaṃ rasaṃ
Ye piviṅsu narāsabhā

The Buddhas, noble men who drank the nectar of the four noble truths, having come to the victory seat, having defeated Māra together with his mount:

Taṇhaṅkar'ādayo Buddhā
Aṭṭha-vīsati nāyakā
Sabbe patiṭṭhitā mayhaṃ
Matthake te munissarā

These Buddhas — 28 leaders, sovereign sages beginning with Taṇhaṅkara — are all established on the crown of my head.

Sīse patiṭṭhito mayhaṃ
Buddho dhammo dvilocane
Saṅgho patiṭṭhito mayhaṃ
Ure sabba-guṇākaro

The Buddha is established in my head, the Dhamma in my two eyes, the Saṅgha — the mine of all virtues — is established in my chest.

Hadaye me Anuruddho
Sārīputto ca dakkhiṇe
Koṇḍañño piṭṭhi-bhāgasmiṃ
Moggallāno ca vāmake

Anuruddha is in my heart, and Sārīputta on my right. Koṇḍañña is behind me, and Moggallāna on my left.

Dakkhiṇe savane mayhaṃ
Āsuṃ Ānanda-Rāhulo
Kassapo ca Mahānāmo
Ubh'āsuṃ vāma-sotake

Ānanda & Rāhula are in my right ear, Kassapa & Mahānāma are both in my left ear.

Kesante piṭṭhi-bhāgasmiṃ
Suriyova pabhaṅkaro
Nisinno siri-sampanno
Sobhito muni-puṅgavo

Sobhita, the noble sage, sits in consummate glory, shining like the sun all over the hair at the back of my head.

Kumāra-kassapo thero
Mahesī citta-vādako
So mayhaṃ vadane niccaṃ
Patiṭṭhāsi guṇākaro

Elder Kumārakassapa — great sage, brilliant speaker, a mine of virtue — is constantly in my mouth.

Puṇṇo Aṅgulimālo ca
Upālī Nanda-Sīvalī
Therā pañca ime jātā
Nalāṭe tilakā mama

These five elders — Puṇṇa, Aṅgulimāla, Upālī, Nanda, & Sīvalī — have arisen as auspicious marks at the middle of my forehead.

Sesāsīti mahātherā
Vijitā jina-sāvakā
Etesīti mahātherā
Jitavanto jinorasā
Jalantā sīla-tejena
Aṅgamaṅgesu saṇṭhitā

The rest of the 80 great elders — victorious, disciples of the Victor, sons of the Victor, shining with the majesty of moral virtue — are established in the various parts of my body.

Ratanaṃ purato āsi
Dakkhiṇe Metta-suttakaṃ
Dhajaggaṃ pacchato āsi
Vāme Aṅgulimālakaṃ

Khandha-Mora-parittañca
Āṭānāṭiya-suttakaṃ
Ākāse chadanaṃ āsi
Sesā pākāra-saṇṭhitā

The Ratana Sutta is in front, the Metta Sutta to the right. The Dhajagga Sutta is behind, the Aṅgulimāla Paritta to the left. The Khandha & Mora Parittas and the Āṭānāṭiya Sutta are a roof in space. The remaining suttas are established as a rampart.

Jināṇābala-saṃyuttā
Satta-pākāra-laṅkatā
Vāta-pitt'ādi-sañjātā
Bāhir'ajjhatt'upaddavā
Asesā vinayaṃ yantu
Ananta-jina-tejasā

Bound by the Victor's authority & strength, seven ramparts arrayed against them, may all misfortunes within & without — caused by such things as wind or bile — be destroyed without trace through the unending Victor's majesty.

Vasato me sakiccena
Sadā Sambuddha-pañjare
Jina-pañjara-majjhamhi
Viharantaṃ mahītale
Sadā pālentu maṃ sabbe
Te mahā-purisāsabhā

As I dwell, in all my affairs, always in the cage of the Self-awakened One, living on earth in the middle of the cage of the Victors, I am always guarded by all of those great noble men.

Iccevamanto sugutto surakkho
Jinānubhāvena jit'upaddavo
Dhammānubhavena jitārisaṅgho
Saṅghānubhāvena jit'antarāyo
Saddhammānubhāva-pālito carāmi jina-pañjareti.

Thus am I utterly well-sheltered, well-protected.
Through the power of the Victor, misfortunes are vanquished.
Through the power of the Dhamma, the enemy horde is vanquished.
Through the power of the Saṅgha, dangers are vanquished.
Guarded by the power of the True Dhamma,
I go about in the Victor's Cage.



Here is the longer Sri Lankan version with translation:


Jinapañjaraṃ
(22-gāthā Sinhalese version & English translation)

1.
jayāsanagatā vīrā
jetvā māraṃ savāhiṇiṃ
catusaccāmatarasaṃ
ye piviṃsu narāsabhā
Seated on the victorious seats, the heroes,
Having conquered Māra with his retinue,
The juice of nectar of the four truths,
Those lords of men who drank,

2.
taṇhaṅkarādayo buddhā
aṭṭhavīsati nāyakā
sabbe patiṭṭhītā tuyhaṃ
matthake te munissarā
The Buddhas, Taṇhaṅkara and others,
The eight and twenty leaders,
All of them have stood firmly on your
Head, those chiefs of sages.

3.
sire patiṭṭhitā buddhā
dhammo ca tava locane
saṅgho patiṭṭhito tuyhaṃ
ure sabbaguṇākaro
The Buddhas are established on the head,
And the Dhamma in your eye,
The Saṅgha is established in your
Chest, the source of all virtues.

4.
hadaye anuruddho ca
sāriputto ca dakkhiṇe
koṇḍañño piṭṭhibhāgasmiṃ
moggallāno'si vāmake
And in your heart Anuruddha,
And Sāriputta on your right,
Koṇḍañña behind you,
Moggallāna on your left.

5.
dakkhiṇe savaṇe tuyhaṃ
āhuṃ ānandarāhulā
kassapo ca mahānāmo
ubho'suṃ vāmasotake
In your right ear
Were Ānanda and Rāhula;
Kassapa and Mahānāma
Were both in your left ear.

6.
kesante piṭṭhibhāgasmiṃ
suriyo viya pabhaṅkaro
nisinno sirisampanno
sobhito munipuṅgavo
Behind you at your hairs' end,
Like the sun, the maker of light,
Has sat the one possessed of fortune,
Sobhita, a bull among sages.

7.
kumārakassapo nāma
mahesī citravādako
so tuyhaṃ vadane niccaṃ
patiṭṭhāsi guṇākaro
Kumārakassapa by name,
The great sage, the eloquent speaker,
In your mouth he has permanently
Established himself, that source of virtues.

8.
puṇṇo aṅgulimālo ca
upālīnandasīvalī
therā pañca ime jātā
Lalāṭe tilakā tavā
Puṇṇa and Aṅgulimāla,
Upāli, Nanda and Sīvalī,
These five elders have appeared
On your forehead like a bindu.

9.
sesāsīti mahātherā
vijitā jinasāvakā
jalantā sīlatejena
aṅgamaṅgesu saṇṭhitā
The remainder of the eighty great elders,
The victors, the disciples of the Jina,
Shining with the power of their virtue
Are settled in your various limbs.

10.
ratanaṃ purato āsi
dakkhiṇe mettasuttakaṃ
dhajaggaṃ pacchato āsi
vāme aṅgulimālakaṃ
The Ratanasutta was in front of you,
The Mettasutta on your right;
The Dhajaggasutta was behind you,
The Aṅgulimālasutta on your left.

11.
khandhamoraparittañca
ātānāṭiyasuttakaṃ
ākāsacchadanaṃ āsi
sesā pākārasaññitā
The Khandha and Mora protections
And the Ātānāṭiyasutta
Have become a roof in the sky;
The rest of the Suttas serve as ramparts.

12.
jināṇābalasaṃyutte
dhammapākāra'laṅkate
vasato te catukiccena
sadā sambuddhapañjare
To you who dwell in the fourfold duty,
Ever in the mansion of the Fully Awake,
Bound by the authority of the Jinas,
Adorned with the ramparts of the Dhamma,

13.
vātapittādisañjātā
bāhirajjhatt'upaddavā
asesāvilayaṃ yantu
anantaguṇatejasā
By the power of their limitless virtue,
May outer and inner afflictions
Arisen from wind, bile and other humours,
And all other disturbances depart.

14.
jinapañjaramajjhaṭṭhaṃ
viharantaṃ mahītale
sadā pālentu tvaṃ sabbe
te mahāpurisāsabhā
In the middle of the Jinas' mansion,
Living on the earth,
May all those great bulls of men
Forever protect you.

15.
iccevam-accantakato surakkho
jinānubhāvena jitūpapaddavo
buddhānubhāvena hatārisaṅgho
carāhi saddhammanubhāvapālito
Thus uninterruptedly well-guarded,
With afflictions conquered by the Jina's power,
And crowd of foes destroyed by the Buddha's power,
Wander protected by the Saddhamma!

16.
iccevam-accantakato surakkho
jinānubhāvena jitūpapaddavo
dhammānubhāvena hatārisaṅgho
carāhi saddhammanubhāvapālito
Thus uninterruptedly well-guarded,
With afflictions conquered by the Jina's power,
And crowd of foes destroyed by the Dhamma's power,
Wander protected by the Saddhamma!

17.
iccevam-accantakato surakkho
jinānubhāvena jitūpapaddavo
saṅghānubhāvena hatārisaṅgho
carāhi saddhammanubhāvapālito
Thus uninterruptedly well-guarded,
With afflictions conquered by the Jina's power,
And crowd of foes destroyed by the Saṅgha's power,
Wander protected by the Saddhamma!

18.
saddhammapākāraparikkhito'si
aṭṭhāriyā aṭṭhadisāsu honti
etthantare aṭṭhanāthā bhavanti
uddhaṃ vitānaṃ'va jinā ṭhitā te
You are surrounded by the ramparts of the Saddhamma,
Eight Ariyans are in the eight directions,
Between these are eight protectors,
And above, like a canopy, stood the Jinas.

19.
bhindanto mārasenaṃ tava sirasi ṭhito bodhim-āruyha satthā
moggallāno'si vāme vasati bhujataṭe dakkhiṇe sāriputto
dhammo majjhe urasmiṃ viharati bhavato mokkhato morayoniṃ
sampatto bodhisatto caraṇayugagato bhānulok'ekanātho.
Breaking asunder the army of Māra, on your head stood the Teacher,
after ascending the Bodhi-seat,
Moggallāna is on your left, dwelling on your arm, and Sāriputta on your right.
The Dhamma dwells in the middle of your chest.
The Bodhisatta, having gone from Mokkha to Morayoni, has gone to your
two feet, that sole protector of the world.

20.
sabbāvamaṅgalam-upaddavadunnimittaṃ
sabbītirogagahadosam-asesanindā
sabb'antarāyabhayadussupinaṃ akantaṃ
buddhānubhāvapavarena payātu nāsaṃ.
All inauspices, afflictions, ill omens,
All calamities, illnesses, planetary faults, and blame,
All obstacles, dangers, bad dreams, and the unpleasant,
Through the power of the Buddha's excellence may these all disappear!

21.
sabbāvamaṅgalam-upaddavadunnimittaṃ
sabbītirogagahadosam-asesanindā
sabb'antarāyabhayadussupinaṃ akantaṃ
dhammānubhāvapavarena payātu nāsaṃ.
All inauspices, afflictions, ill omens,
All calamities, illnesses, planetary faults, and blame,
All obstacles, dangers, bad dreams, and the unpleasant,
Through the power of the Dhamma's excellence may these all disappear!

22.
sabbāvamaṅgalam-upaddavadunnimittaṃ
sabbītirogagahadosam-asesanindā
sabb'antarāyabhayadussupinaṃ akantaṃ
saṅghānubhāvapavarena payātu nāsaṃ.
All inauspices, afflictions, ill omens,
All calamities, illnesses, planetary faults, and blame,
All obstacles, dangers, bad dreams, and the unpleasant,
Through the power of the Saṅgha's excellence may these all disappear!
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby manas » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:51 pm

Greetings Bhante,

I came across the Jinapanjara Gatha while on youtube. It reminds me that we are not really alone in our strivings. We have the great ones who have gone before us as an example to follow.

respecfully,
manas.

:anjali:
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby gavesako » Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:35 am

What these references show is that in order to understand the living Theravada tradition in SE Asia (also exported to the West recently) one cannot rely solely on the canonical Tipitaka texts, rather one has to include much more than that. Sometimes Ajahn Mun and his disciples are portrayed in "official" publications of Reformed Buddhism in Thailand in a way which does not do justice to their background. Although they did read the Dhamma textbooks produced by the Dhammayut reformers of the 19th century, they were also steeped in their local culture which was full of "tantric Buddhism" and they continued to practise and teach under its influence.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby gavesako » Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:37 am

The northern Thai (Lanna) Buddhism is also quite unique and shows many influences that could be classified as "tantric":


Wat Tam Doi Tone (Doi Tone Cave Monastery)

128 Moo 5, Baan Mae Sapok, Mae Win, Mae Wang, Chiang Mai, Thailand


Phra Ajahn Nawee Piyadhassi is now 51 years old (2011). He was
ordained in 1982, and stayed at Ram Poeng temple in Chiang Mai
city during his first lent season. He studied and practiced Dhamma
with Phra Dhammamangalachan (Ven. Ajahn Thong Sirimangalo),
and later with Phra Kru Anusonprachathorn (Ven. Ajahn Rat
Ratayano) of Doi Koeng temple in Mae Hong Son province. At
present, he is the abbot of Tam Doi Tone Cave Monastery and
organizes regular meditation course on monthly basis.

http://vimuttidhamma.org/


Vimuttidhamma is the true freedom, which does not change according to any causes or factors, transcending all kinds of conditioned phenomena. On the path to liberation (the noble eightfold path), vimuttidhamma is the final goal for all beings.

Regarding the noble eightfold path, there are three levels of learning and practice. Firstly, the sila level or the level of adjusting one’s own physical and verbal conducts to support and be conducive to the training of one’s mind. Second is the level of concentration or mind training according to the principle of the four foundation of mindfulness (satipaṭṭhāna practice). Practitioners will be able to experience the rising and falling states within the framework of their own body and mind. In Pali, body (rūpa) and mind (nāma) are mere aggregates of compounded things. Such rising and falling continuum appears from gross to subtler levels, namely from the worldly to the form and formless realms.

Chakra is a knowledge at the level of absorption concentration (appanāsamādhi) which covers both the form and formless realms. Knowledge of chakra existed prior to the emergence of Buddhism. Before enlightenment, the Buddha achieved all the eight levels of absorption concentration from two masters, the yogies Alāra Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta. However, the knowledge of high level of concentration or chakra was not sufficient for reaching vimuttidhamma. The Buddha, therefore had to leave the two masters in order to seek, by himself, the higher and subtler kind of knowledge.

With tremendous effort and long-accumulated spiritual intuitive faculty which heightened to its peak, the Buddha was able to discover the higher kind of knowledge, or the third level of practice, namely insight or vipassanā. Only when absorption concentration is accompanied by insight, the ordinary kind of concentration will escalate and change itself into the noble right concentration. When both kinds of power, insight (vipassanābala)and concentration (samādhibala), develop up to the level of completion of factors of enlightenment (bojjhaṅga), the mind will be free from the cycle of rebirth. Before being able to reach the highest form of knowledge (vimuttiñāṇadassana), practitioners will experience an excellent kind of chakra, namely dhammachakra. Dhammachakra is a special state when ones experience only the rising and falling of aggregates without accompaniment of ignorance, craving and clinging force (which are the causes of suffering). The perception at this level is called kiriyacitta* which functions independently of both wholesome and unwholesome factors. When dhammachakra cycles and escalates its speed, up to one point, the cycling stops, and there emerges the last and the highest kind of knowledge, vimuttiñāṇadassana which will become clear only to those who can attain it.

Vimuttidhamma will be a guiding friend for those who seek and practice Dhamma and will lead them to the knowledge about chakra and the higher knowledge of the excellent dhammachakra. On the noble path, may the cycling of dhammachakra reveal itself transparently to everybody who devotedly and persistently keeps on training the mind.

http://vimuttidhamma.org/vimuttidhamma- ... si-bhikkhu

Download PDF of the whole book (300 pages):

http://vimuttidhamma.org/Vimuttidhamma% ... hikkhu.pdf


This book is unusual because it combines traditional Theravada meditation instructions -- mainly from the Suttas and also some explanations from the Abhidhamma -- with descriptions of the Chakras and kundalini energy moving through the body. It goes into a lot of detail regarding the attainment of jhanas and arupa-jhanas and how wisdom is developed on the basis of deep concentration. There are also illustrations in the book. At the very end there is this remarkable account of the attainment of an arahant (...)
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:47 am

Thank you Venerable. It is very interesting to have some of this information in English. From such works (and other material, for example the publications of Ajahn Maha Bua and his students) one can see that there is a very rich and diverse practice tradition in Thailand.

:anjali:
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:15 am

Interesting thread!
To someone like me who hasn't been following all the details, its main message is that the 'mahayana split' which is being discussed simultaneously here - viewtopic.php?f=29&t=10218 - is certainly an over-simplification and may be may be fundamentally misleading.

:namaste:
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby chownah » Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:33 am

:goodpost: :thumbsup:
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby Nyana » Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:58 am

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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Postby gavesako » Mon Nov 21, 2011 5:03 pm

This article is probably based on one of the above quoted texts:

Kammathana: Esoteric Meditation in Cambodian Buddhism

The yogi or yogavacara of Cambodia practiced the “hidden” (lak) or “interior way” (phluv knong). The yogavacara (esoteric or initiatory tradition of Cambodia) is a practitioner of yoga who becomes an adept of mula khammatthana (neak mula kammathana).

The modern monk-scholar practices the “exterior way” (pluv krau).

In mainstream Theravada Buddhism, the term khammathana refers to the 40 meditation subjects authorized by the Buddha. In Cambodian tradition, however, the term “khammatthana” has a special meaning, the mastery of pluv knong. Khmer tantra operated with a theory of correspondences, letters, sounds, numbers, presented in a ritual context.
The term “mula” means the skill of using Khmer alphabet to denote Buddha’s teaching. Mula Kammatthan can be practiced in two ways: (A) the “right hand path” (phluv sdam) which leads to nibbana; (B) the “left hand path” (phluv chveng) which leads to attainment of worldly ends, such as gaining power over others.
(...)

Kasina

Kasina meditation are part of the meditation tradition. The word kasina means “total field.” And includes the ten meditation on earth, water, wind, fire, blue, yellow, red, white, space (akasha) and consciousness (vijnana). In this process, the mind is exclusively, and with complete clarity, filled with the object and finally becomes one with it (Samadhi).

Samadhi is “unified mind” collected in a single object through gradual calming of mental activity. The consciousness of the subject becomes one with the object.

This state of consciousness is often called “one pointed concentration”; “this expression is misleading however, because it calls up the image of the mind “directed” at one point.

Samadhi is neither a straining concentration on one point, nor is the mind directed from here (subject) to there (object), which would be a dualistic experience. The ability to attain Samadhi is a precondition for absorption/jhana.

[Vipassana: the three super mundane types of Samadhi are distinguished that have as their goal emptiness, the state of no characteristics, and freedom from attachment to the object, and the attainment of Nibbana. Any other Samadhi, even in the highest stages of jhana, are considered worldly.]

Kasina meditations are associated with magical powers (iddhi) in Theravada Buddhism of Cambodia.
Cambodian Buddhism sees meditation practice in cosmological terms. Stanley Tambia describes the correlation/matrix of Buddhist cosmology and the meditation states. These are outlined in Visuddhimagga chapters 13 and 14. These practices develop the three-knowledges of “divine eye” and “passing and reappearance of things” to the periodic creation and dissolution of the cosmos and the world cycles of the eons of time.

Meditation ascends from rupa (material) to arupa (immaterial) states of consciousness: From access to neighborhood concentration, to absorption concentration, the first jhana.

Then the arupa/formless begins at fifth jhana of empty space. Iddhi-powers can come only after the 4th jhana.

The meditatior develops a spiritual potency, charismatic quality, or “magical power” known as saksit.

The forest monk, or traveling masters (lok thudong) attained potency (saksit) and knowledge (vijja), and were able to influence and benefit others. The adept must have not only rational knowledge, but be attained, i.e. be transformed by that knowledge, be virtuous by observing the Buddhist precepts. The adept maintains balance between mind and external objects (equanimity, equilibrium). He is able to embody, incarnate, Enlightenment.

http://santidhammo.blogspot.com/2011/11 ... on-in.html


:jedi:


Although something called "kasina" is mentioned in a few places in the Suttas, it nowhere mentions staring at an external object at all; that instruction comes from the Visuddhimagga which was written 1000 years after the Buddha and has incorporated some aspects from Brahmanism, and this might be one of them because the Hindu yogis also have this meditation technique which involves looking into the sun for example. Ajahn Thanissaro gave one talk where he said that Ajahn Mun was responsible for teaching techniques that came from the Tipitaka, rather than other esoteric techniques that were practised by forest monks before, including kasina meditation, which was supposed to bring psychic powers such as the dibba-cakkhu. He apparently advised his students not to go down that road, and Ajahn Lee and Ajahn Fuang in particular was against people practising kasina because it will lead them to states of hallucination where they cannot distinguish reality from imagination (nimittas). But there are still many forest monks who continued to practise the other "underground" meditation techniques for sure. Ajahn Thanissaro said that if the forest tradition only relies on such esoteric knowledge and not on instructions from the Tipitaka, it will return to be just a form of shamanism. However, it needs to be said that many of the forest monks regard the Visuddhimagga as a standard meditation manual and get their ideas from there (or the Thai anthologies based on it) assuming that it all comes from the Buddha, e.g. the 40 kammatthana subjects.


Ajahn Sudhiro - Benefit and danger of kasina meditation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkwehwlY4VM
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
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