Tantra

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.

Re: Tantra

Postby Dan74 » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:51 pm

Regarding the supposed great differences between Theravada and Mahayana, here's what Ven Dr Walpola Rahula whom I guess many here would know, has to say:

I have studied Mahayana for many years and the more I study it, the more I find there is hardly any difference between Theravada and Mahayana with regard to the fundamental teachings.

from
http://www.geocities.com/jolly2be/theravada-mahayana.html

and also

http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Zen_and_the_Ten_Ox-herding_Pictures,_by_Venerable_Dr._Walpola_Rahula


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Re: Tantra

Postby green » Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:07 am

Dan74 wrote:Regarding the supposed great differences between Theravada and Mahayana, here's what Ven Dr Walpola Rahula whom I guess many here would know, has to say:

I have studied Mahayana for many years and the more I study it, the more I find there is hardly any difference between Theravada and Mahayana with regard to the fundamental teachings.

from
http://www.geocities.com/jolly2be/theravada-mahayana.html

and also

http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Zen_and_the_Ten_Ox-herding_Pictures,_by_Venerable_Dr._Walpola_Rahula


_/|\_


The more you actually study the texts, the more you know they are not different.

What's different for the schools is the emphasis on different beliefs and practices - not the texts.

All schools at one time did hold the Aghama/Tipitika as their central teachings, with Mahayana sutras/mantras as rays spreading outwards from this core...however, today the practices of the Mahayana schools is very different than Theravada (and very different from early Mahayana)...Theravada too is very different from the earliest practices.

Both schools share the same texts and share Buddha...so I can't see how one can call the different "buddhisms" as "abrahamic religions" :jawdrop:...they don't share the same texts or the same founder and have different names for their different "one God".
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Re: Tantra

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:26 pm

Dan74 wrote:Again I wish an experienced Vajrayana practitioner comes and replies properly. But to my (very) limited knowledge, the "need" is in the speed. Tantra is meant to be the quick way because it employs quite radical methods of overcoming the dualistic mind, the deluded clinging mind and realising the Buddha-nature. There is a huge array of techniques - from yogic kind of energy exercises, visuali sations, guru worship, etc etc. They are often risky practices and should be done only under the direction of a competent and reliable Lama.


Dear Dan,

I am a practitioner, but I feel no urge to rush to the defense of tantra. I have so much confidence in this particular path that I feel it needs no defense.

I finally spoke up to correct one little thing ;) Guru Yoga isn't guru worship. In vajrayana nothing is worshipped as in any other school of Buddhism. The guru is seen as a means to access the teachings and pure view, just like everything else is a matter of method. You're quite right though, that it's all about method and pulled out of a substantial context, certain aspects make less sense.

:namaste:
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Re: Tantra

Postby Individual » Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:45 pm

davcuts wrote:I'm having doubts about the nature of tantra. Why is tantra not apart of Theravada Buddhism? I'm having doubts Buddha ever taught tantra. The fact tantra was first taught in Hinduism makes my doubts even stronger. How can a person prove tantra was or wasn't taught by Buddha? If this question goes against the TOS moderators please delete it.

Thanks,
David

If I may be blunt, tantra was a later corruption of Buddhism. It comes even after the age of Nagarjuna's scholastic Buddhism. At best, (right-handed) tantra is merely an unnecessary superstition. At worst, (left-handed) tantra is outright evil and demonic. If you read some of the tantras, some of them seem to expound wrong views, especially eternalism. In the Kulayarāja Tantra, Samantabhadra essentially makes the same ridiculous utterance of being a creator god, which was previously stated by a Maha-Brahma and refuted, in the Brahmajala Sutta. In some of the other tantras, there are bizarre descriptions of concoctions involving blood and semen, and ritualistic sex.

Some of the Tibetan Buddhists' techniques and teaching styles are interesting, and worth taking a look at, but I don't think their grandiose claims can be taken seriously. After all, some of their Lamas, when they're sick, won't tell their followers and while preaching various superstitions, they'll secretly run off to western hospitals.

Oh, but tantra isn't simply Tibetan, though, to make that clear. The Mahayana canon has some tantras as well and there is Vajrayana in Japanese, under Shingon, too. From what I've seen, Shingon Buddhists tend to be a bit more reasonable.
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Re: Tantra

Postby Rui Sousa » Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:36 pm

Individual wrote:At worst, (left-handed) tantra is outright evil and demonic. If you read some of the tantras, some of them seem to expound wrong views, especially eternalism. In the Kulayarāja Tantra, Samantabhadra essentially makes the same ridiculous utterance of being a creator god, which was previously stated by a Maha-Brahma and refuted, in the Brahmajala Sutta.


:shock: The text excerpts at wikipedia remind of how Brahman is described in the Upanishads.
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Re: Tantra

Postby Individual » Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:56 pm

Rui Sousa wrote:
Individual wrote:At worst, (left-handed) tantra is outright evil and demonic. If you read some of the tantras, some of them seem to expound wrong views, especially eternalism. In the Kulayarāja Tantra, Samantabhadra essentially makes the same ridiculous utterance of being a creator god, which was previously stated by a Maha-Brahma and refuted, in the Brahmajala Sutta.


:shock: The text excerpts at wikipedia remind of how Brahman is described in the Upanishads.

Tantric Buddhism and Hinduism aren't really very distinct. Both involve an unhealthy, misguided focus on guru devotion, magic, and deity worship, largely the same deities too, although with slightly different names.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Tantra

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:07 pm

Drolma wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Again I wish an experienced Vajrayana practitioner comes and replies properly. But to my (very) limited knowledge, the "need" is in the speed. Tantra is meant to be the quick way because it employs quite radical methods of overcoming the dualistic mind, the deluded clinging mind and realising the Buddha-nature. There is a huge array of techniques - from yogic kind of energy exercises, visuali sations, guru worship, etc etc. They are often risky practices and should be done only under the direction of a competent and reliable Lama.


Dear Dan,

I am a practitioner, but I feel no urge to rush to the defense of tantra. I have so much confidence in this particular path that I feel it needs no defense.

I finally spoke up to correct one little thing ;) Guru Yoga isn't guru worship. In vajrayana nothing is worshipped as in any other school of Buddhism. The guru is seen as a means to access the teachings and pure view, just like everything else is a matter of method. You're quite right though, that it's all about method and pulled out of a substantial context, certain aspects make less sense.

:namaste:


To add, some comments are so outrageous that I wouldn't even know where to begin! Image
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Re: Tantra

Postby Yeshe » Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:01 pm

It would be interesting to know if Hindu Tantra did actually precede Buddhist Tantra.

I remember reading somewhere that, for example, Vajrayogini was not derived from Hindu Kalias some suppose, because Vajrayogini appears in texts some 200 years before Kali (as the black Ma Kali emanation of Durga).

Is it not possible that, as both are based in the same culture, both grew together rather than one feeding the other in a linear way?

The NIkayas are not evidence that Buddha taught nothing else. In fact, there is no written record of exactly what he did teach, other than that memorised and later recorded, translated into Pali etc etc. The Pali canon and the Theravada 'elders' were not far ahead in time of the Mahayana 'elders' or Sanskrit texts.

In the end, Tantra is simply a method of training the mind to accept that 'reality' is illusory; and that the use of a Yidam enables us to focus on desirable qualities such as universal compassion . As such it differs hugely from Hindu Tantra as the worship of aspects of God through the pantheon of deities.

I am delighted that there are so many paths which suit those who wish to follow a Buddhist path.
It is fine for someone to claim that a teaching is not in the Nikayas. It is not fine for them to claim: 'Buddha did not teach that'. The foundation of all of the paths is the same, the objective is the same and the fact that they criss-cross and adapt to culture should not result in anyone claiming superiority or pre-eminence;)
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Re: Tantra

Postby Snowmelt » Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:02 pm

Drolma wrote:To add, some comments are so outrageous that I wouldn't even know where to begin! Image


I would rather drop the whole matter now than risk upsetting Drolma. Hmm ... I guess that means that community is sometimes more important to me than "truth". How terrible. :wink:
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Re: Tantra

Postby clw_uk » Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:17 pm

I guess that means that community is sometimes more important to me than "truth". How terrible.



Why is that terrible?




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Re: Tantra

Postby gavesako » Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:19 pm

"Na hi bhikkhave hinena aggassa patti hoti" (Nidana-samyutta)

Monks, there is no attainment of the highest through that which is low.


That says it quite clearly, I think.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Tantra

Postby Yeshe » Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:25 pm

[/quote]
Tantric Buddhism and Hinduism aren't really very distinct. Both involve an unhealthy, misguided focus on guru devotion, magic, and deity worship, largely the same deities too, although with slightly different names.[/quote]

This post has been reported as sectarian and insulting. The assertion of 'worship' displays an awesome ignorance and intolerance which is not befitting a Buddhist.
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Re: Tantra

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:35 pm

I have unlocked this thread per a user's request.

Please be mindful of what you post, even if you strongly disagree with what is said or with a particular schools of Buddhism.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Tantra

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:24 am

Drolma wrote:
Drolma wrote:
I am a practitioner, but I feel no urge to rush to the defense of tantra. I have so much confidence in this particular path that I feel it needs no defense.

I finally spoke up to correct one little thing ;) Guru Yoga isn't guru worship. In vajrayana nothing is worshipped as in any other school of Buddhism. The guru is seen as a means to access the teachings and pure view, just like everything else is a matter of method. You're quite right though, that it's all about method and pulled out of a substantial context, certain aspects make less sense.

:namaste:


To add, some comments are so outrageous that I wouldn't even know where to begin! Image


Dear Drolma,

Thank you for your correction. :namaste:

The reason I posted in the first place is not so much for the sake of people making poorly informed disparaging comments, but for others whose minds are still open.

I restate what I said earlier that anyone who has immersed themselves even only a little into the Tibetan tradition with an open heart cannot fail to appreciate the depth and the subtlety of the teachings and their intimate accord with the Buddha's message.

Of course, there are deviant teachers (like anywhere) and there is plenty of scope for misunderstanding. But we should recognise the limitations where they are, rather than where we may like to project them. And if we are really interested in the truth we should perhaps approach a respected Tibetan teacher and ask them.

_/|\_
Last edited by Dan74 on Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Tantra

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:45 am

There is a wonderful bit in the autobiography of John Blofeld (a scholar and translator of Chinese Buddhist classics who lived most of his life in China and Thailand) called The Wheel of Life, where he asks a lama four questions concerning his doubts about Tibetan Buddhism (pp.44-48).

Here's a part (the conversation takes place in Canton in early 1930ies):

As for the great pantheon of peaceful and wrathful deities, what are they but emanations from your own minds, corresponding to the noble and evil propensities of your own being? Since Mind alone exists, and since all apparent differentiation between this and that, I and you, is contained within it, where else could the deities reside? The mind of every being is as broad and deep as the cosmos itself. It is the entire cosmos, not a part but the whole - call it what you will. If you cannot understand now, be patient until one day when these words will seem to you no more profound than what children are taught by their village teacher. In this world of the senses where I speak to you, good and evil differ as do sunshine and black night, but mind is above both. Good, evil, lovely, repulsive - all is Mind. The wrathful, blood-drinking deities with their skull-cups and horrid ornaments are as much a part of your mind as the Bodhisattva's Compassionate smile.


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Re: Tantra

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:47 am

Snowmelt, that's really nice, thanks. You won't upset me.
I'm not upset, just concerned about where this discussion is leading. Image


Dan, I know what you're saying and I think it's cool. Thank you very much.
I appreciate your open mind and your respect for traditions outside of your own. :heart:


It would be improper for me to publicly address the points Dave has brought up regarding purification and so forth.
But Dave knows we can talk in private. (If I would just be attentive to emails for once in my life) :hug:


I can't discuss this because I'm not qualified to introduce people to tantra, and if it's discussed outside of a person being properly introduced by a legitimate teacher it can be harmful for a plethora of reasons. This has been evidenced even in this little thread by the comments about vajrayana being evil and demonic. I didn't request that this thread be closed, but I think it was mindful of Tilt to close it. And as far as the deep histories of these traditions I'm certainly not educated enough to compare and contrast! Maybe someone more scholarly than myself else will chime in.

Best wishes for all,
Drolma /\
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Re: Tantra

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:44 am

Per participant request I have closed this thread, again.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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