Tantra II

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Tantra II

Postby davcuts » Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:38 pm

Since the Tantra thread I started was closed I will start another thread.

In that thread I feel I may have been a little harsh towards tantra. Yes some of the practices seem to be questionable, but that doesn't mean tantra is evil. Tantra is practiced so practitioners can see everything is empty regardless of how they may appear. That doesn't mean tantra practitioners can do anything they won't. Moral discipline is a must in tantra as well. From some of the replies it seems some people don't view tantra that way by calling it evil. I've practiced tantra and I can say there is nothing evil about it. I was having doubt about tantra and felt it may have never been taught by Buddha. I also wanted to know why tantra is not taught in Theravada. That is the only reason I posted here. Tantra is not evil, and chances are people who say it is have never practiced it. For proof that Buddha may have taught tantra please see this thread at e-Sangha:

http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... opic=85249

Moderators if you want to close this thread like the other tantra thread please move this post into the tantra thread.

Thanks,
David
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Re: Tantra II

Postby clw_uk » Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:46 pm

davcuts wrote:Since the Tantra thread I started was closed I will start another thread.

In that thread I feel I may have been a little harsh towards tantra. Yes some of the practices seem to be questionable, but that doesn't mean tantra is evil. Tantra is practiced so practitioners can see everything is empty regardless of how they may appear. That doesn't mean tantra practitioners can do anything they won't. Moral discipline is a must in tantra as well. From some of the replies it seems some people don't view tantra that way by calling it evil. I've practiced tantra and I can say there is nothing evil about it. I was having doubt about tantra and felt it may have never been taught by Buddha. I also wanted to know why tantra is not taught in Theravada. That is the only reason I posted here. Tantra is not evil, and chances are people who say it is have never practiced it. For proof that Buddha may have taught tantra please see this thread at e-Sangha:

http://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index. ... opic=85249

Moderators if you want to close this thread like the other tantra thread please move this post into the tantra thread.

Thanks,
David




I dont think anyone would call it evil, just that its not something taught by Lord Buddha (this is a Theravadin view) unless its in reguards to left hand path tantra (i think thats what you call it?). I dont know much about this tantra but it seems if its encouraging one to do bad things it cant be very wholesome to the individual or the other person who its inflicted upon

As to why its not taught by Theravada, its because its not found anywhere in the pali canon which Theravadins stick to since Mahayana teachings are viewed as later developments


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Re: Tantra II

Postby Ben » Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:29 pm

Dave
I think your questions were answered in the first tantra thread,
So, what is your motivation in creating a second tantra thread?

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Re: Tantra II

Postby davcuts » Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:42 pm

I wanted to respond to some of the replies I had received, but it was closed before I had a chance. That was the only reason for starting another thread. Some felt I was bad mouthing tantra, and are now angry at me. I just wanted to make it clear I was not. Nor do I believe tantra is evil as someone's post suggested in the original thread.

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Re: Tantra II

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:30 am

Hi David,

Like Ben I'm still confused about why you want to discuss Tantra here. According to Theravada doctrine Tantra (and Mahayana) is, at best, irrelevant. I presume that the vast majority of people here are like me in knowing nothing about Tantra, so I'm puzzled as to how you think we can help.

I get the feeling that I'm missing something...

Metta
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Re: Tantra II

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:35 am

Some felt I was bad mouthing tantra, and are now angry at me



Just to add, i dont think anyone here is angry at you unless they are follwing Vajrayana, but even then i dont think they would by angry at you just because you had doubts


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Re: Tantra II

Postby Ravana » Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:06 am

I think the description of Tantra which you provide itself shows why a discussion of Tantra from a Theravada viewpoint will be problematic:

davcuts wrote:Tantra is practiced so practitioners can see everything is empty regardless of how they may appear.

From what I understand, Theravada doesn't teach that "everything is empty regardless of how they may appear." - it only teaches that "everything is empty of a self".
“The incomparable Wheel of Dhamma has been set in motion by the Blessed One in the deer sanctuary at Isipatana, and no seeker, brahmin, celestial being, demon, god, or any other being in the world can stop it.”
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Re: Tantra II

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:27 am

From what I understand, Theravada doesn't teach that "everything is empty regardless of how they may appear." - it only teaches that "everything is empty of a self".


The difference is?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Tantra II

Postby Ravana » Sun Mar 22, 2009 5:43 am

tiltbillings wrote:
From what I understand, Theravada doesn't teach that "everything is empty regardless of how they may appear." - it only teaches that "everything is empty of a self".


The difference is?

I thought the Madhyamika teaching of Emptiness says that all things are empty of any characteristic - not just the 'self' characteristic?

clw_uk wrote:As to why its not taught by Theravada, its because its not found anywhere in the pali canon which Theravadins stick to since Mahayana teachings are viewed as later developments

Also - depending on how much you take into account the opinions in the commentaries - Ven. Dhammanando has pointed out (in some E-Sangha threads) that the Mahavihara commentators were of the opinion that "Mahayana sutras were composed by deluded yogis, led astray by the defilements of insight.":

Dhammanando wrote:
Paljor wrote:According to many "Theravadins" around here (at e sangha), Mahayana/Vajrayana is not even authentic dharma, it's just invented out of thin air by Mahayanists/Vajrayanists. End of discussion.

If they say that then they are not correctly representing the Mahāvihāra Theravadin view. This is not surprising however, for the official Theravada position regarding the provenance of Mahāyāna sūtras will not be very well known among English-speaking Theravadins, as it is given only in one commentarial text that has not yet been translated. The text in question is the Commentary to the Counterfeit of the Good Dhamma (Saddhammappatirūpaka) Sutta, in Buddhaghosa's Sāratthappakāsinī (SA. ii. 201-5). According to this, Mahāyāna sūtras (referred to here as the Vedalla Piṭaka) were composed by bhikkhus who had fallen a prey to the ten corruptions of insight (vipassanūpakilesā). For those of us who accept this view, Mahāyāna sūtras were not "invented out of thin air" but out of subtle states of delusion, by persons who had actually been enjoying some success until the upakilesas drove them down a blind alley.

As to whether these sūtras contain "authentic dharma" or not, this is a separate question from that of their origin. If a Theravadin follows the approach advised in the Pali texts, he would not pre-judge their dharmic worth but would place them in the lowest (meaning least authoritative) of the four classes of putative dharma teachings, namely attanomati, the "personal opinion [of an acariya]". Utterances in this class are neither to be accepted as dharma nor rejected as adharma until they have been evaluated in the light of the four great standards.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Tantra the quickest path, Theravada the slowest?, I don't understand it.


EDIT: I just realized that Ven. Dhammanando has pointed this out here: where did the mahayana come from
“The incomparable Wheel of Dhamma has been set in motion by the Blessed One in the deer sanctuary at Isipatana, and no seeker, brahmin, celestial being, demon, god, or any other being in the world can stop it.”
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Re: Tantra II

Postby davcuts » Sun Mar 22, 2009 5:56 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi David,

Like Ben I'm still confused about why you want to discuss Tantra here. According to Theravada doctrine Tantra (and Mahayana) is, at best, irrelevant. I presume that the vast majority of people here are like me in knowing nothing about Tantra, so I'm puzzled as to how you think we can help.

I get the feeling that I'm missing something...

Metta
Mike


I came here to get another perspective on tantra. I was having doubts about how authentic it is. Even stating so got me a good scolding on another Buddhist website. According to some I should not even have doubts, much less talk about them openly. I wanted to know why tantra is not taught in Theravada Buddhism. I was also having doubt if I wanted to continue to practice Tibetan Buddhism. In a lot of ways it seems Theravada is more for me. But it seems Theravada Buddhist don't believe in prayer, rituals, or other deities such as Tara, and Amitabha. Is this correct? If it is then I can't see myself converting to Theravada any time soon.

Take care,
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Re: Tantra II

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 22, 2009 6:08 am

Greetings David,

davcuts wrote:I was having doubts about how authentic it is. Even stating so got me a good scolding on another Buddhist website. According to some I should not even have doubts, much less talk about them openly.

Respectfully, isn't this the kind of deference to authority that got you entangled in the NKT at one point?

davcuts wrote:I wanted to know why tantra is not taught in Theravada Buddhism.

I'm sure you've seen by now, but the primary reason is that there's no record of it in the Pali Canon.

davcuts wrote:But it seems Theravada Buddhist don't believe in prayer, rituals, or other deities such as Tara, and Amitabha. Is this correct?

Again, Tara and Amitabha fall into the "not in the Pali Canon" category. As for rituals, there are plenty of rituals in traditional Theravadin countries. See for example...

Buddhist Ceremonies and Rituals of Sri Lanka
A.G.S. Kariyawasam
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el402.html

In fact, that article might give you a good perspective on the devotional side of Theravada Buddhism... and we can find you more materials on that topic if it's of interest to you.

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Tantra II

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:36 pm

But it seems Theravada Buddhist don't believe in prayer, rituals, or other deities such as Tara, and Amitabha. Is this correct?


i've never come across any theravada buddhists who worshiped these dieties, kwan yin yes though(as well as hindu dieties such as 4 faced brahma and ganesh). tara is basically the same as kwan yin, and as for amitabha, personally i dont see the point as all he is supossedly good for is letting you be reborn on a "planet" he made, no offering of help for the here and now, but there are theravada budhists that do "pray" to be reborn in the time with mettaya buddha so maybe it's similar?
Last edited by jcsuperstar on Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tantra II

Postby gavesako » Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:35 pm

If you actually examined the beliefs of a typical Buddhist in a Theravada country and compared it to those supposedly practising some form of Tantra, you would find many similarities among them -- surprisingly many. There are many aspects of the daily rituals performed by Theravada Buddhists which could be called "tantric" in some form.
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Re: Tantra II

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:57 am

Dear Dave,

I think it's okay to have doubts, and right now you rely on the larger community for support because you haven't connected with another teacher (as far as I know). I'm sorry people got mad at you for talking about how you feel.

For what it's worth, you have a couple of little practices you can continue to do if you like them, and you can always learn all about Theravadan Buddhism without having to convert (unless you want to). The level of commitments you took before aren't required here!

And yes, the people who were saying in that other thread that tantra is evil and whatnot were probably not going to be of any help to you. Honestly, I think you need practice support for whatever you're comfortable doing right now. I don't see why doubts aren't okay. I have all kinds of troublesome little thoughts. Hang in there :heart:
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Re: Tantra II

Postby Mexicali » Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:29 pm

davcuts wrote:I wanted to know why tantra is not taught in Theravada Buddhism. I was also having doubt if I wanted to continue to practice Tibetan Buddhism. In a lot of ways it seems Theravada is more for me. But it seems Theravada Buddhist don't believe in prayer, rituals, or other deities such as Tara, and Amitabha. Is this correct? If it is then I can't see myself converting to Theravada any time soon.


Hi David

I've studied Theravada for some time but only recently came over from a Mahayana practice (my final break was literally a few days ago). So I understand what you're saying. And for some time I was ending my evenings reciting Amida's name name hoping for rebirth in the pure land, modeling compassion on Kuan Yin ( a pre-Buddhist Chinese figure who became conflated with Avolekitsvara) and bowing to beings that I have no evidence for the existence of, and whose continued existence goes against a number of principles the Buddha spoke plainly of. There is something seductive about all the ritual and prayers and secrets, but at the end I was forced to conclude that they are not really the dharma, at best things we've layered on top of it over milenia. Asking why Theravada has no tantric practices is somewhat like asking why Theravada doesn't include prayers to Odin or Islamic salat; they're simply a different teaching with no perceived benefit.

A couple of my best friends practice tantric Buddhism, and I don't think less of them, but when they talk about different means it's almost as if someone insisted that one needs to play soccer to understand Buddhism fully. One of my friends is a Shingon practitioner who acknowledges that the Buddha specifically dismissed fire ritual as useful, and does it anyway. It's all a bit strange to me now.
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Re: Tantra II

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:41 pm

Greetings venerable Gavesako,

gavesako wrote:If you actually examined the beliefs of a typical Buddhist in a Theravada country and compared it to those supposedly practising some form of Tantra, you would find many similarities among them -- surprisingly many. There are many aspects of the daily rituals performed by Theravada Buddhists which could be called "tantric" in some form.


Is there any chance you might be able to provide some examples?

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: Tantra II

Postby Individual » Sat Apr 25, 2009 6:15 pm

Ravana wrote:I think the description of Tantra which you provide itself shows why a discussion of Tantra from a Theravada viewpoint will be problematic:

davcuts wrote:Tantra is practiced so practitioners can see everything is empty regardless of how they may appear.

From what I understand, Theravada doesn't teach that "everything is empty regardless of how they may appear." - it only teaches that "everything is empty of a self".

If you recognize that "self" and "identity," are the same thing, then everything being empty of a self has meaningful ontological implications. If you don't recognize that self and identity are the same thing, would you suggest one can have an "identity" (I am... X") without positing a self?
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Tantra II

Postby pink_trike » Sat Apr 25, 2009 6:54 pm

Hi Davcuts,

Having practiced both Theravada and Tantra, I'll say this: I'm glad I had well over a decade of Theravada experience before I started Tantra practice. Tantra turns up the heat and can really make our active and stored delusion boil much faster - having a solid grounding in Theravada practices helped me let the boiling roll on without being beat up or burned by it (much). Don't get me wrong, the burn is beneficial in the end - but once the boiling starts it needs to be ridden out to fruition. A lot of care needs to be taken to prevent getting lost at sea. It isn't "evil - but it is fraught with dangers (of the mind's creation). Any good teacher expressly warns of this before giving initiation, and stresses the need for a strong student/teacher relationship. Imo, here in the West Tantra practices should only be undertaken after extensive Theravada practice, which provides a ground from which to do Tantric exploration of the groundless. Too many Western folks rush into Tantra and get utterly lost in the labyrinths of the mind, with unfortunate results.

Metta
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Tantra II

Postby davcuts » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:08 pm

I feel I was introduced to Tantra too soon. At the time I had the empowerment I was taking care of my elderly mother who has suffered with several strokes. She could barely walk at that time. My teacher told me I need to receive the Highest Yoga Tantric Empowerment at all cost. It would be the only true way to help someone. He even said if we must quit our jobs to attend we should do so. So what I did is leave my elderly mother alone for a week to receive HYT. Keep in mind I did it because it was the only true way to help her. Sounds absurd now but at the time it made perfect sense.

I can't blame Tantra for being introduced to it too soon. It all had to do with the cult I belonged to. Most other traditions would not force something onto someone they didn't feel they where ready for. Still when Tantra is practiced correctly it is a very beautiful thing. Despite all the wrathful looking deities and the practices which seem strange to those who are not familiar with Tantra.

Tantra practiced incorrectly can cause unfortunate results. If someone breaks their vows or samaya it can lead to rebirth in hell. Not only for the student but also the teacher (something my teacher failed to tell me before I had the empowerment). I did practice it incorrectly and as a result I have lost hope of taken a fortunate rebirth. That's one of the reasons I'm attracted to Theravada. Maybe it can give me some hope. I also suffer with lung. A lot of my friends who where once part of the cult do as well. I can't mediate without getting a tremor. It's made meditation nearly impossible to do.

Tantra is beautiful, but I don't recommend it to people who don't have a solid grounding in Sutra. Ultimately what ruined Tantra for me is being involved with a cult who exploit its teachings for personal gain. Others most likely want experience what I did.


David
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Re: Tantra II

Postby clw_uk » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:21 pm

Greetings


I did practice it incorrectly and as a result I have lost hope of taken a fortunate rebirth.


Dont let if's and but's drag you down, focus on what is, focus on dukkha and how to quench it


Besides not everything is set in stone, that is fatalism


Metta to you :smile:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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