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Tantra - Dhamma Wheel

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.
davcuts
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Tantra

Postby davcuts » Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:27 am

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

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retrofuturist
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Re: Tantra

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:30 am

Greetings David,

The main reason there is no tantra in Theravada is because there is no mention of it whatsoever of it being taught in the suttas.

I don't believe the Buddhist taught tantra and I agree with you that it was imported from other Indian spiritual traditions, and superimposed over the Dhamma.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Tantra

Postby clw_uk » Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:16 am

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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jcsuperstar
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Re: Tantra

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat Feb 28, 2009 9:53 am

tantra doesnt claim to be from our buddha does it? i thought it was from meitreya? its a sort of revealed text...
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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srivijaya
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Re: Tantra

Postby srivijaya » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:59 pm


green
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Re: Tantra

Postby green » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:45 am

The writings of Theravada are meant for one thing -- getting one into right view and advancing one towards stream entry and eventually Arahanthood. Theravada establishes one in conviction like nothing else. The exposition is so precise, that all other doctrines pale in comparison.

ONE MUST HAVE A STRONG GROUNDING IN THERAVADA FOR ONE TO PROPERLY UNDERSTAND BUDDHA DHAMMA.

That being said...the Pali texts itself states that there are other teachings of the Buddha -- in other languages: Buddha is to have said the following:

Mahaparinibbana Sutta of the Digha Nikaya:



There are various kinds of assemblies, O Ananda; assemblies of nobles, of Brahmans, of householders, of bhikkhus and of other beings.

When I used to enter an assembly, I always became, before I seated myself, in color like unto the color of my audience and in voice like unto their voice. I spoke unto them in their language and then with religious discourse, I instructed, quickened, and gladdened them.

But when I spoke, they knew me not and would say, Who may this be who thus speaks, a man or a god?

Then having instructed, quickened, and gladdened them with religious discourse, I would vanish away. But they knew me not, even when I vanished away



Buddha is said to have penetrated all Dharmas and knew well all religions and spoke to men/women in various languages in various realms in various worlds and countries-- this is the source of the Mahayana and Vajrayana (tantra).

An 3.8, Buddha extols Ananda over the skeptic Udayi when Ananda is awed and overwhelmed by the power of the Buddha, "Ananda had asked the Blessed One how far his voice would reach in the universe. The Lord had answered that the Enlightened Ones were immeasurable and could reach further than a thousandfold world system (with a thousand suns, a thousand heavens, and a thousand brahma worlds), even further than a three-thousandfold world system. They could penetrate all those worlds with their shining splendor and reach all beings living there with their voice.

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retrofuturist
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Re: Tantra

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:43 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

davcuts
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Re: Tantra

Postby davcuts » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:44 am

I was taught tantra was taught by Buddha, but it was a secret teachings only passed along to a chosen few. If it was a secret then why was tantra introduced in Hinduism first? I'm not getting a clear answer. Vajrayana is all I know. I have had Highest Yoga Tantra empowerments, yet I still don't know why I'm supposed to take something disgusting and make it pure. For instance on another Buddhist website someone mentioned how a teacher instructed one of his students to steal a pair of panties from a prostitute, and then draw a picture of a holy image on it. In the back of my mind I'm thinking that is absurd. When I stated such I got a good lecture that I know nothing about Vajrayana. I must not because I can't comprehend stealing a prostitutes panties, for that matter ever visiting a prostitute to begin with.

Would a teacher who practices Theravada Buddhism ever advice one of his/her students to steal a pair of prostitutes panties, and draw a holy image onto them? I find it hard to believe Buddha would ever teach such a thing. I hope I don't come across as if I'm ridiculing tantra, because that is not my intention. I am questioning how authentic tantra is. At times it comes across as being created by some lonely lama who wanted to get busy with the ladies. Then there is another part of me that believes maybe objects of desire can be used to reach enlightenment. Maybe it comes down to a question of faith. Tantra could have been kept secret. But it seems that secret started in Hinduism. Which makes me wonder if tantra came from Hinduism all along. Much like the influence Bon had on Tibetan Buddhism, perhaps Hinduism did as well.

David

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jcsuperstar
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Re: Tantra

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:29 am

i thought it was just that the prajna paramita texts were hidden but that the tantric texts came from visions and other buddhas? oh well im sure it really doesnt matter on this forum anyways. but our texts do tell us that the buddha NEVER had secret teachings so i wonder why he would lie?

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Re: Tantra

Postby cooran » Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:45 am

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Ben
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Re: Tantra

Postby Ben » Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:46 am

Thank you Chris for that definitive response.
Tantra is not in the Tipitaka because, it was not taught by the Buddha.
Kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Dhammanando
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Re: Tantra

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:08 am

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Rui Sousa
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Re: Tantra

Postby Rui Sousa » Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:34 am

I had never seen this kind of reasoning, that excuses breaking the percepts if one is enlightened enough... And it seems very odd to me.

In fact it seems to me to be contrary to the Buddha's teaching, how can a mind that has removed defilements through wisdom, commit acts that have ignorance, ill will or greed as their root?

Before I have found the Pali Canon I have drifted from New Age to Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. What made me keep looking, and not to settle down, was a lack of consistency that I sensed in some teachings. It was a great chock to discover that there was no record on the Pali Canon of the Buddha teaching Mantras or Tantras, and made lose interest in kundalini, chakras, auras and other phenomena that now seem irrelevant to the Noble Eightfold Path.
With Metta

thornbush
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Re: Tantra

Postby thornbush » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:55 pm

Interesting that the OP has brought this up... :thanks:
Why wonder that Buddhist Tantra is not found in the Pali Canon? :shrug:
Many things in the Mahayana/Tantra are not found in the Pali Canon or in the practices of Theravada, be it now or then.
But I should add that it has not made the Mahayana or Tantra any less 'Buddhist' than what Theravada/Pali Canon is or has been.
Respecting that this is a Theravada based Forum, I shall not flood this thread with numerous references to what Buddhist Tantra is or isn't.
The answer is just that the Pali Canon/Theravada Buddhism contains nothing on it and hence...none...accept it and go on with life :coffee:
I do not see any point in using the Scriptures of one School/Tradition to prove the 'futility' of another or use lopsided references of the School/Tradition in question to show 'its futility' and turn it into another sectarian polemical of doctrinal purity or validity.
The answer is: nothing in the Pali Canon or the Theravada Tradition contains anything on Tantra in text or practice.
But, again, it is not one iota less 'Buddhist' in practice nor in text. Not sure if this is a proper place to debate this matter under 'Discovering Theravada'
Similarly, if this may be inferred: don't expect a Hilton experience from a Fourseasons property. Rather, be rest assured that excellent service and the 'wow factor' is a guarantee from both. No amount of taking/insisting on SOP's or best practices of both hospitality properties is gonna fulfill an exclusive Hilton's or Fourseasons' guest. We can only and merely concede that both are the best in what they can do or offer but to demand/insist that Hilton conforms to Fourseasons or vice versa, won't that be a hilarious joke or disaster? At the end of the day, a guest gets his/her worth from either and when they have tried both and concede with what h/she wants, they will settle for the one that makes most sense or value without having to devalue or degrade the other 'unchosen' property.

Ok too much said already....back to practice... :anjali:

Namo Amitabha Buddha!

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Dhammanando
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Re: Tantra

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:16 pm


green
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Re: Tantra

Postby green » Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:01 pm

I agree with with many of the Theravadins in that modern Mahayana and Vajrayana are grossly lacking in basic understanding of the 4 Noble Truths -- and are given this mantra or that mantra and empowerments without even understanding basic meditation and that precepts are mandatory in one's practice.

These "secret" teachings are not supposed to be secret -- they are advanced and NOT FOR BEGINNERS nor can they be understood by beginners.

Now because these guys aren't grounded in basic Buddhist teachings - I would doubt any teacher who tells me to go steal some prostitutes panties. :cookoo:

In that sense many of these Mahayana/Vajrayana practices are no different than Hinduism, because of this lack of understanding of basic Buddhism.

This is not the old time Mahayana of Nagarjuna or Ashvaghosha, all the old Mahayana schools had a sound and thorough grounding in the Aghama (Tipitika) texts and only then moved onto development of psychic powers through mantra/tantra. -- I have not heard of Ven.Nagarjuna or Ven. Ashvaghosha trying something that ridiculous.

Now I have provided plenty of evidence that the TIPITIKA NEVER states that the Tipitika is all that Buddha's taught -- he had taught throughout the world to different people in different languages and taught in different worlds as well.

And it is right to question and doubt any new teachings, especially a, ahem, :quote: teacher, who is teaching to steal someone's panties. :cookoo:

In the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, Buddha gives a manner of finding evidence if it is the Dhamma or not:

8-11. Then the Blessed One said: "In this fashion, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu might speak: 'Face to face with the Blessed One, brethren, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a community with elders and a chief. Face to face with that community, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name live several bhikkhus who are elders, who are learned, who have accomplished their course, who are preservers of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with those elders, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a single bhikkhu who is an elder, who is learned, who has accomplished his course, who is a preserver of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with that elder, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation.'

"In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu -- or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it. But if the sentences concerned are traceable in the Discourses and verifiable by the Discipline, then one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is the Blessed One's utterance; this has been well understood by that bhikkhu -- or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' And in that way, bhikkhus, you may accept it on the first, second, third, or fourth reference. These, bhikkhus, are the four great references for you to preserve."



Now this also brings into question comparatively new books such as the Abhidhamma, which is attributed to Ven. Sariputta who recieved it in heaven. How is the Abhidhamma to be verified? There are various Abhidhammas in various schools.

So this verification process is difficult indeed.

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Re: Tantra

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:03 am

In this sutta the Buddha inflames the passions of the Bikkhu Nanda by showing him 500 extremely sexy Nymphs. Then he informes Nanda that these Nymphs can be had by him. Nanda then says he will follow the Buddha because the Buddha has guaranteed that Nanda will have these sexy Nymphs. Then in the course of practice Nanda feels shame at having practiced for such a purpose. His intense shame causes him to practice for the right reasons.

This is what I call "Skillful Means"

Obviously only a teacher who is profoundly skilled could expose a lustful celibate monk to 500 erotic temptresses and be doing it for his well being.


Metta

Gabriel
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http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html[/url]
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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mikenz66
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Re: Tantra

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:32 am

For something about the relationship between early Buddhism and Tantra see the final chapter of Richard Gombrich, "How Buddhism Began", where he hypothesises that Angulimala's finger necklace was actually some sort of tantric practise.

http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=aIOY ... #PPA156,M1

Whatever you think of his theory, there is some interesting discussion of Tantra there.

Metta
Mike

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Dan74
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Re: Tantra

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:20 am

Thank you Gabriel and Mike for posts that provide relevant information rather than bigotry.

It is sad to see all that misinformation and accusations flying against a fellow school of Buddhism.

Although I am not a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner, the story of "prostitute's panties" is almost certainly bogus and just perpetrates this stereotype of "crazy wisdom" that "good Buddha-fearing folk" can used to justify their dismissal of Vajrayana as a degenerate and decadent perversion of Dhamma. From what I understand such "crazy wisdom" is almost non-existent in the tradition.

In fact every Tibetan teacher I've come across (not many granted) emphasised the Agamas as the foundation of any respectable Buddhist practice and taught that the tantras and various Tibetan teachings are either elaborations or skillful means to realise the teachings. But I am in no way qualified to be a spokesperson for Tibetan Buddhism - I practice Zen (Seon) Buddhism.

The bottom-line as I see it is if folks like to feel that "their" school is the "true" one or "the superior one" - go for it. You are building just another ego fortress.

Or we could just put that energy into being the best practitioner of Theravada/Vajrayana/Zen and not worry about slanging traditions that we understand so little about?

Or am I missing the point here?

_/|\_
Last edited by Dan74 on Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
_/|\_

davcuts
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Re: Tantra

Postby davcuts » Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:34 am

Some peoples logic is tantra makes people see that both holy objects, and objects of disgust are empty of inherent existence. I can see how that is true, because everything in samsara deceives us into believing it is real, or "out there". But does that mean a person should view feces and gold as the same? If you eat feces isn't it still feces no matter how pure you make it. Most Buddhist I know are hardcore vegetarians, yet in their tantra practice they eat meat, saying they transferred it into emptiness. My thought is tell that to the cow who had it's throat slit at a slaughter house. Was it empty? Did it not suffer so someone could use it's flesh in a religious ceremony?

I hope I'm not angering anyone with my doubts about tantra. Some have already pointed out I'm not supposed to make people lose faith in tantra, because I have had HYT empowerments. It seems I'm supposed to keep my doubts to myself, or I might take rebirth in a vajra hell.
Vajrayana is all I know. Some of you know I got involved with Buddhism through a cult. I have spoke out against that cult to the point they felt it was necessary to put my name and picture on one of their websites. People have threaten me saying I may go missing one day, so I need to make sure my affairs are in order. It's not a direct threat, but a threat just the same. I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared. All my teacher would have to do is give the order for me to be killed, and it will be done. That's because people view him as a Buddha or Bodhisattva. He knows best in their eyes. Am I to take it there are no such beliefs in Theravada Buddhism? It seems killing and sexual misconduct can be seen as pure in Tibetan Buddhism. I still don't see how that is possible. I have a lot of guilt for feeling this way.

David


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