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KSpeller: 'Tantric' Buddhism?

Newsgroups: alt.magick.tantra,alt.magick.tyagi,talk.religion.buddhism
Subject: KSpeller: 'Tantric' Buddhism? (Was Re: OMiNous 1.6)
References: <4cec2m$>  <4cfgpp$> <>
Followup-To: alt.religion.buddhism.tibetan,alt.magick.tantra,alt.magick.tyagi,talk.religion.buddhism
From: (nagasiva)
Reply-To: kim speller 

[reformatted and slightly edited for your reading pleasure - tn]

[from alt.religion.buddhism.tibetan: kim speller ]

John Cleaver (
| : >And what the HELL is "Tantric Buddhism"? "Trinlay Khadro":
| : I thought it was just another name for 'vajrayana'.

Maybe this will help a little. I have no knowledge of my own, only what 
I have read and been taught, and I hope I dont get this too wrong, 
but here goes:

1.	Vajrayana.

In Tibetan Buddhism 3 yanas are described: Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana.

Hinayana is tha path of the hearer and solitary buddha. These paths 
take a very long time to reach Buddhahood.

In the Mahayana is the path of the Bodhisattva which also takes a long time, but
not as long as the first 2.

Then there are the Vajrayana paths and are quicker still, the highest being 
capable of bringing about full enlightenment in one lifetime.

In Dzogchen, Vajrayana is divided into 6 paths:

	A. the outer tantras - Kriya yoga tantra, Carya yoga tantra, 
	   and yoga tantra. Each has their own view meditation, 
	   practise and result,

	B. the inner tantras - mahayoga, anuyoga and atiyoga tantra.

In the Mahamudra tradition it is divided into 4 paths-  Kriya, carya, 
yoga and anuttara yoga tantra.

Mantra mahamudra is particularly associated with the 6 doctrine of Naropa.

The Buddha's teachings of the Mahayana path are contained in the Sutras, 
and of the Vajrayana path in the Tantras, ie Hevajra, Mahamaya etc. 

So a Tantra is a body of teaching, many of which were not committed to 
writing until about the 6th/7th Century, some even later.

2. Mantrayana and Vajrayana are synonymous terms, but just to confuse, 
there is no doubt that mantras are important in Mahayana, and are not 
confined to Vajrayana practises eg Gate gate parasamgate, parasamgate 
bodhi swaha, but most mantras are associated with vajrayana practices, 
sadhanas, pujas etc.

3. Tantric Buddhism is generally thought of as Tibetan Buddhism as 
that is where the Buddha's tantric teachings have been best preserved 
since the destruction of Indian Buddhism by the Moslem invasion in the 
13th century AD but there, but there are other forms, eg in Japan. It 
is Buddhism based on the teachings of the Buddha contained in the Tantras 
that heht during the Third Turning of the Wheel of the Dharma. 

The 1st Turning was at Varanasi when he taught the 4 Noble Truths- the 
Hinayana path of the Sravaka and Pratyekabuddha, the view of selflessness, 
the observations of the precepts and the paractise of shine and vipassana 
meditation [.]

The 2nd Turning was when he taught the Mahayana path and in particular the 
view of the realisation of the absence of any essential essence in any 
phemonenon- eg the Prajnaparamita - form is emptiness and emptiness is 
form etc, the development of the Madhyamika view, the middle way between 
the extremes of existence and nihilism commentated upon by Nagarjuna and 
the Mulamadhyamikakarika and all that, and the the practising of the 6 
paramitas and the attainment of the formless body for oneself and the form 
body for the sake of others et al. 

Then 3rd Turning at Vulture Peak when the Buddha taught the tantras. 
There is, of course tons more.

4.      The silk route point.

Anyone interested in Tibetan Buddhist history might like to read David 
Snellgroves "Indo-Tibetan Buddhism". His Dharma is a bit wonky, but then
he was none too keen on actual live Buddhists and how they saw the Dharma 
as a living religion practiced by real people, but its an excellent work 
and describes the spread of Buddhism from India up to the Hindu Kush, 
to Bactria and into central Asia up to Samarkand and round the north of 
the Takla Makan Desert ie the silk route from China (and how it formed 
the roots of Bon.)

5.      New Agers.

The Buddhadharma has nothing to fear from New Agers. We are all living
in confusion and ignorance, trying to make sense of our lives and experience,
coming to terms with the ups and downs of life,impermanence, problems and 
so on.

If people turn to the Dharma for help in making sense of it all, that's 
fine, the Dharma is limitless and is there for everyohat is important is 
not to get bogged down in our own limited view of what the Dharma is about 
and end up getting even more confused. But everyone starts from where they 
are, warts...especially warts, and all Only a Buddha knows what karmic 
connections are awakened by reading and hearing the most extraordinary 
gobbledegook, or what are the causes and conditions that lead to an 
interest and confidence in authentic Dharma.  

How many people have come to the Dharma through the oddest of routes 
eg Lobsang Rampa? ( I think maybe I am treading on some toes here).

6.      What to do?

First one has to go for refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and in 
Vajrayana one goes for refuge in the Lama, Yidma and Dakini,   
develop compassion and seek enlightenment for the benefit of all 
sentient beings who have, in the endless round of samsara, been our 
mother at one time or other, and practise. Avoid doing what you should 
not do, do what you should and meditate, accumulate the conditions that 
lead to enlightenment, but you have to get an authentic Dharma teacher. 

In the meantime there are more and more excellent books on authentic 
Dharma to read without having to rely on weird and fanciful New Age ideas.

kim speller : 

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