Category: Tibetan tantra

Tibetan tantra

Tantric techniques :. Anuttarayoga Tantra Sanskrit, Tibetan: bla na med pa'i rgyud[1] often translated as Unexcelled Yoga Tantra or Highest Yoga Tantrais a term used in Tibetan Buddhism in the categorization of esoteric tantric Indian Buddhist texts that constitute part of the Kangyuror the 'translated words of the Buddha' in the Tibetan Buddhist canon.

In the New Schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Anuttarayoga Tantra is the highest of four classes and is associated with the Mahamudra route to enlightenment. According to the Gelugpa tradition, in Highest Yoga Tantra, the Buddha taught the most profound instructions for transforming sensual pleasure into the quick path to enlightenment, which in turn depends upon the ability to gather and dissolve the inner winds Sanskrit: prana into the central channel through the power of meditation.

In the classification of the Dzogchen system, used by the Nyingmait is considered equivalent to the Mahayoga tantras. The practice of Anuttarayoga Tantra in the Vajrayana tradition of Buddhism is characterized by the requirement of empowerment from a qualified guru, usually a lamause of ritual techniques, and the practice of various meditative and subtle body yogas, to effect personal transformation and to attain enlightenment through the realization of the mindstream as a Meditational Deity, or a Yidam.

Anuttarayoga Tantra literally means 'Unexcelled Union Continuity'. While the term is frequently translated as 'Highest Yoga Tantra' in English writings, this is not quite accurate.

Had the authors of this term intended to indicate directly "highest," superlatives were readily available: e. Rather, they chose consistently to use a comparative rather than a superlative. Similarly, the terms used in Sanskrit also uniformly utilize comparatives: yogottara "higher than yoga" and niruttara also a negation of the comparative.

English usage, and European usage in general, has largely overlooked this nuance. The literal translation of the Sanskrit term "Anuttarayoga" would be "Unsurpassable Union" in English. As scholar Isabelle Onians explains: "Yoginitantras are in the secondary literature often called Anuttarayoga. A further sub-classification is sometimes made among Anuttarayoga tantras into 'Father', 'Mother', and 'Non-dual' tantras, although this latter category is the subject of some controversy.

Five collections of Anuttarayoga tantras became prominent in Tibet initially [ citation needed ] :. According to the Gelug view, following Tsongkhapa 's reasoning, Father Tantras emphasize the creation of a Buddha form through the cultivation of an illusory body, on the basis of practices with the energy system of the subtle body. Earlier Sakya masters and Kagyu scholars had viewed Father Tantras as emphasising the practice of blissful awareness. The post-Tsongkhapa Sakya scholar Tagtsang Lotsawa identified Father Tantras as those that emphasise the secret, or hidden, empowerment of the four empowerments of Anuttarayoga Tantra.

The secret empowerment plants seeds for achieving an illusory body. They focus on devotion as the foundation of tantric practice. This text forms a textbook and ready reference to accompany the sadhana of those initiated into the Anuttarayogatantras. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Part of a series on Vajrayana Buddhism Traditions.We are all born perfect, infinite beings. Then life happens — we take on the beliefs of others, we experience traumas and disappointments, we fail and fall down and become afraid to try.

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Chronic illness.Tantric techniques :. Tantric Buddhism can be traced back to groups of wandering yogis called Mahasiddhas great adepts. CE and used methods that were radically different than those used in Buddhist monasteries, including living in forests and caves and practicing meditation in charnel grounds similar to those practiced by Shaiva Kapalika ascetics.

According to Schumann, a movement called Sahaja -siddhi developed in the 8th century in Bengal. Their rites involved the conjunction of sexual practices and Buddhist mandala visualization with ritual accoutrements made from parts of the human body, so that control may be exercised over the forces hindering the natural abilities of the siddha to manipulate the cosmos at will. At their most extreme, siddhas also represented a defensive position within the Buddhist tradition, adopted and sustained for the purpose of aggressive engagement with the medieval culture of public violence.

They reinforced their reputations for personal sanctity with rumors of the magical manipulation of various flavors of demonic females dakini, yaksi, yoginicemetery ghouls vetalaand other things that go bump in the night.

Operating on the margins of both monasteries and polite society, some adopted the behaviors associated with ghosts preta, pisacanot only as a religious praxis but also as an extension of their implied threats. Many of the elements found in Buddhist tantric literature are not wholly new. Earlier Mahayana sutras already contained some elements which are emphasized in the Tantras, such as mantras and dharani.

Vajrayana developed a large corpus of texts called the Buddhist Tantrassome of which can be traced to at least the 7th century CE but might be older. The dating of the tantras is "a difficult, indeed an impossible task" according to David Snellgrove. In another early tantra, the Vajrasekhara Tantrathe influential schema of the five Buddha families is developed.

Later monastic Vajrayana Buddhists reinterpreted and internalized these radically transgressive and taboo practices as metaphors and visualization exercises. These later tantras such as the Hevajra Tantra and the Chakrasamvara are classed as " Yogini tantras" and represent the final form of development of Indian Buddhist tantras in the ninth and tenth centuries.

According to Ronald M. Davidson, the rise of Tantric Buddhism was a response to the feudal structure of Indian society in the early medieval period ca. The question of the origins of early Vajrayana has been taken up by various scholars. According to Alexis Sandersonvarious classes of Vajrayana literature developed as a result of royal courts sponsoring both Buddhism and Saivism.

Alexis Sanderson notes that the Vajrayana Yogini tantras draw extensively from the material also present in Shaiva Bhairava tantras classified as Vidyapitha. Sanderson's comparison of them shows similarity in "ritual procedures, style of observance, deities, mantras, mandalas, ritual dress, Kapalika accouterments, specialized terminology, secret gestures, and secret jargons.

There is even direct borrowing of passages from Saiva texts. Ronald M. Davidson meanwhile, argues that Sanderson's claims for direct influence from Shaiva Vidyapitha texts are problematic because "the chronology of the Vidyapitha tantras is by no means so well established" [26] and that "the available evidence suggests that received Saiva tantras come into evidence sometime in the ninth to tenth centuries with their affirmation by scholars like Abhinavagupta c. Thus he concludes:.

The Buddhist-Kapalika connection is more complex than a simple process of religious imitation and textual appropriation. There can be no question that the Buddhist tantras were heavily influenced by Kapalika and other Saiva movements, but the influence was apparently mutual. Perhaps a more nuanced model would be that the various lines of transmission were locally flourishing and that in some areas they interacted, while in others they maintained concerted hostility.

Thus the influence was both sustained and reciprocal, even in those places where Buddhist and Kapalika siddhas were in extreme antagonism. Davidson also argues for the influence of non-brahmanical and outcaste tribal religions and their feminine deities such as Parnasabari and Janguli.

tibetan tantra

The importance of the theory of emptiness is central to the Tantric Buddhist view and practice. The Buddhist emptiness view sees the world as being fluid, without an ontological foundation or inherent existence, but ultimately a fabric of constructions. Because of this, tantric practice such as self-visualization as the deity is seen as being no less real than everyday reality, but a process of transforming reality itself, including the practitioner's identity as the deity.

As Stephan Beyer notes, "In a universe where all events dissolve ontologically into Emptiness, the touching of Emptiness in the ritual is the re-creation of the world in actuality". Another fundamental theory of Tantric practice is that of transformation. Negative mental factors such as desire, hatred, greed, pride are not outright rejected as in non-Tantric Buddhism, [ citation needed ] but are used as part of the path. As noted by French Indologist Madeleine Biardeau, the tantric doctrine is "an attempt to place kamadesire, in every meaning of the word, in the service of liberation.The esoteric teachings, secret initiations, and erotic imagery associated with Buddhist tantra have fueled no end of interest.

But tantra may not be what you think it is. Countless practices of several Asian religions have been lumped together by western scholars under the heading "tantra. The earliest tantra probably grew out of the Hindu-Vedic tradition. Buddhist tantra developed independently of Hindu for many centuries, however, and they are barely related now in spite of a surface resemblance. Even if we limit our study to Buddhist tantra, we are still looking at a vast range of practices and multiple definitions.

tibetan tantra

Very broadly, most Buddhist tantra is a means to enlightenment through identity with tantric deities. It is sometimes also called "deity-yoga. It's important to understand that these deities are not "believed in" as external spirits to be worshiped. Rather, they are archetypes representing the tantric practitioner's own deepest nature.

One sometimes hears of three "yanas" vehicles of Buddhism -- Hinayana "small vehicle"Mahayana "great vehicle"and Vajrayana "diamond vehicle" -- with tantra being the distinguishing feature of Vajrayana.

Sorting the many schools and sects of Buddhism into these three categories is not helpful to understanding Buddhism, however. The Vajrayana sects are founded solidly on Mahayana philosophies and doctrines; tantra is a method by which the teachings are actualized. Vajrayana is best understood as an extension of Mahayana. Further, although Buddhist tantra is most often associated with the Vajrayana sects of Tibetan Buddhism, it is by no means limited to Tibetan Buddhism. To a greater or lesser degree, elements of tantra can be found in many Mahayana schools, especially in Japan.

Japanese ZenPure LandTendai and Nichiren Buddhism, for example, all have strong veins of tantra running through them. Japanese Shingon Buddhism is thoroughly tantric. As with many other aspects of Buddhism, myth, and history don't always find their way to the same source. Vajrayana Buddhists say tantric practices were expounded by the historical Buddha. A king approached the Buddha and explained that his responsibilities did not allow him to abandon his people and become a monk.

Yet, in his privileged position, he was surrounded by temptations and pleasures. How could he realize enlightenment? The Buddha responded by teaching the king tantric practices that would transform pleasures into transcendent realization.

Historians speculate that tantra was developed by Mahayana teachers in India very early in the first millennia CE. It is possible that this was a way to reach those who weren't responding to teachings from the sutras.Tantra is an advanced Mahayana practice for attaining enlightenment. It is practiced on the basis of a firm foundation in all the sutra practices, as included in the lam-rim graded path teachings.

Especially crucial are:. Once a practitioner has gained stability in their study of and training in all of these, and once intensive preliminary practices ngondro have been completed, one is ready to enter into tantra practice. The preliminary practices are important to purify negative potentials and build up positive ones for success in the practice. Tantra is the method for putting all of the sutra practices together in an extremely efficient, holistic manner.

One is stretched out like the warp of threads on a loom. Tantra practice is the warp on which to weave all the sutra practices together. This refers, in general, to our mental continuum — the continuum of our individual, subjective experiencing of life.

This continuum includes having a body, speech some means of communicationmind, activity, and various good qualities like understanding and care, both for self and others the instinct for self-preservation and preservation of the species. We all have these aspects in some form and to some level of development in each lifetime.

The basis level tantra is its beginningless continuum in ordinary forms in each uncontrollably recurring samsaric lifetime. These ordinary forms are brought on by unawareness ignorance of how we, others and everything exists, and the disturbing emotions and compulsive karmic behavior that it leads to.

Mixed with this confusion, this continuum, filled with various forms of suffering, perpetuates itself and will go on at this basis level forever, unless we do something to remove purify out this confusion. The basis level tantra, then is characterized as being unpurified.

The resultant level tantra is the unending continuum of our totally purified Buddha-nature factors, now in the form of the body, speech, mind, activity, and good qualities of a fully enlightened Buddha. The pathway level tantra is the partially purified continuum that serves as the intermediary stage to bring our mental continuum from its basis to its resultant level. We do this by imagining our Buddha-nature factors — our body and so on — as appearing now as those of a Buddha in the form of a Buddha-figure yidamtantric deity.

Many of the Buddha-figures that we imagine ourselves to be, with pathway tantra practice, have multiple faces, arms and legs. These are the warp threads of tantra, because on them we weave what they represent. Each bodily feature represents a different aspect of the sutra teachings of lam-rim. For example, having six arms represents having all at once the six far-reaching attitudes — generosity, ethical self-discipline, patience, perseverance, mental stability and discriminating awareness.

By visualizing these six attitudes in a graphic form, we are able to remain mindful of them all simultaneously, much more easily than trying to do so abstractly. While imagining ourselves in such a multi-limbed form, we engage in practices, both in meditation and in daily life, to build up our networks of positive force and deep awareness collections of merit and wisdom. We help others with love and compassion and focus on the voidness of everyone and everything involved.

These two networks are also Buddha-nature factors and their strength is what causes our other Buddha-nature factors to function on the basis, pathway or resultant levels. Therefore, to kick-start the process of strengthening these networks, we engage in preliminary practices like prostration and Vajrasattva purification before attempting tantra practice.

To begin imagining ourselves as a Buddha in the form of a Buddha-figure, we need to receive an empowerment initiation from a qualified tantric master. We do this only if we have prepared ourselves sufficiently with the prerequisite sutra study and practice and with ngondro preliminaries.

Through the power of the visualizations that the tantric master and we perform during the ritual, our Buddha-nature factors become activated and enhanced to start the transformation into those of a Buddha. To ensure that the transformation occurs without hindrance, we take various vows to avoid acting, speaking or thinking in ways that would damage our practice. These include vows of ethical self-discipline, bodhisattva vows and, in some cases, tantric vows.

Without consciously taking these vows, we do not receive the empowerment, and without keeping them as purely as possible, there is no actual tantra practice.

An Introduction to Buddhist Tantra

Far from having anything to do with sexual activity or mysterious rituals, tantra proposes a highly advanced and complex system for awakening our full potential. For this very reason, we should only commence the practice of tantra once we have a solid foundation in the tenets of Buddhism, but in particular universal love and compassion for all beings, and a good understanding of voidness.

For advanced practitioners, tantra is like a nuclear bomb for the mind. If correctly practiced, it destroys the ego and self-cherishing mind, and rapidly brings the practitioner to enlightenment, where they can be of incredible and long-lasting benefit to all limited beings.

Content overview.Tantra techniques in Vajrayana Buddhism are techniques used to attain Buddhahood. Vajrayana partially relies on various tantric techniques rooted in scriptures such as tantras and various tantric commentaries and treatises. Tantra is defined as an inner realization that functions to prevent ordinary appearances and conceptions and to accomplish the four complete purities of a Buddha environment, body, enjoyments and deeds.

The most important aspect of the tantric path is to 'use the result as the Path'; which means that rather than placing full enlightenment as a goal far away in the future, one identifies with the indivisible three vajras that is, the enlightened body, speech and mind of a Buddha.

The practitioner focuses on and identifies with the resultant buddha-form or 'meditation deity', the yidam Tibetan or Sanskrit 'ishtadevata'. In order to achieve this self-identification with the yidam, much symbolism, ritual and visualization is used in Buddhist tantric techniques. Tantric techniques may initially appear to consist of ritualistic nonsense; however, it should only be practiced on the basis of a thorough understanding of Buddhist philosophy and strictly following the traditions.

Secrecy is often a cornerstone of tantric Buddhism, simply to avoid harm to oneself and to others by practicing without proper guidance. Full explanation of tantric symbolism and the psychology of the practice is forbidden to the uninitiated, which can easily lead to misunderstanding and dismissal by those who have not been initiated: [2]. Tantra is limited to persons whose compassion is so great that they cannot bear to spend unnecessary time in attaining Buddhahood, as they want to be a supreme source of help and happiness for others quickly.

In the Caryamelapakapradipathe tantric Aryadeva says to build a three story house. On the third story one "should reside together with the yoginis. The practitioner, having thus gratified the body vajra by means of all kinds of food, delicacies, and drinks, at the end he savours the fifth, the object of touch.

By this procedure, too, having observed the retinue of goddesses such as the companions, and so on, [who are] skillful in lovemaking, he chooses a consort according to [his] desire. Having set her in [his] lap The guru or spiritual teacher, in Tibetan Buddhism generally the lamais essential as a guide during tantric practice. Without the guru's example, blessings and grace, genuine progress is held to be impossible for all but the most keen and gifted.

Many tantric texts qualify the Three Jewels of refuge thus: "Guru is Buddha, Guru is Dharma and Guru is Sangha" to reflect their importance for the disciple. In the Vajrayana the guru is considered even more compassionate and more potent than the Buddha because a direct relationship can be had with the guru.

The guru also appears in the 'Inner' refuge formulation of the Three Rootsthe three foundations of tantric practice.

Tantra techniques (Vajrayana)

Guru yoga or 'teacher practice'; Tibetan: bla ma'i rnal 'byor [6] is a practice that has many variations, but may be understood as a tantric devotional process where the practitioner unites their mindstream with the mindstream of the guru's Three Vajras.

Guru yoga is akin to Deity yoga since the guru is engaged as the yidamor meditational deity, a nirmanakaya manifestation of a Buddha. The process of guru yoga generally entails visualization of a refuge tree as an invocation of the lineage, with the root guru channelling the blessings of the refuge tree and thus the entire lineage to the practitioner. It might involve visualization of the guru above or in front of the practitioner. Guru yoga may also entail a liturgy or mantra such as the Prayer in Seven Lines Tibetan: tshig bdun gsol 'debs[7] an evocation and invocation of Padmasambhavathough this is neither necessary nor mandatory.

Deity yoga Tibetan: lha'i rnal 'byor ; Sanskrit: Devata-yoga is the fundamental Vajrayana practice, involving a sadhana practice in which the practitioner visualizes himself or herself as the meditation Buddha or yidam of the sadhana. The purpose of Deity yoga is to bring the meditator to the realization that the deity and the practitioner are in essence the same, non-dual.

The yidam generally appears in a mandala and the practitioner visualizes himself or herself and their environment as the yidam and mandala of their Deity Yoga practice.

This visualization method undermines a habitual belief that views of reality and self are solid and fixed, enabling the practitioner to purify spiritual obscurations Sanskrit: klesha and to practice compassion and wisdom simultaneously:. Deity Yoga employs highly refined techniques of creative imagination, visualisation, and photism in order to self-identify with the divine form and qualities of a particular deity as the union of method or skilful means and wisdom.The Institute of Authentic Tantra Education is dedicated to providing ethical and effective Tantric instruction to individuals and communities who are seeking a healthy, balanced, and sacred approach to sexuality and holistic healing.

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tibetan tantra

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What Is Tantra?

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