Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby Karma Dorje » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:44 pm

Malcolm wrote:The Indian texts refer to Candalas explicitly. Anyway, the main point is that Indian commentators identified HYT has being for Shaivaites and lower cast people who liked booze, meat and sex.


You mean the Indian Buddhist tantric texts, right? There is no such equation with Candalas in the Hindu texts. Perhaps the Buddhist tantric tradition aimed at lower castes, but not the Hindu tantric tradition which has clear Vedic roots, was not confined to outcastes and in fact could only be practiced by those were not animalistic in disposition. I don't think there is a very strong case for the tantras aiming to convert outcastes. With a few notable exceptions, there is a preponderance of highly educated primarily twice-born practitioners that are the lineage gurus. It's a very complicated system ritually, liturgically and philosophically.
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:52 pm

Karma Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The Indian texts refer to Candalas explicitly. Anyway, the main point is that Indian commentators identified HYT has being for Shaivaites and lower cast people who liked booze, meat and sex.


You mean the Indian Buddhist tantric texts, right?


Yes, this is what we are talking about.
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby Karma Dorje » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:23 am

Malcolm wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The Indian texts refer to Candalas explicitly. Anyway, the main point is that Indian commentators identified HYT has being for Shaivaites and lower cast people who liked booze, meat and sex.


You mean the Indian Buddhist tantric texts, right?


Yes, this is what we are talking about.


Actually the particular point we were discussing is whether you can make the claim that Shaiva/Shakta equates to lower castes, which it clearly does not.
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby smcj » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:33 am

Malcolm wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The Indian texts refer to Candalas explicitly. Anyway, the main point is that Indian commentators identified HYT has being for Shaivaites and lower cast people who liked booze, meat and sex.

You mean the Indian Buddhist tantric texts, right?

Yes, this is what we are talking about.

Ok, for the sake of discussion let us concede the point--at least for the moment. (That is not how it has been presented to me.) What then are the implications? :popcorn:
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:44 am

Karma Dorje wrote:
Actually the particular point we were discussing is whether you can make the claim that Shaiva/Shakta equates to lower castes, which it clearly does not.


I am not making the claim, I am point out how Indian Buddhists schematized the conversion roles of the four classes of Tantra, and they clearly equate the worship of Siva etc., with lower castes. Do recall that most of the people who were writing these texts were upper class Indians, not necessarily from Buddhist families.
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:46 am

smcj wrote:Ok, for the sake of discussion let us concede the point--at least for the moment. (That is not how it has been presented to me.) What then are the implications? :popcorn:


Lower tantra a) is not effective in this day and age. B) lower tantra is not effective for barbarians, indeed the Cakrasamvara tantra explicitly states that if you want liberation, and you are a barbarian, you better rely Yogini.

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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby kirtu » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:16 am

Malcolm wrote:
smcj wrote:Ok, for the sake of discussion let us concede the point--at least for the moment. (That is not how it has been presented to me.) What then are the implications? :popcorn:


Lower tantra a) is not effective in this day and age. B) lower tantra is not effective for barbarians, indeed the Cakrasamvara tantra explicitly states that if you want liberation, and you are a barbarian, you better rely Yogini.


(B) It does. Nonetheless (A & B) I have found lower tantra effective.

Unless of course by "effective" you mean "lead to full enlightenment by itself". What I have found effective is strengthening morality. I have also found purification to be effective.

And traditionally the first Sakya retreat begins with Vajrapani Buttadhamara which is a lower tantra practice if I am not mistaken (although I could be because Sakya teachers do not always say what level of tantra something is). And some other lower tantra practices were definitely taught by my lama and he thought them effective.

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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby smcj » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:15 am

Malcolm wrote:I am not making the claim, I am point out how Indian Buddhists schematized the conversion roles of the four classes of Tantra, and they clearly equate the worship of Siva etc., with lower castes. Do recall that most of the people who were writing these texts were upper class Indians, not necessarily from Buddhist families.

Ah. So we are talking about how "...Indian Buddhists schematized the conversion roles of the four classes of Tanta…" With that information I am able to come to terms with the discussion without discomfort. (edit: With review of this thread that info was available pages ago. D'oh!)

Thanks.

Also, FWIW, I am of the opinion that the lower tantras are effective in this day and age, and for barbarians as well. Since I do not have a practice that currently includes the higher tantras they'd better be!
Last edited by smcj on Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:33 am

kirtu wrote:
And traditionally the first Sakya retreat begins with Vajrapani Buttadhamara which is a lower tantra practice if I am not mistaken...

Kirt


Bhutadamara practiced in Sakya comes from the Vajrapanjara tantra, so it is HYT.
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby sherabpa » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:15 am

Malcolm wrote:Lower tantra a) is not effective in this day and age.


Wait, is anyone saying lower tantra is not effective because it was originally intended for Shaiva followers, lower castes etc?

I can see how one might conclude that the lower tantras are less effective than the higher tantras, but I cannot see that they are ineffective.

Sonam Tsemo says in the Tantra Sets Presentation that the lower tantras are distinct from paramitayana in that they have blessing and gazing/smiling at the deity, which makes them more similar to the higher tantras than to the paramitas. But nothing is said to be ineffective.

I guess I am asking - what does effectiveness mean here?
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby Mother's Lap » Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:21 am

sherabpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Lower tantra a) is not effective in this day and age.


Wait, is anyone saying lower tantra is not effective because it was originally intended for Shaiva followers, lower castes etc?

Lower tantra was for the brahmins with their focus on purity and ritual. They're said to be ineffective for reaching Buddhahood because this is the Kali Yuga where ritual, purity and the blessings that come with such methods are weakened in this time.
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby Malcolm » Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:03 pm

sherabpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Lower tantra a) is not effective in this day and age.


Wait, is anyone saying lower tantra is not effective because it was originally intended for Shaiva followers, lower castes etc?

I can see how one might conclude that the lower tantras are less effective than the higher tantras, but I cannot see that they are ineffective.

Sonam Tsemo says in the Tantra Sets Presentation that the lower tantras are distinct from paramitayana in that they have blessing and gazing/smiling at the deity, which makes them more similar to the higher tantras than to the paramitas. But nothing is said to be ineffective.

I guess I am asking - what does effectiveness mean here?


Loppon Rinpoche states:

Therefore, followers of the Pāramitāyāna do not accomplish [awakening] in this degenerate age, but followers of Secret Mantra do accomplish [awakening] in this degenerate age. The Herukābhyadaya also states:

    If one upholds Śrī Heruka,
    There will be accomplishment in the decadent age.


There is no Śrī Heruka in lower tantra.
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby sherabpa » Sun Aug 03, 2014 2:24 am

Malcolm wrote:Loppon Rinpoche states:

Therefore, followers of the Pāramitāyāna do not accomplish [awakening] in this degenerate age, but followers of Secret Mantra do accomplish [awakening] in this degenerate age. The Herukābhyadaya also states:

    If one upholds Śrī Heruka,
    There will be accomplishment in the decadent age.


There is no Śrī Heruka in lower tantra.


The lower tantras belong to Secret Mantra, and hence siddhis are attained. As Sapan says in sdom gsum 3.262:

Nonetheless, on the level of action tantra
accomplishment may be obtained
by meditating on a painted image of the deity:
pleased by one's observance of austerity and cleanliness
the Buddha will bestow his attainments.


Now I believe it is said somewhere that only though anuttaratantra will one attain mahamudra siddhi in a single lifetime. Supposing that is true, this is quite different to saying the lower tantras are ineffective, or pointless.

It is also worth noting that the kriya and charya tantras are often practiced, as Loppon Rinpoche says, in the manner of the yoga tantras, and this is quite appropriate, i.e. as a self-generation, rather than the practitioner remaining in ordinary form and using a painted image.
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby Malcolm » Sun Aug 03, 2014 2:39 am

sherabpa wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Loppon Rinpoche states:

Therefore, followers of the Pāramitāyāna do not accomplish [awakening] in this degenerate age, but followers of Secret Mantra do accomplish [awakening] in this degenerate age. The Herukābhyadaya also states:

    If one upholds Śrī Heruka,
    There will be accomplishment in the decadent age.


There is no Śrī Heruka in lower tantra.


The lower tantras belong to Secret Mantra, and hence siddhis are attained. As Sapan says in sdom gsum 3.262:

Nonetheless, on the level of action tantra
accomplishment may be obtained
by meditating on a painted image of the deity:
pleased by one's observance of austerity and cleanliness
the Buddha will bestow his attainments.


Now I believe it is said somewhere that only though anuttaratantra will one attain mahamudra siddhi in a single lifetime. Supposing that is true, this is quite different to saying the lower tantras are ineffective, or pointless.


The Samputa states:

    None of the eighty four thousand Dharmaskandhas
    have any result since the true state of the body is not understood.

Since the true state of the body is not taught outside of highest yoga tantra, etc., well then, I leave you to your own conclusions.

Now then, Ngorchen does clarify in his commentary on kriya tantra that the most a person can aspire to with kriya tantra practice is the tenth bhumi:

    "The result accomplished in one life of anuttaratantra is only the perfect Buddhahood of the three inseparable kāyas; here, having relied on the three paths, one can manifest the tenth stage in this [life] and with that support, Buddhahood can be accomplished."

He also explains that even so, the path of kriya tantra is quite slow:

    But in kriya tantra, because there is no teaching of taking siddhis apart from (40/a) inviting and creating the deity in front, the speed with which the result is accomplished is slight. The difference with Pāramitāyāna is very important, in that in [Pāramitāyāna] not even taking siddhis from a deity invited in front is ever taught.

Further, the difficulty with kriya tantra is that it is very precise and requires absolute adherence to ritual purity and so on. This is quite difficult to maintain unless you are in a place like Koyasan, etc. For all of these reasons then it is safe to say that for the most part we can consider kriya tantra ineffective in this day and age (which was my point), which also explains why outside of Shingon and Tendai, no one practices it anymore. There is also the consideration of which yuga a given teaching is most effective or needed, and in this yuga, the kali yuga, annuttarayoga tantra is a desiderata.
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby Sherlock » Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:21 am

But Shingon has yogatantra too which is said to bring Buddhahood in one life?
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby Malcolm » Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:42 pm

Sherlock wrote:But Shingon has yogatantra too which is said to bring Buddhahood in one life?


Indeed. But unless you are a priest, your practice is mainly confined to the liturgical practice of reciting a few mantras and so on.
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby sherabpa » Sun Aug 03, 2014 4:52 pm

Malcolm wrote:The Samputa states:

    None of the eighty four thousand Dharmaskandhas
    have any result since the true state of the body is not understood.

Since the true state of the body is not taught outside of highest yoga tantra, etc., well then, I leave you to your own conclusions.

Now then, Ngorchen does clarify in his commentary on kriya tantra that the most a person can aspire to with kriya tantra practice is the tenth bhumi:

    "The result accomplished in one life of anuttaratantra is only the perfect Buddhahood of the three inseparable kāyas; here, having relied on the three paths, one can manifest the tenth stage in this [life] and with that support, Buddhahood can be accomplished."

He also explains that even so, the path of kriya tantra is quite slow:

    But in kriya tantra, because there is no teaching of taking siddhis apart from (40/a) inviting and creating the deity in front, the speed with which the result is accomplished is slight. The difference with Pāramitāyāna is very important, in that in [Pāramitāyāna] not even taking siddhis from a deity invited in front is ever taught.

Further, the difficulty with kriya tantra is that it is very precise and requires absolute adherence to ritual purity and so on. This is quite difficult to maintain unless you are in a place like Koyasan, etc. For all of these reasons then it is safe to say that for the most part we can consider kriya tantra ineffective in this day and age (which was my point), which also explains why outside of Shingon and Tendai, no one practices it anymore. There is also the consideration of which yuga a given teaching is most effective or needed, and in this yuga, the kali yuga, annuttarayoga tantra is a desiderata.


Yet nobody says the lower tantra path is as easy as the higher tantra path. Lack of difficulties is precisely one of four superiorities of tantra over paramitayana, and by implication of the higher over the lower paths. There is superior and inferior, but not effective and ineffective, and superior means the four superiorities. E.g. Loppon Sonam Tsemo on the superiority of methods:

For Guhyamantra, there are immeasurable methods of accomplishment sadhanas such as Manjushri and Vasudhara which can be accomplished without difficulty and become a support for the bodhi-mind.


It is a reference to the siddhis these deities bestow a superior method that is absent on the paramita path.

When he says that only Guyhamantra is appropriate for the present times, he is not referring to 2014 or to any specific place such as Koyasan, but to the Kali Yuga. This is very clear. In Sakya, it is held that Sachen achieved realization in dependence upon Manjushri and Achala in the degenerate age.
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby Malcolm » Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:18 pm

sherabpa wrote:When he says that only Guyhamantra is appropriate for the present times...


Here, Guhyamantra does not mean lower tantra.
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby Malcolm » Sun Aug 03, 2014 7:20 pm

sherabpa wrote:
Yet nobody says the lower tantra path is as easy as the higher tantra path. Lack of difficulties is precisely one of four superiorities of tantra over paramitayana, and by implication of the higher over the lower paths. There is superior and inferior, but not effective and ineffective, and superior means the four superiorities.


superior = more effective
inferior = less effective
higher = more effective
lower = less effective
easy = more effective
difficult = less effective.
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Re: Dr. Sanderson: Phowa etc. are directly from Saivism

Postby Crazywisdom » Mon Aug 04, 2014 4:16 pm

In the Chinese community I see Lamas teaching everything from the point of view of lower tantra. Tsok are vegetarian. And monks and nuns attend. The sutra influence is very strong. As is the whole super polite chinese culture. These are like upper castes. The words bliss of union are used but not explained and no one understands what is being said. When I bring it up, people act annoyed. They want to go back to imagining they are in league with flowery jewel covered dharma princes. There are many American Jews involved too. They have a strong Hinayana attitude.

Around the American hippies I know, they love to discuss tantra, but not seriously. They just love to hear themselves sound interesting. hYT doesn't reverse their predilections it reinforces them. Very few will ever get seriously into it. It's just for Nyingma lamas. I don't know a single practitioner seriously engaged in consort. Finding a suitable consort these days is something like a fantasy. I know one can go really high with the wisdom mudra and then a karma mudra will manifest like they did for Milarepa. But that is beyond rare.

In the case of the wrathful and funerary deities, everyone can understand dealing with death. Everyone gets real around that. I feel Dzogchen Ati style is most useful today. It deals scientifically with death and makes it clear how karma works in our life. It makes it obvious what liberation is instead of being lost in symbolism that mostly has nothing to do with our world. Especially the paths of natural visions of the bardo are very deep and undeniable amd appeal for our preference for I will believe it if I see it. Consort Vajrayana is basically over.
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