Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicly?

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Boomerang
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Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicly?

Post by Boomerang » Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:56 pm

For example, all of the sadhanas uploaded online and all the formerly secret texts that have been printed in books on Amazon. Do those things lose their blessings when they are no longer secret? Why were they supposed to be secret in the first place?

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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by Punya » Mon Dec 21, 2015 12:56 am

There is no blessing without the proper transmission. One of the reasons they were kept secret is in the wrong hands they only result in confusion and this can bring the dharma into disrepute.
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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by Boomerang » Mon Dec 21, 2015 2:01 am

Punya wrote:There is no blessing without the proper transmission. One of the reasons they were kept secret is in the wrong hands they only result in confusion and this can bring the dharma into disrepute.
When I asked the question I was thinking about people who have proper transmission and have no intention to expose the texts. But even with that intention, lots of tantras are already on the internet and in bookstores for public viewing. Does the person's practice lose its blessing in that scenario?

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Boomerang
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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by Boomerang » Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:20 am

For example, there are authentic lineages that do Vajra Armor retreats in a proper way. Unfortunately, there are also places on the internet where you can see read and hear the mantra without proper transmission. Is that fact that the Vajra Armor mantra has been exposed to the public going to cause obstacles for the people who are trying to do it properly? If there are obstacles, can they be overcome?
Last edited by Boomerang on Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by kalden yungdrung » Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:37 am

Boomerang wrote:For example, all of the sadhanas uploaded online and all the formerly secret texts that have been printed in books on Amazon. Do those things lose their blessings when they are no longer secret? Why were they supposed to be secret in the first place?

Tashi delek B,

Tantric text stay always secret for non adepts. The Tantric text are difficult to follow in general.
So these text can be seen as self protected because we deal here also with outer, inner, secret and most secret inner teachings, where a Guru is sure needed.

So if a non Tantrist will read a secret text it will be painful because of the misunderstandings of the text.

In the medieval times in Europe, the Dominicans did point on the corner of the pages/books some poison. When an intruder would watch the secret books he would die. Because by turning the pages, some spit was done on the tip of the fingers.
The sign would be a black tongue.

We can see that as an example of protection too.

So all in all Tantric text will be always secret and self protected and the stealing of those texts that is senseless, even if it is public published. That does count also for Dzogchen text /books.

Then too explain it wrong to another person, Tantric text and Dzogchen text, that is seen as a transgression...........


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tingdzin
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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by tingdzin » Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:21 am

In the long run, the efficacy of tantric material will inevitably decline when made publicly available.

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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by Fortyeightvows » Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:41 am

well they say that the effectivness of vajrayana increases as the times get more degenerate

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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by Ayu » Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:10 am

I don't think the Tantras themselves lose their power, but my own progress is hindered by talking with anybbody/everybody about things that happened in my meditation. The meditation loses it's power on the personal level.
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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by SeeLion » Mon Dec 21, 2015 2:17 pm

I don't think the Tantras themselves lose their power, but my own progress is hindered by talking with anybbody/everybody about things that happened in my meditation. The meditation loses it's power on the personal level.
I not sure why sharing would make it would lose power on the personal level.

Now, recollecting meditation experience could cause clinging or judging and could slow down progress this way. But not because it is shared or not.

Of course, there is the matter of the confusion that you create in somebody else, different issue.

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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by Malcolm » Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:02 pm

Well, they certainly lose their mystery. But this is not a bad thing.

One, we have to recall that these texts were never secret from an elite set of people in India and Tibet.

Second, we have to realize that tantras as texts are artifacts, books written down by human beings, with all the limitations that entails.

Third, masters such as HHDL has said that tantric secrecy can actually be harmful to the teachings in the present epoch, because secrecy inspires fear.

Fourth, texts like Dzogchen tantras are very tame in comparison with some of more "anti-nomian" Indian tantras. The former have virtually no erotic imagery, virtually no descriptions of rites of magic and sorcery, unlike say Hevajra or Kalacakra, or even Guhyasamaja and many of the lower tantras. If Dzogchen tantras were kept secret, it is because they present a narrative of liberation and buddhahood that is not consistent with the gradualist Buddhism that became the state religion of Tibet.

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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by muni » Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:05 pm

When available for worldly pursuit, yes. Then they are toy of samsara.
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For all who wish to cross the water.

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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by Malcolm » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:52 pm

muni wrote:When available for worldly pursuit, yes. Then they are toy of samsara.
This might be an issue with some of the more ritually oriented tantras, but not Dzogchen tantras, in general. After all, what harm can one inflict with the nature of the mind?

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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by tingdzin » Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:24 am

muni wrote:When available for worldly pursuit, yes. Then they are toy of samsara.
Malcolm wrote:This might be an issue with some of the more ritually oriented tantras, but not Dzogchen tantras, in general. After all, what harm can one inflict with the nature of the mind?
Well, we are talking about tantras in general here.
Ayu wrote:my own progress is hindered by talking with anybody/everybody about things that happened in my meditation. The meditation loses it's power on the personal level.
SeeLion wrote: I'm not sure why sharing would make it would lose power on the personal level. Now, recollecting meditation experience could cause clinging or judging and could slow down progress this way. But not because it is shared or not.
A description of an experience is never the same as the actual experience. When we put words to any experience, it immediately loses some of its immediacy and authenticity, and can become just another dead concept, and, as you say, a (usually distorted) memory. Besides that, words are completely inadequate to describe many experiences. If, for example we try to describe an experience of sex in words, we sound like either sentimentalists or pornographers, and yet we still fail to capture the essence of the thing itself. This is one of the reasons that Zen teachers usually forbid their students from talking about or being preoccupied with experiences they might have had in meditation, and many Vajrayana teachers say the same.

"Sharing" one's personal experiences introduces a whole new level of impure factors. What possible wholesome motivation could there be in telling other people about your inner, subjective, private experiences ? 95% of the time, it is just a subtle form of bragging. Even if it's not, your experience cannot do them any good, and may just make them envious or doubtful. Again, the comparison with sex might be useful. Do you feel compelled to share details of your sexual experience with others? Maybe in these post-Jerry-Springer-and-Oprah days, you do. But even if you do, do you like to listen to other people doing so, and do you think they are waiting with bated breath to hear about yours?

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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by Ayu » Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:56 pm

tingdzin wrote:...
Ayu wrote:my own progress is hindered by talking with anybody/everybody about things that happened in my meditation. The meditation loses it's power on the personal level.
SeeLion wrote: I'm not sure why sharing would make it would lose power on the personal level. Now, recollecting meditation experience could cause clinging or judging and could slow down progress this way. But not because it is shared or not.
A description of an experience is never the same as the actual experience. When we put words to any experience, it immediately loses some of its immediacy and authenticity, and can become just another dead concept, and, as you say, a (usually distorted) memory. Besides that, words are completely inadequate to describe many experiences. If, for example we try to describe an experience of sex in words, we sound like either sentimentalists or pornographers, and yet we still fail to capture the essence of the thing itself. This is one of the reasons that Zen teachers usually forbid their students from talking about or being preoccupied with experiences they might have had in meditation, and many Vajrayana teachers say the same.

"Sharing" one's personal experiences introduces a whole new level of impure factors. What possible wholesome motivation could there be in telling other people about your inner, subjective, private experiences ? 95% of the time, it is just a subtle form of bragging. Even if it's not, your experience cannot do them any good, and may just make them envious or doubtful. Again, the comparison with sex might be useful. Do you feel compelled to share details of your sexual experience with others? Maybe in these post-Jerry-Springer-and-Oprah days, you do. But even if you do, do you like to listen to other people doing so, and do you think they are waiting with bated breath to hear about yours?
Well said. Thank you.
In my experience, it feels like talking about something a very intimate friend told me confidently. Possibly this talking could alienate my friend and she will not tell me any confidental issue again for a long time. :shrug: This again is only a trial to put something into words which isn't really expressable. 8-)
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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by Malcolm » Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:47 pm

tingdzin wrote:
Malcolm wrote:This might be an issue with some of the more ritually oriented tantras, but not Dzogchen tantras, in general. After all, what harm can one inflict with the nature of the mind?
Well, we are talking about tantras in general here.
Yes, and I addressed these concerns as well. There is also other factors — why, for example, do we need to keep information like the function of the five or ten vāyus, channels and cakras secret, when they are basically open for discussion in Yoga and so on, as well as Ayurveda and Tibetan medicine? It does not make any sense at all.

The fact is the cat is out of the bag (was it ever in?). Yidams are on tshirts. Mantras are on bumperstickers. Many of the major tantras are in English translation, available on Amazon. If you want to go have a dip in Tantric Exoticism, just go to the Rubin in NYC, buy a glass of bubbly, and wander the exhibits where the transgressive art of Genesis Bryer P-Orridge rubs shoulders with ancient masterpieces of Tibet.

There are no secrets anymore.

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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by pemachophel » Tue Dec 22, 2015 4:56 pm

"There are no secrets anymore."

Yes, but this is a part and parcel of the Kali Yuga -- both a cause and a symptom. Personally, I view it as a bad thing.

Although I can't say whether the tantras per se lose their potency when their secrecy is broken, I do think that Vajrayana practice has become less effective with the loss of secrecy and the stringent requirements for transmission and practice that went with that. It's all so casual, and it's all so conceptual. Blah-blah-blah blah-blah.

Bommerang asked if the loss of secrecy has harmed the practice of Vajra Armor as a particular example. In Lama Dawa's experience, it takes an average of five 72-hour retreats under His strict supervision and guidelines for Western practitioners to accomplish each level. Although there is probably no way to know this, it would be interesting to know what the average was in pre-1959 Tibet or even just 25 years ago among Tibetans in exile. The way many Tibetan Lamas teach Vajra Armor, They make it sound (at least to me) that one can expect results in a single retreat. So I wonder if that was the traditional expectation and experience.

In any case, I live in a place where there is a very large Tibetan Buddhist community and has been for 40 years. Sorry to say, I don't get much of a sense of accomplishment from many really long-time practitioners.
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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by Paul » Tue Dec 22, 2015 5:12 pm

pemachophel wrote:In any case, I live in a place where there is a very large Tibetan Buddhist community and has been for 40 years. Sorry to say, I don't get much of a sense of accomplishment from many really long-time practitioners.
This is an interesting issue. I am not really sure I've met many western practitioners that have obvious accomplishments from practices of creation & completion stage. Those that have have more often than not been monastics. I have, however, been very impressed by many that have focused on dzogchen.

Of course it goes without saying that this is something that relies on inference etc., so is subject to being wrong. :shrug:
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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by fckw » Tue Dec 22, 2015 6:22 pm

Maybe all this is also a little bit about a sublime feeling of being about to lose one's special status as a practitioner? I mean, being a practitioner of Vajrayana, isn't that something chique?

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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by Malcolm » Tue Dec 22, 2015 6:33 pm

pemachophel wrote:The way many Tibetan Lamas teach Vajra Armor, They make it sound (at least to me) that one can expect results in a single retreat.
The original text revealed by Dorje Lingpa specifies a short retreat of a few days. I know many practitioners who have undertaken the Dorje Gotrab retreat and experienced positive benefits from using this mantra, myself included. It is a Dzogchen related practice, so there is no particular visualization and so on that one needs to do.

There are also later revelations of Dorje Gotrab that are more related to Anuyoga, with visualizations and so on. But the root text is strictly a Dzogchen practice.

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Re: Do tantras lose their power when they're exposed publicl

Post by Malcolm » Tue Dec 22, 2015 6:35 pm

pemachophel wrote:
In any case, I live in a place where there is a very large Tibetan Buddhist community and has been for 40 years. Sorry to say, I don't get much of a sense of accomplishment from many really long-time practitioners.
Unless one is clairvoyant, one's sense of the progress of other practitioners is bound to be sheathed in misconceptions. Anyway, all that really matters is that one wakes up in the bardo of dharmatā. Exhibiting signs of realization in this life is just not that important. And if one has received proper instruction in Dzogchen teachings, waking up in the bardo is a certainty, not a guess or an aspiration.

Happy Solstice!!!

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