Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

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CedarTree
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Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by CedarTree » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:37 am

There has been some discussion that Tantra provides a deeper understanding of Emptiness than Sutra.

I thought it would be of benefit to contrast how Sutra and Tantra handle emptiness and broaden our understanding of Dharma.

To those that are knowledgeable about Mahamudra and Dzogchen please elaborate how emptiness is detailed/broadened in your tradition.

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jkarlins
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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by jkarlins » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:43 am

oh I want to hear what people will say too!

:thanks:

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:41 am

This topic directly touches something I've been pondering lately. I recently read Establishing Appearances as Divine by Rongzom, and there is extensive commentary from the translator. So, apparently Rongzom said that the tantric view was superior to sutra. However, the main distinction he makes is that the tantric view holds the two truths as inseparable.

The author speculates that Rongzom's Madhyamaka is actually Svatantrika Madhyamaka and that he may have never read Chandrakirti. The issue is that Chandrakirti's Madhyamaka, the Prasangika, expounds the inseparability of the two truths, seemingly no different than the tantric view. So it seems most modern scholars hold sutra and tantra view to be mostly the same, although there are still some reasons why the tantric view is superior, although I don't know what those are. I think its about the purity of the relative, but I'm not positive. The main thing that is unclear to me is how Madhyamaka went from Svatantrika to Prasangika and whether both are based entirely on sutras or if Prasangika is a later shastra development.

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by kirtu » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:07 am

The sutra approach does not go beyond the mind and conceptuality. It is an object of reasoning. This reasoning can be very close actually but it isn't the exact same thing. It's a concept although it has liberative effect.

The tantric approach to emptiness uses the sutric approach beginning with Cittamatra and proceeds to Madhyamika (in truth the tantric approach usually begins with the Sautantrika view of emptiness and works up - but one can begin tantric practice with the Cittamatra view) but goes beyond (conceptual) mind and results in the direct experience of emptiness.

In a way the sutric approach can be seen more on the side of the accumulation of merit and some wisdom while the tantric side is the massive accumulation of merit, deep refinement of wisdom and results in the blossoming of direct realization. As far as method goes, tantra just has more methods, like a massive treasury of method but the method and wisdom are not actually separate although we perceptive them that way for now. And the tantric approach introduces a completely different view of the body, environment, etc. But these things need to be learned from the lama.

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by smcj » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:14 am

From "if we are Buddhas are we the 3 kayas" thread:
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f ... rt#p380568
Malcolm wrote:....you are an advocate of an inert emptiness. But that is not the profound view of mantrayāna.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

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CedarTree
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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by CedarTree » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:22 am

Maybe Malcolm will come in and really detail the difference :)

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by smcj » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:27 am

CedarTree wrote:Maybe Malcolm will come in and really detail the difference :)
Just wanted to get him started off on the right foot.
1. No traditional Buddhist sect, Tibetan or otherwise, considers deities to be fictional. (DW post/Seeker242)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)
4. Shentong] is the completely pure system that, through mainly teaching the luminous aspect of the mind, holds that the fruitions--kayas and wisdoms--exist on their own accord. (Karmapa XIII)

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by CedarTree » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:32 am

smcj wrote:
CedarTree wrote:Maybe Malcolm will come in and really detail the difference :)
Just wanted to get him started off on the right foot.
What can I say your the best :anjali:

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by Empty Form » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:42 pm

Perhaps the difference is that tantra should result in seeing the stong gzug 'empty forms' so emptiness is directly cognised with eyes and is not conceptual/philosophical anymore?

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by fckw » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:04 pm

kirtu wrote:The sutra approach does not go beyond the mind and conceptuality. It is an object of reasoning. This reasoning can be very close actually but it isn't the exact same thing. It's a concept although it has liberative effect.
I am not sure what you mean by "the sutra approach", but I can tell you for certain that at least the understanding of emptiness you gain in Therevada Vipassana practice is non-conceptual and thus definitely not an "object of reasoning". But maybe you had something else in mind, it's often somewhat unclear what Vajrayana pracitioners mean when they talk about "Sutra practice".

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:17 pm

CedarTree wrote:There has been some discussion that Tantra provides a deeper understanding of Emptiness than Sutra.

I thought it would be of benefit to contrast how Sutra and Tantra handle emptiness and broaden our understanding of Dharma.

To those that are knowledgeable about Mahamudra and Dzogchen please elaborate how emptiness is detailed/broadened in your tradition.
The mind that apprehends emptiness is held to be more subtle in Vajrayāna -- at least this is how the Gelugpas explain the difference.

The Nyingmapas, Sakyapas, and Kagyupas argue that the nature of the mind is introduced experientially and nonanalytically in Vajrayāna; whereas the analysis used in sutra is coarse and overly conceptual.

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by Matt J » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:01 pm

The sutra approach is more of a Tibetan teaching tool than an actual assessment of other traditions. The idea is you read sutras and use logic to reason your way to the truth.

The issue with vipassana is that the view of emptiness presented is not as thorough as TB--- for example, the self is discovered to be empty, but there are atomic dharmas that are not empty (or so I was taught).
fckw wrote:
kirtu wrote:The sutra approach does not go beyond the mind and conceptuality. It is an object of reasoning. This reasoning can be very close actually but it isn't the exact same thing. It's a concept although it has liberative effect.
I am not sure what you mean by "the sutra approach", but I can tell you for certain that at least the understanding of emptiness you gain in Therevada Vipassana practice is non-conceptual and thus definitely not an "object of reasoning". But maybe you had something else in mind, it's often somewhat unclear what Vajrayana pracitioners mean when they talk about "Sutra practice".
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:05 pm

There is no difference between the meaning of emptiness in Sutra and Tantra

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by Tolya M » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:31 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:There is no difference between the meaning of emptiness in Sutra and Tantra
If only the "inert" does not relate more to the practice of samatha. Besides more than forty kinds of emptiness in the sutra, in Vajrayana apparently they also developed their matrixes, which do not directly intersect with the sutric. It depends on tradition, of course.

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:36 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:There is no difference between the meaning of emptiness in Sutra and Tantra
There is however a great difference in how they are realized. If this were not the case, there would be no difference between Sutra and Vajrayāna.

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by climb-up » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:31 am

Malcolm wrote: The Nyingmapas, Sakyapas, and Kagyupas argue that the nature of the mind is introduced experientially and nonanalytically in Vajrayāna; whereas the analysis used in sutra is coarse and overly conceptual.
Beautiful, thank you.
That was my understanding, but parts of the discussion had me doubting.

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by Tsongkhapafan » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:53 am

Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:There is no difference between the meaning of emptiness in Sutra and Tantra
There is however a great difference in how they are realized. If this were not the case, there would be no difference between Sutra and Vajrayāna.
Of course, but there's no difference in the object.

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by Malcolm » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:44 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Tsongkhapafan wrote:There is no difference between the meaning of emptiness in Sutra and Tantra
There is however a great difference in how they are realized. If this were not the case, there would be no difference between Sutra and Vajrayāna.
Of course, but there's no difference in the object.
There is actually a difference in the object: sūtra emptiness is the coarse emptiness, realized by a coarse, analytical mind. Vajrayāna emptiness is a subtle emptiness, realized by a subtle, nonanalytical mind.

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by Bakmoon » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:52 pm

Malcolm wrote:There is actually a difference in the object: sūtra emptiness is the coarse emptiness, realized by a coarse, analytical mind. Vajrayāna emptiness is a subtle emptiness, realized by a subtle, nonanalytical mind.
Are they different emptinesses, or are they the same emptiness being perceived in a coarse way and a subtle way? ('perceived might not be the best word to use but I'm not sure other word to use).

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Re: Tantra vs Sutra Emptiness

Post by Malcolm » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:56 pm

Bakmoon wrote:
Malcolm wrote:There is actually a difference in the object: sūtra emptiness is the coarse emptiness, realized by a coarse, analytical mind. Vajrayāna emptiness is a subtle emptiness, realized by a subtle, nonanalytical mind.
Are they different emptinesses, or are they the same emptiness being perceived in a coarse way and a subtle way? ('perceived might not be the best word to use but I'm not sure other word to use).

Emptiness is not an objective thing. Therefore, its subtly or coarseness depends on the mind that realizes it.

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