The siddhi of winning wars

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Varis
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The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Varis » Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:26 am

Something that always struck me as odd when I was reading about Buddhist Tantra in the past was that some deity practices claim to confer the ability to conquer everyone in battle, invincibility, etc.

Are/were warriors allowed to practice Vajrayana despite the fact that their purpose is kill people for a living? How was this viewed in a Buddhist context, e.g. compassion and all that?

I'd imagine a Yogī, with or without magical powers, would be a very formidable soldier considering they'd have better concentration and discipline than most people.

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Grigoris
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Grigoris » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:42 am

Varis wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:26 am
Something that always struck me as odd when I was reading about Buddhist Tantra in the past was that some deity practices claim to confer the ability to conquer everyone in battle, invincibility, etc.
Source please. Which deities? Were they yidam or worldly deities?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Varis
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Varis » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:11 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:42 am
Source please. Which deities? Were they yidam or worldly deities?
Read: Vajrayogini: Her Visualizations, Rituals, and Form
Trikaya-vajrayogini, a yidam, confers the siddhi of conquering cities.

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Grigoris
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Grigoris » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:10 am

Varis wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:11 am
Grigoris wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:42 am
Source please. Which deities? Were they yidam or worldly deities?
Read: Vajrayogini: Her Visualizations, Rituals, and Form
Trikaya-vajrayogini, a yidam, confers the siddhi of conquering cities.
Yes, well... One of the epithets of the Buddha is Conqueror, so I believe that the siddhi is in regard to the taming of sentient beings in terms of their afflictions and not necessarily in terms of physical conquest. Though I don't deny that physical conquest may be included. There is not really enough information in the source to draw any evidence-based conclusions.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

PeterC
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by PeterC » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:18 am

Varis wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:11 am
Grigoris wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:42 am
Source please. Which deities? Were they yidam or worldly deities?
Read: Vajrayogini: Her Visualizations, Rituals, and Form
Trikaya-vajrayogini, a yidam, confers the siddhi of conquering cities.
You need to look at the inner as well as the outer meaning. For instance - even if you're not regularly faced by wild stampeding elephants or man-eating lions, you might still practice Tara who saves from fear of elephants or Tara who saves from fear of lions, as the inner meaning of each refers to inner obstacles

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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Varis » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:31 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:10 am
Yes, well... One of the epithets of the Buddha is Conqueror, so I believe that the siddhi is in regard to the taming of sentient beings in terms of their afflictions and not necessarily in terms of physical conquest. Though I don't deny that physical conquest may be included. There is not really enough information in the source to draw any evidence-based conclusions.
PeterC wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:18 am
You need to look at the inner as well as the outer meaning. For instance - even if you're not regularly faced by wild stampeding elephants or man-eating lions, you might still practice Tara who saves from fear of elephants or Tara who saves from fear of lions, as the inner meaning of each refers to inner obstacles

I agree that there is also an inner meaning, but I had assumed the outer meaning was skillful means to entice those who would turn away from the Dharma because of it's conflict with their occupations.

Another deity that confers similar benefit is Kurukulle, whose siddhi grants a kingdom, and I think we would all agree that Kingship is (generally speaking) a violent occupation. Obviously this has deeper implications, but considering the history of Chakravartins and Dharma Kings, the conferral of a kingdom to a pious Buddhist isn't so far fetched, no?

But that is secondary to what I am asking, my question was about the obvious conflict here, the non-violence of Buddhism contrasted with a job that involves it, and how this is resolved. Especially when said person is a Vajrayana practitioner. Can the positive outweigh the negative in this case? Or is such a person unable to attain Bodhisattvahood and/or Buddhahood in this life?

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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Grigoris » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:47 pm

Varis wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:31 pm
But that is secondary to what I am asking, my question was about the obvious conflict here, the non-violence of Buddhism contrasted with a job that involves it, and how this is resolved.
You are starting from a false premise. Who said that Buddhism is non-violent?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Anders
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Anders » Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:45 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:47 pm
Who said that Buddhism is non-violent?
Is this is a joke? Ahimsa is a foundational tenet of Buddhism.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Grigoris » Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:04 pm

Anders wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:45 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:47 pm
Who said that Buddhism is non-violent?
Is this is a joke? Ahimsa is a foundational tenet of Buddhism.
The Noble Eightfold Path and the Five Precepts talk about not killing.

Pāṇātipātā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.
如 诸 佛 尽 寿 不 杀 生, 我 某 甲 亦 尽 寿 不 杀 生
I undertake the training rule to abstain from killing.

Not all violence leads to death. So there is a vast grey area there
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Malcolm
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Malcolm » Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:18 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:04 pm
Anders wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:45 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:47 pm
Who said that Buddhism is non-violent?
Is this is a joke? Ahimsa is a foundational tenet of Buddhism.
The Noble Eightfold Path and the Five Precepts talk about not killing.

Pāṇātipātā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.
如 诸 佛 尽 寿 不 杀 生, 我 某 甲 亦 尽 寿 不 杀 生
I undertake the training rule to abstain from killing.

Not all violence leads to death. So there is a vast grey area there
Ahimsa is a commitment of taking refuge in the Dharma.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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mechashivaz
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by mechashivaz » Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:22 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:18 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:04 pm
Anders wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:45 pm


Is this is a joke? Ahimsa is a foundational tenet of Buddhism.
The Noble Eightfold Path and the Five Precepts talk about not killing.

Pāṇātipātā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.
如 诸 佛 尽 寿 不 杀 生, 我 某 甲 亦 尽 寿 不 杀 生
I undertake the training rule to abstain from killing.

Not all violence leads to death. So there is a vast grey area there
Ahimsa is a commitment of taking refuge in the Dharma.
So what of the act of striking with a stick the monastic students in the Zen tradition? As well as a host of stories of masters using apparently violent means fueled by bodhichitta to a greater good in the end. Can apparent violence ever be upaya?

jmlee369
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by jmlee369 » Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:07 am

Varis wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:31 pm
I agree that there is also an inner meaning, but I had assumed the outer meaning was skillful means to entice those who would turn away from the Dharma because of it's conflict with their occupations.

Another deity that confers similar benefit is Kurukulle, whose siddhi grants a kingdom, and I think we would all agree that Kingship is (generally speaking) a violent occupation. Obviously this has deeper implications, but considering the history of Chakravartins and Dharma Kings, the conferral of a kingdom to a pious Buddhist isn't so far fetched, no?

But that is secondary to what I am asking, my question was about the obvious conflict here, the non-violence of Buddhism contrasted with a job that involves it, and how this is resolved. Especially when said person is a Vajrayana practitioner. Can the positive outweigh the negative in this case? Or is such a person unable to attain Bodhisattvahood and/or Buddhahood in this life?
The Avatamsaka Sutra (Ten Bhumi chapter) says bodhisattvas on the first bhumi usually take birth as kings and rulers to help sentient beings.
“Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva who dwells upon this, the First Ground, for the most part acts as king of Jambudvipa. He is powerful, honored, and sovereign, and constantly protects the Proper Dharma. He is able to use great giving to gather in living beings. He is skilled at ridding living beings of the defilement of stinginess. He constantly practices great giving without exhaustion or end. Giving, pleasing words, beneficial practices, and identity in actions – all such karma that is created is not separate from mindfulness of the Buddha, not separate from mindfulness of the Dharma, not separate from mindfulness of the Sangha, not separate from mindfulness of the Bodhisattva, not separate from mindfulness of the Bodhisattvas of identical practice, not separate from mindfulness of the Bodhisattva practices, not separate from mindfulness of the Paramitas, not separate from mindfulness of all Grounds, not separate from mindfulness of the powers, not separate from mindfulness of the fearlessnesses, not separate from mindfulness of the uncommon Buddha Dharmas, up to and including not separate from mindfulness of endowment with the wisdom of all wisdom of all modes.”

“He further makes the following reflection: ‘I should, among all living beings, be a leader, be supreme, be especially supreme, be wonderful, be subtle, and wonderful, be superior, be unsurpassed, be a guide, be a general, be a chief, up to and including being one with the wisdom of all wisdoms upon whom one may rely.”
source

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Grigoris
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Grigoris » Mon Dec 25, 2017 9:50 am

jmlee369 wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:07 am
The Avatamsaka Sutra (Ten Bhumi chapter) says bodhisattvas on the first bhumi usually take birth as kings and rulers to help sentient beings.
It seems that this doesn't happen all that often anymore!
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Malcolm
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Malcolm » Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:14 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:42 am
Varis wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:26 am
Something that always struck me as odd when I was reading about Buddhist Tantra in the past was that some deity practices claim to confer the ability to conquer everyone in battle, invincibility, etc.
Source please. Which deities? Were they yidam or worldly deities?
There is a section in the Hevajra Tantra with mantras used for defeating armies.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Malcolm
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Malcolm » Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:17 pm

mechashivaz wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:22 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:18 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 2:04 pm
The Noble Eightfold Path and the Five Precepts talk about not killing.

Pāṇātipātā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi.
如 诸 佛 尽 寿 不 杀 生, 我 某 甲 亦 尽 寿 不 杀 生
I undertake the training rule to abstain from killing.

Not all violence leads to death. So there is a vast grey area there
Ahimsa is a commitment of taking refuge in the Dharma.
So what of the act of striking with a stick the monastic students in the Zen tradition? As well as a host of stories of masters using apparently violent means fueled by bodhichitta to a greater good in the end. Can apparent violence ever be upaya?
The practice of using a flat stick to strike the shoulders of a person meditating is not to harm them, but rather, to stimulate their alertness and remedy their posture. Thus, it is not harmful.

A bodhisattva's ahimsa can and will include killing harmful sentient beings.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

WeiHan
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by WeiHan » Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:20 pm

I thought Tantras cannot be read literally and that is why we need pith instruction from a Guru in order to understand and know how to practice them correctly? The mantra of Hevajra itself, contains words like "Slay slay......bind, bind...the enemies" but I don't think they should be understood literally?

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Malcolm
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Malcolm » Mon Dec 25, 2017 5:52 pm

WeiHan wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 4:20 pm
I thought Tantras cannot be read literally and that is why we need pith instruction from a Guru in order to understand and know how to practice them correctly? The mantra of Hevajra itself, contains words like "Slay slay......bind, bind...the enemies" but I don't think they should be understood literally?
Mantras for destroying armies, pretty much literal.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Grigoris
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Grigoris » Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:10 pm

Well, obviously nobody explained the literalness of the technique to the invading Chinese armies.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Malcolm
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Malcolm » Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:14 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:10 pm
Well, obviously nobody explained the literalness of the technique to the invading Chinese armies.
Nevertheless, Tibetans threw a lot of zors at the Chinese, but bullets apparently are more effective than zors at killing enemies.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Grigoris
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Re: The siddhi of winning wars

Post by Grigoris » Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:27 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:14 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:10 pm
Well, obviously nobody explained the literalness of the technique to the invading Chinese armies.
Nevertheless, Tibetans threw a lot of zors at the Chinese, but bullets apparently are more effective than zors at killing enemies.
In this world and this life, definitely.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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