Guru Devotion

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PadmaVonSamba
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Guru Devotion

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:34 am

Again and again we are reminded that Devotion to one's teacher is essential to vajrayana practice.
But what does it mean?
Tibetans histories are filled with examples, of course,
but what if one simply cannot develop what they imagine is required?
What if a teacher never really expresses a demand for it?
Is it an absolute concept? Is it different for different people?
Can one in fact be devoted, but simply not realize it, because, for example, it doesn't seem like anything exceptional?
There are also so many examples in various Indian (Hindu) traditions.
It's a concept that is difficult for many in the west. It sounds "cultish".
Is this a concept that needs to, itself, be a translated concept?
I have my own thoughts about this, but I just wondered...
What do you think?
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Miroku
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by Miroku » Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:29 pm

I think teacher should never demand devotion towards him. My teachers usually express their own devotion towards their teachers and sometimes tell us to feel the same, but never really demand anything.

I am ver much a beginner and don't think I have it right, but for me devotion is both something you have to learn and something that arises spontaneusly. You have to learn how to feel it by thinking that your teacher is a buddha or at least a representative of a pure living tradition that comes from Buddha and you remind yourself of this thought every time you take refuge and do guruyoga. And it arises spontaneusly everytime you remember how lucky you are to encounter the dharma and the kindness and amazing qualities of your teacher and when you get some signs that your practices realy work. I think it is kinda like bodhicitta. You can meditate to develop bodhicitta, but it also appears spontaneusly when you get the taste of the fruit of the practices. Hope it makes sense.

It might be different for others, dunno really.

But I believe that devotion is somewhat necessary. It takes a small devotion (together with an interest to practice) to a teacher to really do what they are advising you to do. It might not be the overwhelming feeling from the old stories but it is there. And devotion is also a sign that practices are working (like bodhicitta is).
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

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florin
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by florin » Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:09 pm

In its essential form guru devotion means devotion to one's buddha nature. It is a bit counterproductive to be like a toddler that always depends on their mother for the rest of their lives never descovering their true real guru, their buddha nature.
Of course we rely on our teacher's instrctions but once we descover the real point of the teaching we need only to rely on and devote oneself to our real nature.
The nature of diverse phenomena is non-dual. This means that both pure vision and impure vision are a manifestation of the energy of the primordial state. Even though in reality there is no duality, everything manifests separately. KG

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heart
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by heart » Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:36 pm

florin wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:09 pm
In its essential form guru devotion means devotion to one's buddha nature. It is a bit counterproductive to be like a toddler that always depends on their mother for the rest of their lives never descovering their true real guru, their buddha nature.
Of course we rely on our teacher's instrctions but once we descover the real point of the teaching we need only to rely on and devote oneself to our real nature.
Guru devotion in Mahamudra and Dzogchen is always based on wisdom, wisdom you have some direct personal experience of through the teachings of the master. That is the heart of the Guru Yoga and really any practice you do.

Then, in my experience , ordinary Tibetans often seems to think that blind devotion to a lama is something good, but that is something altogether different.

/magnus
"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

pemachophel
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by pemachophel » Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:57 pm

here's my take and i could be supremely wrong:

devotion (mo gu) for me is an emotion. it is love and affection beyond just respect and even awe. it's a wanting to be close to the Teacher and to please Them. it's a yearning, a longing, an intense need. tibetans use the word "fierce" tp describe it's intensity when it is intense. it's a willingness to sacrifice oneself in order to please and follow the Teacher similar to one's willingness to sacrifice oneself for their lover. when it's strong, it brings tears to the eyes and may cause outright crying, sobbing, and anguish, even in public, even in front of hundreds. one may be literally wracked with emotion. it is heart-felt. it's not intellectual. it's also not totally different from intense romantic, sexual love. the longing is the same.

it is also not something that can be fabricated. either one's relationship with the Teacher elicits such heart-felt devotion or not. i have had over 50 Gurus over the years, and my level of devotion to each is different. for most, it is only a liking, a mild affection, and respect. i might have faith (dad-pa), i.e., willingness to do what They say, but not real devotion. i would say i only have real, heart-felt devotion, where simply thinking of the Teacher brings tears to my eyes, for two of those 50, both now having passed. so, when the teachings say one should "develop" faith and devotion, i also don't know how to do that. for me, i either feel it in my heart or i don't. it may grow in intensity over time in the same way that a sexual love may grow over time, but not because of trying to make it grow. if there's a volitional aspect to it, it is the willingness to open up one's heart and surrender to the other. thus the sixth Dalai Lama's "love" poetry.

for me, heart-felt devotion is the rocket fuel that propels my journey. it's what boosts me past the hard places and keeps me moving forward on the Path. it's what makes me willing to open up and surrender my self. it's the thing which keeps my butter-bag pliable. it is both anguish and ecstasy. it is non-dual.

sorry if i've got devotion completely wrong.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

Simon E.
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by Simon E. » Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:40 pm

Devotion to the teacher was something I learned by having it modelled to me by my teacher to his teachers.
Particularly by observing him when relating to the 16th Karmapa on the latter's first visit to the west.
His devotion and focus were palpable and contagious.
Gone fishin' :smile:

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:20 pm

Taking them seriously, like really taking them seriously, realizing how lucky you are to be receiving what they are giving. Not taking it for granted, and doing your absolute best to put all energy into what you've been taught, as well as being willing to surrender when you receive corrections, or are simply told you are wrong. Not creating your own fixed ideas and conceptual schemas about what they are teaching, but realizing that the guru and the teaching are utterly beyond your games. Not mingling their teachings with the Eight Worldly Dharmas in your own life and in your interactions with others..not being dependent or expecting the guru to wipe my butt spiritually speaking, knowing that part of this deal is on my end, and it is my responsibility to put effort into practice, not the Guru's job to be my cheerleader. That's real devotion to the outer guru for me.

As to the inner and secret, I pretty much agree with Heart.
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SunWuKong
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by SunWuKong » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:32 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:34 am
Again and again we are reminded that Devotion to one's teacher is essential to vajrayana practice.
But what does it mean?
Tibetans histories are filled with examples, of course,
but what if one simply cannot develop what they imagine is required?
What if a teacher never really expresses a demand for it?
Is it an absolute concept? Is it different for different people?
Can one in fact be devoted, but simply not realize it, because, for example, it doesn't seem like anything exceptional?
There are also so many examples in various Indian (Hindu) traditions.
It's a concept that is difficult for many in the west. It sounds "cultish".
Is this a concept that needs to, itself, be a translated concept?
I have my own thoughts about this, but I just wondered...
What do you think?
.
.
.
Who is it that time and time again reminds you?
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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TharpaChodron
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by TharpaChodron » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:47 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:34 am
Again and again we are reminded that Devotion to one's teacher is essential to vajrayana practice.
But what does it mean?
Tibetans histories are filled with examples, of course,
but what if one simply cannot develop what they imagine is required?
What if a teacher never really expresses a demand for it?
Is it an absolute concept? Is it different for different people?
Can one in fact be devoted, but simply not realize it, because, for example, it doesn't seem like anything exceptional?
There are also so many examples in various Indian (Hindu) traditions.
It's a concept that is difficult for many in the west. It sounds "cultish".
Is this a concept that needs to, itself, be a translated concept?
I have my own thoughts about this, but I just wondered...
What do you think?
.
.
.
My understanding is that "Western culture" has an issue with what it sees as cultish obeisance to gurus because it misunderstands devotion in the guru-disciple relationship. One has to realize that the guru's enlightened nature is none other than our own true nature, and is not separate from or above from us.

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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:03 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:32 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:34 am
Again and again we are reminded that Devotion to one's teacher is essential to vajrayana practice.
But what does it mean?
Tibetans histories are filled with examples, of course,
but what if one simply cannot develop what they imagine is required?
What if a teacher never really expresses a demand for it?
Is it an absolute concept? Is it different for different people?
Can one in fact be devoted, but simply not realize it, because, for example, it doesn't seem like anything exceptional?
There are also so many examples in various Indian (Hindu) traditions.
It's a concept that is difficult for many in the west. It sounds "cultish".
Is this a concept that needs to, itself, be a translated concept?
I have my own thoughts about this, but I just wondered...
What do you think?
.
.
.
Who is it that time and time again reminds you?
Everyone does, it's huge in Vajrayana, there are whole books on it. You can't practice Vajrayana without making this sort of connection. It looks different for different people of course.
My understanding is that "Western culture" has an issue with what it sees as cultish obeisance to gurus because it misunderstands devotion in the guru-disciple relationship. One has to realize that the guru's enlightened nature is none other than our own true nature, and is not separate from or above from us.
That, and the fact that there -IS- an aspect of Guru devotion from Tibetans that is pretty culturally specific. It might have it's qualities, but I would not expect that devotion for someone who grew up in "The West" would look the same as it does for a lay Tibetan necessarily.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

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Malcolm
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by Malcolm » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:03 am

TharpaChodron wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:47 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:34 am
Again and again we are reminded that Devotion to one's teacher is essential to vajrayana practice.
But what does it mean?
Tibetans histories are filled with examples, of course,
but what if one simply cannot develop what they imagine is required?
What if a teacher never really expresses a demand for it?
Is it an absolute concept? Is it different for different people?
Can one in fact be devoted, but simply not realize it, because, for example, it doesn't seem like anything exceptional?
There are also so many examples in various Indian (Hindu) traditions.
It's a concept that is difficult for many in the west. It sounds "cultish".
Is this a concept that needs to, itself, be a translated concept?
I have my own thoughts about this, but I just wondered...
What do you think?
.
.
.
My understanding is that "Western culture" has an issue with what it sees as cultish obeisance to gurus because it misunderstands devotion in the guru-disciple relationship.
In all fairness, the 60's, 70's, and 80's were witness some pretty horrific gurus, and even now there are many pretty horrific gurus. Buddhadharma is also not devoid of scandal, as we know.

Devotion boils down to how many hours a day you spend on Dharma,such as 1 hour? 2?, 3?, 4?, 5?, 6?...? Of course, as Vajrayãna people, we are supposed to practice 24/7/365. Easy to say...
One has to realize that the guru's enlightened nature is none other than our own true nature, and is not separate from or above from us.
All fires are hot.
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

SunWuKong
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by SunWuKong » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:14 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:03 am
SunWuKong wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:32 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:34 am
Again and again we are reminded that Devotion to one's teacher is essential to vajrayana practice.
But what does it mean?
Tibetans histories are filled with examples, of course,
but what if one simply cannot develop what they imagine is required?
What if a teacher never really expresses a demand for it?
Is it an absolute concept? Is it different for different people?
Can one in fact be devoted, but simply not realize it, because, for example, it doesn't seem like anything exceptional?
There are also so many examples in various Indian (Hindu) traditions.
It's a concept that is difficult for many in the west. It sounds "cultish".
Is this a concept that needs to, itself, be a translated concept?
I have my own thoughts about this, but I just wondered...
What do you think?
.
.
.
Who is it that time and time again reminds you?
Everyone does, it's huge in Vajrayana, there are whole books on it. You can't practice Vajrayana without making this sort of connection. It looks different for different people of course.
My understanding is that "Western culture" has an issue with what it sees as cultish obeisance to gurus because it misunderstands devotion in the guru-disciple relationship. One has to realize that the guru's enlightened nature is none other than our own true nature, and is not separate from or above from us.
That, and the fact that there -IS- an aspect of Guru devotion from Tibetans that is pretty culturally specific. It might have it's qualities, but I would not expect that devotion for someone who grew up in "The West" would look the same as it does for a lay Tibetan necessarily.
I thinks it’s mostly important concept in India and Tibet, you’d have to prove its efficacy in Vajrayana elsewhere, I’m open to it but skeptical. And I’m almost sure it’s only in lineages that transmit mahasiddhi transmission, because you don’t need a guru to gain enlightenment. But some of your Tibetan transmissions are about other things, as I’m sure you know, and without a guru you’d probably be reduced to ashes or something. It’s not an everyone everywhere issue. In fact I bet there’s a lot of Tibetans that wouldn’t give a crap about it one way or the other
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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Malcolm
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by Malcolm » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:20 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:14 am

I thinks it’s mostly important concept in India and Tibet, you’d have to prove its efficacy in Vajrayana elsewhere, I’m open to it but skeptical.
There really is no Vajrayāna anywhere but among Himalayan and Mongolian people, apart from Western and Chinese devotees. Shingon is Mantrayāna, not really Vajrayāna. There is no practice of what is known as "unsurpassed yoga tantra" in Shingon. Shingon preceded the transmission of unsurpassed yoga tantra to countries outside of the subcontinent.
And I’m almost sure it’s only in lineages that transmit mahasiddhi transmission, because you don’t need a guru to gain enlightenment.
Sure you do. Everyone does. It is axiomatic, even in sūtra.
But some of your Tibetan transmissions are about other things, as I’m sure you know, and without a guru you’d probably be reduced to ashes or something.
Have you studied Tibetan Buddhism? I am really not sure what these "other things" are. Can you enlighten us as to what these "other things" might be?
It’s not an everyone everywhere issue. In fact I bet there’s a lot of Tibetans that wouldn’t give a crap about it one way or the other
How is this relavent to the discussion?
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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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:07 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:14 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:03 am
SunWuKong wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:32 am


Who is it that time and time again reminds you?
Everyone does, it's huge in Vajrayana, there are whole books on it. You can't practice Vajrayana without making this sort of connection. It looks different for different people of course.
My understanding is that "Western culture" has an issue with what it sees as cultish obeisance to gurus because it misunderstands devotion in the guru-disciple relationship. One has to realize that the guru's enlightened nature is none other than our own true nature, and is not separate from or above from us.
That, and the fact that there -IS- an aspect of Guru devotion from Tibetans that is pretty culturally specific. It might have it's qualities, but I would not expect that devotion for someone who grew up in "The West" would look the same as it does for a lay Tibetan necessarily.
I thinks it’s mostly important concept in India and Tibet, you’d have to prove its efficacy in Vajrayana elsewhere, I’m open to it but skeptical. And I’m almost sure it’s only in lineages that transmit mahasiddhi transmission, because you don’t need a guru to gain enlightenment. But some of your Tibetan transmissions are about other things, as I’m sure you know, and without a guru you’d probably be reduced to ashes or something. It’s not an everyone everywhere issue. In fact I bet there’s a lot of Tibetans that wouldn’t give a crap about it one way or the other

It is part of Vajrayana for any practitioner, regardless of culture.. though certainly in Tibetan culture is has it's own manifestations. You can't really take empowerment without some deep consideration of it...or at least one shouldn't, even if people do. Blessings from a Guru and lineage are not an optional part of Vajrayana, they are completely central to how it functions, no need to argue efficacy as there is no Vajrayana path without this relationship.

Not sure what point you are attempting to make, please clarify what you are saying.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

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TharpaChodron
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by TharpaChodron » Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:37 am

Malcolm wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:03 am
TharpaChodron wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:47 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 3:34 am
Again and again we are reminded that Devotion to one's teacher is essential to vajrayana practice.
But what does it mean?
Tibetans histories are filled with examples, of course,
but what if one simply cannot develop what they imagine is required?
What if a teacher never really expresses a demand for it?
Is it an absolute concept? Is it different for different people?
Can one in fact be devoted, but simply not realize it, because, for example, it doesn't seem like anything exceptional?
There are also so many examples in various Indian (Hindu) traditions.
It's a concept that is difficult for many in the west. It sounds "cultish".
Is this a concept that needs to, itself, be a translated concept?
I have my own thoughts about this, but I just wondered...
What do you think?
.
.
.
My understanding is that "Western culture" has an issue with what it sees as cultish obeisance to gurus because it misunderstands devotion in the guru-disciple relationship.
In all fairness, the 60's, 70's, and 80's were witness some pretty horrific gurus, and even now there are many pretty horrific gurus. Buddhadharma is also not devoid of scandal, as we know.

Devotion boils down to how many hours a day you spend on Dharma,such as 1 hour? 2?, 3?, 4?, 5?, 6?...? Of course, as Vajrayãna people, we are supposed to practice 24/7/365. Easy to say...
One has to realize that the guru's enlightened nature is none other than our own true nature, and is not separate from or above from us.
All fires are hot.
Yes, yes Buddhadharma is not immune to scandal, but practitioners have a broader view than merely believing gurus are always above reproach. That sort of black and white thinking is best left to other faiths and Trump voters, not Vajrayana Buddhists.

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Malcolm
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by Malcolm » Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:41 am

TharpaChodron wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:37 am
Yes, yes Buddhadharma is not immune to scandal, but practitioners have a broader view than merely believing gurus are always above reproach. That sort of black and white thinking is best left to other faiths and Trump voters, not Vajrayana Buddhists.
The black and white approach seems pretty deeply entrenched in the Tibetan scene.
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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TharpaChodron
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by TharpaChodron » Mon Mar 05, 2018 6:12 am

Malcolm wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:41 am
TharpaChodron wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:37 am
Yes, yes Buddhadharma is not immune to scandal, but practitioners have a broader view than merely believing gurus are always above reproach. That sort of black and white thinking is best left to other faiths and Trump voters, not Vajrayana Buddhists.
The black and white approach seems pretty deeply entrenched in the Tibetan scene.
Aye, I'm probably coming off as too dismissive of abuses in the guru-disciple relationship. I guess I've just been lucky my teachers have been drama-free, really genuine teachers.

And just because black and white thinking is prevalent doesn't mean it's right. :)

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liuzg150181
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by liuzg150181 » Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:39 am

Malcolm wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:20 am

There really is no Vajrayāna anywhere but among Himalayan and Mongolian people, apart from Western and Chinese devotees. Shingon is Mantrayāna, not really Vajrayāna. There is no practice of what is known as "unsurpassed yoga tantra" in Shingon. Shingon preceded the transmission of unsurpassed yoga tantra to countries outside of the subcontinent.
What is the different btw Mantrayana and Vajrayana? :thinking:

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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by Simon E. » Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:43 pm

The Vajrayana certainly uses mantra . But as part of a wider package.
Gone fishin' :smile:

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Kunga Lhadzom
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Re: Guru Devotion

Post by Kunga Lhadzom » Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:17 pm

liuzg150181 wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:39 am
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:20 am

There really is no Vajrayāna anywhere but among Himalayan and Mongolian people, apart from Western and Chinese devotees. Shingon is Mantrayāna, not really Vajrayāna. There is no practice of what is known as "unsurpassed yoga tantra" in Shingon. Shingon preceded the transmission of unsurpassed yoga tantra to countries outside of the subcontinent.
What is the different btw Mantrayana and Vajrayana? :thinking:
Matrayana is rated PG13
Vajrayana is rated R
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