A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:41 pm

Questions you made are answered, i would like to add something.

For a mahayanist, aspirant or bodhisattva, to engage in vajrayana practice in the correct way represents a more concrete way to apply and develop.

It is not easy to "do something" swift, opportunely, thorough philosophy, it takes several chances and then long time to mature it, instead of that it is possible for this time to learn a way to transmute that doesn't even need to be communicated, showed off, or told to others. Any kind of connection is enough.

With trantric method one can help and self-develop in a very much subtle and fast way. It is far far much intense, yes, one will make mistakes, yes, you need a teacher, yes, you can get burned, yes, you will find your own hidden demons, yes, etc. but it's a worth, definitely, if you preserve mahayana essence within, why? Because with this it is very easy to transform into a pig instead of a buddha. It is harder but the results are inmediate.
what are you doing

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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:43 pm

Empty Desire wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:41 pm
Anders wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:26 pm
What's the deal with deity yoga?
I found Lama Thubten Yeshe's explanations in his books very helpful for developing an understanding of this.

'Becoming the Compassion Buddha' would be one.
Lord of Love by Bokar Rinpoche is another good one.

I no longer practice deity yoga, but this book gave me a profound appreciation for Chenrezig in general.
If I want to go that route again someday, it's the first book I'll reach for.

I also credit any understanding I have of bodhicitta to Bokar Rinpoche and Shantideva. So he's in good company.

I hope you enjoy this period of learning and exploration.
The buddhas are so kind to bring these teachings to us.
Amitābha!
OM PADMO USHNISHA VIMALE HUM PHAT (Lotus Pinnacle of Amoghapasha)
OM HANU PHASHA BHARA HE YE SVAHA ("Just by Seeing" Mantra)
AH AAH SHA SA MA HA (Six Syllables of Clairvoyance Mantra)


The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by pael » Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:59 pm

Astus wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 1:16 pm
...occasional body related (yoga, mudra, prana, etc.) techniques in Theravada...
What these yogas are?
May all beings be free from suffering and causes of suffering

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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Astus » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:10 pm

pael wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:59 pm
What these yogas are?
E.g.: Eight-Form Moving Meditation
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:30 pm

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:43 pm
Empty Desire wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:41 pm
Anders wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:26 pm
What's the deal with deity yoga?
I found Lama Thubten Yeshe's explanations in his books very helpful for developing an understanding of this.

'Becoming the Compassion Buddha' would be one.
Lord of Love by Bokar Rinpoche is another good one.
Gyatrul Rinpoche's Generating the Diety for a third.

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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by conebeckham » Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:09 pm

Thomas Amundsen wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:30 pm
Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:43 pm
Empty Desire wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:41 pm


I found Lama Thubten Yeshe's explanations in his books very helpful for developing an understanding of this.

'Becoming the Compassion Buddha' would be one.
Lord of Love by Bokar Rinpoche is another good one.
Gyatrul Rinpoche's Generating the Diety for a third.
For an exhaustive explanation, check out Deity, Mantra and Wisdom--Jigme Lingpa and Patrul Rinpoche. Also Vajra Wisdom by Shechen Gyaltsap, and Creation and Completion by Kongtrul.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Anders » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:38 pm

Thanks for the reply. It leaves me with a few more questions that I hope you can also help with.
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:46 pm
Skillful means.
Can you give a top 5 list or something of what Vajrayana brings to the table in this regard?
This is a very big question. The long and short of it however is that identifying oneself as a buddha one becomes a buddha. This only refers the creation stage.
A bit of a basic question but: How does deity yoga differ from a practitioner with siddhis to communicate directly with a mahasattva or Buddha?

Also: Visualization of oneself as a deity at a glance strikes me as a rather coarse practise compared to, say, the formless practice of prajnaparamita. What is the basis in vajrayana for this being a more productive practise than common kṛtsna shamatha?
In order to foster nonconceptual samadhi, there are any number of methods connected with body and its channels, winds, and drops to generate this. In common Mahāyāna, one's physical body literally limits the kind of samadhi one can have; hence as one progresses on the path, one takes rebirth in ever more refined bodies. In Vajrayāna, one can access these kinds of samadhi in this lifetime with special methods.
So basically supercharged breath meditation of a sort? Is this connected then to the aforementioned visualisation of oneself as deity? What makes it uncommon?
Vajrayāna is a path of nonrenunciation, that is, rather than avoid sense objects, they are transformed and taken into the path. As Naropa said, "The problem is not sense objects, the problem is clinging." In Vajrayāna one is taught certain methods to transform eating, drinking, sex, bathing, wearing clothes, and so on, into the path of awakening. Vajrayāna yoga is a 24/7/365 kind of thing. This is why it is so much more powerful, and dangerous, than common Mahāyāna.
I don't think there is any Buddhist path that is not ultimately intended to be 24/7. Is this meant in a difference sense than the common one then?

Practise without renunciation in the midst of sensory objects or even the kleshas is not hard to find in common Mahayana either, but there it is most commonly connected with already having had some measure of realisation of emptiness. What is the basis in vajrayana for this being appropriate even for noobs? And how does this not end being a significant risk of up burning your karmic fingernails off?
This is not really possible. These polemics are built into Vajrayāna just as Mahāyāna has built in polemics with regards to Hinayāna.
Any indulgence without sacrificing the main point is appreciated. I suppose in an ideal world, such polemics would be framed in similar style to the how the Mulamadhyamakarikas are framed to Shravakas - Setting forth the Mahayana view of emptiness but doing so whilst only relying on Shravaka pitakas.
"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: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Tilopa » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:09 pm

Anders wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:26 pm
How do you get around the whole "we eat meat, drink alcohol, have sex and engage in the kleshas still call this wisdom" practice thing without just discarding the classical Buddhist view of these matters altogether?

Any answers accommodating that I come from a classical Mahayana position and have not necessarily accepted the later tenets of vajrayana (whilst nonetheless being open and curious to these) would be greatly appreciated.
In Gelugpa there's an emphasis on 'three principals of the path' as the foundation for tantra:
renunciation of samsara, pure bodhicitta and a correct view of emptiness

They also say this:
externally practice Hinayana (whether monastic or lay maintain pure morality)
internally practice Mahayana (do everything with a compassionate motivation)
secretly practice Vajrayana (deity yoga and mahamudra)

It may not be a presentation that suits everyone but I've always found it clear and helpful

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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Malcolm » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:49 pm

Anders wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:38 pm

A bit of a basic question but: How does deity yoga differ from a practitioner with siddhis to communicate directly with a mahasattva or Buddha?
Deity yoga is a path. If someone has siddhis already, why would they need Vajrayāna?
Also: Visualization of oneself as a deity at a glance strikes me as a rather coarse practise compared to, say, the formless practice of prajnaparamita. What is the basis in vajrayana for this being a more productive practise than common kṛtsna shamatha?
Unless someone has realized the first bhumi, this person can do the actual practice of prajñapāramitā.

Further, there is no method in Pāramitāyāna of experientially introducing the nature of the mind. This exists only in Vajrayāna. It is upon this basis that deity yoga proceeds.

Vajrayāna yoga creates a direct dependent origination with the result (the two kāyas), which is why they are swift; whereas Pāramitā yogas are only connected with the cause (the two accumulations), which is why they take such a long time.
In order to foster nonconceptual samadhi, there are any number of methods connected with body and its channels, winds, and drops to generate this. In common Mahāyāna, one's physical body literally limits the kind of samadhi one can have; hence as one progresses on the path, one takes rebirth in ever more refined bodies. In Vajrayāna, one can access these kinds of samadhi in this lifetime with special methods.
So basically supercharged breath meditation of a sort? Is this connected then to the aforementioned visualisation of oneself as deity? What makes it uncommon?
Not exactly. But if you really are interested, you should go find a master to receive empowerment, and then study with them in a systematic fashion.
Vajrayāna is a path of nonrenunciation, that is, rather than avoid sense objects, they are transformed and taken into the path. As Naropa said, "The problem is not sense objects, the problem is clinging." In Vajrayāna one is taught certain methods to transform eating, drinking, sex, bathing, wearing clothes, and so on, into the path of awakening. Vajrayāna yoga is a 24/7/365 kind of thing. This is why it is so much more powerful, and dangerous, than common Mahāyāna.
I don't think there is any Buddhist path that is not ultimately intended to be 24/7. Is this meant in a difference sense than the common one then?

Practise without renunciation in the midst of sensory objects or even the kleshas is not hard to find in common Mahayana either, but there it is most commonly connected with already having had some measure of realisation of emptiness. What is the basis in vajrayana for this being appropriate even for noobs? And how does this not end being a significant risk of up burning your karmic fingernails off?
With respect to 24/7/365 practice of yoga, in Mahāyāna there are no actual methods for integrating all of one's activities into the path. Washing is not a practice. Eating food is not a practice. Taking desire into the path is not a practice. Taking sleep into the path is not a practice. Taking waking into the path is not a practice, and so on. There is no practice connected with developing divine pride. There are no practices connected with utilizing sense objects for one's own benefit, There are no practices which use the body as a basis. There are no practices for taking birth, life, and death onto the path. Mahāyāna lacks the manifold methods found in Vajrayāna.

With respect to using sense objects in the path, in common Mahāyāna one is not permitted to use sense objects in the path unless one is trying to benefit others. So examples of bodhisattvas sporting with 60,000 maidens and so forth are in the context of benefitting others. By contrast, in Vajrayāna, one is permitted from the beginning to use sense objects in the path for ones own purposes. This is a fundamental difference. With respect to kleshas, different kinds of practices are suited for people with different mixes of affliction. In general, the dominant affliction of this age however is hatred, and so the majority of practices are related the Vajra family.

The basis for it being appropriate for beginners to enter Vajrayāna is personal karma. People who are fortunate in this degenerate era will easily enter Vajrayāna teachings and make rapid progress, attaining full buddhahood either in this life or the bardo, or at worst, with three, seven, or sixteen lifetimes. In common Mahāyāna there are no practitioners who attain full buddhahood in less than three asaṃkhyakalpas, despite specious claims to the contrary in various schools, principally Sino-Japanese Mahāyāna, which directly contradict the Buddha's teachings on the subject in sȗtra.

With respect to burning one's fingers, as the Hevajra Tantra states "That which binds fools frees the wise."
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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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:54 pm


Also: Visualization of oneself as a deity at a glance strikes me as a rather coarse practise compared to, say, the formless practice of prajnaparamita. What is the basis in vajrayana for this being a more productive practise than common kṛtsna shamatha?
I've often seen the creation stage (identifying oneself as the deity) associated with shamatha, whereas completion stage is identified with vipaysana. Part of the answer (I've been told at least, I don't have anything like Malcolm's knowledge of course) is directly from the power of the initiation lineage, in addition to the directness of the practice, and that the initiation confers recognition of the nature of mind directly, rather than gradually experiencing it via typical shamatha/vipaysana instruction. One of my teachers describes it as "buying a house on credit" and moving in, whereas with common Mahayana practice, you pay as you go, but you can't really move in.

There are also *lots* of instructions for the visualizations themselves, that have everything to do with how the practice works, it is not just pretending you are something and calling it good, and creation and completion are part of all Tantric sadhana i'm aware of, you don't have one without the other, just like you would not try to practice shamatha without a goal of unifying it with vipaysana.
So basically supercharged breath meditation of a sort? Is this connected then to the aforementioned visualisation of oneself as deity? What makes it uncommon?
I don't think that's quite accurate. The way Tantra operates is based on a particular view of the body, what it actually is, and how it becomes realized, I don't know how else to put it with my non-scholar brain, There's a lot more to it than just supercharged breath meditation. you can do some research but detail beyond this isn't normally something for much public discussion.


Practise without renunciation in the midst of sensory objects or even the kleshas is not hard to find in common Mahayana either, but there it is most commonly connected with already having had some measure of realisation of emptiness. What is the basis in vajrayana for this being appropriate even for noobs? And how does this not end being a significant risk of up burning your karmic fingernails off?
There are all kinds of warnings of "burning your fingernails off" in Vajrayana, and even the most "progressive" teachers expect a grounding in the Mahayana. Sarma schools stress the Three Vehicles, and they are often taught as progressive stages, so almost any teacher will expect that before practicing Vajrayana you understand the first two vehicles and their views. The basic answer I think is Karma though, not much more complicated than that.
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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by PeterC » Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:34 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:54 pm
I've often seen the creation stage (identifying oneself as the deity) associated with shamatha, whereas completion stage is identified with vipaysana. Part of the answer (I've been told at least, I don't have anything like Malcolm's knowledge of course) is directly from the power of the initiation lineage, in addition to the directness of the practice, and that the initiation confers recognition of the nature of mind directly, rather than gradually experiencing it via typical shamatha/vipaysana instruction. One of my teachers describes it as "buying a house on credit" and moving in, whereas with common Mahayana practice, you pay as you go, but you can't really move in.

The analogy of shamatha : vipayshana :: creation stage : completion stage is a common one, but as you allude, I think it really misses the point of the whole exercise, because it says nothing about the role of the empowerment and what one is doing in the two stages with respect to accomplishing what was transmitted in the empowerment

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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by TrimePema » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:43 am

Anders wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:26 pm
Hi,

My name is Anders and I am a mahayanika for a goodly number of years now. I read much of the sutras quite literally, take the avatamsaka cosmology at face value, am an ekayanin who takes a fuzzy view on how long the path to buddhahood has to take, and either way think the whole "get there as fast as possible / choose the ultimatest vehicle of them all" mentality is a somewhat flawed way of looking at a path that involves vowing to come back for innumerable lifetimes under inconceivably variable circumstances according to the particulars of one's aspirations and vows anyhow.
Hi, I think you may benefit from the distinction of view here...

YOU cannot "come back for innumerable lifetimes under inconceivably variable circumstances according to the particulars of one's aspirations and vows" UNLESS you have achieved the first bhumi, since without achieving the first bhumi, one will be flung back and forth up and down the 6 realms uncontrollably.
Until that happens, your lifetimes are not ACTUAL bodhisattva lifetimes; your activity is not ACTUALLY liberating or helping per se anybody in any meaningful way. Until one reaches the first bhumi and becomes an actual bodhisattva, one is a bodhisattva aspirant. Aspirants work to develop bodhichitta and when ultimate bodhichitta is first glimpsed, the first bhumi is attained. When the first bhumi is attained, one will be able to lead beings to a meaningful stage of the path. Therefore, there is only the aspiration to become a bodhisattva and engage in such activity, until one actually becomes a bodhisattva.

All your lives leading up to becoming a bodhisattva are filled with the relative level of paramita activity, as much as one possibly can practice...
In Vajrayana, one's life is centered around the realization of the nature of mind, which is what allows one to engage in paramita activity 24/7 through what is known as self-liberation, which is only possible through keeping the commitments (abstaining from certain things and committing to do certain other things) which allow that nature of mind to become manifest.

I hope this is helpful and I apologize if it doesn't make sense because I have no wisdom at all etc etc etc

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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Lingpupa » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:58 am

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:43 pm
Lord of Love by Bokar Rinpoche is another good one.
Seconded
All the best
Alex Wilding
Stupa in the Snow blog at http://chagchen.org/

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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:20 pm

Anders wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:38 pm
Thanks for the reply. It leaves me with a few more questions that I hope you can also help with.
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:46 pm
Skillful means.
Can you give a top 5 list or something of what Vajrayana brings to the table in this regard?
This is a very big question. The long and short of it however is that identifying oneself as a buddha one becomes a buddha. This only refers the creation stage.
A bit of a basic question but: How does deity yoga differ from a practitioner with siddhis to communicate directly with a mahasattva or Buddha?

Also: Visualization of oneself as a deity at a glance strikes me as a rather coarse practise compared to, say, the formless practice of prajnaparamita. What is the basis in vajrayana for this being a more productive practise than common kṛtsna shamatha?
In order to foster nonconceptual samadhi, there are any number of methods connected with body and its channels, winds, and drops to generate this. In common Mahāyāna, one's physical body literally limits the kind of samadhi one can have; hence as one progresses on the path, one takes rebirth in ever more refined bodies. In Vajrayāna, one can access these kinds of samadhi in this lifetime with special methods.
So basically supercharged breath meditation of a sort? Is this connected then to the aforementioned visualisation of oneself as deity? What makes it uncommon?
Vajrayāna is a path of nonrenunciation, that is, rather than avoid sense objects, they are transformed and taken into the path. As Naropa said, "The problem is not sense objects, the problem is clinging." In Vajrayāna one is taught certain methods to transform eating, drinking, sex, bathing, wearing clothes, and so on, into the path of awakening. Vajrayāna yoga is a 24/7/365 kind of thing. This is why it is so much more powerful, and dangerous, than common Mahāyāna.
I don't think there is any Buddhist path that is not ultimately intended to be 24/7. Is this meant in a difference sense than the common one then?

Practise without renunciation in the midst of sensory objects or even the kleshas is not hard to find in common Mahayana either, but there it is most commonly connected with already having had some measure of realisation of emptiness. What is the basis in vajrayana for this being appropriate even for noobs? And how does this not end being a significant risk of up burning your karmic fingernails off?
This is not really possible. These polemics are built into Vajrayāna just as Mahāyāna has built in polemics with regards to Hinayāna.
Any indulgence without sacrificing the main point is appreciated. I suppose in an ideal world, such polemics would be framed in similar style to the how the Mulamadhyamakarikas are framed to Shravakas - Setting forth the Mahayana view of emptiness but doing so whilst only relying on Shravaka pitakas.
In order to understand Vajrayana theory properly, you'll need to enter the fold by receiving empowerments and instructions from a qualified teacher.

But besided some of the points already mentioned here, I'll say a bit more. Vajrayana takes medition with the channels and winds etc, which works with our subtle body and consciousness, to lead to a more fully and direct realization of emptiness and the nature of mind. Something which common sutra samadhi practice just can't reach. But again, in order to really understand this, you'll will need instructions from a qualified vajra teacher.
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“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Malcolm » Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:52 pm

TrimePema wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:43 am
Anders wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:26 pm
Hi,

My name is Anders and I am a mahayanika for a goodly number of years now. I read much of the sutras quite literally, take the avatamsaka cosmology at face value, am an ekayanin who takes a fuzzy view on how long the path to buddhahood has to take, and either way think the whole "get there as fast as possible / choose the ultimatest vehicle of them all" mentality is a somewhat flawed way of looking at a path that involves vowing to come back for innumerable lifetimes under inconceivably variable circumstances according to the particulars of one's aspirations and vows anyhow.
Hi, I think you may benefit from the distinction of view here...

YOU cannot "come back for innumerable lifetimes under inconceivably variable circumstances according to the particulars of one's aspirations and vows" UNLESS you have achieved the first bhumi, since without achieving the first bhumi, one will be flung back and forth up and down the 6 realms uncontrollably.
No, this is a mistake. When one reaches patience on the path of preparation, one cuts off birth in the three lower realms.

Someone who generates bodhicitta on the path of accumulation is already vastly superior to an Arhat who is free of all afflictions.
Until that happens, your lifetimes are not ACTUAL bodhisattva lifetimes; your activity is not ACTUALLY liberating or helping per se anybody in any meaningful way. Until one reaches the first bhumi and becomes an actual bodhisattva, one is a bodhisattva aspirant. Aspirants work to develop bodhichitta and when ultimate bodhichitta is first glimpsed, the first bhumi is attained. When the first bhumi is attained, one will be able to lead beings to a meaningful stage of the path. Therefore, there is only the aspiration to become a bodhisattva and engage in such activity, until one actually becomes a bodhisattva.
No, from the moment one generates the aspiration to full buddhahood one bears the name "jinapūtra" and IS a bodhisattva, training in the pāramitā and observing bodhisattva vows.
In Vajrayana, one's life is centered around the realization of the nature of mind, which is what allows one to engage in paramita activity 24/7 through what is known as self-liberation, which is only possible through keeping the commitments (abstaining from certain things and committing to do certain other things) which allow that nature of mind to become manifest.
All Buddhist teachings are centered around realizing the nature of the mind. Self-liberation has nothing whatsoever to do with maintaining samaya.

The principle difference between common Mahāyāna and uncommon Mahayāna Secret Mantras is skillful means, otherwise, otherwise the goal is the same, the bodhicitta is the same, and so forth.
I hope this is helpful and I apologize if it doesn't make sense because I have no wisdom at all etc etc etc
You need to study more, before proffering advice.
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: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Malcolm » Sat Nov 17, 2018 3:02 pm

Anders wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:38 pm
Any indulgence without sacrificing the main point is appreciated. I suppose in an ideal world, such polemics would be framed in similar style to the how the Mulamadhyamakarikas are framed to Shravakas - Setting forth the Mahayana view of emptiness but doing so whilst only relying on Shravaka pitakas.
In order to become a buddha, the Sūtra of Ten Stages, the Lanka, etc., all specify one must receive empowerment. However, that empowerment only comes at the end of the tenth bhumi. In Vajrayāna, that empowerment is found at the beginning of the path. Therefore, common Mahāyāna is a vehicle of the cause, whereas Vajrayāna is a vehicle of the result. As Ācarya Tripitikamāla stated:


Although the goal is the same, since it is unconfused,
with many methods, not difficult,
and mastered by those of sharp faculties,
Mantrayāna is superior.
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

ford_truckin
Posts: 64
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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by ford_truckin » Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:49 pm

I don't buy it that they progress faster than Mahayanikas but good for them if they do.

TrimePema
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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by TrimePema » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:04 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:52 pm
TrimePema wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:43 am
Anders wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:26 pm
Hi,

My name is Anders and I am a mahayanika for a goodly number of years now. I read much of the sutras quite literally, take the avatamsaka cosmology at face value, am an ekayanin who takes a fuzzy view on how long the path to buddhahood has to take, and either way think the whole "get there as fast as possible / choose the ultimatest vehicle of them all" mentality is a somewhat flawed way of looking at a path that involves vowing to come back for innumerable lifetimes under inconceivably variable circumstances according to the particulars of one's aspirations and vows anyhow.
Hi, I think you may benefit from the distinction of view here...

YOU cannot "come back for innumerable lifetimes under inconceivably variable circumstances according to the particulars of one's aspirations and vows" UNLESS you have achieved the first bhumi, since without achieving the first bhumi, one will be flung back and forth up and down the 6 realms uncontrollably.
No, this is a mistake. When one reaches patience on the path of preparation, one cuts off birth in the three lower realms.

Someone who generates bodhicitta on the path of accumulation is already vastly superior to an Arhat who is free of all afflictions.
Until that happens, your lifetimes are not ACTUAL bodhisattva lifetimes; your activity is not ACTUALLY liberating or helping per se anybody in any meaningful way. Until one reaches the first bhumi and becomes an actual bodhisattva, one is a bodhisattva aspirant. Aspirants work to develop bodhichitta and when ultimate bodhichitta is first glimpsed, the first bhumi is attained. When the first bhumi is attained, one will be able to lead beings to a meaningful stage of the path. Therefore, there is only the aspiration to become a bodhisattva and engage in such activity, until one actually becomes a bodhisattva.
No, from the moment one generates the aspiration to full buddhahood one bears the name "jinapūtra" and IS a bodhisattva, training in the pāramitā and observing bodhisattva vows.
In Vajrayana, one's life is centered around the realization of the nature of mind, which is what allows one to engage in paramita activity 24/7 through what is known as self-liberation, which is only possible through keeping the commitments (abstaining from certain things and committing to do certain other things) which allow that nature of mind to become manifest.
All Buddhist teachings are centered around realizing the nature of the mind. Self-liberation has nothing whatsoever to do with maintaining samaya.

The principle difference between common Mahāyāna and uncommon Mahayāna Secret Mantras is skillful means, otherwise, otherwise the goal is the same, the bodhicitta is the same, and so forth.
I hope this is helpful and I apologize if it doesn't make sense because I have no wisdom at all etc etc etc
You need to study more, before proffering advice.
Thanks, Malcolm. Can you help clarify further?

I took "come back lifetime after lifetime" to mean emanation. Is emanation possible before the bhumis? How else would one be in control of rebirths?
If self-liberation has nothing to do with maintaining samaya why do samaya breakers not liberate themselves from the unrelenting hell?

This is how I've been thinking:
Actual bodhisattva = emanation + actual enlightened activity
Aspiring bodhisattva = not able to emanate, not able to engage in actual enlightened activity, only able to cause slight enlightening influence


You appear to be saying that a bodhisattva who has not reached the path of seeing is capable of liberating beings. Is that true? What else is considered actual bodhisattva activity other than that?
What I mean by capable is a bodhisattva who can truly engage in the activities without the context of rituals or temporary clarity, on the basis of their having siddhi to see directly the karma of others and how to purify it, and then engaging in that requisite activity for the benefit of that being.

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Malcolm
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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Malcolm » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:42 pm

TrimePema wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:04 pm
I took "come back lifetime after lifetime" to mean emanation.
It simply means rebirth in samsara.
Is emanation possible before the bhumis? How else would one be in control of rebirths?
One only gains control over rebirth at the eighth bhumi.
If self-liberation has nothing to do with maintaining samaya why do samaya breakers not liberate themselves from the unrelenting hell?
If you have realized self-liberation, you don't need samaya anymore.
You appear to be saying that a bodhisattva who has not reached the path of seeing is capable of liberating beings. Is that true? What else is considered actual bodhisattva activity other than that?
A bodhisattva is simple someone who aspires to full buddhahood out of compassion and love for others. There are two kinds of bodhisattvas: non-ārya and ārya bodhisattvas.
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
Posts: 28717
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Malcolm » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:44 pm

ford_truckin wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:49 pm
I don't buy it that they progress faster than Mahayanikas but good for them if they do.
A Vajrayāna practitioner, by virtue of their practice, can gather the two accumulations necessary for full buddhahood in a very short period of time.

This is impossible in the cause vehicle.

Of course there are some fools who think that gathering the two accumulations are unnecessary for buddhahood. They are objects of pity.
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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