A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

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

Post by TrimePema » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:35 pm

Malcolm wrote:
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.
Thank you! What is the difference in activity of non-arya and arya bodhisattvas?

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

Post by ford_truckin » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:13 pm

Malcolm wrote:
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.
How do you know you've accumulated anything by doing the practices? What if one remains stubborn, angry, and non compassionate?

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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 9:23 pm

ford_truckin wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:13 pm

How do you know you've accumulated anything by doing the practices? What if one remains stubborn, angry, and non compassionate?
There are teachings concerning what signs arise at every stage of the practice. If one remains stubborn, angry, and without compassion, this is also a sign. This is a sign that your practice is not grounded in bodhicitta.
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 9:23 pm

TrimePema wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:35 pm
Thank you! What is the difference in activity of non-arya and arya bodhisattvas?
Range.
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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Nyedrag Yeshe
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Location: Brazil

Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:41 pm

TrimePema wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:35 pm
Malcolm wrote:
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.
Thank you! What is the difference in activity of non-arya and arya bodhisattvas?
The first has generated the bodhi mind, but has not yet attained the path of seeing, while the last one has.
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

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

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:25 pm

Is it OK to say that I find references to the 'common Mahayana' a bit daunting? In the context of modern culture, as distinct maybe from the context of Tibetan religious culture, Mahayana is anything but 'common'. It seems to indicate a tone of condescension.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Nyedrag Yeshe
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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:30 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:25 pm
Is it OK to say that I find references to the 'common Mahayana' a bit daunting? In the context of modern culture, as distinct maybe from the context of Tibetan religious culture, Mahayana is anything but 'common'. It seems to indicate a tone of condescension.
This has nothing to do with Tibetan religious culture. These distinctions appeared yet in India with the rise of Tantrism.
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

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

Post by ford_truckin » Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:44 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:23 pm
ford_truckin wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:13 pm

How do you know you've accumulated anything by doing the practices? What if one remains stubborn, angry, and non compassionate?
There are teachings concerning what signs arise at every stage of the practice. If one remains stubborn, angry, and without compassion, this is also a sign. This is a sign that your practice is not grounded in bodhicitta.
Signs at every stage of practice meaning lesser afflictions and supernatural phenomena?

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

Post by Malcolm » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:16 am

ford_truckin wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:44 am
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:23 pm
ford_truckin wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:13 pm

How do you know you've accumulated anything by doing the practices? What if one remains stubborn, angry, and non compassionate?
There are teachings concerning what signs arise at every stage of the practice. If one remains stubborn, angry, and without compassion, this is also a sign. This is a sign that your practice is not grounded in bodhicitta.
Signs at every stage of practice meaning lesser afflictions and supernatural phenomena?
There are specific yogic markers outlined in Vajrayāna by which practitioners may judge their progress. There are specific yogic markers outlined in common Mahāyāna by which practitioners may judge their progress. The signs and practices differ, however, the markers measure the same level of progress. Vajrayāna markers are more swiftly achieved than common Mahāyāna ones. For example, there are today in the world far more people who have realized in this life the first bhumi who are Vajrayāna practitioners than in common Mahāyāna. This is because the path is easier, there are more methods, and so on. For example, in common Mahāyāna there exist no means of realizing anything in the bardo, since there is no instructions for awakening in the bardo in common Mahāyāna. But many practitioners of Vajrayāna attain full buddhahood in the bardo, even today, as the many signs of practice we witness among great Vajrayāna practitioners after they pass away.
Last edited by Malcolm on Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:26 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:25 pm
Is it OK to say that I find references to the 'common Mahayana' a bit daunting? In the context of modern culture, as distinct maybe from the context of Tibetan religious culture, Mahayana is anything but 'common'. It seems to indicate a tone of condescension.
"Common" *(sādhāraṇa) refers to the set of beliefs and practices shared between the causal Pāramitāyāna and resultant Vajrayāna. "Uncommon" (asādhāraṇa) refers to Secret Mantra, the practice of which is not shared with the Pāramitāyāna, and is exclusive to Vajrayāna in general.

*According to Monier Williams, sAdhAraNa means: having or resting on the same support or basis "' , belonging or applicable to many or all , general , common to all , universal , common to (gen. dat. instr. with and without;

asAdhAraNa means: not common , special , specifical Tarkas. ; quite uncommon , extraordinary Das3. Katha1s. &c. ; (%{am}) n. special property L.
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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Wayfarer
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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Wayfarer » Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:20 am

RIght - so perhaps more like ‘what all have in common’ - like ‘common ground’. So Vajrayana is differentiated from what is ‘common to Mahāyāna practitioners’. Would that be closer to the meaning?
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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

Post by TrimePema » Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:49 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:23 pm
TrimePema wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:35 pm
Thank you! What is the difference in activity of non-arya and arya bodhisattvas?
Range.
Forgive my obtuseness.

Are you saying a non-arya being benefits countless beings in inconceivable ways just by having taken the bodhisattva vow and subsequently engaging in common activities like giving money to homeless people and meditating 20 minutes a day? In other words, that a non-arya bodhisattva benefits only some beings and arya bodhisattvas benefit increasingly large numbers according to the bhumis, but the benefit is the same caliber?

Are you saying that a non-arya bodhisattva will automatically benefit beings in inconceivable ways in each and every lifetime simply by having the vow on their mindstream, even if they have not revived the vow in their current lifetime?

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

Post by ford_truckin » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:45 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:16 am
ford_truckin wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:44 am
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:23 pm


There are teachings concerning what signs arise at every stage of the practice. If one remains stubborn, angry, and without compassion, this is also a sign. This is a sign that your practice is not grounded in bodhicitta.
Signs at every stage of practice meaning lesser afflictions and supernatural phenomena?
There are specific yogic markers outlined in Vajrayāna by which practitioners may judge their progress. There are specific yogic markers outlined in common Mahāyāna by which practitioners may judge their progress. The signs and practices differ, however, the markers measure the same level of progress. Vajrayāna markers are more swiftly achieved than common Mahāyāna ones. For example, there are today in the world far more people who have realized in this life the first bhumi who are Vajrayāna practitioners than in common Mahāyāna. This is because the path is easier, there are more methods, and so on. For example, in common Mahāyāna there exist no means of realizing anything in the bardo, since there is no instructions for awakening in the bardo in common Mahāyāna. But many practitioners of Vajrayāna attain full buddhahood in the bardo, even today, as the many signs of practice we witness among great Vajrayāna practitioners after they pass away.
What practices can you recommend that would lead to a realization of the first bhumi? Something simple would be nice.

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

Post by Malcolm » Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:16 pm

TrimePema wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:49 am
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:23 pm
TrimePema wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:35 pm
Thank you! What is the difference in activity of non-arya and arya bodhisattvas?
Range.
Forgive my obtuseness.

Are you saying a non-arya being benefits countless beings in inconceivable ways just by having taken the bodhisattva vow and subsequently engaging in common activities like giving money to homeless people and meditating 20 minutes a day? In other words, that a non-arya bodhisattva benefits only some beings and arya bodhisattvas benefit increasingly large numbers according to the bhumis, but the benefit is the same caliber?

Are you saying that a non-arya bodhisattva will automatically benefit beings in inconceivable ways in each and every lifetime simply by having the vow on their mindstream, even if they have not revived the vow in their current lifetime?
The range of the activity of common bodhisattvas is limited. They have not developed four basis of miraculous power, the five higher knowledges, and so forth.

Ārya bodhisattvas have more range, since, from the first bhumi onward a bodhisattva has emanations that increase by the power of ten. This, first stage bodhisattvas have 100 emanations and so forth. Also, due to their realization of emptiness, bodhisattvas on the stages are not mired down by the connate fetter of grasping a self, and thus can engage in tremendous deeds.

Nevertheless, the simple aspiration to attain full awakening has sufficient force to make certain that person will someday attain full awakening.

With respect to the bodhisattva vow, this is, in actuality, only ever taken once. Each subsequent time one goes to receive the bodhisattva vow in another lifetime, it is signal that one has in fact received in in a previous lifetime. The bodhisattva vow is taken upon the mindstream because it is principally a vow taken as a motivation, unlike pratimokṣa and secret mantra vows, which are principally taken upon the body of this life as precepts for conduct. Thus, at death, one does not lose the bodhisattva vow, unlike pratimokṣa vows and secret mantra vows, which are lost at the breakup of the five aggregates at the time of death.
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 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:17 pm

ford_truckin wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:45 am
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:16 am
ford_truckin wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:44 am

Signs at every stage of practice meaning lesser afflictions and supernatural phenomena?
There are specific yogic markers outlined in Vajrayāna by which practitioners may judge their progress. There are specific yogic markers outlined in common Mahāyāna by which practitioners may judge their progress. The signs and practices differ, however, the markers measure the same level of progress. Vajrayāna markers are more swiftly achieved than common Mahāyāna ones. For example, there are today in the world far more people who have realized in this life the first bhumi who are Vajrayāna practitioners than in common Mahāyāna. This is because the path is easier, there are more methods, and so on. For example, in common Mahāyāna there exist no means of realizing anything in the bardo, since there is no instructions for awakening in the bardo in common Mahāyāna. But many practitioners of Vajrayāna attain full buddhahood in the bardo, even today, as the many signs of practice we witness among great Vajrayāna practitioners after they pass away.
What practices can you recommend that would lead to a realization of the first bhumi? Something simple would be nice.
Ngondro practice, refuge, bodhicitta, Vajrasattva, Mandala offerings, and Guru Yoga. One does not really need any other practices.
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

jmlee369
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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by jmlee369 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:00 am

Just throwing my two cents here. When some Chinese Mahayana practitioners asked a similar question to a Gelug lama, the (very brief and simplified) answer was that tantra works at the level of subtle body and subtle mind, which is why progress is faster.

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

Post by TrimePema » Mon Nov 19, 2018 3:27 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:16 pm
TrimePema wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:49 am
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:23 pm


Range.
Forgive my obtuseness.

Are you saying a non-arya being benefits countless beings in inconceivable ways just by having taken the bodhisattva vow and subsequently engaging in common activities like giving money to homeless people and meditating 20 minutes a day? In other words, that a non-arya bodhisattva benefits only some beings and arya bodhisattvas benefit increasingly large numbers according to the bhumis, but the benefit is the same caliber?

Are you saying that a non-arya bodhisattva will automatically benefit beings in inconceivable ways in each and every lifetime simply by having the vow on their mindstream, even if they have not revived the vow in their current lifetime?
The range of the activity of common bodhisattvas is limited. They have not developed four basis of miraculous power, the five higher knowledges, and so forth.

Ārya bodhisattvas have more range, since, from the first bhumi onward a bodhisattva has emanations that increase by the power of ten. This, first stage bodhisattvas have 100 emanations and so forth. Also, due to their realization of emptiness, bodhisattvas on the stages are not mired down by the connate fetter of grasping a self, and thus can engage in tremendous deeds.

Nevertheless, the simple aspiration to attain full awakening has sufficient force to make certain that person will someday attain full awakening.

With respect to the bodhisattva vow, this is, in actuality, only ever taken once. Each subsequent time one goes to receive the bodhisattva vow in another lifetime, it is signal that one has in fact received in in a previous lifetime. The bodhisattva vow is taken upon the mindstream because it is principally a vow taken as a motivation, unlike pratimokṣa and secret mantra vows, which are principally taken upon the body of this life as precepts for conduct. Thus, at death, one does not lose the bodhisattva vow, unlike pratimokṣa vows and secret mantra vows, which are lost at the breakup of the five aggregates at the time of death.
Can you explain how a non-arya bodhisattva of limited range actually benefits beings in the same way a less limited, arya bodhisattva benefits beings?

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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by MiphamFan » Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:45 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:17 pm
ford_truckin wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:45 am
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:16 am


There are specific yogic markers outlined in Vajrayāna by which practitioners may judge their progress. There are specific yogic markers outlined in common Mahāyāna by which practitioners may judge their progress. The signs and practices differ, however, the markers measure the same level of progress. Vajrayāna markers are more swiftly achieved than common Mahāyāna ones. For example, there are today in the world far more people who have realized in this life the first bhumi who are Vajrayāna practitioners than in common Mahāyāna. This is because the path is easier, there are more methods, and so on. For example, in common Mahāyāna there exist no means of realizing anything in the bardo, since there is no instructions for awakening in the bardo in common Mahāyāna. But many practitioners of Vajrayāna attain full buddhahood in the bardo, even today, as the many signs of practice we witness among great Vajrayāna practitioners after they pass away.
What practices can you recommend that would lead to a realization of the first bhumi? Something simple would be nice.
Ngondro practice, refuge, bodhicitta, Vajrasattva, Mandala offerings, and Guru Yoga. One does not really need any other practices.
Where would shamatha fit in?

Serious question, I'm grappling between how to schedule my practice -- either to focus on ngondro or incorporate shamatha and maybe yantra yoga too.

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Jangchup Donden
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Re: A request to explain Vajrayana to a common Mahayanika

Post by Jangchup Donden » Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:04 pm

MiphamFan wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:45 am
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:17 pm
ford_truckin wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:45 am

What practices can you recommend that would lead to a realization of the first bhumi? Something simple would be nice.
Ngondro practice, refuge, bodhicitta, Vajrasattva, Mandala offerings, and Guru Yoga. One does not really need any other practices.
Where would shamatha fit in?

Serious question, I'm grappling between how to schedule my practice -- either to focus on ngondro or incorporate shamatha and maybe yantra yoga too.
There's shamatha with support, and shamatha without support. When doing ngöndro, doing the visualizations is shamatha with support; when you rest in nonconceptuality after dissolution of the visualizations, that's shamatha without support. It's tough in the beginning to rest the mind in the visualization while doing prostrations (at least compared to sitting shamatha meditation), but I think that lays the foundation for really being able to do it well when you get to the Vajrasattva accumulation (and everything after that).

I was also recommended by Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche when I was getting started that it was good to start your practice with a few minutes of shamatha meditation. So you could do 5-10 before starting ngöndro to get your mind in a more rested place.

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

Post by Malcolm » Tue Nov 20, 2018 2:29 pm

MiphamFan wrote:
Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:45 am
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:17 pm
ford_truckin wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:45 am

What practices can you recommend that would lead to a realization of the first bhumi? Something simple would be nice.
Ngondro practice, refuge, bodhicitta, Vajrasattva, Mandala offerings, and Guru Yoga. One does not really need any other practices.
Where would shamatha fit in?
In Vajrayāna, sadhana recitation is śamatha.

Here, specifically, after the dissolution of the refuge field, Vajrasattva, or taking empowerment from the guru, one rests in the nature of mind.
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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