Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Forum for discussion of Tibetan Buddhism. Questions specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
NeonPhoenixNeko
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:55 pm

Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by NeonPhoenixNeko » Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:38 pm

I brought this up on the Shingon section, and it is their opinion that Vairocana is the Primordial Buddha, although a teacher at my temple refuted this saying Vairocana is a sambogha-kaya rather than dharma-kaya. Is this true within tibetan tradition?

Can someone explain to me the difference between Samantabhadra and Vajradhara? Is this explicitly stated in the tantras? I do not have personal access to them so I would not know. Are they both considered dharmakaya? And can someone explain the difference between dharmakaya and primordial?

So confused XD

User avatar
Matt J
Posts: 939
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by Matt J » Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:38 pm

I beleive different traditions have different names for the primordial Buddha. Samantabhadra for Dzogchen, Vajradhara for Kagyu Mahamudra, and Vairocana for East Asian Buddhism (i.e. Zen) based on my experience. If you ask me, they all bear a striking resemblance to Shiva.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Tenma
Posts: 1040
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:25 am

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by Tenma » Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:44 pm

Matt J wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:38 pm
I beleive different traditions have different names for the primordial Buddha. Samantabhadra for Dzogchen, Vajradhara for Kagyu Mahamudra, and Vairocana for East Asian Buddhism (i.e. Zen) based on my experience. If you ask me, they all bear a striking resemblance to Shiva.
How are they a resemblance of Shiva? Could you explain?

User avatar
Matt J
Posts: 939
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by Matt J » Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:56 am

Well, they are primordially enlightened sentient beings who are depicted as blue skinned and often sitting in yab yum with their consorts, for example.
Tenma wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:44 pm
Matt J wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:38 pm
I beleive different traditions have different names for the primordial Buddha. Samantabhadra for Dzogchen, Vajradhara for Kagyu Mahamudra, and Vairocana for East Asian Buddhism (i.e. Zen) based on my experience. If you ask me, they all bear a striking resemblance to Shiva.
How are they a resemblance of Shiva? Could you explain?
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

User avatar
javier.espinoza.t
Posts: 1710
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:29 am
Location: Chile

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:25 am

NeonPhoenixNeko wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:38 pm
I brought this up on the Shingon section, and it is their opinion that Vairocana is the Primordial Buddha, although a teacher at my temple refuted this saying Vairocana is a sambogha-kaya rather than dharma-kaya. Is this true within tibetan tradition?

Can someone explain to me the difference between Samantabhadra and Vajradhara? Is this explicitly stated in the tantras? I do not have personal access to them so I would not know. Are they both considered dharmakaya? And can someone explain the difference between dharmakaya and primordial?

So confused XD
ime, it is said Samantabhadra&Samantabhadri because is a symbolic way to communicate it but in fact it is not someone, not an idol, not even a symbol, etc.

whats called "primordial buddha" is your own unfabricated cognition, there is no much mistery about there because you know very well that you are experiencing things, you don't need any verbalization nor symbol for experiencing, nor permission from anyone, etc., no?

we all have dharmakaya and rupakaya (samboghakaya and/or nirmanakaya), which are inseparable. distinction is conceptual, again for communication purposes, yet factual experiences between samboghakaya and nirmanakaya differ due to our habit of obscuring the "primordial budha".

this is how i see it.

Tenma
Posts: 1040
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:25 am

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by Tenma » Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:58 am

Matt J wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:56 am
Well, they are primordially enlightened sentient beings who are depicted as blue skinned and often sitting in yab yum with their consorts, for example.
Tenma wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:44 pm
Matt J wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:38 pm
I beleive different traditions have different names for the primordial Buddha. Samantabhadra for Dzogchen, Vajradhara for Kagyu Mahamudra, and Vairocana for East Asian Buddhism (i.e. Zen) based on my experience. If you ask me, they all bear a striking resemblance to Shiva.
How are they a resemblance of Shiva? Could you explain?
When did Blue Skin ever mean being primordially enlightened? That seems rather like claiming Shiva is Poseidon because they both have tridents(!).
What about the meaning? The symbolism and path? And so on?

florin
Posts: 1228
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:05 pm

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by florin » Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:26 pm

Tenma wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:58 am
Matt J wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:56 am
Well, they are primordially enlightened sentient beings who are depicted as blue skinned and often sitting in yab yum with their consorts, for example.
Tenma wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:44 pm


How are they a resemblance of Shiva? Could you explain?
When did Blue Skin ever mean being primordially enlightened? That seems rather like claiming Shiva is Poseidon because they both have tridents(!).
What about the meaning? The symbolism and path? And so on?
Blue is a symbol for primordial . Another symbol for “primordial” is space, the best example.
The symbol, the meaning and the path are identical.
Therefore there is no path that can be traveled.

User avatar
Matt J
Posts: 939
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by Matt J » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:03 pm

There is a lot of overlap between Buddhist Tantra and Shaiva Tantra--- they both developed around the same time and place. You can consult Prof Alexis Sanderson's write up, the Saiva Age for more academic research. Christopher Wallis has written an article based on that, and has his own book, Tantra Illuminated. If you really want to deep dive, you can actually study with a non-dual Shaivite teacher and silently remark on all the similarities.

I'm not saying they are identical, but there are many similarities.
Tenma wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:58 am
Matt J wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:56 am
Well, they are primordially enlightened sentient beings who are depicted as blue skinned and often sitting in yab yum with their consorts, for example.
Tenma wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:44 pm


How are they a resemblance of Shiva? Could you explain?
When did Blue Skin ever mean being primordially enlightened? That seems rather like claiming Shiva is Poseidon because they both have tridents(!).
What about the meaning? The symbolism and path? And so on?
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

NeonPhoenixNeko
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:55 pm

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by NeonPhoenixNeko » Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:22 pm

NeonPhoenixNeko wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:38 pm
I brought this up on the Shingon section, and it is their opinion that Vairocana is the Primordial Buddha, although a teacher at my temple refuted this saying Vairocana is a sambogha-kaya rather than dharma-kaya. Is this true within tibetan tradition?

Can someone explain to me the difference between Samantabhadra and Vajradhara? Is this explicitly stated in the tantras? I do not have personal access to them so I would not know. Are they both considered dharmakaya? And can someone explain the difference between dharmakaya and primordial?

So confused XD
I can say Vairocana may have been mistaken as Primordial by Shingon due to being from an early tantric source, as the text hints to such a primordial mind-state (while interestingly glorifying Samantabhadra, which strangely goes unnoticed) but where exactly lie the origins of Samantabhadra vs Vajradhara? Is this an example of an evolution of the texts, or merely differed interpretation?

This talk about Shiva is quite interesting as well.

Sennin
Posts: 906
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:19 am

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by Sennin » Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:39 pm

Matt J wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:56 am
Well, they are primordially enlightened sentient beings who are depicted as blue skinned and often sitting in yab yum with their consorts, for example.
Samantabhadra is the Ever-Excellent One, the Awakened One, the original buddha who never strayed into confusion. Therefore Samantabhadra has never been a sentient being.

User avatar
Matt J
Posts: 939
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by Matt J » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:22 pm

Depends on how you define "sentient being." You can narrowly refer to ordinary beings, or broadly include Buddhas in the English term.
Sentient beings is a term used to designate the totality of living, conscious beings that constitute the object and audience of Buddhist teaching. Translating various Sanskrit terms (jantu, bahu jana, jagat, sattva), sentient beings conventionally refers to the mass of living things subject to illusion, suffering, and rebirth (Saṃsāra). Less frequently, sentient beings as a class broadly encompasses all beings possessing consciousness, including Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
(emphasis added)

Getz, Daniel A. (2004). "Sentient beings"; cited in Buswell, Robert E. (2004). Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Volume 2.

I thought about using the term "consciousness," but I knew people would be unhappy with that. People might say: "Are you saying that Samantabhadra is not empty? Are you saying he is the 6th Skandha? Consciousness only means "sems" so he can't be that."

Any concept can be criticized. For example, I could say "Samantabhadra is a One? But Madhyamaka reasoning establishes that things are neither one nor many. If you could establish one, you would overturn Nagarjuna, Shantarakshita." Etc.
Sennin wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:39 pm
Matt J wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:56 am
Well, they are primordially enlightened sentient beings who are depicted as blue skinned and often sitting in yab yum with their consorts, for example.
Samantabhadra is the Ever-Excellent One, the Awakened One, the original buddha who never strayed into confusion. Therefore Samantabhadra has never been a sentient being.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Tenma
Posts: 1040
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:25 am

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by Tenma » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:47 pm

I honestly am not comprehending a single y'all are saying minus the claim of Shiva being Samantabhadra.

Let's try this:
Who is Shiva? The worldly deity that is honored in Mipham Rinpoche's Verses of the Eight Noble Auspicious Ones?


ཚངས་པ་ཆེན་པོ་བདེ་འབྱུང་སྲེད་མེད་བུ། །

tsangpa chenpo dejung semebu

Mighty Brahmā, Śiva and Viṣṇu,

མིག་སྟོང་ལྡན་དང་རྒྱལ་པོ་ཡུལ་འཁོར་སྲུང་། །

mik tong den dang gyalpo yulkhor sung

Indra the thousand-eyed, the kings Dhṛtarāṣṭra,


A supreme deity who is the destroyer and takes on dualistic ideals?
An ancient deity of nature who developed into becoming part of the Hindu Triple Deities with myths correlating to him?
Or who? Who is Shiva first of all?

User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 21267
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by Grigoris » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:55 pm

Can we please get back to the original question?

Thanks.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

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

Sennin
Posts: 906
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:19 am

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by Sennin » Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:09 pm

Matt J wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:22 pm
Depends on how you define "sentient being." You can narrowly refer to ordinary beings, or broadly include Buddhas in the English term.
Sentient beings is a term used to designate the totality of living, conscious beings that constitute the object and audience of Buddhist teaching. Translating various Sanskrit terms (jantu, bahu jana, jagat, sattva), sentient beings conventionally refers to the mass of living things subject to illusion, suffering, and rebirth (Saṃsāra). Less frequently, sentient beings as a class broadly encompasses all beings possessing consciousness, including Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
(emphasis added)

Getz, Daniel A. (2004). "Sentient beings"; cited in Buswell, Robert E. (2004). Encyclopedia of Buddhism. Volume 2.

I thought about using the term "consciousness," but I knew people would be unhappy with that. People might say: "Are you saying that Samantabhadra is not empty? Are you saying he is the 6th Skandha? Consciousness only means "sems" so he can't be that."
Interesting, thanks for pointing that out. I was referring to the more common definition of the term sems can.

Sennin
Posts: 906
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:19 am

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by Sennin » Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:55 pm

NeonPhoenixNeko wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:38 pm
I brought this up on the Shingon section, and it is their opinion that Vairocana is the Primordial Buddha, although a teacher at my temple refuted this saying Vairocana is a sambogha-kaya rather than dharma-kaya. Is this true within tibetan tradition?

Can someone explain to me the difference between Samantabhadra and Vajradhara? Is this explicitly stated in the tantras? I do not have personal access to them so I would not know. Are they both considered dharmakaya? And can someone explain the difference between dharmakaya and primordial?

So confused XD

It's my understanding that Vajradhara is an actual emanation of Samantabhadra who teaches the path of training, the accomplishment of awakening, and displaying the arrangement of purelands etc. during the 'kalpa of great purity'. This would indicate that their mindstreams are undifferentiated.

NeonPhoenixNeko
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:55 pm

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by NeonPhoenixNeko » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:59 pm

Sennin wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:55 pm
NeonPhoenixNeko wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:38 pm
I brought this up on the Shingon section, and it is their opinion that Vairocana is the Primordial Buddha, although a teacher at my temple refuted this saying Vairocana is a sambogha-kaya rather than dharma-kaya. Is this true within tibetan tradition?

Can someone explain to me the difference between Samantabhadra and Vajradhara? Is this explicitly stated in the tantras? I do not have personal access to them so I would not know. Are they both considered dharmakaya? And can someone explain the difference between dharmakaya and primordial?

So confused XD

It's my understanding that Vajradhara is an actual emanation of Samantabhadra who teaches the path of training, the accomplishment of awakening, and displaying the arrangement of purelands etc. during the 'kalpa of great purity'. This would indicate that their mindstreams are undifferentiated.
Interesting! This is the most reasonable explanation I've heard.

So Samantabhadra is the unidentifiable, always present, omniscient state of mind, or pure awareness... whereas Vajradhara is the one who intervenes and teaches the existence of this mind-nature, to those who are unaware. Hence why lineage starts with Vajradhara, and not Samantabhadra, since Samantabhadra may be a Buddha yet is not a deity in the way we normally think of one.

And so Vajradhara will be replaced by another dharmakaya in the next kalpa, but Samantabhadra will always be present as long as there is consciousness..

Am I on the right track here? :rolling:

User avatar
PeterC
Posts: 2063
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:38 pm

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by PeterC » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:41 am

Sennin wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:55 pm
NeonPhoenixNeko wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:38 pm
I brought this up on the Shingon section, and it is their opinion that Vairocana is the Primordial Buddha, although a teacher at my temple refuted this saying Vairocana is a sambogha-kaya rather than dharma-kaya. Is this true within tibetan tradition?

Can someone explain to me the difference between Samantabhadra and Vajradhara? Is this explicitly stated in the tantras? I do not have personal access to them so I would not know. Are they both considered dharmakaya? And can someone explain the difference between dharmakaya and primordial?

So confused XD

It's my understanding that Vajradhara is an actual emanation of Samantabhadra who teaches the path of training, the accomplishment of awakening, and displaying the arrangement of purelands etc. during the 'kalpa of great purity'. This would indicate that their mindstreams are undifferentiated.
Never heard that. What’s the source?

The Sarma/Nyingma split is the explanation I’ve always received

User avatar
heart
Posts: 4964
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by heart » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:26 am

PeterC wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:41 am
Sennin wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:55 pm
NeonPhoenixNeko wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 4:38 pm
I brought this up on the Shingon section, and it is their opinion that Vairocana is the Primordial Buddha, although a teacher at my temple refuted this saying Vairocana is a sambogha-kaya rather than dharma-kaya. Is this true within tibetan tradition?

Can someone explain to me the difference between Samantabhadra and Vajradhara? Is this explicitly stated in the tantras? I do not have personal access to them so I would not know. Are they both considered dharmakaya? And can someone explain the difference between dharmakaya and primordial?

So confused XD

It's my understanding that Vajradhara is an actual emanation of Samantabhadra who teaches the path of training, the accomplishment of awakening, and displaying the arrangement of purelands etc. during the 'kalpa of great purity'. This would indicate that their mindstreams are undifferentiated.
Never heard that. What’s the source?

The Sarma/Nyingma split is the explanation I’ve always received
Vajradhara actually appears here and there in the general Nyingma and Dzogchen teachings. He is considered a Samboghkaya emanation of Samanthabadra.

/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)

User avatar
PeterC
Posts: 2063
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 12:38 pm

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by PeterC » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:53 am

heart wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:26 am


Vajradhara actually appears here and there in the general Nyingma and Dzogchen teachings. He is considered a Samboghkaya emanation of Samanthabadra.

/magnus
In terma that appeared post the transmission of sarma to Tibet, sure, but there aren't any appearances in older sources are there?

User avatar
heart
Posts: 4964
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:55 pm

Re: Dharmakaya / Primordial Buddha

Post by heart » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:10 am

PeterC wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:53 am
heart wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:26 am


Vajradhara actually appears here and there in the general Nyingma and Dzogchen teachings. He is considered a Samboghkaya emanation of Samanthabadra.

/magnus
In terma that appeared post the transmission of sarma to Tibet, sure, but there aren't any appearances in older sources are there?
Not sure, but I think so.

/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)

Post Reply

Return to “Tibetan Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], heart, treehuggingoctopus and 90 guests