Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Crazywisdom
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Crazywisdom »

Astus wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:17 pm
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 12:42 pmDoesn’t it occur to you that this is Kongtrul basically acceding to Sapan’s objections?
From a few sentences before, on the same page:

'Concerning this, the dharma lord Sakya Panchen asserted:
"Mahamudra is not designated in the tradition of the perfections. The pristine awareness of mahamudra only arises from empowerment."
Adhering to this position, the bigshots broadcast much meaningless chatter, but as the master Jnanakirti stated in Entry into Suchness:
"The other term for the Mother Perfection of Wisdom is mahamudra, because it is the very essence of nondual pristine awareness."'


What is emphasised as a difference between standard paramitayana and mahamudra is the special instructions, i.e. pointing out the nature of mind, that is, instead of starting with the emptiness of objects, it points to the emptiness of the subject.

'In the sutra systems it is taught that without first resolving the object grasped upon, the subject—the fixated mind—cannot be resolved. ... In our case, we believe that proceeding in that way leads to a lot of difficulty in resolving the fixating mind. Therefore we first resolve the fixating mind, whereby the object of grasping becomes resolved by being self-liberated.'
(The Royal Seal of Mahamudra, vol 1, p 266, 267)

Also, a remark from Situ Tenpai Nyinje:

'These principal instructions for gaining certainty, such as looking for the mind, have been made the subject of ridicule by some Tibetans, but that's the same as all the superficial things I've ever heard. ... [Nagarjuna's] Commentary on Bodhicitta and other texts give this same teaching in a brief form. It seems therefore that those [Tibetans who mock the instructions] haven't read these texts. Kamalasila explains in detail how to search for the mind in his Stages of Meditation, where he provides quotations from the Heap of jewels (Ratnakuta) Sutra.'
(Oral Transmission of the Supreme Siddhas by Situ Tenpai Nyinje, in Mahamudra and Related Instructions, p 248-249)
This is all just academic. There exists no lama anywhere who was brought up on sutra mahamudra or essence mahamudra, for that matter. There is no such thing as a lineage based on the practice of sutra mahamudra or essence mahamudra either. This is all empty rhretoric.
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Astus
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Astus »

PeterC wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 12:47 pmI don’t think he would mean that you could practice this without receiving some instruction equivalent to the fourth empowerment.
If pointing out instructions are equivalent to the fourth empowerment, then no. Otherwise, yes, he does say that no empowerment is needed.
Is he saying that recognition of nature of mind does not require any form of empowerment? That the pointing out is just words?
Here's more from Thrangu Rinpoche, on pointing out instructions:

'There is also the tradition of pointing out the nature of mind, in which there’s some sort of vigorous manner of causing the students to recognize it on the spot without their going through this kind of gradual investigation. This is very impressive, and often people have an experience of recognition, but soon thereafter it vanishes. The superiority of the gradual approach is that, while less dramatic initially, when you develop on your own a recognition through experience and through hard work, then you don’t lose it, you know; it’s because you developed it, and you get to work with it. Initially, the recognition starts to occur and is not that stable, then it’s stabilized, then you gradually develop confidence in the recognition, and on the basis of confidence, you learn, through practice, through time and effort, how to rest in it.'
(Pointing Out the Dharmakaya, p 136-137)

'In short, I think it is of far more importance that people receive this kind of complete and systematic instruction so that they can gradually develop experience on their own, than that some kind of dramatic pointing-out procedure be done. Of course, it is possible to give dramatic pointing-out instruction, and when you do so, some people do recognize their mind’s nature. But, if I may say so, I question the stability and, therefore, ultimately the value of that. It certainly is a dramatic experience for those people who achieve it, but I see no evidence of their kleshas diminishing as a result. And furthermore, they then carry away with them the arrogance of the thought, “I have seen my mind’s nature.” I think it is of far greater importance actually to practice meditation slowly and surely and make all possible use of the resources which this book in particular gives you. It is after all a big book and contains within it much instruction, much guidance, and a lot of questions that can help you to question and therefore refine your own experience.'
(Ocean of Definitive Meaning, p 127-128)
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: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by haha »

Here are some supports for above argument:
It seems that Gampopa distinguished Sutra from Tantra Mahamudra, the latter requiring empowerment (abhiseka), the former not. He had accordingly a special method of teaching Sutra Mahamudra. The Blue Annals [BA 459] states (Roerich’s translation):
Now the venerable Mi la ras pa [Milarepa] did not teach the upayamarga and the Mahamudra separately, but Gampopa used to preach the hidden precepts of the upayamarga to those only whom he considered fit to receive Tantric initiation. (On the other hand) he used to bestow the hidden precepts of the Mahamudra on those who were fit to receive the paramitas, though they did not get any Tantric initiation.


S. K. Hookham , (1991) The Buddha Within p 177


SUTRA MAHAMUDRA
The second part of the completion stage, the path of liberation, is the practice of Mahamudra. In this tradition there are two aspects of Mahamudra: Sutra Mahamudra and Tantra Mahamudra. In Sutra Mahamudra, one receives instruction on not holding on to concepts and then settles into meditation on the uncontrived clear light. Tantra Mahamudra is distinguished as being bliss and emptiness together, with emphasis placed on the coemergent wisdom recognized from receiving empowerment and applied to the vajra body.

Ringu Tulku, The Ri-Me Philosophy of Jamgon Kongtrul the Great [books.google.com]


He thought that, for many people, this was an easier, more suitable approach to realizing Mahamudra, so that it is said that, among his own disciples, only to a few did he teach the four tantric teachings that he had received from Jetsun Milarepa -like the yidam practice of Dorje Pamo, and Chakrasamvara, and the six dharmas of Naropa practice. Only to a few did he transmit that, as a way to realize Mahamudra. To most of his disciples, he taught Mahamudra according to the Sutra tradition, as he turned it, without need for initiation, without need for the development and completion stages.

Lecture by Lama Jampa Thaye
White Sakura
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by White Sakura »

Can the thread be closed now? Since I opened it and if it goes on now, arguments might come up that might contradict the opinion of Ringu Tulku Rinpoche.
And reading arguments against his opinion is none of my business.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Norwegian »

White Sakura wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:10 pm Can the thread be closed now? Since I opened it and if it goes on now, arguments might come up that might contradict the opinion of Ringu Tulku Rinpoche.
And reading arguments against his opinion is none of my business.
What a strange thing to say.
"The Guru is the Buddha, the Guru is the Dharma,
The Guru is the Sangha too,
The Guru is Śrī Heruka.
The All-Creating King is the Guru."

-- The Secret Assembly Tantra
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Matt J »

FWIW, Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche himself rolled into Boulder and gave lung/instructions on Khenpo Ganghar's Self Liberating Whatever You Meet without an empowerment. However, I doubt he expected anyone to really seriously practice based on that as he referred interested persons to his monks for further instructions. I don't know if they required an empowerment prior to their own instructions, but anyone who studies with them in the long run would certainly receive one and they offered one the day before the instructions.

Mingyur Rinpoche teaches Mahamudra prior to Tantra, although there is an empowerment given after one receives after the initial pointing out. It is not optional. He is the most liberal Kagyu lama I have encountered.

So while Astus may be able to mount an argument in theory, I cannot imagine any Kagyu lama NOT giving an empowerment in practice. If it is possible, but no one ever does it, then it seems a bit pointless.
"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
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by White Sakura »

Norwegian wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:28 pm
White Sakura wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:10 pm Can the thread be closed now? Since I opened it and if it goes on now, arguments might come up that might contradict the opinion of Ringu Tulku Rinpoche.
And reading arguments against his opinion is none of my business.
What a strange thing to say.
Of course others might do it better but for me it is not easy having to explain things to my son. I wanted to have a thread that I can show him but it turned very complicated.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Malcolm »

Astus wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:17 pm
"The other term for the Mother Perfection of Wisdom is mahamudra, because it is the very essence of nondual pristine awareness."'[/i]
Too bad you did not read Jñānakīrti's whole text. You are merely dancing on books you cannot even read in the original. Just cherry picking citations because they suit your biases. Sorry, but this is the case.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Astus »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 3:39 pmToo bad you did not read Jñānakīrti's whole text. You are merely dancing on books you cannot even read in the original. Just cherry picking citations because they suit your biases. Sorry, but this is the case.
It was Jamgon Kongtrul who quoted that passage from Jnanakirti in order to prove his point. Others have also referred to him to show the same.

'Jamyang Sakya Pandita says in Distinguishing the Three Vows:
Our Mahāmudrā
Is the gnosis arising from initiation.
Relying on that passage, some say there is no term for Mahāmudrā in the sutra system. I think it is unacceptable to say this, for it has been explained by many pandits, adepts, and scholars that superior, middling, and lesser perfection-vehicle students, abiding with a stable mind in tranquil abiding and superior insight, meditate on the nonduality of method and wisdom, which is Mahāmudrā. Jñānakīrti’s Distinguishing Clearly the Entire Sum of the Buddha’s Words says:
Those with superior faculties who are especially diligent in the perfection vehicle, meditate on tranquil abiding and superior insight, and right from the time they are ordinary individuals, they have a perfect realization arising from Mahāmudrā; because of that, they obtain the signs of irreversibility.
Jñānakīrti also states in the same text:
These superior students also meditate first on tranquil abiding and superior insight in order to enter the meditation preparatory to the nondual Mahāmudrā.
Not only that; the term Mahāmudrā is used for emptiness. The King of Concentration Sutra says, “The intrinsic nature of all dharmas is Mahāmudrā.” This point is taught in this and other passages.'

(The Crystal Mirror of Philosophical Systems, p 149-150)

'The finger of mahamudra points to the momentary awareness, which does not come down on either of the [two] sides, appearance or emptiness. Thus say those versed in the pith instructions. Even though this tradition belongs to the Paramitayana, it is labeled mahamudra. Thus it is explained in the Tattvadasakatika by Sahajavajra. It is also explained in the Tattvavatara by Jnanakirti in the root text and its commentary.'
(A Direct Path to the Buddha Within, p 188-189)
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: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Ayu »

Let's have a break. This discussion is running in circles.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Ayu »

Okay, I reopened the thread again on request of a certain member.
Obviously it is an interesting scholastic topic. Please, those who are in the argument Mahayana Sutra vs Mahamudra/Vajrayana:
- accept that it is possible to disagree.
- Stay within the frame of discussion without attacking the person.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
Malcolm
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Malcolm »

Astus wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 4:06 pm Not only that; the term Mahāmudrā is used for emptiness. The King of Concentration Sutra says, “The intrinsic nature of all dharmas is Mahāmudrā.”
The Samādhirāja Sūtra says nothing of the sort.

The term "mahāmudra" is not exist in that sūtra or any other. This is just a fact. Therefore, you must stop using this citation. The scholar who originally claimed this citation as a support for mahāmudra was merely interpolating his bias into the text in order to deceive his hapless disciples.
The passage you are citing is this one:

།འདི་ལས་སངས་རྒྱས། ཡེ་ཤེས་མཆོག་ཀྱང་འབྱུང༌། །ཆོས་རྣམས་ཀུན་གྱི་རང་བཞིན་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་སྟེ། །ཏིང་འཛིན་འདི་ནི་འདྲེན་བདག་གིས་བཤད།

“It originates from the supreme wisdom of buddhahood.
It is the seal of the nature of all phenomena.
This is the samādhi taught by the guides."


17.144, Roberts, 84,000 edition.

Therefore, we can understand the term "mahāmudra" exists exclusively the tantras. Even there is has different meanings.

Indeed the Tattvāvatārākhyasakalasugatavacastātparyavyākhyāprakaraṇa says "Another name of the Bhagavāti Prajñāpāramita is mahāmudra, because it has the inherent nature of nondual gnosis."

But this has been poorly understood. Here, the Bhagavāti Prajñāpāramita is part of the maṇḍala of Guhyasamāja, etc., as the text describes in detail.

Further, far from being a treatise which equivocates sutrayāna or provides a basis for claiming that sutrayāna also has mahāmudra, it is quite the opposite. It is a text which explicates secret mantra for those of the best capacity. It says, "Because other yogis lack good fortune (skal med), gnosis is taught as mahāmudra in order to introduce them."
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by fckw »

Just as a pointer: This thread also contains some relevant points.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Astus »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:14 pmTherefore, we can understand the term "mahāmudra" exists exclusively the tantras.
Even if that were so, apparently Kagyupas, starting with Gampopa, taught what is now called sutra Mahamudra, and it is a unique teaching of this tradition, and there's an offshoot Mahamudra among the Gelugpas, where they also teach it as a separate one from tantra Mahamudra.
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"
Malcolm
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Malcolm »

Astus wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:25 pm
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:14 pmTherefore, we can understand the term "mahāmudra" exists exclusively the tantras.
Even if that were so, apparently Kagyupas, starting with Gampopa, taught what is now called sutra Mahamudra, and it is a unique teaching of this tradition, and there's an offshoot Mahamudra among the Gelugpas, where they also teach it as a separate one from tantra Mahamudra.
It is so, it is not "even if that were so."

Also, the First Panchen Lama's "Ganden" Mahāmudra when it was introduced was quite controversial and even derided by the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, and remains somewhat controversial even still; though the present Dalai Lama has a more charitable view of it then did his predecessor. Indeed, a book of his teachings on this subject was published by Snow Lion.

So, Astus, I can call you a buddha, but that is a mere nominal designation, because I am pretty sure if we look between your legs, we will see that your penis dangles down like all other ordinary men, rather than being withdrawn into a sheath, like a buddha. Likewise, you can call Prajñāpāramitā "mahāmudra" if your goal is to inspire unfortunate yogis, as Jñānakīrti maintains, but it is still just calling something a name for which it lacks proper attributes; for example, calling a dog "Lion," or a small hill a "mountain," or a tiny pond a "lake" or a huge man "little."
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Astus »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:49 pmLikewise, you can call Prajñāpāramitā "mahāmudra" if your goal is to inspire unfortunate yogis, as Jñānakīrti maintains, but it is still just calling something a name for which it lacks proper attributes; for example, calling a dog "Lion," or a small hill a "mountain," or a tiny pond a "lake" or a huge man "little."
So would you say then that Kagyupas are quite mistaken, that what has been called one of the main teachings of the tradition over the centuries is fictitious?
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"
Malcolm
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Malcolm »

Astus wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:19 pm
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:49 pmLikewise, you can call Prajñāpāramitā "mahāmudra" if your goal is to inspire unfortunate yogis, as Jñānakīrti maintains, but it is still just calling something a name for which it lacks proper attributes; for example, calling a dog "Lion," or a small hill a "mountain," or a tiny pond a "lake" or a huge man "little."
So would you say then that Kagyupas are quite mistaken, that what has been called one of the main teachings of the tradition over the centuries is fictitious?
I was refuting your citations, showing how they do not match the claims put forward for them. If others make errors, why should the one who points them out be held at fault?
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by conebeckham »

From my perspective, Kagyupas don't teach "Sutra Mahamudra."

Kagyu lamas teach Mahamudra. In our day and age, what this means varies by teacher, but I feel confident in saying that Kagyu Lamas teach a variety of methods, from Sutra and Tantra, and use the term "Mahamudra" to denote relating to "nature of mind." I see "Sutra Mahamudra" as merely the name of a didactic method. Citations are used, and focus on "Sutra" is stressed, but I've not met any Kagyu Lama who teaches such things in a vacuum, apart from the path of the two stages,even in a simplified form. The Pointing Out Instructions of the various Kagyu traditions are really equivalent to the Fourth Empowerment, or so it is said. It may be true that Gampopa was influenced by his "Nyingma past," whatever that means, but it is stressed in our Kagyu traditions that the Dohas and other pith instructions are the inheritance of the Kagyu lineage. And while it's true that Mahamudra can be taught as a certain application during the path of the two stages, it is also a way of practice incorporating "sutra" methods--Samatha and Vipassana--but with unique instructions and a unique object of focus.

Honestly, though, all Tibetan Lamas of whatever institutional affiliation are Vajrayana practitioners. So in answer to the original question, I think it's better to see Mahamudra as a Vajrayana corpus of methods, sometimes relating to Sutra, sometimes relating more to "Tantra," but always found in Vajrayana and therefore at the level of Tantra.

For the life of me, I personally do not understand those who must adhere to some sort of notional "Pure Sutra Mahamudra" nor do I find much more than polemics in those who choose to argue vehemently against the "very existence" of a Sutra Mahamudra.
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: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Malcolm »

conebeckham wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 12:05 am From my perspective, Kagyupas don't teach "Sutra Mahamudra."

Kagyu lamas teach Mahamudra. In our day and age, what this means varies by teacher, but I feel confident in saying that Kagyu Lamas teach a variety of methods, from Sutra and Tantra, and use the term "Mahamudra" to denote relating to "nature of mind." I see "Sutra Mahamudra" as merely the name of a didactic method. Citations are used, and focus on "Sutra" is stressed, but I've not met any Kagyu Lama who teaches such things in a vacuum, apart from the path of the two stages,even in a simplified form. The Pointing Out Instructions of the various Kagyu traditions are really equivalent to the Fourth Empowerment, or so it is said. It may be true that Gampopa was influenced by his "Nyingma past," whatever that means, but it is stressed in our Kagyu traditions that the Dohas and other pith instructions are the inheritance of the Kagyu lineage. And while it's true that Mahamudra can be taught as a certain application during the path of the two stages, it is also a way of practice incorporating "sutra" methods--Samatha and Vipassana--but with unique instructions and a unique object of focus.

Honestly, though, all Tibetan Lamas of whatever institutional affiliation are Vajrayana practitioners. So in answer to the original question, I think it's better to see Mahamudra as a Vajrayana corpus of methods, sometimes relating to Sutra, sometimes relating more to "Tantra," but always found in Vajrayana and therefore at the level of Tantra.

For the life of me, I personally do not understand those who must adhere to some sort of notional "Pure Sutra Mahamudra" nor do I find much more than polemics in those who choose to argue vehemently against the "very existence" of a Sutra Mahamudra.
Just removing some incorrect claims here Cone.
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Re: Sutra, Tantra, Mahamudra

Post by Crazywisdom »

The poimt against is it is misleading. Some want to validate nonlineage book based enlightenment to prop themselves up as a web guru with cut and paste instructions.
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