Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

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jikai
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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by jikai » Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:12 am

Hi guys and girls,

I hope all are well, and that your practice is smooth and beneficial. I haven't been on DW for quite a long time due to a lack of time and more primarily because I have been on Hieizan training most recently. I thought I would revive this old thread by informing all that I completed the 63days of Gyo at Gyoin on Hieizan yesterday. I am happy to discuss the experience with anyone interested and will answer any questions that I can, or am allowed to answer, as best I can. Perhaps I may be able to help provide some background
For the next non-Japanese(or Japanese) out there who hopes or intends to attend Gyoin on Hieizan.

I will wait to see if any are interested before saying too much. For the time being, I will say that it was an unbelievably invaluable and fascinating experience. It was also the single most physically and mentally demanding experience of my life thus far (bearing in mind that I have attending many Gyo sessions in Hawaii and at temples in Japan before). There is so much I will never forget, and the compassion shown by the teachers (Outside the context of Gyo) has been truly touching. These men whose mere shadow caused intense fear day and night in the hearts of all of us for 63days, have and continue to do all they can to help us come to terms with what we have learned and continue to grow.

I would like to thank all of those who knew that I was attending and have supported me through this time. Thank you all.

Gassho,
Jikai.
"止觀明靜前代未聞"
(摩訶止觀)

"此妙法蓮花經者本地甚深之奧藏也"
( 法華玄義)

"觀心者空觀是般若假觀是解脫中觀是法身"
(法華文句)

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by DGA » Thu Jun 25, 2015 12:10 pm

Welcome home, Jikai sensei! I rejoice in the great merit of your practice. I hope your example encourages many others in Australia and beyond to do the same.

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by jikai » Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:52 pm

Thank you Jikan Sensei!

The support and encouragement is much appreciated. I too hope that there are others who will follow and that I might through this experience make a more significant contribution to overseas Tendai.
Gassho,
Jikai.
"止觀明靜前代未聞"
(摩訶止觀)

"此妙法蓮花經者本地甚深之奧藏也"
( 法華玄義)

"觀心者空觀是般若假觀是解脫中觀是法身"
(法華文句)

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by Admin_PC » Thu Jun 25, 2015 4:25 pm

Congrats! Look forward to hearing more about your experiences!
月影の いたらぬ里は なけれども 眺むる人の 心にぞすむ
法然上人

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by Seishin » Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:52 am

This is brilliant news. Many congratulations Jikai Sensei :twothumbsup:

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by Doko » Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:41 pm

Welcome back to Earth and very well done!

You have been fortunate enough to have many training experiences before attending the gyo you just completed. What did you learn from this gyo?

~ Gassho

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by jikai » Sat Sep 19, 2015 1:56 pm

Doko wrote:Welcome back to Earth and very well done!

You have been fortunate enough to have many training experiences before attending the gyo you just completed. What did you learn from this gyo?

~ Gassho
"止觀明靜前代未聞"
(摩訶止觀)

"此妙法蓮花經者本地甚深之奧藏也"
( 法華玄義)

"觀心者空觀是般若假觀是解脫中觀是法身"
(法華文句)

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by jikai » Sat Sep 19, 2015 1:57 pm

Doko wrote:Welcome back to Earth and very well done!

You have been fortunate enough to have many training experiences before attending the gyo you just completed. What did you learn from this gyo?

~ Gassho
Apologies for being absent for a few months. After returning to Japan post Gyoin, I prepared to relocate to Japan for a minimum of a year, probably 2 or 3. I am now a bit more settled and am returning to some level of normality for the first time since the start of the year.

Of course there were a number of specific things which I learned at Gyoin, like how to use the Taiko Drums better, the cymbal patterns for some of the more complex services such as the ReiSen Zanmai's etc. However, I think the greatest thing I take from Gyoin is a sense of brotherhood that I share with everyone if my classmates. Being at Gyoin is incredibly intense, and realistically one cannot do it alone. We very much had to learn to look out for each other in order to make it through. At the same time, no one could do the Gyo for us as it were, and we all had to earn our place there wvery moment of everyday. Not everyone made it- we had 3 or 4 who either left or were told to leave. And every time someone left, we felt it at our very core. When you go through that type of training for an extended period of time, you feel like you've known your classmates forever . And so losing one felt like losing family. It also reminded us how very real the possibility of failing was!

As I've mentioned, I've been through similar training a number of times before, but Gyoin in my opinion really is unmatched in intensity and atmosphere. From the moment you walk through the gates until the moment you leave them again on the last day, every facet of your life from the way you sleep, to the way you eat, to the way you use the bathroom is formalised and performed in precisely the prescribed way. There is no contact with the outside world in any form with one exception- if your master visits during the first month, he may see you for five minutes. This is a literal five minutes- it is timed and monitored. Ara Sensei did visit me at this time, and I have never been more touched by a gesture in all my life. To tell you the truth, I went to Gyoin out of a sense of obligation inasmuch as I was absolutely convinced that I would never be able to complete it. I simply went to give it my best shot with little expectation, and the hope that I could at least make Ara Sensei proud of the effort. And when Ara Sensei visited, I had really started to feel the strain and thought that it would be any day now and I would be asked to leave. I wasn't told that he was there, I was simply pulled out of class which was highly unusual and therefore terrifying! I was lead to the medical bay where Ara Sensei was waiting. I sat down and immediately felt tears welling yp inside. Ara Sensei asked me to keep trying and asked how I was feeling. I distinctly remember asking Ara Sensei out of nowhere, 'that I am trying my best, but please forgive me if I don't make it to the end'. Ara Sensei simply smiled, laughed, and said don't worry, I know you will finish. I am sure it sounds silly to everyone else but with the pressure we were under, this was perhaps one of the most touching moments of my life. Soon our time was up and I led Ara Sensei through the rain under a small umbrella back to the taxi waiting for him at the gate. As I rushed back to class with next to no time to appreciate what had just happened, I knew then and there that I had to make it through.

It's interesting that amidst all of these priceless classes, training so forth, its those small moments and brief feelings that come to mind most readily now. It's hard to describe but at Gyoin, there really is NO TIME. Each day is such that there is barely time to process and chew what you have learnt before the next thing begins- let alone have a brief thought to yourself. The schedule truly is mind and body altering. The nerves in our feet, shins and knees died and calloused, and then died and hardened again. The whole lower body took a lot of punishment (as did the rest). The lnees and hips were almost constantly being stretched or aching. If we weren't sitting in seiza we were sitting in Lotus posture. The back, feet, shins, knees and hips changed drastically. If they didn't you didn't mKe it. I have never been the most limbre of people and in all honesty, I suffered from the sitting much more than many my classmates- even though I am used to sitting seiza and lotus for quite lengthy periods of time.

The strain, and the fact that we spent an enormous amount of time sitting played havoc with our stomachs which hardened like rocks, and made for strange sleeping patterns. Many of us woke up almost every morning dripping with sweat regardless of the fact that it was still cold on the mountain. Our eating habits also changed. In the first few weeks, we would all return mostof our ricebefore the meal for fear of not finishing quick enough. However, after a while the toll on our bodies and minds was auch that we ended up eating mountainsof rice in the short time available- and we were still tired! We would finish meals in about 3minutes minus the meal prayers before and after. This was not merely strictness but necessity. As I said there was no time, and in the second month it got worse and we missed the meal altogether on a number of occasions.

Days were long, nights short, at times it was hard to tell where one ended and the other began. All of this probably sounds horrible, and at the time- it was! But it was also life changing in many a way I will never forget. I had gone to Gyoin knowing all the stories, and having made up my mind that such extreme strictness was unnecessary. But I left with very different conclusions. I don't expect everyone to understand, and in some sense all I can do is aak you to trust me, but it was worth it in every way, and I appreciate why it is the way it is. That's not to say that certain things wouldn't be experienced the intended way by those with little experience of Japanese ways. Indeed in those circumstances, I don't think Gyoin would work for many Westers. On the other hand(and believe me I never thought I'd ever say this) I don't know of any other way to create the results and conditions necessary for said results than the ones at Gyoin.

Therr is so much to Gyoin and it is hard to know where to start, so if anyone has any specific questions, I will try to answer provided it's something I can talk about. I will never ever forget Gyoin, and I look back on it extremely fondly (that may surprise you). I couldn't have experienced what I did anywhere else, and I don't know if I could have grown in the ways I have otherwise. I have nothing but respect for all those who've made it through and the teacherswith us every step of the way.

Gassho
Rev. Jikai
"止觀明靜前代未聞"
(摩訶止觀)

"此妙法蓮花經者本地甚深之奧藏也"
( 法華玄義)

"觀心者空觀是般若假觀是解脫中觀是法身"
(法華文句)

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by Seishin » Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:11 pm

With me knee problems and stomach problems, I know I would not survive gyo on Mt Hiei. Thank you for sharing.

In gassho
Seishin

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by Doko » Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:55 am

Just as I suspected. I learned a lot of practices and practical things during my training.

- What I truly learned is humility and gratitude.

Gassho . . .

Doko

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by Coëmgenu » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:03 pm

DGA wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:51 pm
Hi Dearreader, I've tried to take it point by point. I hope this is useful to you.
How many instructors and students usually attend?
At the most recent gyo, we had twelve or thirteen students (I think this is right), and four instructors (with visitors and observers too). Some of the students also had leadership roles, as in assisting with temple functions and other preparations.
What is the curriculum compared to the training in Japan?
The structure is the same: half on temple duties, shikan, the "public" teachings (sutra services); half on esoteric practice.
I assume the curriculum can be shared?
Some of it, sure. Some of it no, absolutely not.
You also mention that all the courses are in English. Does this include relevant Tendai texts?
No, I said the training is in English. By this, I mean practice instructions, the services, the sutras, gathas, and so on. We read, recite, and copy the sutras primarily in English. There is not as much coursework in gyo itself as one might expect (about 90 minutes out of the day), although we are encouraged to study and reflect on the teachings while not on retreat. It is not a seminary, it is a training program. It's much more about the body than the brain.
I assume the Betsuin must have their own materials to support the training?


Some materials, yes, and more forthcoming. We also rely on publicly-available translations.
Out of curiosity, does the New York Institute also function generally as an education centre, if I may add to the above question-and-answer exchange. I say this, because I am very interested in learning what I can from such a resource, but I am not particularly interested or likely to be interested in receiving the 2 realms mandala transmission, I assume that that is the "esoteric" portion of the education.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः
उत्पन्नाजातुविद्यन्तेभावाःक्वचनकेचन

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:38 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:03 pm
but I am not particularly interested or likely to be interested in receiving the 2 realms mandala transmission, I assume that that is the "esoteric" portion of the education.
I should add, this is due to a general unease of "commitment", which I would only imagine would be problematized by "samaya", rather than an "opposition" to tantra or esotericism in general. I am similarly disinteresting in being a "priest", for personal reasons. I am very interesting in learning, however, especially from a source considered "well-established".
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः
उत्पन्नाजातुविद्यन्तेभावाःक्वचनकेचन

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by DGA » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:54 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:03 pm

Out of curiosity, does the New York Institute also function generally as an education centre, if I may add to the above question-and-answer exchange. I say this, because I am very interested in learning what I can from such a resource, but I am not particularly interested or likely to be interested in receiving the 2 realms mandala transmission, I assume that that is the "esoteric" portion of the education.
It's a place you can learn. The offer weekend retreats and things. But given your location geographically, I would start here first:

http://www.tendai.ca/welcome.htm

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by rory » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:46 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:38 am

I should add, this is due to a general unease of "commitment", which I would only imagine would be problematized by "samaya", rather than an "opposition" to tantra or esotericism in general. I am similarly disinteresting in being a "priest", for personal reasons. I am very interesting in learning, however, especially from a source considered "well-established".
I entirely understand your reservations,there is no way I would give up my power and engage in guru worship, it's against my nature plus, I've seen and read about too much about abuse. Tendai doesn't engage in guru worship and I believe the same goes for Shingon, it's a feature of Tibetan Buddhism. Definitely contact the Californai Tendai Learning Center. Rev. Ryoei has a PhD in Math and her lecture on Tendai philosophy, the Three Truths is just what would interest you.
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by liuzg150181 » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:45 am

rory wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:46 am
Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:38 am

I should add, this is due to a general unease of "commitment", which I would only imagine would be problematized by "samaya", rather than an "opposition" to tantra or esotericism in general. I am similarly disinteresting in being a "priest", for personal reasons. I am very interesting in learning, however, especially from a source considered "well-established".
I entirely understand your reservations,there is no way I would give up my power and engage in guru worship, it's against my nature plus, I've seen and read about too much about abuse. Tendai doesn't engage in guru worship and I believe the same goes for Shingon, it's a feature of Tibetan Buddhism. Definitely contact the Californai Tendai Learning Center. Rev. Ryoei has a PhD in Math and her lecture on Tendai philosophy, the Three Truths is just what would interest you.
gassho
Rory
Though I dont follow Japanese esoteric Buddhism(referring to mostly Shingon,but also Tendai,since that's) but rather follow Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism,but I read and explore different traditions and afaik there is refuge in guru if you take a 'proper' initiation(there are different levels of initiations),at least where Shingon is concerned. Not sure abt Tendai,but it does have esoteric stuff and I believe you are following the tradition,so you certainly would know more if that is the case.

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by DGA » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:16 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:38 am
Coëmgenu wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:03 pm
but I am not particularly interested or likely to be interested in receiving the 2 realms mandala transmission, I assume that that is the "esoteric" portion of the education.
I should add, this is due to a general unease of "commitment", which I would only imagine would be problematized by "samaya", rather than an "opposition" to tantra or esotericism in general. I am similarly disinteresting in being a "priest", for personal reasons. I am very interesting in learning, however, especially from a source considered "well-established".
Here's the most important thing to know about Tendai:

It's an oral transmission, like all Dharma streams. You learn it in relationship with a teacher, and you realize it for yourself through various practices that have to do with your body. It's not something you can "read for free on google books," or make up as you go along.

Related: it does not correspond to your preconceptions, or anyone else's. How could it? The only way to approach it is to go in and see for yourself, without worrying about whether this or that practice is suitable to what I think might be appropriate for me. I"m not saying abandon critical scrutiny. I am saying that a person who wants to probe Tendai will need a wide-open mind to go with those wide-open eyes. This is general advice for anyone who might read this thread. I hope it's useful for you.

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by DGA » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:19 am

liuzg150181 wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:45 am
rory wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:46 am
Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:38 am

I should add, this is due to a general unease of "commitment", which I would only imagine would be problematized by "samaya", rather than an "opposition" to tantra or esotericism in general. I am similarly disinteresting in being a "priest", for personal reasons. I am very interesting in learning, however, especially from a source considered "well-established".
I entirely understand your reservations,there is no way I would give up my power and engage in guru worship, it's against my nature plus, I've seen and read about too much about abuse. Tendai doesn't engage in guru worship and I believe the same goes for Shingon, it's a feature of Tibetan Buddhism. Definitely contact the Californai Tendai Learning Center. Rev. Ryoei has a PhD in Math and her lecture on Tendai philosophy, the Three Truths is just what would interest you.
gassho
Rory
Though I dont follow Japanese esoteric Buddhism(referring to mostly Shingon,but also Tendai,since that's) but rather follow Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism,but I read and explore different traditions and afaik there is refuge in guru if you take a 'proper' initiation(there are different levels of initiations),at least where Shingon is concerned. Not sure abt Tendai,but it does have esoteric stuff and I believe you are following the tradition,so you certainly would know more if that is the case.
You need a teacher to practice Tendai Buddhism of any kind. It's not a make-it-up-as-you-go adventure. It's not my place to do a comparative analysis of the teaching function in Tendai-shu as compared to any other Buddhist tradition, but I can say it's a thing, not a fiction. Related:

viewtopic.php?f=39&t=27114&start=20#p418633

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by DGA » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:21 am

rory wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:46 am
Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:38 am

I should add, this is due to a general unease of "commitment", which I would only imagine would be problematized by "samaya", rather than an "opposition" to tantra or esotericism in general. I am similarly disinteresting in being a "priest", for personal reasons. I am very interesting in learning, however, especially from a source considered "well-established".
I entirely understand your reservations,there is no way I would give up my power and engage in guru worship, it's against my nature plus, I've seen and read about too much about abuse. Tendai doesn't engage in guru worship and I believe the same goes for Shingon, it's a feature of Tibetan Buddhism. Definitely contact the Californai Tendai Learning Center. Rev. Ryoei has a PhD in Math and her lecture on Tendai philosophy, the Three Truths is just what would interest you.
gassho
Rory
The comments in the above post regarding the teacher-student relationship in Tibetan Buddhism are ill-informed and inaccurate. This isn't the place to correct them. I recommend that concerned parties take their questions to this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=40&t=21513

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by liuzg150181 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:04 am

DGA wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:19 am
liuzg150181 wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:45 am
rory wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:46 am


I entirely understand your reservations,there is no way I would give up my power and engage in guru worship, it's against my nature plus, I've seen and read about too much about abuse. Tendai doesn't engage in guru worship and I believe the same goes for Shingon, it's a feature of Tibetan Buddhism. Definitely contact the Californai Tendai Learning Center. Rev. Ryoei has a PhD in Math and her lecture on Tendai philosophy, the Three Truths is just what would interest you.
gassho
Rory
Though I dont follow Japanese esoteric Buddhism(referring to mostly Shingon,but also Tendai,since that's) but rather follow Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism,but I read and explore different traditions and afaik there is refuge in guru if you take a 'proper' initiation(there are different levels of initiations),at least where Shingon is concerned. Not sure abt Tendai,but it does have esoteric stuff and I believe you are following the tradition,so you certainly would know more if that is the case.
You need a teacher to practice Tendai Buddhism of any kind. It's not a make-it-up-as-you-go adventure. It's not my place to do a comparative analysis of the teaching function in Tendai-shu as compared to any other Buddhist tradition, but I can say it's a thing, not a fiction. Related:

viewtopic.php?f=39&t=27114&start=20#p418633
Yeah I know. In fact the importance of following a teacher is espoused in Mahayana tradition,more so in Vajrayana(including Japanese Vajrayana).

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Re: Western Gyo, Eastern Gyo in Tendai

Post by DGA » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:06 am

liuzg150181 wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:04 am
Yeah I know. In fact the importance of following a teacher is espoused in Mahayana tradition,more so in Vajrayana(including Japanese Vajrayana).
The roles are different in Vajrayana traditions, but the need is the same all around. For some reason, this gets forgotten in certain discussions around here, so I went ahead and underscored it.

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