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The Meaning of Tantra
The Definition of the Word Tantra Buddha's teachings include both sutras and tantras. The sutras present the basic themes of practice for gaining liberation from uncontrollably recurring problems (Skt. samsara) and, beyond that, to reach the enlightened state of a Buddha, with...
Making Sense of Tantra
Tantra: Fundamental Features
Tantra as a Structure on Which to Weave Sutra Practice This evening I’ve been asked to speak a little bit about tantra in general. When we look at the word tantra, it’s a Sanskrit word and what it means is the warp of a loom. A loom is something that you weave cloth on, and...
Overview of Tantra
Kriya Tantra: Six Deities Practice
Kriya tantra (ritual tantra) is the first of the four tantra classes in the Sarma classification scheme and the first of the six tantra classes in the Nyingma scheme. It puts a great deal of emphasis on cleanliness, vegetarianism and purification. PreliminariesBefore sitting...
Kriya Tantra Practice
Tantra: The Pathway and Resultant Levels
The Sakya Presentation of Inseparable Samsara and Nirvana The pathway level of the continuity is referring to partially purified, partially unpurified, so there’s some stoppings there. To understand how that is an everlasting stream of continuity, I think the most helpful is...
Essentials of Tantra in Terms of Hologram Theory
Relationships with All Beings, a Spiritual Teacher and a Yidam
According to Buddhist analysis, not only do a self that is hugging someone, the other person being hugged and an action of hugging arise dependently on and simultaneously with each other, a self that is hugging also arises dependently on and simultaneously with many other...
Dependent Arising of the Self in Terms of Relations with Others
The Guru as a Buddha in Tantra
Basis, Pathway, and Resultant Viewpoints Most Tibetan texts that discuss tantric masters' being Buddhas explain the topic of impure and pure appearances from a specific viewpoint. Often, however, the texts neglect to state their point of view. This may cause confusion. In...
Seeing the Spiritual Teacher as a Buddha
Yidams: Tantric Deities
To overcome fascination, repugnance, or bewilderment about the dazzling array of Buddha-figures (yidams, tantric deities) used in tantra and about their unusual forms, Westerners need to understand their place and purpose on the Buddhist path. They also need to differentiate...
Making Sense of Tantra
Pure and Impure Appearances
What Are Impure and Pure Appearances? Now let’s discuss the variable of impure and pure appearances. The variable of pure and impure is applied in terms of whether or not an appearance is adulterated and stained with faults. “Faults” here refers to items that arise from our...
Elaboration of “Types of Appearances Mind Gives Rise To”
Renunciation of Ordinary Appearance-Making & Clinging
The last topic that we will speak about is renunciation of our minds giving rise to ordinary appearances and of our clinging to these ordinary appearances, and having our main interest be instead in having our minds giving rise to pure appearances of Buddha-figures and...
The Significance of Renunciation on the Buddhist Path
What Is Vajrabhairava – Yamantaka Practice?
This evening I’ve been asked to give an introduction to the Vajrabhairava (rDo-rje 'jigs-byed) system of the highest class of tantra, anuttarayoga tantra. I believe the intention of the person who requested this was that, because in the Gelug tradition there’s a large emphasis...