Vajrayana Buddhism (Devanagari: बज्रयान) is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayana, Mantranaya, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle. These terms are not regarded as equivalent.
Vajrayana is as an extension of Mahayana Buddhism since it differs in its practices, rather than its philosophy. The Mahayana has two practice paths: the Sutrayana method of perfecting good qualities and the Vajrayāna method of taking the intended outcome of Buddhahood as the path. The Vajrayana requires mystical experience in order to experience Buddha-nature prior to full enlightenment. In order to transmit these experiences, a body of esoteric knowledge has been accumulated by Buddhist tantric yogis and is passed via lineages of transmission. In order to access this knowledge, the practitioner requires initiation from a skilled spiritual teacher or guru.
The Vajrayana is often viewed as the third major Yana (or “vehicle”) of Buddhism, alongside the Theravada and Mahayana. According to this view, there were three “turnings of the wheel of dharma”. Continue reading
Ten Signs of the Superior Person
by Tibetan Master Milarepa
1. To have little pride and envy is the sign of the superior person.
2. To have few desires and satisfaction with simple things is the sign of the superior person.
3. To be lacking in hypocrisy and deceit is the sign of the superior person.
4. To regulate one’s conduct in accordance with the law of cause and effect as carefully as one would guard the pupils of one’s eyes is the sign of the superior person.
5. To be faithful in one’s engagement and obligations is the sign of the superior person. Continue reading
Early doctrines regarding the chakras
The idea of the subtle vital force (prana) and the channels along which it flows (nadis) appear in the earliest Upanishads (7th-8th century b.c.e.).
The heart was said to be the centre of the 72,000 nadis or subtle channels, and the place into which the senses are withdrawn during sleep. As with many ancient civilisations (e.g. Egypt, Homeric Greece), the heart was also considered the seat of waking consciousness.
But it was only in the later Upanishads – the earlier of which were composed somewhere between the 2nd century b.c.e. and the 2nd century c.e. – reference is first made to basic Tantric concepts such as chakras, mantras, and so on.
The Brahma-Upanishad mentions the four “places” occupied by the purusha (soul): the navel, heart, throat, and head. Following common tradition, each place is characterised by a particular state of consciousness: the navel (or the eye) waking consciousness, the heart dreamless sleep, the throat dreaming, and the head the “fourth” or transcendent state. Continue reading
Tummo (gtum-mo) is a Tibetan word, literally meaning fierce [woman] or inner fire. Tummo may also be rendered in English approximating its phonemic enunciation as ‘Dumo’.
Tummo (Sanskrit: caṇḍālī) is a form of Yoga, found in the Six Yogas of Naropa, Lamdre, Kalachakra and Anuyoga teachings of Tibetan Vajrayana. Tummo originally derives from Indian Vajrayana tradition, including the instruction of the Mahasiddha Krishnacarya and the Hevajra Tantra. The purpose of tummo is to gain control over body processes during the completion stage of ‘highest yoga tantra’ (Anuttarayoga Tantra) or Anuyoga.
After familiarity in trul khor, there is the practice of tummo.
The “one with ten powers”
One of the best known symbols of the Kālacakra system, indeed of the whole Vajrayāna, is the image on the left, of the seed syllable (snying po), or monogram, of Kālacakra (rnam bcu dbang ldan). This consists of seven individual syllables combined together, in a stylised version of Indian Lantsa characters.
In addition there are three other components to make a total of ten elements within the image – these are the crescent (usually red) known as a visarga, the disk or doughnut shape (usually white) known as a bindu or anusvāra, and a deep blue nāda, or wisp with three twists, at the top.
There is a less well known, but arguably as important form. [This] other version of the Kālacakra monogram, associated with generation process meditation. Continue reading
A dakini is a tantric figure representing a female embodiment of enlightened energy. The Tibetan khandroma, translates as ‘she who traverses the sky’ or ‘she who moves in space’ (or ‘sky walker’ or ‘sky dancer’).
The dakini is so central to a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner attaining full enlightenment as a Buddha that she appears in a Vajrayana formulation of the Three Jewels Buddhist refuge formula, known as the Three Roots. Most commonly she appears as the dharma protector, alongside a guru and yidam, but Judith Simmer-Brown points out that:
The dakini, in her various guises, serves as each of the Three Roots. She may be a human guru, a vajra master who transmits the Vajrayana teachings to her disciples and joins them in samaya commitments. The wisdom dakini may be a yidam, a meditational deity; female deity Continue reading
The Dalai Lama’s Teachings of Tibetan Buddhism
On the Indestructible Drop within the Heart,
Consciousness as the Mind of Clear Light & the Empty Space Particles
The following notes draw from the Dalai Lama’s book Advice on Dying, and Living a Better Life (2002) his dialogues with Renee Weber and David Bohm in Dialogues with Scientists and Sages (1986) and The Universe in a Single Atom (2005).
In Buddhism, since the definition of “living” refers to sentient beings, consciousness is the primary characteristic of “life.” (2005, p. 106)
We will explore the Dalai Lama’s teaching as most pertain to the investigation of the heart doctrine, the nature of human consciousness as light and the concept of zero point origins.