Tantric Theravada?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Caodemarte
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:58 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Caodemarte wrote:It is a confused term for a confused situation! It must be doubly so for those used to Tibetan Tantric Buddhism.
The coiners of terms like “Tantric Theravāda” and “Theravāda Tantrism” are following the practice in academic Buddhist and Hindu studies of defining what counts as ‘tantric’ and what does not in a polythetic manner (i.e. based on Wittgenstein’s conception of “family resemblances”) rather than the monothetic way that would be employed by Tibetans.
Yes, it must be baffling (if not annoying) for Tantric Buddhists who often spend much time defining what is Tantrayana in their terms and what is not. Almost as confusing as hearing "Zen" in French used to mean something that is vaguely cool, calm, definitely non-religious, and fashionable (and certainly not right-wing, militaristic, and extremely socially conservative) was for older Japanese Zen Buddhists.
form wrote: Is it correct to say tibetan buddhism is a mixture of early Buddhism with braminism and Shamanism?

Tibetan Buddhism, a self-conscious successor to later Indian Buddhist thought and Indian Buddhist and (less self-consciously) non-Buddhist Tantra (not Brahmanism or Brahminism), certainly was influenced by local Tibetan religious traditions and practices, but the Buddhist influence on local religious traditions was massive and overwhelming. So it would probably be better to say that local Tibetan religious traditions called non-Buddhist are actually a mixture of Buddhism and local practices rather than over stress the reverse as early Western scholars often did.

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mikenz66
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by mikenz66 » Wed May 16, 2018 2:59 am

Please stick to "Tantric Theravada" in this thread.

Off-topic posts have been moved here: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=31909#p471763

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Grigoris
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:04 am

Had an interesting time tracking down Tantric Theravada teachers in Bangkok.

Came into contact with a westerner who had been practicing in Thailand since 13 years old. Started off in the Forest tradition, then went to the Reusi tradition where he learnt traditional Thai medicine too. Currently practices in a Nath tradition in Nepal.

Anyway, he took me to see one of his old teachers at Wat Ratchasittharam Ratchaworawiharn. Amazing complex with a beautiful yard walled in by meditation huts (all done in marble).

The teacher jumped straight into things making me do a meditation on the spot to "assess my mind state". The meditation included visualisations.

In the Wat itself there is an emphasis on healing and energy practices. Pictures of internal energy systems adorn the walls and human models depicting acupressure are scattered around various meditation rooms. There were at least two statues of Jivaka (the Buddha's physician) and Phoo Reusi in the main hall and smaller meditation halls.

The practices tend to emphasise the development of siddhi.

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ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:10 am

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:04 am

The teacher jumped straight into things making me do a meditation on the spot to "assess my mind state".
Did you get a clean bill of health, or did he ring the police? :jumping:

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Grigoris
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:34 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:10 am
Grigoris wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:04 am

The teacher jumped straight into things making me do a meditation on the spot to "assess my mind state".
Did you get a clean bill of health, or did he ring the police? :jumping:
They have special white upper garments for practitioners like me, with extra long wrap around sleeves.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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DooDoot
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:32 am

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:04 am
Had an interesting time tracking down Tantric Theravada teachers in Bangkok.
This seems to be equating "Thailand" with "Theravada". Religion in Thailand is very diverse.

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Grigoris
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:55 am

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:32 am
Grigoris wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:04 am
Had an interesting time tracking down Tantric Theravada teachers in Bangkok.
This seems to be equating "Thailand" with "Theravada". Religion in Thailand is very diverse.
I am not trying to do anything of the sort, I am just using Thailand as an example of a Theravada country. Many of the heterodox practices in Thailand came from Cambodia, which would seem to imply that Cambodian Theravada is not all that orthodox either.

Actually, orthodoxy is generally a (limiting) mental concept that rarely has a basis in reality.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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DooDoot
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:23 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:55 am
I am not trying to do anything of the sort, I am just using Thailand as an example of a Theravada country.
Theravada Buddhism is not even the State Religion of Thailand. The King is a Reincarnation of Vishnu. Most people practise Spirit & Ancestor Worship. Thailand is merely a country where Theravada monks did not overtly interfere with the historical religious beliefs of the people. The Thai statues below of Avalokiteśvara (connected to Mahayana in Indonesia; as visited by the Mahayana sage Atiśa) are not Theravada.
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Grigoris
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by Grigoris » Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:58 am

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:23 pm
Theravada Buddhism is not even the State Religion of Thailand.
It is true that it is not in the constitution...
The King is a Reincarnation of Vishnu.
He is a reincarnation of Rama. Followers of Vishnu incorporated Rama as an avatar of Vishnu (like they did with the Buddha too) but Rama has a a seperate religion. You do know that the King of Thailand, by law, has to be a Theravada Buddhist?
Most people practise Spirit & Ancestor Worship.
Yes, this has also been incorporated into Thai Theravada Buddhism.
Thailand is merely a country where Theravada monks did not overtly interfere with the historical religious beliefs of the people.
Thailand is a Theravada Buddhist country, like it or lump it.
The Thai statues below of Avalokiteśvara (connected to Mahayana in Indonesia; as visited by the Mahayana sage are not Theravada.
Mahayana once dominated the region, before Theravada became the main form of Buddhism there. But Thailand is currently a Theravada Buddhist country.

For example: Greece had it's own religions (well, it actually borrowed heavily from Ancient Egypt, but let's not go there right now), but it is now a Greek Orthodox Christian country; even though if you visit museums you will see statues of Ancient (and pre-Ancient) Greek deities.
Last edited by Grigoris on Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:05 am, edited 3 times in total.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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Aloka
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by Aloka » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:31 am

Sylvester wrote:
Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:30 am
I'm not sure if one could say that there's a strain of Theravada called "Tantric Theravada", although there is no denying that some Theravada monastics in SE Asia are informed by remnants of Tantra that were attested to have been prevalent in some time of Buddhism's chequered history in SE Asia.

Interesting that a Wikepedia page was created for Tantric Theravada.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantric_Theravada



:anjali:

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Mr Man
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by Mr Man » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:37 am

There are practices which Buddhists in Thailand take part that are distinct from "Theravada" Buddhism. And in my experience most Thais would see them as such. This would include spirit and ancestor worship, as well as Hindu deity worship.

There are also aspects of Thai Theravada and what is accepted as Theravada Buddhism by the majority of Thais which I imagine might fall under the "Tantric Theravada" label. Yantra being one of the most obvious.

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Grigoris
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by Grigoris » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:01 am

All I am saying is that I am not so sure if Thai people do consider them as separate.

Take this photo from Wat Pho (home of the Reclining Buddha, right next door to the original Roayal Palace and the site containing stupa with the remains of Thai kings):
shiva lingam wat pho.png
That is a Shiva lingham surrounded by Reusi.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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Grigoris
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by Grigoris » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:02 am

And these are offerings made to Phoo Reusi on Uposattha day at Wat Pho:
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ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by Kim OHara » Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:08 pm

Mr Man wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:37 am
There are practices which Buddhists in Thailand take part that are distinct from "Theravada" Buddhism. And in my experience most Thais would see them as such. This would include spirit and ancestor worship, as well as Hindu deity worship.

There are also aspects of Thai Theravada and what is accepted as Theravada Buddhism by the majority of Thais which I imagine might fall under the "Tantric Theravada" label. Yantra being one of the most obvious.
and, apparently in reply ...
Grigoris wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:01 am
All I am saying is that I am not so sure if Thai people do consider them as separate. ...
Can I suggest parallels with Christianity and Western culture?
Is Easter part of Christianity or separate from it? Is the Easter Bunny in the Bible? Isn't all the fertility imagery at odds with the Christian Festival?
And what about Christmas? Jesus' birthday, sure, but Yule logs are pagan, there's a whole lot of Roman stuff in there, the Tree is Norse, Santa is a composite of half a dozen figures ...
Wedding rings? Not biblical. Not Christian at all, afaik.
It goes on and on, and I'm sure the same is true of Buddhism in every historically-Buddhist country. It's blurred around the edges, fading into folk customs and legal stuff and leftover bits of older religions.

:namaste:
Kim

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Grigoris
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by Grigoris » Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:58 pm

Kim OHara wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:08 pm
Can I suggest parallels with Christianity and Western culture?
Is Easter part of Christianity or separate from it? Is the Easter Bunny in the Bible? Isn't all the fertility imagery at odds with the Christian Festival?
And what about Christmas? Jesus' birthday, sure, but Yule logs are pagan, there's a whole lot of Roman stuff in there, the Tree is Norse, Santa is a composite of half a dozen figures ...
Wedding rings? Not biblical. Not Christian at all, afaik.
It goes on and on, and I'm sure the same is true of Buddhism in every historically-Buddhist country. It's blurred around the edges, fading into folk customs and legal stuff and leftover bits of older religions.

:namaste:
Kim
Indeed!
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

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