Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
SarathW
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Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by SarathW » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:58 am

Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Another great Dhamma talk.

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Pseudobabble
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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by Pseudobabble » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:40 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:58 am
Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Another great Dhamma talk.

There's this:

Tantric Theravada on Wikipedia

and this:

Discussion of Tantric Theravada on DW

I personally don't see why there needs to be 'Theravada Tantra' - its pretty much a nonsensical idea, given the differences between the Tantric attitude and the more.. ascetic Theravada. I use Tantric practices to get energised though. They work.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

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Grigoris
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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:31 pm

Pseudobabble wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:40 am
I personally don't see why there needs to be 'Theravada Tantra' - its pretty much a nonsensical idea...
It is actually a very logical reality in all Theravadin countries.
...given the differences between the Tantric attitude and the more.. ascetic Theravada.
The Vajrayana has a huge and strong monastic/ascetic tradition. In the period leading up to the occupation of Tibet it is estimated that 10-15% of the total population were monastics and 20-30% of the male population. Currently Thailand (for example) has a monastic population of approximately 275,000 (including novices), making monastics 0.4% of the total population.
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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Pseudobabble
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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by Pseudobabble » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:32 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:31 pm
Pseudobabble wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:40 am
I personally don't see why there needs to be 'Theravada Tantra' - its pretty much a nonsensical idea...
It is actually a very logical reality in all Theravadin countries.
...given the differences between the Tantric attitude and the more.. ascetic Theravada.
The Vajrayana has a huge and strong monastic/ascetic tradition. In the period leading up to the occupation of Tibet it is estimated that 10-15% of the total population were monastics and 20-30% of the male population. Currently Thailand (for example) has a monastic population of approximately 275,000 (including novices), making monastics 0.4% of the total population.
I understand that it is a reality, the point is that tantra claims that 'the passions', if I can put it that way, can be harnessed for practical purposes whereas Theravada as an example of a more ascetic tradition, claims the passions are to be abandoned.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

'Some fart freely, some try to hide and silence it. Which one is correct?' - Saegnapha

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Grigoris
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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:35 pm

Pseudobabble wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:32 pm
I understand that it is a reality, the point is that tantra claims that 'the passions', if I can put it that way, can be harnessed for practical purposes...
No, that is not the claim Tantra makes.
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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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by Pseudobabble » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:53 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:35 pm
Pseudobabble wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:32 pm
I understand that it is a reality, the point is that tantra claims that 'the passions', if I can put it that way, can be harnessed for practical purposes...
No, that is not the claim Tantra makes.
What is it that differentiates tantra from sutra then?
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

'Some fart freely, some try to hide and silence it. Which one is correct?' - Saegnapha

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Grigoris
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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:31 pm

Pseudobabble wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:53 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:35 pm
Pseudobabble wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:32 pm
I understand that it is a reality, the point is that tantra claims that 'the passions', if I can put it that way, can be harnessed for practical purposes...
No, that is not the claim Tantra makes.
What is it that differentiates tantra from sutra then?
A Tantra does not have to be taught by the Buddha. That is the major differentiation.
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.

dharmacorps
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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by dharmacorps » Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:57 pm

Or you could say Tantra was not taught by the Buddha.

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Grigoris
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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by Grigoris » Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:35 pm

dharmacorps wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:57 pm
Or you could say Tantra was not taught by the Buddha.
No, because some Tantra was taught by the Buddha.
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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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:49 pm

dharmacorps wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:57 pm
Or you could say Tantra was not taught by the Buddha.
excellent
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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by Will » Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:08 pm

Here is a Mongolian tantric practicer defining the three Dharma paths of cultivation:

Buddhist tantra presents a profound reinterpretation of the mode of practice of the standard Buddhist path. Chöjé Ngawang Palden states:

In general our Master (Śākyamuni Buddha) taught three types of conduct: (1) the nonattachment of the Lesser Vehicle for those who are inclined to lesser practices, (2) the perfections of the Perfection Vehicle for those who are inclined to great and extensive practices, and (3) the dharmas of attachment [to afflictive emotions] of the four tantric divisions of secret mantra for those disciples who are fully inclined to profound practices.

Excerpt From: Kirti Rinpoche, Ian Coghlan, Voula Zarpani; Principles of Buddhist Tantra.
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by SarathW » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:16 pm

No, that is not the claim Tantra makes.
Could you be kind enough to explain Tanta in brief?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:30 pm

Hi Sarath,
SarathW wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:16 pm
No, that is not the claim Tantra makes.
Could you be kind enough to explain Tanta in brief?

If you are interested about Tantra and how it is applied in Buddhism, I believe it would be more efficient to read some of the on-line resources on Vajrayana and Tantra, such as: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vajrayana, and then ask some specific questions.

:heart:
Mike

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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:55 pm

Greetings,

There is no tantra in Theravada, nor the Buddha's teaching as recorded in the Sutta Pitaka.

The fact that some people do tantric practices whilst living in nations that have a Theravada Buddhist history in no way qualifies these activities as "Theravada Tantra".

It's like saying that Bikram Yoga is "Australasian Yoga" just because I've done Bikram Yoga classes in Australia and New Zealand.

Beware needlessly flexible and fluid definitions that enable people to try smuggling their pet projects into the mainstream, or worse, into "tradition". (Yes, it's a power play.)

Metta,
Paul. :)
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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by dharmacorps » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:27 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:35 pm
dharmacorps wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:57 pm
Or you could say Tantra was not taught by the Buddha.
No, because some Tantra was taught by the Buddha.
Sutta reference?

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