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

Post by Saengnapha » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:38 am

I've found it is usually Vajrayanists who try to find examples of Vajrayana and Tantra in other sects to justify their own views. This in itself should alert the seeker to his/her 'grasping' and 'attachment' to their own concepts and views as being somehow 'superior'. And, ultimately not doing what it is supposed to be doing, freeing one from the conditioned habits that create dukkha. It is a trap that many have fallen into.

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

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:04 am

Grigoris wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:31 pm
It is actually a very logical reality in all Theravadin countries.
If we bother to listen to the video, it would be found the video is straight Hinayana Buddhism. :roll:
SarathW wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:58 am
Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Another great Dhamma talk.
I heard this Dhamma talk many years ago & also purchased two CDs of Tenzin Palmo. I walked 10km to listen to it.

Why is this talk "Tantra"? :shrug:
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Grigoris
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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:27 am

dharmacorps wrote:
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?
Nope. Completely unnecessary anyway, as we are in the "connections to other paths" sub forum. ;)
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: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:34 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:55 pm
Greetings,

There is no tantra in Theravada...
Of course there is.
phoo reusi.jpg
phoo reusi.jpg (21.35 KiB) Viewed 235 times
...nor the Buddha's teaching as recorded in the Sutta Pitaka.
This is true. But the Pali Canon is only one of the many Canon and this discussion is in the "connections to other paths" sub-forum.
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.
If the practices were imported to the Theravadin country (like Bikram Yoga is imported to Australia) you would have a point, but they are not, so your comparison is not all that valid.
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. :)
It has not occurred to you that the current "mainstream" is also the outcome of a power play? Like never? Even Oedipus first saw the situation that he was in, before pulling his eyes out to avoid seeing it. It seems you went straight to "Plan B". :D

The current "cult of vipassana" that people are trying to push as Theravada is a largely modern reform movement and is no more "original Buddhism" as Protestantism is "original Christianity". The Theravada tradition is a beautiful, vibrant and rich movement, reducing it to vipassana (one of many techniques taught by the Buddha) does it a HUGE disservice.
Last edited by Grigoris on Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:45 am, edited 2 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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Grigoris
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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:36 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:38 am
I've found it is usually Vajrayanists who try to find examples of Vajrayana and Tantra in other sects to justify their own views. This in itself should alert the seeker to his/her 'grasping' and 'attachment' to their own concepts and views as being somehow 'superior'. And, ultimately not doing what it is supposed to be doing, freeing one from the conditioned habits that create dukkha. It is a trap that many have fallen into.
Well, I can assure you that when it comes to me, you are definitely barking up the wrong tree. I do not consider any of the Yana either higher or lower, so I don't feel like I need to justify my views from a superior source.
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.

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

Post by SarathW » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:00 am

Why is this talk "Tantra"? :shrug:
The person who asked the question raised a question about Tantra.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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

Post by SarathW » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:03 am

I walked 10km to listen to it.
It is worth it. Isn't it?
I listened to many of her videos Dhamma talk.
She knows what she is talking about and very enjoyable to listen to her.
However, I have my reservations about a non-Theravada aspect of her talks.
But I like to lean them.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:11 am

SarathW wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:00 am
The person who asked the question raised a question about Tantra.
Yes. But not the speaker.
SarathW wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:03 am
It is worth it. Isn't it?
I would say the year was 2001. Was it worth it? I was impressed by a woman teaching with moral firmness & lack of sentimentality. That was about it.

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

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:25 am

Greetings,
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:34 am
Of course there is.
Not that you have shown.
...nor the Buddha's teaching as recorded in the Sutta Pitaka.
This is true. But the Pali Canon is only one of the many Canon and this discussion is in the "connections to other paths" sub-forum.
Sure, but you drawing connections between A and B, does not mean that B is now suddenly part of A.
If the practices were imported to the Theravadin country (like Bikram Yoga is imported to Australia) you would have a point, but they are not, so your comparison is not all that valid.
You seem to be labouring under the same false logic that you applied above. "Theravada" isn't determined or measured by countries. And again, drawing connections between A (Theravada) and B (Countries known for Theravada Buddhism), does not mean that B is now suddenly a part of A.
The current "cult of vipassana" that people are trying to push as Theravada is a largely modern reform movement and is no more "original Buddhism" as Protestantism is "original Christianity". The Theravada tradition is a beautiful, vibrant and rich movement, reducing it to vipassana (one of many techniques taught by the Buddha) does it a HUGE disservice.
I'm not giving vipassana any free passes, although I am having the decency not to call your practices a "cult". To the extent either can be traced back to the Pali Canon and the Theravada commentaries, they can rightly be described as Theravadin. The total failure of tantra to satisfy that standard, has no bearing on the extent to which vipassana techniques can or cannot be traced back to that baseline.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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

Post by Pseudobabble » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:35 am

Grigoris wrote:
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
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.
Can we really call it Buddhism then? To what extent does a teaching have to deviate from the Pali Canon for it to no longer be Buddhism?

Despite your rejection of the difference I proposed, the Buddhism of the Pali Suttas is unequivocal in its rejection of 'sensual activities', whereas Hindu Tantra and Vajrayana are not. I actually think there is much value in the Tantric position, since a rejection of sensuality can very easily become an aversion to it, which is to miss the point entirely, something I think Tantric teaching are well placed to overcome.
"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 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:44 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:25 am
Not that you have shown.
A quick visit to any country where Theravada is practiced will turn up ample evidence. Humans have an amazing capacity for syncretism.
Sure, but you drawing connections between A and B, does not mean that B is now suddenly part of A.
And saying that there are no mentions in the Pali Canon does not negate the reality of it's existence. The question is: "Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?" Quite clearly there is, since Theravada Buddhism is not limited to what is in the Pali Canon. If the question was: "Is there an equivalent to Tantra in the Pali Canon?" then the answer would be (as far as I know) "NO!".
You seem to be labouring under the same false logic that you applied above. "Theravada" isn't determined or measured by countries. And again, drawing connections between A (Theravada) and B (Countries known for Theravada Buddhism), does not mean that B is now suddenly a part of A.
You drew a false equivalence, I merely pointed it out.
I'm not giving vipassana any free passes, although I am having the decency not to call your practices a "cult".
Now you are drawing false equivalences again (and appealing to emotion). You are equating Theravada Buddhism to vipassana, when quite clearly it is not just vipassana. I am not critiquing Theravada Buddhism, I am critiquing the idea that Theravada Buddhism is MERELY vipassana (a cult of vipassana, if you will) when it is not. I am objecting to the fetishisation of a particular practice. The reality is that vipassana is a profoundly important practice in ALL Yana.
To the extent either can be traced back to the Pali Canon and the Theravada commentaries, they can rightly be described as Theravadin.
I disagree, for two reasons: 1. We do not know if what has been included in the current version of the Pali Canon is actually a complete record. 2. Theravada Buddhism is not just it's Canon, it is the vast array of practices, cultural and social influences, etc... that make up a living and constantly evolving entity.

Are you saying that what id being practiced at Wat Ratchasittharam Ratchaworawiharn (for example) or within the Dhammakaya Movement is not Theravada Buddhism? Just because it may not be orthodox, does not mean that it is not part of Theravada Buddhism, it is.
Last edited by Grigoris on Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:03 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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Grigoris
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Re: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:50 am

Pseudobabble wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:35 am
Can we really call it Buddhism then? To what extent does a teaching have to deviate from the Pali Canon for it to no longer be Buddhism?
Yes, I believe so, if it is in line with the teachings of the Three Marks of existence (or the Four Dharma Seals) then I believe it is Dharma and as such the teaching of a Buddha (Buddhism)
Despite your rejection of the difference I proposed, the Buddhism of the Pali Suttas is unequivocal in its rejection of 'sensual activities', whereas Hindu Tantra and Vajrayana are not. I actually think there is much value in the Tantric position, since a rejection of sensuality can very easily become an aversion to it, which is to miss the point entirely, something I think Tantric teaching are well placed to overcome.
I guess it all comes down to how orthodox or sectarian somebody wishes to be. There are Mahayana/Vajrayana practitioners (idiots, in my view) that reject the Pali Canon teachings since since they do not accord with their view. In the Vajrayana we are taught to embrace all the Yana and to not disparage them. We are taught to utilise all means that will assist our enlightenment.
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 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:59 am

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:50 am
Yes, I believe so, if it is in line with the teachings of the Three Marks of existence (or the Four Dharma Seals) then I believe it is Dharma and as such the teaching of a Buddha (Buddhism)
Fair enough actually. The idea is family resemblance?

I guess it all comes down to how orthodox or sectarian somebody wishes to be. There are Mahayana/Vajrayana practitioners (idiots, in my view) that reject the Pali Canon teachings since since they do not accord with their view. In the Vajrayana we are taught to embrace all the Yana and to not disparage them. We are taught to utilise all means that will assist our enlightenment.
Again fair enough. I would certainly not reject other teachings out of hand, Buddhist or otherwise. You find wise people in the strangest places.
"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

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

Post by Saengnapha » Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:38 am

Grigoris,

Here in Thailand, many beliefs and practices from other sources have made their way into Theravada. This does not make them Theravada practices. In the Erawan shrine in Bangkok, the Brahma statue is given a central place where people offer things, make prayers, etc. This doesn't represent what Theravada is all about.

The reusi is more like a folk legend, the hermit. I asked my housekeeper about reusi. She smiled and said, yes, you see sometimes in the mountains.

The Dhammakaya sect here, so publicly criticized and politically charged movement is about the only Theravada Wat where something resembling a meditation like Tantric teachings exists, at least the only one I've ever heard about. Even that, is not widely accepted and is not Tantra. This is why I made the comment about Vajrayana people looking at other Buddhist countries and thinking 'oh, Vajrayana is everywhere.'

I'm not opposed to people studying whatever they want, but to make these associations with Thailand seems off the mark to me.

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

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:38 am

Greetings Grigoris,
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:44 am
retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:25 am
Not that you have shown.
A quick visit to any country where Theravada is practiced will turn up ample evidence. Humans have an amazing capacity for syncretism.
So, by your logic, because people in Thailand speak Thai, somehow, magically, the Thai language is Theravada too?

Some people in Thailand drink Krating Daeng... is Krating Daeng Theravada too?

:alien:

By all means, practice your syncretism, but to insist that practices you like somehow are Theravada because someone in Thailand taught them to you, is so absurd.

Frankly, it seems like stealth proselytisation to me... akin to Hindus who try to absorb the Buddha into their pantheon, and go on to claim that it's all just Hinduism, so who needs Buddhism?

retrofuturist wrote:I'm not giving vipassana any free passes, although I am having the decency not to call your practices a "cult".
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:44 am
Now you are drawing false equivalences again (and appealing to emotion). You are equating Theravada Buddhism to vipassana, when quite clearly it is not just vipassana.
I most certainly am not.... but since words seem to mean whatever you would like them to mean in any given moment, how can I refute what you say in a way that will be comprehended by your definition-distorting post-modernism?

:shrug:

I suspect the answer is that it can't, so chances are that this may be the last post I make in this in this little tête-à-tête.
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:44 am
I disagree, for two reasons: 1. We do not know if what has been included in the current version of the Pali Canon is actually a complete record.
I'm not equating Theravada Buddhism with Buddhavacana. Personally, I don't believe the Buddha taught the Abhidhamma Pitaka, but that doesn't make the Abdidhamma any less Theravada than those aspects that I do believe are traceable back to the Buddha himself. Abhidhamma is Theravada - Tantra is not.
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:44 am
2. Theravada Buddhism is not just it's Canon, it is the vast array of practices, cultural and social influences, etc... that make up a living and constantly evolving entity.
Doctrinally it's not. What you describe is the disregard for the teaching that the Buddha foretold in the Ani Sutta (SN 20.7)

The reality that people do and practice things that extend beyond what is in the Pali Canon and the commentaries is to be expected. For example, I am typing at a computer now. By your logic, expressed repeatedly in this topic, "typing" would be Theravada, but it's not... it's just an action being done by a (nominally) Theravadin Buddhist.
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:44 am
Are you saying that what id being practiced at Wat Ratchasittharam Ratchaworawiharn (for example) or within the Dhammakaya Movement is not Theravada Buddhism? Just because it may not be orthodox, does not mean that it is not part of Theravada Buddhism, it is.
Again, to whatever extent it is traceable back to the Pali Canon and the commentaries. To the extent that it's not, it's not... and as far as Dhammakaya goes, that's a lot of it. I can't and won't comment on what you practiced, as I don't much care to investigate it, let alone try to trace it back to the doctrine and the discipline.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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