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?
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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 10:28 am

Saengnapha wrote:
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.
This is true. But it does make them part of Theravada Buddhism. Is offering incense, flowers and candles in the Pali Sutta? No. Are they part of (Thai) Theravada Buddhist practice? Yes. In the same way...
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.
Not at all. There is an active and recognised Reusi community in the north of Thailand. They are definitely Theravada Buddhists.
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.'
The Dhammakaya sect use practices deriving from pre-reform (Thai) Theravada. Just because it is not practiced within the current mainstream orthodox (Thai) Theravada does not mean it is not part of (Thai) Theravada Buddhism.
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 10:49 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:38 am
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:
Again you are relying on false equivalences.
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.
Tell you what is absurd: to deny the obvious. That is absurd. Tantric practices exist within Thai Theravada whether is it runs contrary to your belief in orthodox purity or not. It is a bit of a "like it or lump it" situation, denying the existence of these trends will not make them disappear.
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?
No. Like all the Hindu shrines in Thailand, it just means that practicing Theravada Buddhists in Thailand have absorbed the propitiation of Hindu deities and tantra into their practice.
retrofuturist wrote: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?
So only your definition of Theravada is valid and the reality of Theravada Buddhism in Thailand is a fantasy??? You have to admit that is a rather weird stance to take.
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.
I'll take it that this is your opinion, otherwise I would have to ask: On what authority do you draw the line as to what is Theravada Buddhism and what is not?
Again, to whatever extent it is traceable back to the Pali Canon and the commentaries.
There is a crap-load of stuff in Theravada Buddhism that is not in the Pali Canon and the commentaries. It seems that you are looking for some sort of purity. Unfortunately for you, your idealism does not reflect the reality. This, of course, may lead to dissonance.
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: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:13 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:49 am
No. Like all the Hindu shrines in Thailand, it just means that practicing Theravada Buddhists in Thailand have absorbed the propitiation of Hindu deities and tantra into their practice.
No. This is all mixed up.
Thailand in its earliest days was under the rule of the Khmer Empire, which had strong Hindu roots, and the influence among Thais remains even today. The popular Ramakien epic is based on the Hindu Ramayana. The former capital of Ayutthaya was named for Ayodhya, the Indian birthplace of the Hindu god Rama.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_ ... d#Hinduism
The categories “Buddhism” and “Hinduism” are products of the modern discourse on “world religions,” and as such they possess both strengths and weaknesses when applied to contexts in which the word religion itself was not an emic term prior to the modern period. Thailand, in particular, provides an excellent example of the way in which the boundaries between “Buddhism” and “Hinduism”—which, according to the parameters of the discourse on “world religions,” informed as they are by Protestant assumptions about religion, should be wholly separate—are often strained in an actual Asian context. Although 94.6 percent of Thai people today identify as Buddhist (with the largest minority religion being Islam at 4.6 percent), scholars have long recognized the significant presence of “Hindu” elements in Thai religious culture. This includes, among other things, the adoption of the Rāmāyaṇa as the Thai national epic in the form of the Rāmakian; the employment of Brahmans by the king for the performance of royal rituals; the ubiquitous presence of Hindu gods and other motifs in Thai art, literature, geography, and popular worship; and popular festivals that bear a striking similarity to popular Hindu festivals in India. There is a vast literature that addresses either Thai religion in general or Thai Buddhism in particular; this article focuses specifically on sources that address in some way the place of Hindu elements in the broader Thai Buddhist culture. The study of the intersection between Hinduism and Buddhism in Thai religious culture is in many ways still in its infancy; therefore, sources have simply been arranged thematically. Nevertheless, one can say that the general trend in scholarship in addressing this topic has been away from models of “syncretism,” which assume that Buddhism and Hinduism once existed in “pure,” separate forms that were then mixed in contexts such as Thailand, and toward more nuanced models that recognize both the problematic distinction between “Buddhist” and “Hindu/Brahmanical” even in early Indian contexts and the way in which the modern Buddhist identity of Thailand and surrounding countries arose gradually over many centuries.

http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/vie ... 1-0128.xml

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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 12:16 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:13 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:49 am
No. Like all the Hindu shrines in Thailand, it just means that practicing Theravada Buddhists in Thailand have absorbed the propitiation of Hindu deities and tantra into their practice.
No. This is all mixed up.
Thailand in its earliest days was under the rule of the Khmer Empire, which had strong Hindu roots, and the influence among Thais remains even today. The popular Ramakien epic is based on the Hindu Ramayana. The former capital of Ayutthaya was named for Ayodhya, the Indian birthplace of the Hindu god Rama.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_ ... d#Hinduism
The categories “Buddhism” and “Hinduism” are products of the modern discourse on “world religions,” and as such they possess both strengths and weaknesses when applied to contexts in which the word religion itself was not an emic term prior to the modern period. Thailand, in particular, provides an excellent example of the way in which the boundaries between “Buddhism” and “Hinduism”—which, according to the parameters of the discourse on “world religions,” informed as they are by Protestant assumptions about religion, should be wholly separate—are often strained in an actual Asian context. Although 94.6 percent of Thai people today identify as Buddhist (with the largest minority religion being Islam at 4.6 percent), scholars have long recognized the significant presence of “Hindu” elements in Thai religious culture. This includes, among other things, the adoption of the Rāmāyaṇa as the Thai national epic in the form of the Rāmakian; the employment of Brahmans by the king for the performance of royal rituals; the ubiquitous presence of Hindu gods and other motifs in Thai art, literature, geography, and popular worship; and popular festivals that bear a striking similarity to popular Hindu festivals in India. There is a vast literature that addresses either Thai religion in general or Thai Buddhism in particular; this article focuses specifically on sources that address in some way the place of Hindu elements in the broader Thai Buddhist culture. The study of the intersection between Hinduism and Buddhism in Thai religious culture is in many ways still in its infancy; therefore, sources have simply been arranged thematically. Nevertheless, one can say that the general trend in scholarship in addressing this topic has been away from models of “syncretism,” which assume that Buddhism and Hinduism once existed in “pure,” separate forms that were then mixed in contexts such as Thailand, and toward more nuanced models that recognize both the problematic distinction between “Buddhist” and “Hindu/Brahmanical” even in early Indian contexts and the way in which the modern Buddhist identity of Thailand and surrounding countries arose gradually over many centuries.

http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/vie ... 1-0128.xml
I fail to see how what I am saying contradicts the quotes you posted.
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: Is there an equivalent to Tantra in Theravada Buddhism?

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:54 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:16 pm
I fail to see how what I am saying contradicts the quotes you posted.
Well... the impression is you appear to define any Thai person as a Theravada Buddhist and then impute if any Thai person practises another religion they are Theravada.

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

Post by Will » Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:59 pm

The Pali tradition of practice has certain keynotes, I would surmise (under correction of course) that one of them is avoiding the use or indulgence in, of personal desire-filled thoughts, words & deeds.

Tantra does use desire-filled thoughts, words & deeds, that is why it is consider a dangerous path for many.
Wholesome virtuous behavior progressively leads to the foremost. -- AN 10.1

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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 2:04 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:54 pm
Well... the impression is you appear to define any Thai person as a Theravada Buddhist...
Over 94% of Thai people identify as Theravada Buddhists.
...and then impute if any Thai person practises another religion they are Theravada.
I did nothing of the sort.
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.

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

Post by auto » Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:49 pm

nvm

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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 8:56 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:04 pm
Over 94% of Thai people identify as Theravada Buddhists.
94% of Thai may identify as such but probably the vast majority cannot explain what the Five Precepts are; let alone the Four Noble Truths. :roll:

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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:27 pm

Grigoris,
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:55 am
I am not trying to do anything of the sort...
You say that, but it's abundantly clear that you are.

Perhaps that's a legacy hangover of your exposure to "Tibetan Buddhism"... even perhaps subconsciously thinking that a certain school of Buddhism is in some way integrally connected with a certain physical location.

That however, is not how the Dhamma works.

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

Post by Grigoris » Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:50 am

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:56 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:04 pm
Over 94% of Thai people identify as Theravada Buddhists.
94% of Thai may identify as such but probably the vast majority cannot explain what the Five Precepts are; let alone the Four Noble Truths. :roll:
Are you sure? I have the sneaking suspicion that most can. Especially the five precepts, since many are law as well.
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
Posts: 314
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Re: Tantric Theravada?

Post by Grigoris » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:03 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:27 pm
You say that, but it's abundantly clear that you are.
Are you saying that you know my mind and motivation better than I do?
Perhaps that's a legacy hangover of your exposure to "Tibetan Buddhism"... even perhaps subconsciously thinking that a certain school of Buddhism is in some way integrally connected with a certain physical location.
More straw men and even your straw man logical fallacy is unclear (ie I don't even understand what you are trying to say here).

PS I keep using Thailand as an example, because I just got back from there. ;)

PPS Throughout our discussions you are basically demanding that I deny the reality of my lived experience, in deference to your opinion. Sorry, but this is just not going to happen my friend! :smile:
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.

Saengnapha
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Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:17 am

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

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:53 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:50 am
DooDoot wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:56 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:04 pm
Over 94% of Thai people identify as Theravada Buddhists.
94% of Thai may identify as such but probably the vast majority cannot explain what the Five Precepts are; let alone the Four Noble Truths. :roll:
Are you sure? I have the sneaking suspicion that most can. Especially the five precepts, since many are law as well.
You really know very little about Thais. You should probably give up this topic.

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

Post by Grigoris » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:07 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:53 am
You really know very little about Thais. You should probably give up this topic.
So which part am I wrong about? As an expert would you say that Thai people are not overwhelmingly Theravada Buddhists? :shrug: Would you make this claim? Would you say there are no mainstream temples in Bangkok (for example) teaching heterodox practices? What exactly am I saying that is untrue?

As far as I know killing and stealing are against the law in Thailand. I don't know if it is a regular occurrence, but on the Uposattha day after Vesak when I was in Bangkok vendors were not even allowed to sell alcohol. Sexual misconduct is covered under laws prohibiting having non-consensual sex. That leaves the precept of Right Speech. Even this is covered by some legal provisions against slander, fraud, etc...

So which precept do you believe Thai people would be unaware of?
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.

Saengnapha
Posts: 1350
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:17 am

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

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:11 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:07 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:53 am
You really know very little about Thais. You should probably give up this topic.
So which part am I wrong about? As an expert would you say that Thai people are not overwhelmingly Theravada Buddhists? :shrug: Would you make this claim? Would you say there are no mainstream temples in Bangkok (for example) teaching heterodox practices? What exactly am I saying that is untrue?

As far as I know killing and stealing are against the law in Thailand. I don't know if it is a regular occurrence, but on the Uposattha day after Vesak when I was in Bangkok vendors were not even allowed to sell alcohol. Sexual misconduct is covered under laws prohibiting having non-consensual sex. That leaves the precept of Right Speech. Even this is covered by some legal provisions against slander, fraud, etc...

So which precept do you believe Thai people would be unaware of?
I am no expert. I only live here. I can only tell you that your logic and deductions miss the mark by a long shot. This topic is of no interest to me at all. I can only wonder at why it is interesting to you?

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