A Tantric Buddhist Teaching

Vajradhara

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Namaste all,

in the Buddhist understanding of Tantra (see other posts in this forum for a discussion of Tantra, itself) there are several schools of thought, which, for the most part are denoted by geography.

in this post, i shall post a teaching from the Bengali Tantric lineages. Commentary and explanation available upon request. In the Bengali Tantric tradition, the teachings are given in verse form. the text, itself, is called the Carya-Giti and is a collection of teachings from various Siddhas.

Shanti

On discerning analysis of essence,
the imperceptable cannot be observed.

Whoever goes on a straight path
will never turn back.

From shore to shore, samsara is not a straight path, you fool!
Little child, don't forget a word - the royal path is steep!

You find no limit to the depth of the sea
of illusion and delusion:

No boat or raft is seen ahead;
you're mistaken not to ask a guide.

In the trackless expanse of emptiness,
nothing can be seen;
you do not entertain doubt as you go.

Here eight great adepts attain fulfillment,
going on the straight path.

Abandoning both left and right paths,
Shanti speak succienctly;

The river bank has no weeds, no rough ground -
one may go on the way with eyes closed.
 
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Catila


The flow of existence is impenetrably deep,
its current is swift;
Both banks are muddy, the middle can't be fathomed.

Catila builds a bridge for the sake of Truth;
People going to the Other Side cross over in safety.

The tree of illusion's cut asunder, then the pieces joined;
The strong axe of nonduality is fashioned in Nirvana.

Climbing the bridge, go neither right nor left;
Enlightenment is close, not far away.

Any of you people who would go across,
Ask Catila, the unsurpassed master.
 
Vina


The moon is joined to the gourd of the sun,
making a mandolin;

The ascetic has fashioned an unstrummed stem and disc.

Play, friend, the lyre of Heruka;
The sound of the strings of emptiness,
compassion does enjoy.

Contemplating the arrays of vowels and consonants,
The supreme elephant equanimously awaits an opening.

When the edge of the palm presses the instrument's spring,
The notes of the thirty-two strings all emanate.

The Thunderbolt Bearer dances, the Goddess sings;
The Buddha-drama is unparalleled.








Vajradhara said:
The moon is joined to the gourd of the sun,
making a mandolin;

The ascetic has fashioned an unstrummed stem and disc.
the moon, the relative thought of enlightenment, is joined to the sun, the absolute thought of enlightenment, making an instrument of awakening. The ascetic also means the central channel of the psychic nerve system, the channel of purification. It is the process of purfication that joins the sun and moon, the relative and absolute thought of enlightenment. Centered and cleared, awakened consciousness is not caused to vibrate, or resonate, by external impacts; so the instrument is "unstrummed."

Play, friend, the lyre of Heruka;
The sound of the strings of emptiness,
compassion does enjoy.


Heruka is a symbolic representation of the Dharma or reality that underlies the teaching. The reality and the teaching it engenders are summarized in emptiness and compassion. The Heruka is a "wrathful" form, representing active destruction of ignorance, the liberative quality of the compassion of emptiness.

Liberative compassion is realized through emptiness, for it is by the experience and realization of emptiness that compassion is enabled to arise above sentimentality. Sentimental compassion is instrinsicly limited and limiting. Emptiness is not realized in nihilism or cynicism but rather in fluidity and openness. Thus, the experential realization of emptiness makes it possible to perceive and express objective, impartial compassion.

Contemplating the arrays of vowels and consonants,
The supreme elephant equanimously awaits an opening.


Discerning the structure of the world of conventionally conditoned vision and understanding as reflected in routine habits of thought, the self-possessed mind calmly watches for the gaps, through which other dimensions of reality can be perceived and employed.

When the edge of the palm presses the instrument's spring,
The notes of the thirty-two strings all emanate.
According to the teaching of the Lotus Sutra, thirty-two is the number of manifestations of Avalokiteshavara, the multifacted personification of compassion, whose name literally means "the power of objective observation."

The capacity to project different personalities in compassonate response to situational needs is a charactersitic of the Bodhisattva, who has taken autonomous control of the mind/body continumm.

The number thirty-two also refers, in the context of Tantric Buddhism, to the network of energy channels visualized in the body of spiritual experience. This network is conceived of as an internal counterpart to the thirty-two marks of distinction on the idealized external image of a Buddha. Interpeted in this sense, the couplet refers to the activation of the energy network after the mind has been cleared by going through the "opening" in the "vowels and consonants" of conceptual thought.

The Thunderbolt Bearer dances, the Goddess sings;
The Buddha-drama is unparalleled.
The Thunderbolt Bearer represents the universe, expedient means, and structured knowledge; the body, speech, and mind of the cosmic Buddha in its manifest aspect. The Goddess represents space, formless insight, and emptiness; the body, speech and mind of the cosmic Buddha in it's esoteric aspect.

The Buddha-drama of the interplay of the Thunderbolt Bearer and the Goddess is "unparalleled" because it features the entire cosmos, abstrat and concrete, in its all-inclusive cast. The mind of the practiconer absorbed in this drama becomes merged, imbued and identified with the cosmic realities of Buddhahood.

(indebted to Thomas Cleary for the translation)


 
Vajradhara,

thankyou for these posts,could you let me know exactly which book(s) Thomas Cleary translated these teachings in?

thankyou :D
 
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