Manual Principles of Buddhist Tantra

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Principles of Buddhist Tantra: A Discourse on Cittavisuddhi-prakarana of Aryadeva

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November Verlag: Wisdom Publications, Neu Zustand: New Softcover.

A king approached the Buddha and explained that his responsibilities did not allow him to abandon his people and become a monk. Yet, in his privileged position, he was surrounded by temptations and pleasures. How could he realize enlightenment?


The Buddha responded by teaching the king tantric practices that would transform pleasures into transcendent realization. Historians speculate that tantra was developed by Mahayana teachers in India very early in the first millennia CE. It is possible that this was a way to reach those who weren't responding to teachings from the sutras. Wherever it came from, by the 7th century CE tantric Buddhism was fully systemized in northern India.

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This was significant to the development of Tibetan Buddhism. The first Buddhist teachers in Tibet, beginning in the 8th century with the arrival of Padmasambhava , were tantric teachers from northern India.

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By contrast, Buddhism reached China about the year 1. Mahayana Buddhist sects that emerged in China, such as Pure Land and Zen, also incorporate tantric practices, but these are not nearly as elaborate as in Tibetan tantra. Vajrayana teachers compare what they call the gradual , causal, or sutra path of Buddhism to the speedier tantra path.

By "sutra" path, they mean following the Precepts, developing meditative concentration, and studying sutras to develop seeds, or causes, of enlightenment. In this way, enlightenment will be realized in the future.

Principles of Buddhist Tantra

Tantra, on the other hand, is a means to bring this future result into the present moment by realizing oneself as an enlightened being. We've already defined Buddhist tantra as "a means to enlightenment through identity with tantric deities. The practioner focuses the penetrating brilliance of this blissful wisdom so that it cuts like a laser beam through all false projections of this and that and pierces the very heart of reality.