1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Secrecy in Vajrayana

Discussion in 'Vajrayana DIR' started by Jainarayan, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Messages:
    22,069
    Ratings:
    +10,793
    Religion:
    Vaishnava Hindu
    I know Buddhism does not proselytize, but one way or another people are drawn to it, stumble upon it, study it and adopt it. I'm talking mainly about Mahayana, Zen, Theravada, Nichiren, etc.

    I was reading something about keeping the secrecy of Vajrayana, secrecy on a few levels, personal being one. From what I read, I inferred (rightly or wrongly) that Vajrayana itself should be/have been kept secret. My question is, if it was to be kept secret, how would anyone know about it and decide it was the path for them?

    I stumbled on it because of a post on this site referring to deity yoga, for example, which piqued my interest. Had that post never come up, I probably never would have delved into Vajrayana, despite there being a DIR subforum about it. So, if it was to be kept secret, how would one learn about it?

    Is this a stupid no-brainer question?
     
  2. twilightdance

    twilightdance New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Ratings:
    +1
    Secrecy is common in all tantric matters, one learns after finding one or more suitable guru's / lamas and getting the necessary empowerment and transmission. It is secret because one will only misunderstand it without these necessary preconditions.
     
  3. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Messages:
    22,069
    Ratings:
    +10,793
    Religion:
    Vaishnava Hindu
    What I mean is, how do you find out about it at all in the first place if it's kept secret? If Vajrayana was never talked about, how would anyone know they'd be interested in finding a guru and following the path? There are plenty of "underground" and secret organizations that only the members know about. How those members come to be members is the question. At some point someone let the vajrayana genie out of the bottle and it became known of. But if that bottle remained corked with no one ever knowing vajrayana or other secret organizations existed, they would eventually die out by attrition, no? I guess this is really just a thought experiment.
     
  4. Aisling

    Aisling New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    Messages:
    8
    Ratings:
    +5
    No, it's not a stupid no-brainer question lol! It is a very very valid question.

    When it comes to Vajrayana, not all Vajrayana practitioners have initiations into the higher practices... some remain with very basic practices even after years of being Vajrayana Buddhists.

    To clear things up a little first, there is no difference between Theravada, Mahayana or Vajrayana. Of course the way Buddhism is practiced is different, but what is similar is... the end result of the practice in either schools will lead one to liberation aka Enlightenment. I've had people arguing to me about how different the belief and the 3 schools are.. but lets just put it this way, just because I come from Harvard, and my other friends from Oxford and MIT, it does not mean we're any less or different, the end result is we get a phD.

    It is true what you said that Vajrayana was secret initially. In the time of the Buddha, there were teachings of Vajrayana that the Buddha taught to his close disciples which was kept secret from many of Buddha's other students. This is not to say that Vajrayana is 'higher' or more 'superior' than the other teachings of the Buddha. But it is something that was to preserve to the times when it is most needed... like now, the Kaliyuga age. In this Kaliyuga age, where people are burdened by desires and attachments, the Vajrayana path is a swift way to cut off all of our desires and a swift road to liberation.

    Of course, not everyone is suited for the Vajrayana path. Buddha taught 84000 ways to Enlightenment, and the practices in Vajrayana is just part of it. The secrecy of Vajrayana practices is not that people are not allowed to know about Vajrayana... you can! And any Vajrayana Buddhist centre will explain to you. The only thing that is kept secret is the higher tantras, something that only your Guru will initiate you into if you are ready.

    People often ask, why keep the higher tantras secret if you know it is so beneficial? The answer is simple... because for practitioners that are not stable, practicing these higher tantras will do more harm to them than to actually bring any benefit to them. How does it bring harm to us? The simplest example... is if we do not uphold even our refuge vows, we generate deep negative karma because these are vows taken to the 3 Jewels and our Guru. And some of these higher tantric practices requires not just refuge vows, but the Boddhisattvas vows too... So for those that take initiations with a free hand... if they don't keep the vows clean, they will spiral down samsara very quickly and it will be very difficult to help pull them up spiritually again...

    Secret doesn't mean it is superior... it is secret for our own protection.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  5. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2011
    Messages:
    22,069
    Ratings:
    +10,793
    Religion:
    Vaishnava Hindu
    That was a great post, thanks. :) I think I can understand the harm that can come when one sets out to take the vows & refuge but cannot uphold them. I've come to realize that the best I can do is pray to the bodhisattvas, but not do even a simple Chenrezig sadhana consistently at this point. And Chenrezig's sadhana is open! I can only imagine the internal turmoil by taking empowerment for Vajrasattva & not fulfilling it.
     
  6. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    13,211
    Ratings:
    +9,091
    Religion:
    Love, Light, and Life
    I can see another reason being that if someone has not properly matured these areas of our lives that to start moving into these higher states settles back into their undeveloped ego. The take away for them is 'my, I'm so spiritual', and it trivializes the power of what you have moved into. The practices don't become a means towards Enlightenment, but to puff their egos with. They seek for themselves, not the benefit of others.

    It also could do damage to one's own psyche if they are not stable emotionally and mentally. You truly have to have a relatively stable mind to enter into these spaces, as what you encounter could send signals to you that your mind will misinterpret. You are after all exposing the deep hidden secrets within you, and how those manifest might appear unexpectedly. You could think of it like a doctor knowing whether or not a certain type of exercice is appropriate for you if you have a heart condition. If you have a mind condition, going deep within like this might be something you are unprepared for and it could cause harm to you.
     
    #6 Windwalker, Feb 23, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  7. Yeshe Dondrub

    Yeshe Dondrub Kagyupa OBT-Thubetan

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2014
    Messages:
    97
    Ratings:
    +18
    Religion:
    Buddhist (Kagyupa) (Core Dharma), comparitive religions
    It's not a secret society. However it is aimed towards particular needs in people, and schools want to keep the core aspects (separate from cultural aspects) intact and proper. IT is Guru based practice, reflection, and respect.

    The core dharma is there, but aspects to cut through our ego, necrosis, and other aspects done with particular guidance.
     
Loading...