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Friday, December 25, 2015

Dharmajim on the Dalai Lama and tantra

Dharmajim on the Dalai Lama and tantra

"Thanks for this response. The Dalai Lama, and his handlers, are very careful to project an image of tolerance. But he actually holds very strong views based on his own tradition. He definitely regards tantra as superior to any sutra, including the Lotus Sutra. And among the tantras he holds the Kalachakra to be the highest. That's why he regularly holds intiations in the Kalachakra. The purpose of holding these initiations is the belief that this initiation will mean that the participants will be reborn in Shambhala. And what is Shambhala? Shambhala is the final kingdom that will appear after a great battle between good and evil. It will be ruled over by, guess who?, the Dalai Lama. This aspect of Tibetan Buddhism is not often emphasized for westerners who might not be so enthusiastic about the Kalachakra if they knew its meaning and purpose.

Regarding the Lotus Sutra in particular; the Lotus Sutra is barely mentioned in Tibetan Buddhism, though I understand it is in their canon. I can understand why it receives so little attention. In almost every instance the Lotus Sutra runs counter to Vajrayana teachings. As a sample:

1. The transmission chapter in the Lotus Sutra says nothing about esoteric, or secret, transmissions, which is the basis for Vajrayana.

2. The Lotus Sutra is centered on Shakyamuni, while the Tantras typically displace Shakayamuni for some other Buddha or Bodhisattva. Some of the Mandalas do not even contain Shakyamuni. Further, the Lotus Sutra explicitly says that all the other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are emanations of Shakyamuni, which is a position difficult to integrate into Vajrayana.

3. The Lotus Sutra is joyfully exoteric, open. The primary teachings of the Lotus Sutra are spoken to a huge audience of all kinds of living beings. Nothing is held back for a special elite. In Vajrayana the final teachings are given only to a select few; they are kept hidden. For this reason I consider Vajrayana an example of a Hinayana approach.

Thanks again for your comments."


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