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Path: Stages in Practice (3/3)

Posted on23. Dec, 2011 by .

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Shingon is an esoteric school of Mahayana, and Mahayana is a bodhisattva doctrine. Bodhisattva is interested in awakening others and himself equally. The general classification of the bodhisattva stages, according to the exoteric teachings, is as follows: a) ten stages of faith, b) ten stages of understanding, c) ten stages of practice, d) ten stages […]

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Path: Stages in Practice (2/3)

Posted on22. Dec, 2011 by .

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Nirbhaya literally means “fearlessness” or simply “no fear.” In Shingon, it means equanimity. However, it is also synonymous with ashvasa, meaning “to revive,” so it implies a surge of regeneration. Nirbhaya signifies an awakening through freeing oneself from the bonds of klesha and thus awakening to realize one’s inherent wakefulness (skt. bodhi). The six nirbhaya theory describes the […]

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Path: Stages in Practice (1/3)

Posted on20. Dec, 2011 by .

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In the Mahavairocana Sutra, we find the phrase “mind just as it is,” synonymous to what the seminal Awakening of Faith (skt. Mahayana-shraddhotpada) calls “inherent wakefulness.” Nirvana Sutra calls it buddha-nature (skt. tathagatagarbha or sugatagarbha or buddhadhatu), the Prajnaparamita literature calls it prajna, while the Sukhavativyuha literature calls it “pure land” (we might go as far […]

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Path: Initial Awakening

Posted on18. Dec, 2011 by .

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The two main visual mandalas used in Shingon – Garbhakosha and Vajradhatu – are iconographic representations of Shingon doctrine, which is a theoretical explanation of the identity of human and the Buddha, based upon the supposition of inherent buddha-nature. This identity of man and Buddha, however, represents the ideal. Human mind is ordinarily covered by […]

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Ten Levels of Mind

Posted on16. Dec, 2011 by .

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Although the ten levels of master Kukai, founder of Shingon in Japan, have been described and interpreted in different ways, basically they represent stages through which the esoteric practitioner passes as delusions are penetrated, and increasingly deeper strata of mind are reclaimed. In another view, these ten stages may be seen as descriptions of Buddhist […]

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Interview with David Chapman

Posted on14. Dec, 2011 by .

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An engaging and provocative 2-part interview with David Chapman, that I did as host for Buddhist Geeks, is available online now. It’s mainly on what David calls “Consensus Buddhism” of the past 30-40 years, and a little bit on possible alternatives. Please enjoy! Part One Part Two

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Self and Human Desire

Posted on03. Dec, 2011 by .

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The esoteric concept of “great bliss” (skt. mahasukha, jap. tairaku) was a further development of Mahayana teachings identifying birth-and-death with freedom, and delusion with awakening. In the esoteric expression, human desires are affirmed as bodhisattvic activities, while sexual drive in particular is used as metaphor for the practitioner’s yearning to unite with the deity, Great […]

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Six Great Elements

Posted on29. Nov, 2011 by .

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The exoteric Dharma teaches the essential body of the universe – known as dharmakaya, suchness, dharmata, buddha-nature, truth-reality etc. – cannot be conceived by the limited human mind. It’s thus treated as an abstraction, in terms of what it is not, while not relating how the nature of truth relates to the phenomenal world, our […]

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Esoteric vs. Exoteric

Posted on22. Nov, 2011 by .

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Exoteric and esoteric forms of Buddhadharma are difficult to separate, since their historical development is closely related. The tradition of Secret Mantra is not esoteric just in the sense that its inner teachings have been kept secret among initiates. Exoteric texts, which are publicly available, also contain the essence of esoteric teachings, but these can […]

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Back Home

Posted on05. Aug, 2011 by .

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After a month and a week of adventures and some leisure in US, I’m back home for a month and a week, before another trip to Burlington, VT. The first part of my July trip to US was frankly a disaster through which I learned a lot, while the second part, namely Buddhist Geeks | […]

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