The Info List - Guhyasamāja Tantra

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The Guhyasamāja Tantra
(Sanskrit: Guhyasamājatantra; Tibetan: Gsang ’dus rtsa rgyud (Toh 442); Tantra
of the Secret Community) is one of the most important scriptures of Tantric Buddhism. In its fullest form, it consists of seventeen chapters, though a separate "explanatory tantra" (vyākhyātantra) known as the Later Tantra (Sanskrit: Guhyasamāja Uttaratantra; Tibetan: Rgyud phyi ma. (Toh 443)) is sometimes considered to be its eighteenth chapter. Many scholars believe that the original core of the work consisted of the first twelve chapters, with chapters thirteen to seventeen being added later as explanatory material. In India, it was classified as a Yoga
or Mahāyoga Tantra. In Tibet
it is considered an Unexcelled Yoga
(rnal ’byor bla med rgyud). It develops traditions found in earlier scriptures such as the Compendium of Reality (Sanskrit: Sarva-tathāgata-tattva-saṃgraha; De bzhin gshegs pa thams cad kyi de kho na nyid bsdus pa (Toh 479)) but is focused to a greater extent on the antinomian aspects characteristic of the later Buddhist Tantras. Naropa
and Aryadeva considered the Compendium of Reality to be a root tantra in relation to the Guhyasamaja Tantra. The Guhyasamaja Tantra
survives in Sanskrit manuscripts and in Tibetan and Chinese translation. The Guhyasiddhi of Padmavajra, a work associated with the Guhyasamaja tradition, prescribes acting as a Saiva guru and initiating members into Shaiva Siddhanta
Shaiva Siddhanta
scriptures and mandalas.[1]


1 Origin 2 Iconography 3 References 4 Further reading 5 External links

Origin[edit] According to one tradition, the Guhyasamāja Tantra
was taught for the first time by the Buddha
in the form of Vajradhara
to Indrabhuti the King of Oddiyana, also called King Dza. As with most tantras, there are different traditions and transmissions. Perhaps the oldest surviving lineage is the Jñānapada Tradition (ye shes zhabs lugs), which goes back to Buddhaśrijñāna (late 8th century). The most important historically is the Ārya tradition (gsang 'dus 'phags lugs) which is based on commentaries attributed to Nāgārjuna, Āryadeva, and Candrakīrti. 'Gos Lotsawa Khug pa lhas btsas originated a transmission in Tibet, as did Marpa Lotsawa. The Sakya
tradition received both transmissions. Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelug
tradition, considered the Esoteric Community to be the most important of the tantras and used the Ārya
tradition as a template for interpreting all the other tantric traditions. Iconography[edit] There are two main commentarial traditions on the Guhyasamāja Tantra, the Ārya
Tradition and the Jñānapada tradition. In the practice of the Ārya
Tradition, the central deity of the Guhyasamāja is blue-black Akṣobhyavajra, a form of Akṣobhya, one of the five tathāgathas (pañcatathāgata), sometimes called the dhyāni buddhas. Akṣobhyavajra holds a vajra and bell (ghanta) in his first two hands, and other hands hold the symbols of the four other tathāgathas: wheel of Vairocana
and lotus of Amitābha
in his rights, and gem of Ratnasambhava
and sword of Amoghasiddhi
in his lefts. The maṇḍala consists of thirty-two deities in all. In the Jñānapada tradition, the central deity is yellow Mañjuvajra, a form of Maṇjuśrī, with nineteen deities in the mandala. Mañjuvajra has three faces—the right one is white and red one on the left—and six arms. The three faces may represent the three main channels of the subtle body, the three stages of purification of the mind or the illusory body, light, and their union.[2] Mañjuvajra holds in his hands a sword and a book, and two of his other hand a bow and arrow represent skillful means (upāya). References[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Guhyasamaja.

^ Sanderson, Alexis. "The Śaiva Age: The Rise and Dominance of Śaivism during the Early Medieval Period." In: Genesis and Development of Tantrism,edited by Shingo Einoo. Tokyo: Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo, 2009. Institute of Oriental Culture Special
Series, 23, pp. 144-145. ^ Catherine Cummings, "A Guhyasamaja Tantra," in John C. Huntington, Bangdel Dina, Robert AF Thurman, The Circle of Bliss - Buddhist Meditational Art, Serindia Publications, Inc., 2003. pp 432-448 (ISBN 1932476016) (ISBN 9781932476019)

Further reading[edit]

Fremantle, Francesca (1971), A Critical Study of the Guhyasamāja tantra (PDF)  Wedemeyer, Christian K. 2007. Āryadeva's Lamp that Integrates the Practices: The Gradual Path of Vajrayāna Buddhism according to the Esoteric Community Noble Tradition. New York: AIBS/Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780975373453 Geshe
Tashi Tsering p. 78 of 240 July 3, 2012. Tantra: The Foundation of Buddhist Thought Volume 6. London: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 1614290113 ISBN 9781614290117 Brilliant Illumination of the Lamp of the Five Stages, Columbia University Press, 2011, ISBN 978-1-93-501100-2 A Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages, Library of Tibetan Classics, 2013, ISBN 0-86171-454-7

External links[edit]

StudyBuddhism.com, What Is Guhyasamaja Practice? Encyclopædia Britannica, Guhyasamāja-tantra Tsongkhapa, A Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages, Introduction, ch