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
is considered an Unexcelled
Tantra (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
Shaiva Siddhanta scriptures and mandalas.
4 Further reading
5 External links
According to one tradition, the Guhyasamāja
Tantra was taught for the
first time by the
Buddha in the form of
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
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.
There are two main commentarial traditions on the Guhyasamāja Tantra,
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. Mañjuvajra
holds in his hands a sword and a book, and two of his other hand a bow
and arrow represent skillful means (upāya).
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
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)
Fremantle, Francesca (1971), A Critical Study of the Guhyasamāja
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
StudyBuddhism.com, What Is Guhyasamaja Practice?
Encyclopædia Britannica, Guhyasamāja-tantra
Tsongkhapa, A Lamp to Illuminate the Five Stages, Introduction,