Re. vajra

Ven. Tantra troyoga at YAHOO.COM
Wed Nov 1 12:12:57 EST 2000

Subject: vajra

Harunaga Isaacson wrote:

<< Apropos of Ven. Tantra's question about vajravaada;
I can understand that Stephen Hodge finds the notion
of vaada with regard to tantric Buddhism surprising.
And it is correct that it is often stressed that the
uniqueness of tantra lies in the sphere of upaaya, not
of doctrine. Yet it is worth noting that, though I
can't adduce occurrences of the term vajravaada at
present, mantravaada (!) does occur at several places
in the literature. An example is
Cittavi" 122ab: sarvavaada.m
parityajya mantravaada.m samaacaret. It doesn't seem
to be a uniquely Tantric _doctrine_ that the author
has in mind in that case, but the usage of this term
does no doubt deserve further attention.>>


Benjamin Walker, _Hindu World_(2 vols: II, 485), under
"Tantricism," remarks that "In the sexual mysticism of
Vajrayaana or Kaamavajrayaana, 'lust-thunderbold-way,'
the thunderbold is synonymous with the male organ
[li'nga]… 'sexual' interpretation is applied to all
precepts and legends… In [some] texts the Vajra,
'thunderbolt,' Buddha is conceived of as everlastingly
embracing the body of Taaraa or some other Zakti… [in
such a way that] the Tathaagata is the male
organ…Sukhaavati or paradise is the yoni"…and the
truth discovered by Gautama is that "Buddhahood abides
in the female organ."


With regard to the "unusual" use of -vaada, as with
the yet-to-be-verified "vajravaada," I again cite
Walker (vol. II, under "Necrophilia"). He mentions the
term Zavavaada ("corpse-way") in connection to "ritual
disciplines" based on necrophilic beliefs common to
certain Hindu and Buddhist tantric cults. He may have
got his info from Briggs, _Gorakhanath & the Kanphata
Yogis_ (1938) or Woodroffe's _Shakti & Shakta_ (1951).

I think Stephen Hodge was particularly alluding to –
and correctly so - the use of -vaada in early
"primitive" Buddhism in conjunction with the
Traditional 18 (20?) Schools, among which Theravaada
was one. Further verification of the term "zavavaada"
would be useful, and any other terms containing this
stem. It would also be important to determine when
such terms gained currency. Finally, if not "termed"
as such then certainly a "discipline" synonymous to
zavavaada has relevance to the Kaapaalika sect, and
with Gautama's own preliminary discipline as alleged
in the Mahaa Sihanaada Sutta where the Buddha is made
to almost boast about having slept on human bones.
[See Gombrich, _How Budhism Began: The Conditioned
Genesis fo the Early Teachings_ (1996, 78)].


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