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 world of experience. Mahayana movement spawned two main systems of thought dealing with this problem, namely Madhyamika and Yogacara. Esoteric extensions of these two were expressed in the two fundamental esoteric sutras (according to Shingon, these two are Mahavairocana sutra and Vajrashekhara sutra). Secret Mantra unites the two as complementary approaches within a symbolic framework, affirming the active presence of buddha-nature in the world by relating the Dharmakaya to individual things and beings.
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 only be fully understood through direct experience, developed in training under guidance of a qualified master. Pith instructions that contain the accumulated wisdom of masters through centuries are conveyed as secret oral instructions. Additional esoteric understanding is preserved in commentaries, ritual manuals, as well as records of oral transmission. Relative secrecy is supposed to prevent misunderstanding and misuse, and thereby to protect teachings from corruption.
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 | Conference was successful in many ways.
This is an update on my 2011 schedule, that's been changing a lot lately...
Here's the transcript from the Q&A section in the introductory session of "Three Pathways of Awakening" virtual course, being offered through Buddhist Geeks. The question by a participant was basically - what is specifically post-traditional in this approach? What follows is an attempt to answer on the spot.
Right view is impossible without awakened imagination.
Whatever your style of practice, if you're interested how an authentic post-traditional approach to Buddhadharma may look like, and curious to see how *you* can make it a reality, join me for this 6-week exploration, as the list of participants is filling up.
Stuart Lachs has written another piece that looks at some Chan/Zen standard practices of legitimacy and authenticity. Much of what becomes obvious is generally applicable to many other traditional models of institutionalization, transmission, and empowerment, Buddhist or otherwise.
Just to share with you some of what I've been up to, and what my plans are for this year and next.
For the first time, no one really knows what spirituality will be like 50 years from now.