Overview of Buddhist Tantra  - General Presentation of the Classes of Tantra

Overview of Buddhist Tantra - General Presentation of the Classes of Tantra

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Author: Panchen Sonam Dragpa
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Martin J Boord/ Losang Norbu Tsonawa
Publisher: Library of Tibetan Works & Archives
Year: 2003
Language: English
Pages: 159
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8185102996


The overview of Buddhists Tantra, subtitled General Presentation of the Classes of Tantra, Captivating the Minds of the Fortunate Ones, is a scholarly exposition of the framework of Tantric practice presented by its author, Panchen Sonam Dragpa, in a methodical and accessible manner.

Detailed explanations within this book include: the historical emergence of Buddhism in our world as interpreted by various Buddhists traditions; the differing tenets of the sects, and the differences between the vehicles (yanas); the doors to the path to liberation; and the classes of Tantric practice leading to that state of liberation.

This book will prove to be an invaluable reference text for practitioners of Buddhist Tantra, as well as being informative for readers interested in Buddhist Tantra in Particular and in Tibetan Buddhism in general.


Publisher’s Note

1. Author’s Introduction
2. How the Teacher Attained Completely Pure Enlightenment
The Sravaka tradition
The Mahayana tradition
The Paramitayana tradition
The Mantrayana tradition
The Anuttarayogatantra tradition

3. How the Buddha Turned the Wheel of Dharma
How the Buddha turned the wheel of Dharma
How the Buddha turned the wheel of secret mantra

4. How all those who Seek Liberation Must Follow the Teaching of the Buddha

5. The Different Doors to the Stages of the Path
Differentiation in terms of tenets
Differentiation in terms of vehivles
The Hinayana
The Mahayana
The Paramitayana
The Secret Mantra Vehicle (Guhyamantrayana)

6. Action Tantra (Kriyatantra)
Inner Classification
The Tathagata family
The Lotus family
The Vajra family
General classification
Explanation of Empowerments and Vows
Empowerments in Kriya-and Caryatantra
Explation of vows
Stages of practicing the path
The Way of Practising on the Path

7. Performance Tantra and Yoga Tantra
Explanation of Performance Tantra (Caryatantra)
Explationation of Yoga Tantra (Yogatantra)
Explanation in accordance with texts
Methods of practice

8. Highest Yoga Tantra (Anuttarayogatantra)
Explanation by way of name
Explation by way of distinction
Views of other school
Differentiating between Father and Mother tantras
Summary of Father Tantra
Destroyer of the Lord of Death Tantra
Summary of Mother tantra
The Hevajra Tantra
The Supreme Bliss Tantra
The Wheel of Time Tantra

9. The Secret Assembly Tantra
Meaning of the term ‘root tantra’
Explanation of the greatness of this text
How the commentaries came into being
How the teachings came to Tibet
Explanation of the actual meaning of these precious precepts

10. The Explanation of Empowerment
The Principal features of empowerment
Defining the qualities of the vajra master
Defining the qualities of the disciple
Defining the mandala
The number of empowerments and commitments
Ritual procedures of empowerment
Vase Empowerment
Secret Empowerment
Fourth Empowerment

11. Explanation of the commitments and vows
Fourteen root tantric downfalls
Eight secondary tantric downfalls

12. Colophon
Appendix I: Vows and Commitments of a Boddhisattva
Appendix II: Vows and Commitments of the Tantric Path


Canonical texts: Sutras & Tantras (words of the Buddhas)
Canonical texts: Works by Indian and Tibetan authors
Modern studies