Superiority of Tantras?
Araxie asked a very good and helpful question which I have posted here. I have extracted this from the One question a day section of my blog, please see below:
Why do some Highest Yoga Tantras (like Vajrayogini or Cittamani Tara) traditionally require a previous initiation into Highest Yoga Tantra? Why aren’t they considered equal?
Requiring a previous initiation prior to Vajra Yogini does not mean it is not equal. It is totally equal. Let me explain using Sacred Vajra Yogini as an example.
- Sacred Vajra Yogini (VY) is a more condensed and easier practice of the Heruka/Vajra Yogini combined tantra.. for information sake the Heruka/Vajra Yogini tantra will be referred to just as Heruka tantra. They are one. Their practices are combined within the Heruka tantra of which there are many lineages… The Heruka tantra is long, many entourage deities, lots of visualizations, recitation takes much time, many complicated mantras/rituals/procedures. Just reciting the sadhana without visualization can take up to two hours daily if you are fast. So in the past ppl made time for it..now ppl make time for not being able to practice. Although Heruka is a very powerful and efficacious practice alot is required.
When we mention Heruka practice or tantra, Vy is automatically included within it. So in order not to lose the efficaciousness of the Heruka practice during degenerate times such as now when we don’t make time for these practices, Heruka practice condensed is Vy. All of Vy’s practice, mantras, visualizations, rituals are derived from Heruka/VY combined. So if you were to do just the recitation of Vy sadhana daily, perhaps it will take just 45 mins. Much more managable. Also the visualizations are much easier but just as powerful and effective as Heruka’s.
- There are parts of Vy’s practice that is so condensed you must get the Heruka initiation prior in order to practice the condensed version. Why because receiving the extended version, you do not need to do the extended version, you can just do the condensed version in VY’s practice. Hence it is not a matter of equality, but planting the seeds to practice the condensed version. And also receiving permission to practice. Permission in this case does not mean Vy needs Heruka’s permission. It means Vy’s practice IS the condensed version of Heruka, so when you are doing Vy, you are actually doing the complete Heruka practice. Heruka is male and Vajra Yogini is female, but that is just manifested rupakaya not their true forms. Buddhas may change forms according to situation and need. Hence there is no ‘sex’ or ‘gender’ in their manifestations. It is like saying Heruka is chair and Vy is table…not better or worse. One is not more holy or powerful than the other. Vy’s tantra does not need Heruka’s initiation prior because she is female or lower. She is ‘not’ female in the traditional gender sense. She is a path to enlightenment manifesting as a female for our convenience. So her condensed path derives from Heruka, hence you are doing Heruka in condensed form when practicing Vy.
Some tantras require a prior initiation of another tantra not because they are a condensed version but because they have paths and attainments that need to be planted in your mindstream that may not be contained in the initiation of the tantra you are practicing. All tantric deities are equal but presentation differ according to need, so some may look as if they are lacking. But the deities are not. For example, when someone is very sick, and White Tara appears to them and gives them instructions to heal, this becomes a sadhana. It can be passed down as so. But within this practice/tantra it does not contain the paths to enlightenment obviously, but more for immediate healing. Hence this tantra would look less superior to let’s say Vy DUE TO PRESENTATION. But from Tara and Vy’s side, they are exactly equal.
I hope this information helps you. For example, before you receive a protector practice such as Kalarupa or Pelden Hlamo, it is recommended you get Yamantaka prior. One of the purpose is for protector practice to be ultimately fully beneficial, you need to do your Yidam very well and transform from within, then you can ‘order’ the protectors to assist you. Pelden Hlamo is certainly equal to Yamantaka on the ultimate level, but on the presentation of practice, their function is different.
Much good wishes for the tantras to flourish inwardly and outwardly. Good luck…
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