Anuttarayoga tantra

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Anuttarayoga Tantra ( Tibetan : bla na med pa'i rgyud ; "Unsurpassed Yoga Tantra" or "Supreme Yoga Tantra") is a term from Tibetan Buddhism in the category of 'esoteric Tantra' ( Vajrayana ) in the Buddhist texts , which form part of the Kangyur ("translated words of the Buddha") in the Buddhist canon .

The classes of Buddhist tantra

The three great Tibetan lines of the "Period of New Translation" ( Sarma ) divide Tantra into four classes:

  1. Kriya Tantra ( Sanskrit : Kriyātantra ; Tibetan: bya rgyud kyi theg pa ; ritual Buddha-figure practice), which emphasizes external ritual practices such as ablution, diet and fasting
  2. Charya Tantra (Sanskrit: Caryātantra ; behavior- oriented Buddha- figure practice), which emphasizes both external behavior and internal methods
  3. Yoga Tantra (Sanskrit: Yogatantra ; Tibetan: rnal 'byor gyi rgyud kyi theg pa ; integrated Buddha-figure practice), which emphasizes inner methods of yoga
  4. Anuttarayoga Tantra (incomparable integrated Buddha-figure practice) that teaches specific and more advanced methods of internal practice.

In the Sarma schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the anuttarayoga tantra is the highest of four classes and is connected with the mahamudra (Tibetan phyag-chen ; "great seal") route to enlightenment .

According to the Gelug tradition, in the 'Supreme Yoga Tantra' the Buddha taught the most profound instructions for transforming sensual pleasure into the fast path to enlightenment, which, on the other hand, depends on the ability to experience the inner winds (Tibetan: rlung ; Sanskrit: prana ) central channel to collect and dissolve through the power of meditation .

In the classification of the Dzogchen system (Tibetan: rdzogs-chen ; "great perfection") of the Nyingmapa , it is regarded as equal to the Mahayoga tantras, the first of the inner tantras. The Dalai Lama stated, "The old translation of Dzogchen and the new translation of anuttarayoga tantra provide equivalent paths that bring practitioners to the same state of outcome of Buddhahood."

The practice of anuttarayoga tantra in the Vajrayana tradition of Buddhism is characterized by the requirement of empowerment from a qualified lama and the use of ritual techniques and the practice of various meditative and subtle yogas to bring about personal transformation and enlightenment through the realization of the 'moment-to-moment continuity' of consciousness (Sanskrit Citta samtāna ) a meditation deity (that is, a Sambhogakaya form of realized beings) or a yidams to obtain. According to Miranda Shaw , anuttarayoga tantra texts have remained at the forefront of contemplation, ritual and interpretation in the realm of Tibetan Buddhism.

Translation terminology

Anuttarayoga Tantra literally means 'Unsurpassed Continuum of Unity'. Although the term is often translated as 'Supreme Yoga Tantra' in English scriptures, it is not entirely accurate. The Tibetan expression bla med ( translated back into Sanskrit as anuttara ) is a negation of 'relatively-not' or 'nothing ( med / an ) higher' ( bla / uttara ) - rather than a superlative. If the authors of this expression had intended to indicate 'highest' directly, other superlatives would have been available, for example mchog ("very highest" or Sanskrit: uttama ; "highest"). Instead, they consistently choose a comparison rather than a superlative. Similarly, the terms used in Sanskrit use uniform comparisons: yogottara ("higher than yoga") and niruttara (a negation of the comparative value). This nuance has generally been overlooked in the English and European translations.

As a scholar, Isabelle Onians explains : “Yogini tantras are called anuttarayoga in secondary literature. But that is based on an incorrect back-translation of the Tibetan translation ( rnal byor bla med kyi rgyud ), which in the Sanskrit texts only appear as Yogānuttara or Yoganiruttara. "

Anuttarayoga in Tibetan Classification

The term appears in the 'Five Groups of Dharma ' with reference to Geshe Pabongka Rinpoche . They include :

In the above sarma schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the four categories of tantra are also Kriyā tantra, Caryā tantra, yoga tantra and anuttarayoga tantra.

A further division within the anuttarayoga tantras is sometimes made into 'father' ( Yamantaka and Guhyasamaja ), 'mother' ( Chakrasamvara and Hevajra ) and 'nondual' tantras ( Kalachakra ), although the latter category is under discussion. Examples of Anuttara Yoga are Karma Pakshi, Hevajra, Chakrasamvara and Kalachakra Tantra.

In the Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism, anuttarayoga tantra is sometimes used as a synonym for the mahāyoga tantra of its nine yāna ('vehicle') formulation, in which six levels are articulated in two triads, the 'outer' and 'inner' 'Tantras.

The outer tantras are Kriyā-Tantra, Caryā-Tantra and Yoga Tantra. The inner tantras are Mahāyoga, Anuyoga and Atiyoga ( Dzogchen ).

Types of anuttarayoga tantras

Five types of anuttarayoga tantras were initially popular in Tibet : Guhyasamaja ("Esoteric Community"), Yamāntaka ("Conqueror of Death"; also: Vajrabhairava or "Vajra - Fearful"), Hevajra ("O, Vajra!"), Mahāmāyā (" Great game of illusion ”) and Chakrasamvara (“ wheel of great bliss ”).

The Kalachakra (“Wheel of Time”) Tantra was spread a little later. To date, the term 'Anuttarayoga Tantra' has not been discovered in Indian sources, in which the categories used, the 'Mahāyoga' and the 'Yogottara', 'Yoganiruttara' or 'Yoginī Tantras' are what the Tibetans call "father" - (Tib .: pha rgyud ) and consider “mother” tantras (Tib .: ma rgyud ).

Father tantras

The 'Mahāyoga Tantras' of the Indian Pala dynasty were known in Tibet as the 'Father Tantras'. The conclusions Tsongkhapa following (Gelug), father Tantras emphasize the creation of a Buddha form by culturing a gyulu or illusion body (T. .: sgyu-lus , Sanskrit: māyākāyā , Chinese: mahādeha ) on the basis of practices with the rlung - Subtle Body Energy System. Former Sakya masters and Kagyu scholars had viewed Father Tantras as emphasizing the practice of blissful awareness.

Father tantras also use anger ( pratigha ) as an exercise on the path of practice, focusing on the ' voidness ' aspect of Buddha-nature . Post-Tsongkhapa Sakya scholar Tagtshang Lotsawa identified father tantras as those that emphasize the secret or hidden empowerment of the four empowerments (Tibetan: wang ; Sanskrit: abhisheka ) of anuttarayoga tantra. The secret empowerment plants the seeds to attain an illusory body. By visualizing all phenomena as the deities of the mandala of Buddhahood, all appearances are purified in the development stage. Among the father tantras are the Guhyasamâja and also the Yamantaka and the practices of the 'illusory body' and dream yoga . Father tantras refer to the stage of creating meditative transformation.

Mother tantras

The 'Yoginī Tantras', known in Tibet as 'Mother Tantras' (Tib .: ma-rgyud ), emphasize the development of enlightened awareness (the 'mind' of the gyulu ( illusory body ) through the cultivation of the fundamentally pure mind of all beings, known as 'shine' or 'Ösel' (Tibetan od-gsal ; Sanskrit: prabhashvara ) or 'clear light'). They focus on devotion as the foundation of Vajrayana practice. They also rely on the use of desire ( trsnā ) as the path of practice focusing on the radiant ( prabhāshvara ) aspect of Buddha-nature .

Among the mother tantras, the best known is the Chakrasamvara ("The Wheel of Supreme Bliss"). The practice of Vajrayogini developed from the Chakrasamvara and is today an independent de facto practice with about twelve complete sadhanas or instructions for pictorial meditation. Other mother tantras are Hevajra and Caṇḍamahāroṣaṇa. The tummo and the hevajra also belong here . Mother tantras refer to the phase of completion, and nondual tantras combine both: the generation phase and the completion phase.

Nondual tantras

Nondual tantras use both anger and desire as an antidote to deception ( avidya ) and focus on both: the physical and the mental, the empty and radiant aspects of the enlightened mind. The prime example of this category is the Kalachakra. The Sakya tradition also regards Hevajra as a nondual tantra, but other traditions classify it as 'Yoginī Tantra'.

In practice

In the 'deity yoga' (Tib .: lha'i rnal 'byor ) practices of anuttarayoga tantra, two stages are practiced: the generation stage and the completion stage. In some tantras both stages are practiced side by side, in others the 'generation stage' (tib .: bskyed rim ), in which the imagination is still used, must be completed before the practice of the 'completion stage' (tib .: rdzogs rim ) be. The meditator who has recognized voidness goes through the whole cycle of existence of death, bardo and rebirth in the mind . The final state involves creation in the form of deities. The goal is to control the types of consciousness and the '8 layers of consciousness' up to the 'clear light' and the conditions associated with them.


  • Jacob Dalton: A Crisis of Doxography: How Tibetans Organized Tantra during the 8th-12th Centuries . In: Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies . 28: 1, 2005, pp. 115-181.
  • David L. Snellgrove: Categories of Buddhist Tantras . In: Orientalia Iosephi Tucci Memoriae Dicata, Orientale Roma series . 56.3, 1988, pp. 1353-1384.
  • Anthony Tribe: Tantric Texts: classification and characteristics . In: Paul Williams and Anthony Tribe: Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Traditions . London and New York, Routledge 2000, pp. 202-217
  • Christian K. Wedemeyer: Āryadeva's Lamp that Integrates the Practices: The Gradual Path of Vajrayāna Buddhism according to the Esoteric Community Noble Tradition . AIBS / Columbia University Press, New York 2007, ISBN 978-0-9753734-5-3 , pp. 63-120.
  • Geshe Kelsang Gyatso , Mahamudra Tantra: The Supreme Heart Jewel Nectar . Tharpa Publications , 2005, ISBN 978-0-948006-93-7
  • Geshe Kelsang Gyatso: Tantric Grounds and Paths: How to Enter, Progress on, and Complete the Vajrayana Path . Tharpa Publications, 1994, ISBN 978-0-948006-33-3
  • Chögyam Trungpa : Journey without goal . Shambhala Publications Inc., April 1983, ISBN 087773755X
  • Sarah Harding: Creation & Completion - Essential Points of Tantric Meditation . Wisdom Publications , ISBN 978-086171-312-7 (with a Commentary by Thrangu Rinpoche and Jamgon Kongtrul)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Mahamudra Tantra : The Supreme Heart Jewel Nectar, p. 20, Tharpa Publications (2005) ISBN 978-0-948006-93-7
  2. ^ The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History by Dudjom Rinpoche . Wisdom Publications, 2002. ISBN 0861711998 . P. 283
  3. ^ Tenzin Gyatso, Alexander Berzin: The Gelug / Kagyu Tradition of mahamudra . Snow Lion Publications, New York 1997, ISBN 1-55939-072-7 .
  4. Mahamudra Tantra : The Supreme Heart Jewel Nectar, pp. 20-21, Tharpa Publications (2005) ISBN 978-0-948006-93-7
  5. Miranda Shaw: Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism . Princeton University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-691-01090-0 , p. 15.
  6. Vajrayoginī Von Elizabeth English, 608 pp, Wisdom Publications, ISBN 0-86171-329-X (cf. Sanderson 1994: 97-98, fn. 1), p. 260, p. 387
  7. Isabelle Onians, "Tantric Buddhist Apologetics, or Antinomianism as a Norm," D.Phil. dissertation, Oxford, Trinity Term 2001. p. 70
  8. ^ Pabongka Rinpoche: Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand: A Concise Discourse on the Path to Enlightenment . Wisdom Publications, Boston 1997, p. 173.
  9. ^ Tenzin Gyatso, Alexander Berzin: The Gelug / Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra . Snow Lion Publications , New York 1997, ISBN 1-55939-072-7 , p. 243.
  10. ^ Judith Simmer-Brown: Dakini's Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism . Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston & London 2002, ISBN 978-1-57062-920-4 , p. 141.
  11. Essence of Vajrayana : The Highest Yoga Tantra Practice of Heruka Body Mandala, Tharpa Publications (1997) ISBN 978-0-948006-48-7
  12. Guide to Dakini Land : The Highest Yoga Tantra Practice of Buddha Vajrayogini, p. 3, Tharpa Publications (2nd. Ed., 1996) ISBN 978-0-948006-39-5
  13. ^ Robert Beer: The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs . Serindia Publications Inc., 2004, ISBN 1932476105 , p. 142.