Sunday, May 27, 2007

Uttaratantra - Part 1

Maitreya gave Asanga five texts to be provided to others, of which one of the more known ones is in Sanskit Uttaratantra.

The Tibetan short name for this is rgyud bla ma (we will go through the long title next). The reason we are looking into this text is that we want to know the reason behind suffering, i.e. what triggers las dang nyong mongs (karma and mental afflictions), of which this text gives a concise explanation.

There are many, many translations of just the title itself, even misunderstandings of a big scale, so let's analyse the parts.

Uttara in Sanskrit is highest, in Tibetan this is also bla ma. Some might know that bla ma is lama, spiritual teacher, but this could also be used in this highest, elevated form.

tantra in Sanskrit is stream, continuum, or something that is woven together. In Tibetan this is rgyud. Now, some might also know that this is the translation for Tantra. But in this context it is not. This text is not, I repeat, not a Tantric text. It belongs to the general Sutra collection (to be clear, Tantra is a section of Sutra, the highest form in the Indian Mahayana tradition). *)

So this title is referring to a higher state of continuum, a subtler stream, a supreme way of a mind's experience. Hence there are so many Western titles concerning this text. Ultimately, what this text is describing is the so called Buddha nature, what is it really to be an enlightened being.

Next the long title, it's good to see how those look like!

*)The reader might now find out what Tantric practices are really about - weaving together enlightened activities during a daily life.

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