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Necessity of Tantric empowerment

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Necessity of Tantric empowerment
Answer
11/18/14 2:25 AM
I often read that tantric empowerment from a qualified guru is necessary for all manner of tantric practice, be it Dzogchen, Mahamudra, or anuttara-yoga-tantra. Is this true? And if so, how would I go about finding a qualified guru.

I have immense faith in the Buddha, and I feel it would be disingenuous to take anyone else as my teacher.

Regards,

James

P.S

I practice tantra, but without empowerment. Does that mean I'm going to hell? Really curious about this actually.

RE: Necessity of Tantric empowerment
Answer
11/18/14 2:33 AM as a reply to J J.
If you have an immense faith in the Buddha and his teachings, why go practicing tantra? What are your sources for tantric practiges thaught bby the Buddha? I personally don't believe he taught tantra. The suttas, which are supposed to be the earliest written documents on the Dhamma as it was taught by the Buddha, doesn't contain anything about tantra unless I've misunderstood that word.

RE: Necessity of Tantric empowerment
Answer
11/18/14 2:53 AM as a reply to Pål.
No you're right, the Pali Canon does not reference tantra.

But similarly the Pali Canon doesn't reference vipassana meditation as it practiced nowadays, nor does it reference non-duality or fruitions, or the progress of insight. But in a similar way we are all authentic Buddhist practitioners, and these insights flow within the stream of Dharma.

In other words, tantra is another iteration of Buddhism, it is authentic Buddhism. It is within the same stream of Buddhism, that's why I flow with it.

I would say emphatically that the Buddha taught tantra, he did, plain and simple. It is spoken with the same mouth of Dharma.

RE: Necessity of Tantric empowerment
Answer
11/18/14 2:57 AM as a reply to Pål.
But I'm really just curious about the necessity of empowerment, and it seems like a ritual, which I believe is a fetter (samyojana), as taught by the Buddha. And there seem to be quite a few high-level tantric practitioners here. So I'm curious if they ever received empowerment.

Tantra for me is a feeling of precision, that comes with high-level practice, it is intense mindfulness and precision that infiltrates daily life. But idk, I've never really used yidams, done karmamudra, visualization or any of that. It's mostly just intense precision, samatha-vipassana.

RE: Necessity of Tantric empowerment
Answer
11/18/14 3:05 AM as a reply to J J.
I'd say that maybe he taught about non-duality actually although he put it in another way than modern meditation teachers do. 
All the other things you mention are just probably not teachings of the historical Buddha but modern inventions. Do you put your faith to the Buddha och to buddhists?

RE: Necessity of Tantric empowerment
Answer
11/18/14 3:07 AM as a reply to J J.
That first definition of tantra you gave shouldn't need any initiation. Seems like most buddhists have forgotten that rituals can be a hindrance...

RE: Necessity of Tantric empowerment
Answer
11/18/14 12:47 PM as a reply to J J.
J J:
But I'm really just curious about the necessity of empowerment, and it seems like a ritual, which I believe is a fetter (samyojana), as taught by the Buddha. And there seem to be quite a few high-level tantric practitioners here. So I'm curious if they ever received empowerment.

Tantra for me is a feeling of precision, that comes with high-level practice, it is intense mindfulness and precision that infiltrates daily life. But idk, I've never really used yidams, done karmamudra, visualization or any of that. It's mostly just intense precision, samatha-vipassana.
Hi JJ,

I'm not a buddhist nor a buddhist teacher (not hindu either) but nevertheless, a non-sectarian tantric teacher who has also great faith in Shakyamuni's message.

I've joined a couple of tibetan buddhist empowerment webcasts by great well known teachers. I agree, they seem very or even extremely ritualistic, though the essence is also there. What I missed in those few empowerments that I joined (not actually becoming a student but joined just to study vajrayana- and dzogchen way of doing this) was clear explanations and instructions of the concerned topic. This is just my own exp based on few occasions, even though the teachings were given by very well known lamas.

My teacher, when passing initiations, didn't have any of those ritual things and as she never allowed me or any of her close students to meet her in person (I live in Finland, she lived in Hawaii, US), she passed all initiations as well as some specific states of meditation/samadhi from distance. As I am a teacher after her, I do both distance and live initiations, and also without any ritualistic flavour. Passing just the core thing, you know. I also do this often in regards to specific empowerments/transmissions so that my students don't have to spend endless hours on the cushion trying to figure out the essentials.

To me en empowerment/guru link/link to a master lineage is the most important thing. I do not think there is tantra, thorough spiritual transformation, without an empowerment/s given by the guru/teacher.

Baba