Author Topic: Tendai resources  (Read 3559 times)

Offline Jikan

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Tendai resources
« on: July 29, 2010, 10:44:55 am »
If anyone's interested in what we do in Tendai and how we do it, I'll be happy to help address those questions. 

Meanwhile, here are some links to Tendai resources.

Unless you're in Japan or Hawaii, the place to go first for Tendai questions is the Tendai Buddhist Institute in upstate New York.  It's a lovely place with a joyful and harmonious sangha, honestly the sanest sangha I have been exposed to in fifteen years of Buddhist practice in North America.  www.tendai.org

The California Tendai Buddhist Monastery is very much worth your attention as a place to practice rigorously in an environment that is very supportive of, well, rigorous practice and contemplation.  The locale is magical.  Keisho Leary, the abbot, is also a talented teacher and very committed practitioner.  http://caltendai.org

If you're in Europe, here's the place to start.  www.tendai.eu

more later on this
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Offline heybai

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Re: Tendai resources
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2010, 03:51:42 am »
I have a basic question (I think): why is Tendai grouped here under Vajrayana and not in the other section on Mahayana?   As I understood things, all East Asia Buddhist traditions were of the Mahayana sort.   Did I miss something?

Yeshe Zopa

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Re: Tendai resources
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2010, 05:36:58 am »
Thanks for the links.  I'll explore with interest. :)

I think the classification under Vajrayana was made when the site first opened, on the basis that there is a strong Tantric element, but it's not set in stone and we can always move it if it seems sensible.

To quote from the website about the scriptural history:

''The Five Periods are:

- the Flower Garland period, which only lasted a few weeks from the enlightenment of the Buddha. Here he taught the Flower Garland Sutra, speaking directly from his enlightenment, but people couldn't understand him, so he realized he had to apply skilful means in his teaching.

    * the Deer park period, which lasted for 12 years after the Flower Garland period. The Pali Canon and the Chinese Agamas belongs to this period.
    * the Vaipulya period, covering the following 8 years, where certain Mahayana Sutras were taught, creating the foundation for the next, very challenging, period. In this section we find the Vimalakirti Sutra, the Pure Land Sutras, and the esoteric tantras.
    * the Prajnaparamita period; 22 years of teaching the Prajnaparamita Sutras and their doctrines shunyata and non-dualism.
    * the Lotus and Nirvana Sutras
    * the final teachings of the Buddhas, given in his last 8 years. Here he came full circle, back to his first teachings, and again spoke directly from his enlightenment ''
« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 05:41:41 am by Yeshe Zopa »

Offline heybai

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Re: Tendai resources
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2010, 06:06:25 am »
Thanks for fishing that out, Yeshe.  I've already confessed I know almost nothing about Tantric practices or about Tendai so I am just looking for clarification here.  Perhaps Jikan or other member active in Tendai (Tien-tai) can let us know if the classification is appropriate.  It seems like it is -- I was just curious.

Offline heybai

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Re: Tendai resources
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2010, 06:19:56 am »
This is at the head of the California Tendai opening page --

Quote
Welcome!

We invite you to consider a life of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism in the California Tendai Monastery, and we are at your service.


This helps me, at least --

from "Vajrayana" http://www.buddhistchaplainsnetwork.org/Vajrayana.htm

Quote
Tendai: Established by Saicho (767–822), who during his trip to China in pursuit of the Tiantai teachings also received tantric initiation. Upon his return, the emperor directed him to create a dual tradition, that is one that incorporates both exoteric, Lotus sutra based teachings, and esoteric, Vajrayana teachings. The main center of Tendai is Mt. Hiei, located just outside of Kyoto, which was established by Saicho as the main training center for Tendai. Later Tendai priests, particularly Ennin, Enchin and Annen, further developed the Vajrayana dimensions of Tendai in Japan. 
 


« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 06:27:35 am by heybai »

Yeshe Zopa

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Re: Tendai resources
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2010, 10:03:21 am »
This is at the head of the California Tendai opening page --

Quote
Welcome!

We invite you to consider a life of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism in the California Tendai Monastery, and we are at your service.


This helps me, at least --

from "Vajrayana" http://www.buddhistchaplainsnetwork.org/Vajrayana.htm

Quote
Tendai: Established by Saicho (767–822), who during his trip to China in pursuit of the Tiantai teachings also received tantric initiation. Upon his return, the emperor directed him to create a dual tradition, that is one that incorporates both exoteric, Lotus sutra based teachings, and esoteric, Vajrayana teachings. The main center of Tendai is Mt. Hiei, located just outside of Kyoto, which was established by Saicho as the main training center for Tendai. Later Tendai priests, particularly Ennin, Enchin and Annen, further developed the Vajrayana dimensions of Tendai in Japan.  
 





The trouble with all of these Vajrayana labels is that it may seem that this is all these schools do.  I see Tantrika ('Secret mantra') as a set of practices performed by Mahayana Buddhists, and these vary from school to school.

it is impossible to practice Vajrayana without a firm foundation based on the Mahayana sutra and meditational practices. In my school, it is advised that you should not practice without having acheived x,y and z from the mind training within the Lam Rim Chenmo, Lojong practices etc..

We could use 'Tantra' or more properly 'Tantrika' as a general heading, and Vajrayana as a subset of that.
Tendai  may be OK with the label Vajrayana, but maybe they prefer Tendai Tantra to set it apart from the Tibetan Vajrayana?

Then we have the added complication - Hinduism and Jaininsm also have Tantrika. To use the label 'Tantra' or 'Tantrika' as the main heading could also lead to confusion with those other Tantrikas.   And of course there is then the confusion of Hindu worship of deities which has nothing to do with mind-based Buddhist Tantrika.  Not to mention the considerable interchange between the Hindu and Buddhist pantheon, and maybe an eve earlier link with Greek Gods.

Now if we examine the Tendai Tantrika, I would be very surprised if there was no influence from Shinto, with the Kami and Tengu etc. as deities, guardians, maras. But I don't know - that's just an ignorant guess.

See - clear as mud!   LOL :)

For an excellent explanation of Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana see www.berzinarchives.com

For an excellent explanation of Tantrika in the Tendai which would be the best source, Jikan ?


« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 10:10:40 am by Yeshe Zopa »

Yeshe Zopa

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Re: Tendai resources
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2010, 10:54:29 am »
P.S. I've signed up for the online course to discover more. ;)

In advance I thank the teachers:

'Domo Arigato Gozaimashite!  USU! '  :)


Jikan - could the Tendai online course be published here?
« Last Edit: August 02, 2010, 06:47:02 am by Yeshe Zopa »

Offline Jikan

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Re: Tendai resources
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2010, 05:24:32 am »
Here's the link for the online course.  It's taught by Shyomon Trans, a Tendai priest in Denmark.  Her English is impeccable, so there's no need to fear a language gap if you can read and write standard English.

http://www.tendai.eu/82.html
Tendai Buddhism in Washington, DC and northern Virginia\

dctendai.blogspot.com

Offline Jikan

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Re: Tendai resources
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2010, 05:36:34 am »
Now, is Tendai a Vajrayana school?  This is a tricky question.  First, some background.

Esoteric Buddhist practices are called "mikkyo" in Japanese.  Mikkyo includes all the elements of Vajrayana practice as it existed in India (transmission or abisheka, mantras, mudras, visualization, the whole tamale).  There are also some specifically Japanese cultural elements and developments involved, in the same way that Vajrayana in Tibet has its unique flavor from the infusion of Himalayan cultural elements.  From a Tibetan POV, it would seem that only the lower tantras were transmitted through China to Japan, for what that's worth. 

Shingon is definitely a Vajrayana school.  Their practice is defined by its reliance on Vajrayana methods and that's that:  they regard the tantric path as the best way to practice Buddhism for our purposes today. 

Tendai, by contrast, is a Lotus Sutra or Ekayana school.  Doctrinally, the TianTai teachings constitute the heart Tendai tradition, much as the Hevajra tantra is the core of the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism.  But the Lotus is not a tantric text; it is in some respects a text that celebrates a kind of inclusiveness.  We hold that all beings are already endowed with all the characteristics of Buddhahood, and the purpose of practice is to draw them out, to allow the practicioner to recognize those characteristics in him or herself.  So there are many kinds of practices available to Tendai students, including mikkyo for many (all Tendai priests learn mikkyo at a basic level as part of their training), seated meditation, devotional practice, Pure Land practice, Madhyamika & sutric study, kaihogyo, and the work of running a temple (funerals, weddings, &c). 

Because there are distinct Vajrayana transmissions in Tendai, and because our approach to mikkyo is distinct (distinct from Shingon in certain ways), it makes some sense to classify Tendai in the Vajrayana sub-forum.  But Tendai issues will crop up in other forums, too, because we're also a Mahayana school.  I suppose one would say the same thing about, say, the Nyingma school:  Nyingmapas have things to say about Mahayana, about Madhyamika, about tantra, about preparing for death through making a connection to Amitabha, &c.

Analogy:  not all tall people play basketball, nor are all basketball players tall, but there remains a lot of overlap between the categories "tall people" and "basketball players."
Tendai Buddhism in Washington, DC and northern Virginia\

dctendai.blogspot.com

Offline Jikan

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Re: Tendai resources
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2010, 05:38:35 am »
This is a useful introduction to Tendai written in an accessible way by someone who knows what he's talking about.

http://www.quietmountain.org/dharmacenters/buddhadendo/view.htm
Tendai Buddhism in Washington, DC and northern Virginia\

dctendai.blogspot.com

Offline peacefulrandy

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Re: Tendai resources
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2014, 06:19:06 pm »
Can you show me how to be a tendai practicioner, I have had a hard life suffering, need a better life experience in this one the next and so on if possible. I live in a remote area in Costa Rica, no sangha, guru or nothing. Can you please help, I will understand if you can't or don't even reply although it would be nice to hear from you.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Tendai resources
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2014, 12:48:22 pm »
Hi Randy and welcome to Free Sangha.

The first place you'll want to check out is the homepage of the Tendai Buddhist Institute --- they have an excellent collection of resources and other material that you'll find beneficial to your practice:

http://www.tendai.org/


You might also want to go through the first six of the paramita commentaries based on the Flower Garland Sutra and attributed to Chih-I, the great teacher of the T'ien T'ai tradition (538-597 CE)--- although the T'ien T'ai school no longer exists as such, most modern forms of Buddhism found in China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan trace their roots to the T'ien T'ai tradition:

Dana Paramita
http://www.freesangha.com/forums/paramitayana/dana-the-first-practice-of-virtue/

Sila Paramita
http://www.freesangha.com/forums/paramitayana/sila-the-second-practice-of-virtue/

Ksanti Paramita
http://www.freesangha.com/forums/paramitayana/ksanti-the-third-practice-of-virtue/

Virya Paramita
http://www.freesangha.com/forums/paramitayana/virya-the-forth-practice-of-virtue/

Dhyana Paramita
http://www.freesangha.com/forums/paramitayana/the-fifth-practice-of-virtue/

Prajna Paramita
http://www.freesangha.com/forums/paramitayana/prajna-the-sixth-practice-of-virtue/


Anyway, the Paramitayana is a complete path in and of itself alone, so if you decide to undertake such a practice, please let me know and I'll send you a complete set of the commentaries in a single PDF file, as well as related resources and old teaching material from my time at Tarrgona.





Offline peacefulrandy

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Re: Tendai resources
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2014, 01:08:11 pm »
Thank you very much I will study the commentaries and follow through the practice thanks for your effort to do such a kind thing for me I really appreciate this. Please send them if you want.

 


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