Kriya tantra

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Four Classes of Tantra
Three outer classes
1. Yana of kriya tantra
2. Yana of charya tantra
3. Yana of yoga tantra
Inner class
4. Highest yoga tantra
Related topics
Tibetan Canon ~ Inner (Nyingma)

Kriya tantra (Skt. kriyātantra; Tib. བྱ་རྒྱུད་, ja gyü, Wyl. bya rgyud) is a classification of tantras within Tibetan Buddhism.

The kriya tantras, or ‘action’ tantras, are so-called because they are concerned mainly with external conduct, the practices of ritual purification and cleanliness and so on.

The vehicle of kriya trantra is identified within the following contexts:

Kriya tantra within the nine yanas

The Nine Yanas
Sutrayana (Outer Yanas)
1. Sravakayana
2. Pratyekabuddhayana
3. Bodhisattvayana
Three outer tantras
4. Yana of kriya tantra
5. Yana of charya tantra
6. Yana of yoga tantra
Three inner tantras
7. Yana of mahayoga
8. Yana of anuyoga
9. Yana of atiyoga
Related topics
Tibetan Canon ~ Four classes

Alak Zenkar Rinpoche explains the vehicle (yana) of kriya tantra according to the system of nine yanas as follows:

The kriyā tantras, or ‘action’ tantras, are so-called because they are concerned mainly with external conduct, the practices of ritual purification and cleanliness and so on.

The entry point, view, meditation, conduct and results of this vehicle are as follows:

i. Entry Point

The initial point of entry to the path of secret mantra vajrayana is ripening empowerment, so here one receives the water empowerment, which establishes the potential for ripening into the dharmakaya, and the crown empowerment, which establishes the potential for ripening into the rūpakāya. Then one keeps the general samayas of the kriyā yoga as they are explained in the particular texts themselves.

ii. View

In terms of determining the view, the basis of the path, one realizes that the ground of purification, the nature of mind itself, is the wisdom of empty clarity, and is ultimately beyond all extremes of elaboration, such as existing, not existing, appearing or being empty. Then one views the aspects of relative appearance, which are what must be purified, as the characteristics of the completely pure deity.

iii. Meditation

As for the path and the way of practising meditation, it centres around the four realities: 1) the reality of oneself, and 2) the reality of the deity, which is practised by means of the six aspects of the deity,[8] by visualizing oneself as the samaya form and then invoking the wisdom being into the space in front, considering oneself as a servant and the deity as one’s master. One then focuses upon 3) the reality of the mantra recitation which is the sound, and on the mind and the ground, and meditates upon 4) the reality of concentration, which consists of remaining in the ‘flame,’ continuation of sound and culmination of sound.

iv. Conduct

One performs the three kinds of ritual purification,[9] changes the three types of clothing,[10] adopts a diet of the three white foods[11] and practices ritual fasting and mantra recitation.

v. Results

In the short term, one becomes a desire realm vidyādhara, and ultimately one attains awakening as Vajradhara of one of the three buddha families: of the family of enlightened body, Vairocana, of the family of enlightened speech, Amitābha, or of the family of enlightened mind, Akṣobhya.[1]

Within East Asian Buddhism

The tantras within this category are also signficant within the East Asian traditions of Shingon and Tendai. However these traditions follow a different classificaton system.[2]

References

This article includes content from Kriya Tantra on Rigpawiki (view authors). Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0 RW icon height 18px.png