Yoga tantra

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Yoga tantra (Skt. yogatantra; T. rnal 'byor rgyud རྣལ་འབྱོར་རྒྱུད་) is a classification of tantras within Tibetan Buddhism. The vehicle of yoga trantra is so-called because it emphasizes the inner yogic meditation upon reality, combining skillful means and wisdom.[1]

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

Yoga tantra within the nine yanas

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

The vehicle of yoga tantra is so-called because it emphasizes the inner yogic meditation upon reality, combining skilful means and wisdom.

Its entry point, view, meditation, conduct and results are as follows:

i. Entry Point

Having been matured through the eleven empowerments—the five empowerments of the disciples (water, crown, vajra, bell and name) as well as the six empowerments of the master (the empowerment of irreversibility, empowerment of seeing secret reality, authorization, prophecy, confirmation and praising encouragement)—one keeps the samayas as described in the particular texts.

ii. View

The ground, the way in which the view is established, is as follows. Ultimately, all phenomena are realised to be clear light, beyond conceptual elaboration. Through the blessing of this, the relative is seen as the deities of the vajradhātu.

iii. Meditation

One meditates on the yoga of skilful means, visualizing oneself as the deity by means of the five aspects of awakening and the four miraculous things,[13] and summons the wisdom being, who then dissolves into oneself, and is sealed by means of the four mudrās, and so on. There is also the yoga of wisdom, in which one rests in a state in which ultimate non-conceptual wisdom is inseparable from the relative appearance of the deity of the vajradhātu.

iv. Conduct

One practises ritual purification and cleanliness simply as a support.

v. Results

As a worldly attainment, one becomes a celestial vidyādhara, and as the supermundane accomplishment, one attains enlightenment in Ghanavyūha, as one of the five buddha families (in addition to the four families previously mentioned, there is also Amoghasiddhi’s buddha family of enlightened activity).[2]

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.[3]


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