First steps to the mystery doctrines of Esoteric Buddhism
Esoteric Buddhism and the basic doctrines of Esoteric Buddhism are the mystery things in Buddhism. It is also “Tantra Buddhism“, “Mantra-yana“, or “Esoteric-yana“. It is the final period in the history of Mahayana Buddhism in India. According to history, Esoteric Buddhism had become the independent Buddhism sect in India in the middle of the seventh century.
And in the various Buddhism sects, people consider Esoteric Buddhism as the sect that covers the most subtle philosophy. Besides that, because of its ancient linear transmission, Esoteric Buddhism has become more and more mystery.
Who is the most well-known Yidam in Esoteric Buddhism? Mahavairocana Buddha
Yidam or the central-honored one is a special esoteric cultivation in Esoteric Buddhism. Of course, the most well-known Yidam in this sect is Mahavairocana Buddha. In Sanskrit, “Maha” means “Great, Huge”. And “Vairocana” is “The Sun”.
The Mahavairocana Sutra mentioned:
“In Sanskrit, Mahavairocana is the holy name of the Sun that deletes the darkness and sheds light on the whole universe. However, the light of Sun of the world is just able to spread limited directions. If it sheds light on the external parts, it can’t do the same to the internal parts. Likewise, it can only shine in the daytime, not nighttime. On the contrary, the light of Buddha’s wisdom comes everywhere in the whole universe, without any limits, without any distinction. Thus, the Sun of the world can not be compared to the Sun of the Buddha. It is just the same small part in the light of the Sun of the Buddha. That is the reason why it must be added the word “Maha” before “Vairocana.”
In the Exoteric Buddhism, Lord Buddha Siddhartha is the most famous central-honored one. And Mahavairocana Buddha is the most well-known central-honored one in Esoteric Buddhism.
Who are the historic Great Gurus in Esoteric Buddhism?
Maha-Vairocana Buddha is the founder of Esoteric Buddhism. Next, Vajrasattva Guru is the second one.
Then, Nagarjuna Guru is the third one. Nagarjuna Guru appeared 800 years after Lord Buddha had attained Nirvana.
After that, the practitioner of Nagarjuna Guru – Nagabodhi Guru became the fourth one.
When Nagabodhi Guru was 700 years-old, Nagabodhi Guru had inducted Subhakarasimha into the position of the fifth historic Great Guru.
In sum, they are the five historic Great Guru, according to the legend of Dharma in Esoteric Buddhism.
How about The Difference Between Esoteric Buddhism and Exoteric Buddhism?
Exoteric Buddhism sect concludes the opening or general Scriptures that was written based on Lord Buddha’s teaching. In fact, Exoteric Buddhism sect usually conducts Buddhism practices in public, pays attention to practicing Buddhism meditation. According to Exoteric Buddhism, people can “come closer to the Lord Buddha” and attain Dharma by cultivation. If the cultivators look forward to studying Exoteric Buddhism, they should research all of the philosophies of Mahayana Buddhism and Hinayana Buddhism.
In contrast, Esoteric Buddhism sect covers the philosophies of Dharma taught by Maha-Vairocana Buddha. It focuses on the lineage, mantra, and esoteric rituals so as to help the cultivators to become Buddha in the present life. The core philosophy of Esoteric Buddhism of Maha – Vairocana Buddha is in the Vajradhatu and Garbhadhatu. However, if a Buddhist hopes to learn Esoteric Buddhism, he must have a Great Esoteric Teacher to guide him. Besides that, he also has to be compliant with the Sadhana of Esoteric Buddhism. From the beginning level of Abhiwecana to the high-level of becoming the Great Vajra Guru, each cultivator needs to practice step by step.
Listening to the Great Vajra Guru mantra – taking a step closer to this mystery Buddhism sect.
What are the basic doctrines of Esoteric Buddhism?
Its basic doctrines conclude two parts. They are esoteric teaching and exoteric teaching.
For more details, the exoteric teaching consists of the theory of Mahayana Buddhism, Hinayana Buddhism and all of the Sutras, Scriptures of these sects. They are the theories of Vijnatimatrata, Avatamsaka, Prajna, Bodhicitta…
On the other hand, the esoteric teaching covers all of the doctrines in the Sutras of Mahavairocana Buddha. For examples, the cultivating method of contemplating the Yidam, transforming the body into the Yidam’s manifestation, Mandala, Abhiseka, Abhicaraka, transmitting Abhiseka, moving the intelligent spirit, and etc.
In the journey of cultivating, the cultivators also have to practice Buddhism morality, Buddhism meditation, and Buddhism wisdom. However, it priors the method of Adhisthana that seeks and upholds the magical power of Yidam. Therefore, it can be said that there are three main factors in cultivating this sect. First of all, this is great-loving compassion. Secondly, it is Buddhism wisdom. And, finally, this must be Upayakusala – extraordinary skillful means.
There are also four levels in Esoteric Buddhism
In this level, the cultivators have to know Kwana. It means they make the confession about their bad karmas and ask for Yidam’s forgiveness. Besides that, they must practice the method of contemplating Yidam well as well as make Yidam’s mudra. Moreover, they need to know how to make Mandala, the modes of Abhiseka. And, they ought to understand the Buddhism mantras and other Esoteric Buddhism’ manners.
At this level, the cultivators know all lower-level methods of cultivation well. For examples: all of the practices such as contemplating Yidam, chanting Mantras, making Yidam’ mudras, making Mandala…and others.
To this level, the cultivators have already been skillful at two lower levels. Furthermore, they have to be very good at transforming their body into their Yidam.
This is the highest level of Esoteric Buddhism. Of course, the cultivators have completed all of the lower levels. They fulfill the three mystic things include the body, mouth, and mind.
According to its doctrines, if the cultivator can get success in the highest level, they can attain enlightenment within one life. It means they can become Buddha in the present life.
If a cultivator looks forward to practicing the Supreme Esoteric Buddhism, he has to practice step by step. Then, he must be experienced the Abisekana given by a Great Guru. Besides that, this cultivator also has to understand the theory of Emptiness and Bodhi-citta deeply. These above things are the obligatory requirements for cultivating the highest level in Esoteric Buddhism.