thunderbolts- cosmic tantric devices

Both in Hindu and in Buddhist Tantric beliefs, the duality of the sexes was developed with particular emphasis. One of the cardinal doctrines was the worship of the spiritual-sexual principle: the union of opposites. Dhyana, or meditation as abstract thought, was regarded as the male principle, which remained inert until activated by a cosmic female energy- Shakti or Prajna.

The worship could be sometimes quite literal: among many Tantric devotees, sexual ecstasy was held to be the road to release from the bondage of self- and it was achieved in a ritual in which the worshipper could identify with a particular deity. The magical instrument used to compel deities to reveal their spiritual attributes to the worshipper was the Vajra, a diamond or thunderbolt; hence the name Vajrayana- Vehicle of the Thunderbolts.

Karlins:He can be identified by distinctive marks -- a cranial protuberance called an "ushnisha," a tuft of hair between the eyebrows known as an "urna," long earlobes, and usually a monk’s robe. The long earlobes refer to the heavy earrings that he wore before renouncing his royal life of ease to practice austerities that allowed him to reach "nirvana," or enlightenment, overcoming the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth that the unenlightened suffer. The earlobes also refer to his being all-hearing, a good thing if you are praying to him. In the thangka the Buddha is depicted with a groundedness that underlines his importance, as does his placement in the center of the picture. If you think the halo around his head is similar to haloes in western Christian art, you’re right. These signs of spiritual radiance both derive from sun disks from the Middle East. read more:

By the eighth century, when Buddhism reached Tibet, Vajarayana was practically the only form of Buddhism that still survived in India, its stronghold located in such famous monastic institutions of Bengal and Bihar as Nalanda and Vikramashila. From these monasteries Gautama’s ancient creed, now metamorphosed into Tantric Buddhism, came to the Himalaya where today it still survives.

James Standen Taylor: Most people who have studied a more pure form of Indian Buddhism are quite shocked when encountering Tibetan Buddhism, and can easily see the shamanic and folk elements that have grown on it. Many of these are visible in other Buddhist countries, but not to the central extent found in Tibet . For example, Tibetan Buddhist religious functionaries have been seriously co-opted into taking over many of the roles normally held by the shaman, such as being expected to act as exorcists .Read More: a

"The Chod ritual in Tibetan Buddhism is a tantric ritual in which the practitioner offers his own flesh to demons and beings of lower realms as a way of purifying karma. While the sacrifice is visualized and no actual flesh is used in the ritual, the visualized offerings are considered "real" in the realms of the non-physical beings to which they are offered. The practice of offering one's own flesh is considered to be a ritual of cutting one's attachment to ego and the physical body. The principle deity in the Chod rite is Machig Labdron, who is the Mother of Chod and founder of the Mahamudra Chod more:

…Historically, Tibet has been full of shamans. Central Asian Buddhism has become so shamanistic, that the word for shaman is a synonym for Buddhist monk. It runs in family lines, and the person is usually called at puberty to perform functions universal to shamans the world over. “The shaman is not a priest, although plenty of priests and monks within Tibetan religion are clearly shamans,” . Samuel adds: “Pragmatic concerns are dealt with by folk-religion practitioners, using techniques of spirit-mediumship and other forms of divination along with various kinds of rituals. They are also a primary area of concern for the lamas,” , which is accomplished through Tantric power. Given the historical context in which Buddhism entered Tibet, this is hardly surprising.

Early Buddhism had trouble gaining converts, as Tibetans didn’t think it could deal with the spirits. It eventually won support by converting the spirits to being protectors of Buddhist teachings, though they were originally the personifications of natural forces and objects, such as storms and mountains… Read More:

"People of Christian background often question if demons exist because Buddhas exist, as if one were a necessary reflex of the other. The answer to that question is no. The question is frequently extended to ask why, if Buddhas exist, they do not simply subdue or otherwise eradicate demons. The answer is that they do, but just as Buddhas are continuously manifesting, so too are demons and evil spirits. To the question of what manifests Buddhas and demons, the answer is almost surely that Buddhas are uncreated and self-manifesting, whereas demons are persistent illusions created by collection. The question then becomes, if they are illusions, why do they persist. The answer is they are raw, evolving illusions, connected to us by the force of karma. The question then becomes, if they are created by collection why are they not subject to dispersal, i.e. why do they endure? The answer is they endure through the power of collective intention and ignorance."... read more:

In the remote monasteries of the Himalaya, Vajayana, or tantric Buddhism, and its art, underwent further change , largely in spirit, when it encountered natives who believed then, and sometimes now, in demons, sorcery , and pervasive presence of malevolent spirits. This influence is seen in what are called Goinkhangs, which are reserved for the inmates of the demonic world. A Goinkhang is usually a small, dark room in a lonely corner of a monastery, in the eerie gloom of which are hung huge skins and the teeth and nails of amimals , as well as the remains of sacrificial victims or enemies along with their weapons and armor.

The walls of the room are covered with paintings of the misshapen form of demons, black magicians, witches, ferocious animals, and vultures. The atmosphere is typically Himalayan, for these people, after all, spend their lives under the shadows of the groaning an

acking sound of descending glaciers and of great avalanches tumbling from the mountains.

The paintings are typically Himalayan: although Buddhist art in general had its terrifying figures, the artists of the Himalaya had great freedom to enlarge and improve upon this grotesque world. Paintings of terrifying gods are meant to strike terror- an emotion that, temporarily at least, thrusts a person outside of themselves. The Buddhist concept of the cycle of births and deaths is enacted here in all its sorrow and pain until finally it points the path of  nirvana or salvation.

"The anonymous painters who made Alchi come alive are said to be from Kashmir, and this is the finest extant example of their genius (many others, in what is now western Tibet, were destroyed during China's Cultural Revolution). Perhaps even more than its religious iconography, Alchi is famous for scenes capturing courtly life—royal hunts, banquets and the like—which provide a wealth of detail about contemporary lifestyles. The richly embroidered and printed robes, including one patterned like peacock feathers, are especially striking. Their intricate detailing suggests, according to art historian Deborah Klimburg-Salter of the University of Vienna, that the artists modelled these on actual textiles of that time. Faces, hairstyles, costumes and headdresses in a famous banquet scene painted on one of Alchi's walls have tantalised scholars for years for their Central Asian/Silk route echoes. Renowned US-based scholar Pratapaditya Pal, in his authoritative study of Alchi, says the murals reveal "an eclectic civilisation" in which elements from Tibet, Kashmir, the Indo-Aryan, Iranian and Turko-Mongol cultures, even of Byzantium, commingled." read more:


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David Chapman: Buddhism, at root, is a method for facing the paradoxes of life and death with curiosity, appreciation, generosity, and joy. Its starting point is the experience of ambiguity. The natural tendency is to polarize: to say “this is this and that is that; I love this and hate that.” But experience is unavoidably undefinable. Reality refuses to fit into categories; it is always in flux. When “this” inexplicably turns into “that,” and you love or hate the “wrong” thing: that is paradox. Rejecting ambiguity is, according to Buddhism, the primordial error, and source of all unhappiness. Paradox is resolved through non-duality: allowing the horns of a dilemma to co-exist.

What has this to do with vampires? Consider the basic paradox of the undead. To paraphrase the great Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna, they are not alive, nor dead, nor both, nor neither. The undead are, as contemporary Buddhist philosopher Stephen T. Asma puts it, “liminal beings.” “Liminal” means “on the threshold”; a defining feature of monsters is that they are neither one thing nor another. This is just the fundamental Buddhist paradox of emptiness and form, reflected in a pool of blood. Read More:

Schaeffer, Kurtis R. Dreaming the Great Brahmin: Tibetan Traditions of the Buddhist Poet-Saint Saraha. Oxford University Press, 2005. Pg. 151. read more:

In Buddhist tradition, and in contemporary fiction, the paradox of undeath extends into a network of metaphors for ambiguities that are otherwise difficult to talk about. These aspects of existence must be approached with sensitivity and indirection: both because they can raise violent emotions, and due to the subtlety of their resolutions.

This discussion is not for the faint-hearted. It is for those willing to walk the razor edge of life and death, monstrosity and nobility, horror and beauty, disgust and delight, romance and madness, and the eternal moment where all these converge, in non-duality. These are main themes of Buddhist Tantra—and of vampire fiction. Read More:

In my opinion, though, these vampire analogies are poor. Within the context of vampires found in gothic fiction, the closest analogy from Tibetan myth would be that of the Düd Tormented (see Tibet the RPG). These are people who would have died, under natural circumstances, but they were kept alive by invisible, malevolent düd entities who desire to feed on their suffering. This fits closely with the theme in much gothic literature that life can be a curse as well as a gift.

…Many outsiders have had reactions to Vajrayana Buddhism similar to reactions outsiders have to gothic literature and culture. At first glance, Vajrayana Buddhism seems to be made up of evil, licentious, nihilistic demon-worshippers. This misreading of Vajrayana Buddhism is easy to make if one examines only the symbols of Vajrayana Buddhism without looking in to the philosophy behind it. Death and suffering are used in Vajrayana symbolism, not to encourage death and suffering, but to help people acknowledge death and suffering and to deal with it more constructively. The fact that Buddhism practitioners hold dangerous magical power is not because this is what they hope to achieve, it is simply an acknowledgment that the world is a dangerous place and that even Buddhist masters can sometimes falter and use their skills for malevolent purposes. Again, these sad truths are brought out in to the open, people are constantly reminded of them, they may even celebrate them, but this is not an endorsement of these truths but an attempt to deal with them constructively. When Vajrayana Buddhists say that “life is suffering” it is not to make people suffer more, but to help them get started on the path towards suffering less, even if it means going through a painful period of admitting the suffering which is currently in their lives.

Like much in the gothic subculture, Vajrayana Buddhism tries to be as cognizant and open as possible about the dark side of life and the universe. They do not try to mask or ignore the things which make life dangerous and full of suffering, but instead they try to explore those elements as deeply as possible.Read More:!Tibet/vajrayana_goth.htm
Read More: but more importantly, buddhism espouses the opposite of the concept of “original sin”. in buddhism we are all born with “original buddhahood”. we are all perfect and complete as we are, or in abrahamic terms, essential human nature is saintly. the problem of samsara, or sin in abrahamic terms, arises as we live our lives in society and in the world. it arises because we fail to realize and become cognoscente of our own essential buddha-nature. if buddhahood is a state of consciousness, it is not the case that we lose our buddha-nature when we become alienated from that state of consciousness. estranged from buddha consciousness our existences become a semblance of that life of quite desperation h. d. thoreau so beautifully spoke of. (to be more precise, buddhism is ‘also’ a state of consciousness, as we need to become consciously aware of it and intuitively immersed within it, but, paraphrasing buber, it starts as consciousness but it cannot end there. it has to become a state of the whole-being). we repair (tikkun) our innate buddha-nature as we restore the consciousness of its existence within us. but how do we come to lose that consciousness we are born with?

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