What is a "Buddha Vajradhara," the Goal of this Tradition? To study this work fruitfully, we need first of all to understand what the author thinks is the goal of the practices described within it. That is to say, we need to imagine what Tsong Khapa imagines is the kind of being called a "buddha vajradhara" - what a buddha really is - whether viewed from the Tantric perspective or not. What he thinks a buddha-being is, is so utterly fantastic, even preposterous, from the perspective of our philosophically materialist modem culture, it takes a real effort of imagination, a nearly sci-fi exercise in openness of mind. We don't have to agree that in reality there is such a thing, but to understand the work at hand, it is fruitful to place ourselves in the position of Tsong Khapa's audience. To catch a glimpse of where he is coming from, we have to review the parameters he sets up for our imagining. This is an effort required to understand any form of Buddhism, but it is particularly important in theTantric or mantric context, since a lot of the work of mantric practice involves contemplative deployment of the structured imagination.

 

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Brilliant Illumination of the Lamp of the Five Stages - Robert A F Thurman

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