(Reported by the True Heart News interviewing team in Taipei)
Having discussed the first root infraction in terms of the object, we shall now look at the action that constitutes the first root downfall: the disparagement of one’s guru master. Tsongkhapa’s explanations of both of these parts largely are along the same line, only that he ends the latter with ways to repent any violations.
Tsongkhapha considered the disparagement of one’s master as a violation of root precepts without so much as examining whether the tantric precepts promulgated by the four traditions of Tibetan Tantric “Buddhism” conform to the karmic laws of causality. Any religious injunctions and proscriptions that contravene the karmic law of causality governing the dharma-realms [dharmadhatu] within the three realms of existence are ineffective and meaningless. In Buddhism, anyone who fails to understand this principle is regarded as an unenlightened ordinary being with misconceptions about the precepts and of course the injunctions he or she establishes are inconsequential.
All tantric gurus of the past and present, including Tsongkhapa, hold misconceptions about the precepts. Tsongkhapa writes in the Fruit Clusters of Siddhis that, “[Śāntipa] in his Jewel Lamp Commentary on the Black Yamāri Tantra says, 'Vajra masters are those who bestow consecration. Being impolite to us is getting heated and ridiculing us.’ So forsake that. If you do not forsake [that], it is a root downfall.”i
Tsongkhapa cited Śāntipa as saying that, “Vajra masters are those who bestow consecration. Being impolite to us is getting heated and ridiculing us.” So according to Tsongkhapa, ridiculing a vajra master constitutes a downfall not because this injunction is in accord with the karmic laws concerning the Liberation-Way or the Buddhahood-Way, but simply because the master is capable of bestowing empowerments (also called initiations). In other words, insofar that the tantric vajra masters of the four sects of fake Tibetan Buddhism are able to give empowerments to disciples, Tsongkhapa and Śāntipa reasoned that any impolite acts toward the vajra master result in the violation of the first tantric root infraction.
But why would the disciples give their masters, who bestow the empowerments angry stares, sneers and ridicule? This does not seem to make any sense. What Tsongkhapa left out in his explanation is what it really means for the vajra master to “bestow consecration” on a disciple.
A vajra master of Tibetan Tantric “Buddhism” refers to a guru specializing in the Tantric Vajrayana. To “bestow consecration,” the vajra master must be skilled in persuading female disciples to accept the practice of tantric vajrayana, that is, the sexual Couple-Practice. This is the secret between the vajra master and the disciple - and could remain a lifelong one as long as there is no conflict between the two parties. However, if the disciple feels resentful toward the guru and verbally assails him, all the secrets might be blown. Everything depends upon the disciple’s reaction toward the Couple Practice: if she takes offense at the master’s sexually conferred “consecration,” she would probably sneer at him; or if she was coerced into the sexual “initiation,” she would surely be outraged.
Tsongkhapa: “… but rather take it as being any teaching, from a single verse on the topic of the generation or completion stage and so forth that is unique to tantra on up, because the earlier extract about taking just a single verse is [said] in the context of the master relative to whom the root downfall is incurred.”ii
The “generation stage” concerns the learning of foundational skills for the tantric practices. Only after this stage has been fulfilled can one move on to the completion stage to receive the secret empowerments and wisdom empowerments. In plain English, these empowerments that Tsongkhapa regarded as “unique to tantra on up” refer to the actual engagement in tantric sex and the bestowing of empowerments are really instructions on how to experience the sexual pleasure and attain the dual operation of bliss and emptiness.
The first root downfall, the disparagement of master, is established as a preventive measure. Once acquiring full knowledge of the vajra master’s teachings, a female disciple may question whether these teachings are truly the Buddha dharma. If she and others discover that the Tantric Vajra Vehicle is not a Buddhist practice but sex and nothing more, they would very likely to come out and accuse their master of unethical sexual abuse and debunk the attractive notion of attaining Buddhahood in this present life via the “dual operation of bliss and emptiness” as nothing but a religious sex scam. If that happens, the tantric gurus would go to jail and Tibetan “Buddhism” would implode. This is not a far-fetched scenario, but a possibility that any insiders of a sex cult can foresee.
Those who disguised the sexual tantra of Tantric Vajra Vehicle as Buddhist cultivation were no doubt smart and crafty. They put together a whole body of complex but trivial rites and practices to razzle dazzle learners into believing that the Tantric Vajrayana is a most amazing dharma. Taking advantage of the fact that most people have insufficient understanding of Buddhism to see through what they are doing, they seize upon the desire-realm beings’ weakness for sexual gratification. Most cunningly, they devised a bunch of arbitrary precepts, such as to not disparage masters with even so much as with a negative thought, to keep gullible learners tightly bound.
It is impossible for vajra masters to escape disparagement because everything the Tibetan Tantric School teaches - tenets, cultivation, practices, and attainment - are heretical or even perverse in nature. Sooner or later people will figure this out by themselves. In the case that critical remarks have been spread, Tsongkhapa adds in a remedy:
The Commentary on the Root Downfalls [attributed to Manjusrikirti] says that in the case in which a master parts from life, if later confessed before the expiry of the term of [your life], it is a root downfall. If you expire [before confession] it is a defeat," and in the case in which [the master] does not part from life it is a gross defeat.iii
It must be clarified that Bodhisattva Manjushri was absolutely not the author of The Commentary on the Root Downfalls (nor was the “Black Manjushri” Tsongkhapa claimed to have encountered a manifestation of the Bodhisattva). Bodhisattva Manjushri was the teacher of past seven Buddhas. He attained Buddhahood long ago and was manifesting himself as a bodhisattva during Buddha Shakyamuni’s time out of compassion. Having attained perfect enlightenment, He radiates golden brightness and would never appear as a lightless, inky apparition. A returning Buddha with perfect knowledge of mundane and the trans-mundane karmic laws, Bodhisattva Manjushri could not have composed the untenable The Commentary on the Root Downfalls of Tantric Vajrayana; its real author was more likely some tantric guru.
The first tantric root infraction is an injunction that blames the crime on the victim. It was the guru masters who confounded the disciples with a complex body of rituals and failed to fully inform the disciples about the essence of the Tantric Vajrayana before its “personal transmission.” When the disciples have been led blindly to the point of no turning back, that is, the “bestowing of the knowledge-wisdom empowerment” (a euphemism of copulation), most of them are too intimidated and confused to reject it, despite their lawful right to decry the nonconsensual sex. Nonetheless, according to the tantric root downfall, it is the sexually exploited disciples who have to repent, not the abusive masters, whose immorality is always condoned and sanctified by the root downfalls.
Moreover, since the tantric vajra vehicle has to be transmitted by the Dalai Lamas, the dharma-kings, living tulkus, rinpoches, and guru masters of Tantric “Buddhism,” the injunction against disparagement work to preempts potential complications during its propagation. It is especially useful and important in shielding these revered figureheads of Tantric “Buddhism” from sex scandals when tantric yoga is disseminated in areas where knowledge of the Buddha Dharma is already present.
To guard the repute of these infallible “holy” masters, those who slander or belittle them must go through rituals of repentance, which make the point that the guru master has been wronged and the wrongdoers must expiate their sins. In other words, the sinner becomes the one sinned against and would never be held accountable for his transgressions.
The lama gurus and rinpoches of Tibetan “Buddhism” have always cultivated the tantric vajra vehicle, whether in Tibet or nowadays in every part of the world where they have set up their “Buddhist” centers. Well aware of the sexual nature of their core practice, these tantric masters set eyes on particular disciples whom they see as desirable consorts and scheme to “liberate” them through calculated moves. When the right opportunity shows itself, they would play hardball with these disciples to “bestow consecration.” Despite ample experience in this kind of maneuvering, every now and then they come upon female disciples who are too reserved or too shocked to accept that the tantric vajrayana they have been cultivating actually culminates in sex play with one’s guru. Reluctantly cajoled into this, their subsequent resentment and disdain of their masters are understandable from both a social and a legal perspective.
According to the Buddhist principles and law of causality, the tantric gurus are clearly the miscreants who should confess and repent their sexual misconduct. However, tantric ethics allow the villains to transpose their own transgressions onto the exploited victims. The first root downfall, as we have explained, is a straitjacket cleverly invented to bind disciples of the Tantric School into acquiescing to sexual predation. If they dare to so much as utter a disrespectful word about their master, the tantric ethics demand them to confess and repent openly.
The root infractions established by the tantric patriarchs neither accord with the karmic laws pertaining to the Liberation-Way and the Ultimate Reality, nor any mundane codes of conduct in the three realms. The causality described in the precepts of tantric ethics has no veridical basis whatsoever. Anyone who blows the covers off such preposterous “ethics” and the pernicious crimes they endorse earns good karma for the meritorious deed of protecting sentient beings.
iTsongkhapa, Tantric Ethics: An explanation of the precepts for Buddhist Vajrayana Practice, translated by Gareth Sparham; 1st edition, Wisdom Publication, USA, 2005, pp. 86
This article is an English version of the Chinese edition published on
June 13, 2014.