So that living beings might attain great liberation, or full enlightenment, Buddha revealed two paths: the common path and the uncommon path. Here, path refers to an internal path or spiritual realization that leads us to liberation from suffering, or permanent inner peace.The common path is the Vajrayana path. Vajrayana path, Tantric path, and path of Secret Mantra are synonyms. These are explained extensively in this book. The common path is revealed by Buddha in his Sutra teachings. The stages of the common path are the 21 spiritual paths from the realization of relying upon Spiritual Guide up to the realization of superior seeing. These are known as Lamrim, or the stages of the path. Training in these common paths is the foundation for the practice of the Vajrayana path. The Vajrayana path is like a vehicle that takes us directly to our final destination, and the common paths are like the road on which that vehicle travels. Therefore, to extract the greatest essence from this precious human life by attaining full enlightenment, we need first to train in the common paths of Lamrim, and then in the uncommon Vajrayana paths.
The teachings of Tantra, or Secret Mantra as it is sometimes called, are the rarest and most precious of Buddha’s teachings. It is only by following the path of Secret Mantra that we can attain enlightenment, or Buddhahood. Why can we not attain full enlightenment just by practicing the paths of Sutra? There are two main reasons. First, to attain enlightenment we need to accomplish both the Truth Body and Form Body of a Buddha. Although Sutra teachings present a general explanation of how these two bodies are accomplished Independence upon the stages of the path of wisdom and method, they do not give precise explanations of the actual direct, substantial causes of these two bodies. The direct, substantial cause of the Truth Body is meaning clear light, and the direct, substantial cause of the Form Body is the illusory body. These are explained only in Secret Mantra
The second reason why Sutra paths cannot lead us to full enlightenment is that Sutra teachings do not present methods for overcoming the very subtle obstructions to omniscience – the subtle dualistic appearances associated with the minds of white appearance, red increase, and black near-attainment. These three minds become manifest when our inner winds dissolve within the central channel during sleep, during the death process, or during completion stage meditation. Although these minds are subtle minds they are nevertheless contaminated minds because their objects – the appearance of space pervaded by white light, the appearance of space pervaded by red light, and the appearance of space pervaded by darkness – appear as inherently existent. These appearances of inherent existence are subtle dualistic appearances and the very subtle objects to omniscience. Because Sutra teachings do not explain how to recognize the minds of white appearance, red increase, and black near-attainment, Sutra Bodhisattvas are unable even to recognize the subtle dualistic appearances associated with them, let alone abandon them. In general, dualistic appearance is the appearance to a mind of both its object and inherent existence. All the lines of living beings, with the exception of the exalted awareness of meditative equipoise of Superior beings, have this appearance.
For spiritual practitioners who are attracted to profound Dharma, Buddha taught the Vajrayana path. The Vajrayana, or Secret Mantra Vehicle, is sometimes called the ‘Attachment Vehicle’ because, instead of trying to abandon attachment immediately, practitioners of this vehicle use attachment as an aid to generating spontaneous great bliss, with which they then meditate on emptiness. Furthermore, when they finally attain enlightenment, even though they have no desirous attachment they nevertheless display the aspect of having attachment by appearing as Tantric Buddhas in the aspect of Father and Mother in sexual embrace.
Although we can transform attachment into the spiritual path by practicing Secret Mantra, we need great skill to be able to do this because normally when attachment develops strongly it automatically disturbs our peaceful mind. The main reason why most Buddhas will not expound Secret Mantra is that there is a danger that unqualified practitioners will use it for the sake of worldy pleasure; and qualified practitioners among disciples are very rare.
Tantric Grounds and Paths – A definitive manual for completing the spiritual path through the practice of Highest Yoga Tantra. Although there is great interest in Tantra, very few people understand its real meaning. This book represents a significant milestone in revealing the profound mysteries of Tantra to the modern world. Drawing from his own experience and the works of Je Tsongkhapa and other great Yogis, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso presents an authoritative and comprehensive guide to the four classes of Tantra in general, and to the generation and completion stages of Highest Yoga Tantra in particular. Click Here to order now.
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