Modern buddhism relies on Buddha Shakyamuni(Gotama), who was born 2600 years ago as the son of the king Schudhodhana in the family of the Schakyas.
After the Mahayana Buddha Shakyamuni was the fourth Buddha in a series of 1000 Buddhas, while the Theravada in the Buddhavamsa enumerates a list of 28 Buddhas. Hinduism mentiones him sometimes as an avatar of Vishnu.
Buddhism expects the Maitreya-Buddha, and tibetan Buddhism expects after Maitreya the Simha-Buddha.
* Prebish, Charles S. (2008), "Cooking the Buddhist Books: The Implications of the New Dating of the Buddha for the History of Early Indian Buddhism" (PDF), Journal of Buddhist Ethics 15, 1–21
* The Riddle of the First Buddhist Council - A Retrospection
The historic Buddha Gautama taught originally only a "fourfolded path" which was later expanded and twisted by the oral tradition of the various linages.
The four noble truths Dukkha, Samudaya, Nirodha and Magga are the fundamentals of the buddhist doctrine of Buddha Shakyamuni(Gautama) :
A part of the doctrine are the eight worldly conditions : Profit and loss, honor and contempt, praise and blame, joy and sorrow, against which composure and equanimity are recommended. Further exist the three Kleshas.
The Buddhist is therefore striven to live "here and now and always conscious"..
Throughout the centuries the buddhist linages within the four developed wheels and the the various Yanas documented a rich teaching:
After the second buddhist council (334 BCE) the Mahayana (also referred to as Sutrayana) splitted from the Hinayana. It was later detached from the standpoint of tantric Vajrayana. From the Vajrayana point of view is the Sutrayana the causal vehicle and the Tantrayana the result vehicle.
Yanas : The different later schools developed up to 12 yanas. 9 Yanas are mentioned in the 'Kulayaraja Tantra' (Kunje Gyalpo) and in the general 'Sutra of the Assembly of All Intentions' (Düpa Do). Mahasiddha Saraha taught a Sahajayana.
The Vaibhāṣika Sarvāstivādins knew 3 Yanas
Still later arose the asian integrative vehicle, Ekayana or integral Buddhism.
Several side branches in various asian countries survived, which represent only views and aspects of the path of the ONE PATH and specific views of the big emptyness.
Traditional Buddhism leads to Nirvana, the lower divine spheres (dharmakaya) - just like the development of the Kabbala with the En-Soph(-aur). Only few buddhist masters came so to the selfrealisation of Paranirvana and Mahaparanirvana.
An unsolved problem is also the unexplainedness of the last origin of the spirit, and buddhist cosmology has so a lack of a system of plains like in Hinduism and Shivaism (and Radhasomi) on which the higher philosophy can lean.
Buddhism has with Mara a similar representative of the negative forces as hinduism with Kama and the Bible with Lucifer-Satan and Radhasoami with the Kal(and Maya).
'Maya in Buddhism' is besides the name of Gautama's mother also a force and/or the principal deity who creates, perpetuates and governs the phantasmagoria, illusion and dream of duality in the phenomenal Universe. So the small Mahāmāyā - Tantra deals with dreamyoga(: Deep sleep is Maya : Siva Sutras).
Mara is the demon who tempted Gautama Buddha by trying to seduce him with the vision of beautiful women who, in various later legends, are often said to be Mara's daughters.
Mara's three daughters are from tantric standpoint identified as Taṇhā (Craving), Arati (Aversion/Discontentment), and Raga (Attachment/Desire/Greed/Passion).
In Buddhist cosmology, Mara is also associated with death, rebirth and desire. He is an entity having an existence in the Kāma-worlds.
Besides Mara exist 'tantric 'angry Buddhas' as protectors and secret Yidams with a threefold meaning.
The Mahayana counts 'four Maras' as the four hindrances on the path to enlightenment:
1. Devaputra Mara : indulging in comfortable sensations (fastening at the joys of the Deva-areas)
2. Klesha Mara : disturbing feelings of most varied characteristic
3. Skandha Mara : the view of the own person as an actual EGO
4. Mrtyupati Mara : to consider death to be really in the end, and to not to recognize the immortality of the spirit(with spirit is here comparatively the atmic purusha meant)
Guruge, Ananda W.P. (1991). "The Buddha's encounters with Mara, the Tempter: their representation in Literature and Art" (PDF). Indologica Taurinensia. 17-18: 183–208.
The oldest preserved writings like the Pali canon were first written down more than 200 years after the death of Buddha Gautama. At that time existed no books in India but palmleaves and woodblocks.
"Three things shine openly and not secret: The sun, the moon and the doctrine of the perfect", is a citation of the Buddha. Inspite of that evolved a secret doctrine within several centuries and wheels.
Other old texts like the Diamond-Sutra were found in the area of the Magoa-Caves near Danhuang. In one cave exists a long wallpainting with the steps of the path. On stage 15 rides a monk on the mythical bird Garuda .
The doctrine was expanded during the centuries and complicated and twisted in the various tantric linages and in the various asian countries, also because of shaivist influences in Vajrayana.
There are several variations regarding the curriculum vitae of buddha Gautama.
The Curriculum vitae can also be interpreted as a symbolical description of the Universal Path (up to step 20).
(Rudolf Steiner had already attempted to deceipher it a bit this in "Christianity as a mystical fact, on page 77, but with several errors.)
Buddha Shakyamuni(Gotama) was born as the son of the fourty-year-old Queen MAYA, the main woman of his father Suddhodana(the human Ego), the Raja of the Republic of Sakya, therefore the name Sakyamuni.
During the birth of Gotama (step 2 of the universal path) MAYA ailt already. The esoteric view is that the influence of Maya (Avidya) over Gautama decreases slowly, therefore her dream of the white Elephant. ("Gau" means in the hinduism "cow", i.e. the cow which accompanies Krishna, the white divine light)
The candidate Gautama has now a development comparably with the YAMA of the Ashtanga yoga, and he strives the coarse bindings at Maya and her world of the deceit and infatuation further off. (The birth of Christian Rosenkreutz happens similarly in the rosicrucian 'Fama Fraternitatis').
Seven days after the birth (Universal-Path step 9) dies MAYA ('s influence).
After the death of MAYA Gotama is brought to his aunt and stepmother Prajapati, the higher nature above the Samsara of Maya-forces, i.e he is now so far developed that he "turns the wheel". (see : Tarotcard 10).
There he becomes a Siddharta (one, who has 'fulfilled' his wishes), and so tames the lion of his sexual forces (Universal Path step 11, the lion) and low desires. Tarotcard 11 shows this aunt Pajapati with the tamed lion.
In Asia, several lions stand at the entrances of many temples. They symbolize that who enters the true inner temple first must have overcome his inner bindings at the matter.(thought temy may be intertreted differnt today). The lions are therefore a kind of 'guardians of the threshold', and Gautama stands now in the forecourt of the temple of initiation.
First then he can step through the door of the temple with both columns (Universal Path 12). From the buddhist sight he must now develop in himself the forces with the quality of goodness, a requirement of step 13. True charitableness is based therefore upon selflessness.
At the age of 16 he is married with his beautiful cousin Yasodhara (U.Path step 14), who bears his son Rahula (Rahula means: 'bonder', i.e. of the 4 elements like the 'Quinta essetia' - in some versions lasts his birth 6 Years - i.e. the lunaric trialphase of step 14).
Rahula is a very special spiritual son [step 14, first initiation: Birth of the "divine child". The two columns of the temple "Siddharta - Yasodhara" have united like "Gabricus et Beya".]
At the age of 30 his higher bodies are full developed, and he ordfers his favorite servant Channa to saddle the horse. They leave the kingdom, and Gotama goes to the river Anoma ('shiny, exalted, glorious').
He lets everything back and crosses the river (without ground - Saturnus)
The "horse" stands here as a symbol for the power (!) of the spiritual all-Love, which should not to be mixed up with egocentric human love feelings, which come out of the desire. This cosmic force leads to a process, which initiates the beginning of the "long path". First on the long path the seeker can work with this force, and before this 2.nd initiation he can only ride on aspects of this spiritual force.
Gautama's five ascetic companions(the number differs) correspond to the (astral) five elements (or better shells of Maya), which are involved in the "big work(Opus Magnum)".
Later he is tempted by the demon MARA, who tries to 'seduce' him with the vision of beautiful women(Universal path step 15.5 : Venus-Phase).
From step 17, the development takes place via the powers of the spirit and higher forces, therefore Gotama leaves them.
He stops the fasting and builds a new spiritualized body(Trikaya - Universal Path step 17). Then he goes to Bodhgaya, i.e. he reaches the development-step of a mahāsattva - Bodhisattwa (who is from the second other shore).
After a meditation of six days and six nights, at a morning after full moon in May, he attains the enlightenment. The Tarotcard 18 shows this "full moon".
At the beginning of step 19 (Phase1 Mars) he attains the enlightenment of Nirvana. Then he remains for 3 weeks in meditation under the spiritual 'tree of life' (as in Apocalypse 19) in order to conclude the process and he attains the "double enlightenment"(step 19.2 Paranirvana).
The tantric Sarwa-Buddha-Dakini equates to the causal-body, the higher personality, which is transformed during the fourth initiation and the spirit(ind. Paramatma-Purusha) dominates the double-enlightened Buddha from then on. She equals Ramas Sita.
At the end of his life, he has converted and spiritualized all "acquaintances and relatives" - i.e. all inner forces.
On U.Path 18 he had already slain "Mother" and "Father", - i.e. maintenance drive and self-preservation drive.He removed his karmic complexities and the nesciene in himself, and so remain no "open questions".
He ends with the sentence: "All things are transitory".
After that he goes over steps of always deeper meditation into the Para-Nirvana(step 20) and attains the divine mastership of the step 20 of the universal doctrine (Tarotcard 20). (Comparably with this is the 'Ascension of Christ' into heaven.)
This interpretation is rather unknown in the current buddhism and lets some Lamas and priests stand there as not correct initiated into the original tradition. Therefore I will not deepen this.
It does of course not mean that the modern buddhism like Kagyü or Dzogchen cannot lead to the enlightenment or Paranirvana.
There were good reasons to revive buddhism for the founders of Mahayana and Vajrayana because it lacked at illuminated adepts.
It must be said that alone the traditional "Vipassana meditation" can hardly lead to the enlightenment of Nirvana. It follows out of the understanding of the Universal Doctrine. It is a meditation for beginners without the necessary power of transformation. The progressive technologies were traditionally orally transmitted. Today the Lamas give the knowledge per initiation or transmission.
Therefore i must beg the concerned separatistic buddhists to think more pragmatic. Nowadays exist several scools with different practices and adoration of many buddhas :
1. The Hinayana-Buddhism
(Small vehicle, classic Theravada, personal enlightenment)
2. The Mahayana buddhism
Big vehicle; Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna; is primarily concerned with the complete enlightenment of all living beings(incl. Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren, Sutrayana and Vajrayana).
The disciple should have experience of the three principal aspects of the method of Mahayana : Renunciation of samsara, bodhicitta(desire for truth, perfect enlightenment for the sake of others), understanding of the big emptiness( shunyata); Prajna - Paramita - Sutras; six Paramitas(Generosity, ethical acting, patience, persistence, gathering and wisdom), Trikaya.
Mahayana teaches that Buddha Gautama taught his teachings depending upon the state of consciousness of his listeners, and that the buddhist scriptures have a hidden secret meaning.
The Vajrayana-path consists of the 4 preparing practices (ngöndro, refuge to the Lama, bodhicitta), the 5 meditations with Visualisation (sadhana,Ritualtexts, yidam) and the meditations over nature of the spirit (Dzochgen, Mahamudra; emptyness and clarity of the spirit).
3. The tibetan tantric buddhism - which relates on Nagarjuna :
Four big scools(Nyingma,Sakya, Gelugpa,Kagyü):
Diamond vehicle, Vajrayana, Indestructable vehical : Is primarily concerned with the individual practioner, dilligently implimenting esoteric methods to gain enlightenment in ONE brief lifetime, motivated by the desire to liberate all living beings from suffering. But the four scools and their branches can be very seperatistic. The Tibetan tantric buddhism understands himself as a "third rotation of the wheel" which Buddha taught during the last years of his life..
All scools of tibetan buddhism teach the path of steps(Lamrim) of evolution towards enlightenment instead of a sudden enlightenment, but more as steps of synthesis of forces of specific buddhas and of virtues which correspond with certain forces.
The ascent to the perfection goes in ten steps(bhumi) before itself, that find their expression in the successive mastering of the ten perfections(paramita), in that each step correlates with one of the ten cardinal virtues.
One essential point of tantric buddhism is the refuge ( Three Jewels ) and the guru..
The Guru (Lama) plays an important role in these traditions, whereas Gautama was mainly a teacher.
The refuge mantra of the Vajrayna-Scool is well known :
Namo Guru bei
I pay homage to the guru, i pay homage to the buddha, i pay homage to the dharma, i pay homage to the Sangha.
4. Asian buddhism
Air, Water (Ananda)
|Shiva - the pure and untouched resolver - with the dynamic Akasha - Bhairava||Vishnu embodiment of mercy and goodness, the self-existent and all-pervading power that creates and maintains the cosmic order (Dharma) and destroys it - and who connects heaven and earth (Ananda Shaktis)||Brahma - creator of form-worlds - with the direction-faces|
|Dharmakaya and the Big emptyness mahashunya above the Dharmakaya||Karuna - Prajna
allpervading spirit - Sambhogakaya
|Divine forms -
The three hinduistic creative gods, who also represent the four spiritual elements, exists in the hinduistic Tapa-Loka and in kashmir shaivism in the equivalent Ishvara-tattwa, while Ishvara is beyond the akasha.
The dharmakaya - body of the Trikaya is therefore equivalent to the hinduistic paramatma-purusha(satpurush). The main problem is here the multitude of interpretations within the Mahayana and the Vajrayana- linages.
Before the bikhu can start a sadhana has has to go through a preparation phase comparable to yama and niyama and parnayama of ashtanga yoga.
Ngöndro (Wylie sngon ‘gro) or Chag Chen Ngöndro are preparatory and basic practices of Vajrayana and also of the teachings of the Dzogchen: They can gradually lead disciples to the experience of enlightenment.
These practices are skillful means of the Sadhana to achieve a profound healing and cleansing of one's own mind, often independently of one's own spiritual realization stage.
In Theravada - Buddhism the prepartion exercises for Vipassana for lay people contain rules which comprise the eight precepts which buddhist devotees observe on the Observance Days (uposatha) and during periods of meditation.
In asian Zen and in Theravada are special breath ecercises common for beginners.
In tantric Vajrayana exist several Dharma-Protectors with a weird iconography as Yidams for the sadhana.
Strange beeings like Mahakala (Sans. bahuvrihi), who is seen in hinduism as the anger of Lord Shiva, and like Vajra Yamantaka(Vajra- bhairava) - the Gelugpas see him as a direct emanation of the big emptiness - , in kashmir shaivism he is the dynamic aspect of shiva, show hinduistic influences.
Other hinduist gods like Lokeshvara, Saraswati, Ganapati and Brahma became parts of several linages. All of these protectors have another secret meaning as a Yidam.
The tibetans belief in ghosts in stones and in nature comes from a mixture with the old Nature-Bön religion, because Buddhism had to leave India during the islamic invasion. The aim of Buddhism is of course not to develop the astral body but the spirit(Trikaya).
The apparently terrible deities of the tibetan Annutara-Yoga-Tantra have a secret background as for the transformation of negative properties.
For the initiation in Yamantaka the selfrealisation of the results of Manjushri initiation is required. The simple reason is that the student must first have self-realized the Manjushri sadhana in himself(or something comparable) - the step 11 of the Universal Path. Then the force of Manjushri is so strong that it sends out the aspect of Yamantaka to conquer Yama in the underworld (U.Path step 13) and makes him a Dharmapala(...like egypt Osiris).
Yamantaka as Vajrabhairava is also a direct emanation of the Mahashunya. Vajrabhairava unites in Annutara-Yoga-Tantra with Vajravetali etc.. The situation is still more complicated within the various coloured forms of yamantaka from red, yellow and blue to black.
The many bodhisattvas of Mahayana are unknown in the Theravada. The dominating position of a Boddhisattwa in Mahayana is mystified and often misunderstood just as the enlightenment and/or the Nirvana.
The highest Bodhisattvas have the Paranirvana of Samantabhadra, who is the highest Adibuddha. Together with Samantabhadri he has the qualities of the hinduist Ishvara and Maheshvari, who are here power and consiousness.
A Boddhisattva on the path is a person who is prepared on that to become a Buddha, eventually after 8 steps of development, and he should be from the second other shore(Mahasattwa).
Figures of Bodhisattvas, which are often used as Yidams, appear mainly in company of a sitting or meditating Buddha who also evtl. floats over them. They can be masculine or feminine like Avalokiteshvara(Guan Jin), the most respected and most popular Bodhisattva..
In China, Avalokiteshvara is generally accepted as being female and she is known for her feminine qualities of mercy and generosity. Normally she is depicted in the company of Amitabha.
She may be portrayed with thousands of hands and eyes and many heads and she is said to have 32 avatars. She usually holds a lotus, a vase or a willow branch in hand.
Manjusri is usually depicted to the left of Buddha Sakyamuni. He wears a purple and gold gown and his hair is tied in a knot at the top. He normally rides on a lion and holds a green lotus in his left hand while brandishing a sword in his right.
Behind this scenery stands the well know symbolism of "Sushumna and Ida-Pingala" , the two columns or alchemical "Gabricus-Beya", here in a high developed form.
Often the Budhha is painted in a position above the two Bodhisattwas and represents the synthetic divine spirit like Amitabha.
In Vajrayana Buddhism, the Five Dhyani Buddhas or Five Wisdom Tathāgatas (pinyin: Wǔzhì Rúlái), the Five Great Buddhas and the Five Jinas (Sanskrit for "conqueror" or "victor") are representations of the five qualities of the Buddha. Their names are : Vairocana, Amoghasiddhi, Amitābha, Ratnasambhava and Akshobhya.
In Tibetan Buddhism, the Adi-Buddha (tib. dang-po'i sangs-rgyas) is the "Primordial or first buddha." The term refers to a self-emanating buddha who was present before anything else existed (Similar to the kabbalistic En-Soph). Often the Adi-Buddha is just understood as a primordial buddha behind space and time like Samantabhadra, , who is the 'Primordial Buddha' in the Nyingma or 'Ancient School' .
The Dzochgen teaching of ATI-Yoga goes in this direction.
But the Universal Path leads still higher than step 19, because the above tantric Adi-Buddha is still on the 6.th plane (hinduistic Ishvara tattva).
An Adi-Buddha of step 22 exists first in the hierarchies of the sun, who inspired the '28 buddhas' of Theravada. Buddha Gautama reached step 20 regarding his view of life.
The future Maitreya Buddha should have a difficult position with the view of the multitude of directions and pathes and linages.
H. P. Blavatsky (who leaned at white brothership) mentioned still higher evolutions like Maha Paranirvana and Parasamvit - steps 21 and 22 of the Universal Doctrine which are similar mentioned in kashmir shaivism and Radhasoami and by Alice Bailey.
The tibetan tanta contains several adapted versions of shaivist practices of Kashmir and teachings like the practices of an adapted version of the hinduist deity Tara.
The representation of a Buddha who unites with a smaller partner (Yab-Yum, Sarwa Dakini), is of course not primary an example of the left path of the Tantra (i. Maithuna: The game with the transformation of the snake of some scools of the left Tantra and sometimes of Taoism) even though Kashmiri Shivaism names further anterior chakras  such as nabhi- chakra (navel), hrit (heart), kantha kupa (throat), and bhrumadya of the secondary front-energy-cycle.
It is comparable with the hinduist union of Jiva and Paramatma Purusha, i. of an aspect of spiritual consciousness and of a spiritual force. In tibetan tantra it is the union of universal compassion and highest wisdom.
Yoginis and Dakinis are just specific forces in the soul. A dakini is in a thanka surrounded with various higher and lower personified forces.
For many seekers buddhism serves as an atheistic enlightenment-religion( similar to Taoism), which avoids a personal god and has a personal Nirvana or the big emptiness as a goal.
Finally I would like to clean up with a concept which is often misunderstood in the current buddhism, the NIRVANA as the alleged extinction of the Ego and the person, a definition which the Dalai Lama in the book 'Die Weisheit der Leere' contradicted as a mistake of the tradition of the Sravakas. It is the highest Jhana(Nirodha Samapatti).
"A silence, an entry into a wide or even immense or infinite emptiness is part of the inner spiritual experience; of this silence and void the physical mind has a certain fear, the small superficially active thinking or vital mind a shrinking from it or dislike, - for it confuses the silence with mental and vital incapacity and the void with cessation or non-existence: but this siulence is the silence of the spirit which is the condition of a greater knowledge, power and bliss, and this emptiness is the emptying of the cup of our natural beeing, a liberation of it from its turbit contents so that it may be filled with the wine of god; it is the passage not into non-existence but to a greater existence.
Even when the being turns towards cessation, it is a cessation not in non-existence but in some vast ineffable of spiritual being or the plunge into the incommunicable superconscience of the Absolute." (Sri Aurobindo, Life Divine II, page 1065)
Nirvana is uninterrupted consciousness in the Dharmakaya-Trikāya, equivalent to the Nirvikalpa-Samadhi and only the first step of higher enlightenment
But modern Budhism leaves some questions open. The origin of the "Big emptiness" and the origin of the Spirit are unexplained just as the origin of a primordial Adi-Buddha.
The reason is very simple that the spiritual soul cannot reach the hinduistic AGAMA-plane and so buddhism ends in the highest spiritual heavens (big emptiness, first then the ishvara).
First further developements to reach the "ADI-Buddha" with steps like Maha-Para-Nirvana could lead to a higher consciousness(Chit), but they are not accepted in Buddhism - they contain an emptyness of the highest coonsciousness.
The other problem is that they are seldom tolerated by the very much higher planetary Logos and the White Brothership of Shambhalla. First in the hierarchy of the sun exists a Adi-Buddha of step 22 of the universal path.
The enlightened Buddhist must answer the question how an enlightened personal consciousnees can be the reference for the final things because his cognition and his consciousness must be limited.
== Weblinks ==