The Pradipodyotana-Oka-satkotivyakhya has only seventeen chapters (patala) while the Guhyasamaja edited and published by Benoytosh Bhattacharyya, Gaekewad's Oriental Series, Boroda (1931) consists of eighteen chapters. The same text has been, later on, reprinted from the Mithila Research Institute, Darbhanga in 1965. The Guhyasamaja has been divided into two broad divisions, namely, pilrvardhakaya and uttarlirdhakdya and its commentary which is presented here deals with the former one, purvardhakaya. The commentary is not always close to the version of the GST published by the Gaekwad's Oriental Institute. It leaves room to infer that the commentator might have used some other version which has not yet come down to us. In that respect the present commentary is immensely valuable.
As regards the manuscript of this commentary our indebtedness goes to my teacher the late Prof. Chintaharan Chakra arty who was an eminent scholar and practitioner of the Tantra in Bengal. His work entitled the "Tantras-Studies on their religion and literature" speaks about his eminence in the field.
The Tantra in the Buddhist thought
Traditionally, Gautama Buddha is said to have hesitated to preach the Truth he realized (sudurdarga-garfibhlro'yam dharmah) immediately after his attainment of Nirvana, and, on the request of the divine beings, later on, he administered his First Sermon 'Dharmacakrapravartana' to the group of the Five Bhiksus at Varanasi Rsipatana Mrgadgva. The Dharmacakrapravartanastitra, as it has now come down to us, has two parts. The first part opens with the statement that one should avoid the two 'extremes' (koti), one is, a worldly man performs rituals and ceremonies but at the same time lemains addicted to pleasures; and, the other is, the life of a recluse dedicated to self-mortification. The second part of the sutra refers to the For Noble Truths--Suffering, Origin of suffering, and Cessation of suffering and the Eightfold Path to be practiced for achievement of Nirvana. Buddha is said to have had deliberations according to the ability of grasping of a- listener. He, therefore, did not preach the sermons which had been too difficult to understand by an ordinary being.
Traditions further mention that Buddha summoned on the Tantra and secret practices in the assembly of divine beings including Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Trayastrimaloka beings. The other beings like Yaksa, Raksasa and Danava etc. had been also present there. It was presumed that the Tantra with its deep significance might not be properly understood by a mortal being unless and until one attains the higher stage of spiritual attainment (bhumi).
However, the Buddhist Tantra texts in their present form leave a room to hold the traditional view with regard to their origin. The Tantra, as Buddha's sermon in the heaven, is not acceptable. Because we observe a tendency of systematization in development of the Tantra texts from an early state of unsystematised ideas. Ft r example, we may refer to the Mahjugrimfilakalpatantra, as an instance of the early phase of the Tantric literature in Buddhism, After the development the Madhya-mika and Vijhanavada doctrines in Buddhism, the Tantric texts like the GST, Hevajra ete became more systematized with a tendency of esoteric interpretation of the mystic rituals and secret practices. Some modern scholars, therefore, consider that the Tantra entered into the Buddhist religion in its later phase of Mahayana, though the nucleus of esoteric practice for attaining mental equilibrium through dhygna, yoga, vipayani and Samadhi had been traced out as early as the lifetime of Gautama Buddha i. e. the 6th cent. B. C.
According to the Pali Theravada tradition, Buddha discouraged any amount of indulgence to sense organs. For instance, it may be referred to panca kamagurla dittha dhamma nibbi,navfida in which a being feels encouraged through the pleasure of five senses. The Kathavatthu refers to ekabhippayana methunr dhcnaro sctatabhic amanussa rrethcrna dharnanam patasevaiti. A section of monks used to consider sensual pleasure has a religious conduct. The Tevijasutta mentions the livelihood of a section of monks by teaching spells for preserving the body and forwarding-off wounds. And, by teaching rituals for imparting magic and rendering, service through medicines, a section of monks used to maintain their daily life. In this connection we agree with the observation made by Prof, Chintaharan Chakra arty as quoted below :
"Various revolting and mystic practices that seem to have been observed by different religious sects for spiritual uplift in and previous to the time of the Buddha, are referred to in Buddhist canonical works in Pali, Some of these Practices are apparently Tantric in character." (Tantras-Studies etc. P. 14)
The Yoga and the Tantra practices in Buddhism
The Yoga practice as the practical measure of concentrating the human mind through a continuous process had developed among both Brahmanism and non-Brahmanism schools since the pre-Buddhist days in India. Prior ion the attaining of the Enlightenment, Buddha Gautama is said to have obtained training from his spiritual teachers Lara Kalama and Rudraka Ramaputra, who were very likely the Yoga practitioners.
The Yoga, as a distinct system of thought, developed in the pre-Upanisadic period though it was considered to be a supplement to the Sarilkhya philosophy. The Yogasutra, in its present form, also, holds the two reels of Satakhya; namely, the Eternal Soul (purusa) and the Primal Cause (prakrti). The Buddhists, however, have criticized the process of evolution in regard to the appearance of the phenomenal world on the basis of the view that 'a cause exists in its effect' (satkaryavada); whereas the Buddhists have contributed the law of dependent origination (pratltyasamutpada) in regard to the beings and objects of the world in a series of conditions (pratyaya) . The Yoga system seeks to achieve the esoteric union of one mindedness (cittamatrata), a state of mental equilibrium (nirvikalpa Samadhi) with no thought construction (avikalpa).
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