Jared Janes and I will co-host an online Vajrayana get-together at the Stoa on July 5th at 9am PT, 12pm East Coast, 5pm UK. We will explore the differences between Buddhist Sutra and Tantra. Sutra is the renunciative style of Buddhism that influenced most mainstream, contemporary meditation practices, including mindfulness and secular meditations. Tantric attitude in Buddhism is transformative in principle and its influence is less visible in contemporary practice. We’ll discuss what it means to transition from living and meditating with a dualist, renunciative framework into transformative practice.
Anybody can attend, it doesn’t matter whether you have many years of practice or whether you’re just starting out. I’ll introduce some ways to think about and notice personal frames of reference which subtly affect attitudes in meditation and in general. There will be some theory but, for the most part, the emphasis will be on application, practice, and experience. We’ll use breakout groups to explore the topic collectively.
I’m looking forward to co-hosting this gathering with Jared. Last year he contacted me with reflections on his meditation experience and curiosities about the practice of shi-ne. We started corresponding and meeting by video and since then we’ve become close friends. I’ve come to respect and admire his practice, his tenacity, openness and particularly his ability to create his own personal feedback loops. Jared is going to share what it’s been like for him to start practicing Vajrayana after meditating for some years with a renunciative orientation.
We’ve talked often about whether it might be possible to bring into being a community of practice, a dedicated group of practitioners interested in living with Vajrayana view, methodology or influence, outside of the traditional context within which it’s mostly taught and practiced. That’s a big undertaking and neither of us intend to do that yet. This Stoa gathering is a step in that direction.
We anticipate that most people attending will be familiar with David Chapman’s blog vividness.live. His series Reinventing Buddhist Tantra and his posts about Consensus Buddhism are relevant to the theme of this gathering. My podcast with Deconstructing Yourself is also relevant.