Tantric Theravada and modern Vajrayana

“Tantric Theravada”?!

Recently I asked how Theravada relates to the theoretical category “Sutrayana.” I originally expected to answer:

Traditional Theravada fits the definition of Sutrayana very well. Naturally, it has moved slightly in the direction of Vajrayana as it modernized.

However, I was shocked to discover that:

Theravada has included Vajrayana for as long as it has existed—and still does!

Not many Western Buddhists know this. It’s exciting because it means that there are more diverse resources for creating modern Buddhist Tantra than I realized.

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Passionate connections

Human beings naturally care passionately about the specifics of our situations.

The tantric attitude is that there are no wrong emotions. A whole person has a full 360-degree spectrum of passions, rejecting none. All feelings are fine as they are.

Furthermore, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the world. Abandoning it for some “spiritual realm” is not an option. So caring about it is only right.

Passions take you out of yourself; they are about other people, situations, and things. That “aboutness” prompts you to connect with the world. We want to change things; there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the universe, but specific circumstances can be improved. It is active connections that makes the world “workable.”

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