An emic critique of Austine Waddell's Buddhism and Lamaism of Tibet - a gross misrepresentation of the Vajrayana of Tibet.
Before I take them up page by page, a little background seems necessary. First of all, Waddell was a son of a clergy (a Christian missionary). At the time when Waddell wrote (1894), Christian clergies studied and wrote on other religious systems to show to the world how other religious systems were inferior to Christianity; and how all other religious systems except Christianity were a form of devil worship or sorcery. We must keep in mind that Waddell being a son of a Christian missionary had this blinder on when he wrote about his "Lamaism of Tibet". Secondly, he wrote over a 100 years ago when even general information about Buddhism was minimal, what to speak of the Buddhism in Tibet. At that time the Anglo-German school of Buddhist studies was the dominant school related to Buddhist studies. And the conclusions of this school were based solely on Pali texts and Theravada Buddhism, which was more easily available to the English colonials and thus to the English scholars like Waddell. So his views are also heavily influenced by the views of the Anglo-German school (in XIII he has mentioned Rhys Davids, Oldenberg and Beal, all of Anglo-German school (Joshi 1983: 1). The basic view of this school of Buddhist scholars was that only the Pali tradition as represented by the Theravadins was the true form of Buddhism and all other forms of Buddhism were distortions or adulterated. This notion has been proven inaccurate and misleading in the last 100 years of scholarship; but I would not deal with it here. Furthermore, Waddell has not distinguished between High religion and Folk religion, which are found in all religious traditions. Thus, he has mixed them up in one single pot-pouri, which only confuses the issue rather than clarifies it. Even today, if Waddell were to interview even educated Hindus of the Kathmandu valley, and ask them what their religion's main scripture was, he would more likely than not get the answer, "Our Veda is the Srimad Bhagavat", or something like that, very few would actually mention Rig Veda/Sama Veda/Yajur Veda or Atharva Veda. If further asked, "Do you believe in Sankaracharya?", he would get the reply, "Yes, he was one of our greatest saints and I agree to everything he says, which Hindu would not?" I'm quite sure many scholars of Hindu background would completely agree to the above statement. But if Waddell were to ask this educated Kathmanduite, "But in his Sarirak Bhasya of the Brahma Sutra, Sri Sankaracharya has refuted the Bhagavata philosophy as being against the Vedic system (2.2.42). So how can you both agree with Sri Sankaracharya and the Srimad Bhagavata with the same breath? And furthermore, in the light of Sankara's refutation of the Bhagavata philosophy how can you even give it the status of a Veda?" The educated Hindu would be completely non-plussed to say the least. We are not talking here of uneducated country folks. So should Waddell write that the Veda of the Hindus is the Srimad Bhagavata? This is the type of mistake he has made about his "Lamaism".
He also never came in contact with proper Rinpoches/Geshes/Khenpos who are the really qualified people to interpret Tibetan Buddhism/Tibetan Vajrayana. Most of his research was done from Sikkim (preface XII) and none of his informants seems to be educated Khenpos/Geshes/or Rinpoches. At least he does not mention it anywhere. He seems to have only come in contact with ordinary monks of the "Pujari" type i.e. "Grantha Dhuras" in Buddhist terminology [Chopen (Chos-dpon) in Tibetan]. This book was written before the Younghusband Expedition to Tibet. The edition used for pagination in this critique is the 1993 edition, Gaurava Publishing.
Now the Book
In Preface IX he claims that the Lamas convinced themselves that he was a reflex of the Western Buddha Amithabha. No genuine Tibetan Buddhist accepts anybody as a "Tulku" (reflex) of anybody unless certified bY Lamas like H.H. the Dalai Lama or H.H. the Sakya Trizin or H.H. the karmapa or H.H. Penor Rinpoche. He does not seem to have understood Eastern politeness at all in spite of living for long in the Indian subcontinent. For a Tulku (sprul-sku) (Sanskrit-Nirmanakaya, called reflex by him) to be recognized by Tibetans in general, he has first to be recognized by one of the high Lamas. This has been the tradition for over a thousand year.
Page X: He considers the founder of Lamaism to be Padmasambhava. This is inaccurate, Guru Padmasambhava played the key role in establishing Buddhism in Tibet, i.e. the Vajrayan form of Buddhism. However, what he established became only one lineage of Vajrayana in Tibet called the Nyigmapa. The other lineages were not established by him, as we will see later, although he is generally referred to as the first one to bring Buddhism to the land. In the same page Waddell says "He is considered by the Lamas of all sects to be the founder of their order and by the majority of them to be greater and more deserving of worship than Buddha himself". There are two gross mistakes here. First, it is not true that all the lamas of all the sects consider Guru Padmasambhava as the founder of their sect. This is historically wrong. The Kagyupa was founded by Marpa, the Skyapa was founded by Khon Konchog Gyalpo and his son Sachen Kunga Nyiingpo and the Gelugpa was founded by Tsong Khapa; and all educated lamas know this very well. Guru Padmasambhava is the founder of the Nyingma order and not the others (Dudjom 1991: 468, Thinley 1980:23-2, Trichen 1983: 14-15, Trungpa 1982:XLX and Roerich 1947/49:44:215-216; 399-405). And the second point is that the respect and value accorded to Guru Rinpoche by his followers is no more no less than that given by the Agra Sravaka Sariputra to his Guru Aswajit. Sariputra used to sleep with his head turned towards wherever Aswajit was even when Sariputra slept in the same Vihara as the Buddha. He did not sleep with his head turned towards the Buddha. And the Buddha himself sanctioned this behaviour of Sariputra.
Page XI: "Lamaism lives mainly by the senses and spends its strength in sacerdotal functions...." This is also a half-baked idea of Tibetan Vajrayana. Only one group of monks spend their time mostly in such rituals. The monks in colleges [Shedra (bShad-grwa)] and retreat centres [Drupada (bGrubgrwa)] do not spend their time in rituals. The above two quotes (X and XI) show that his informants were mostly uneducated "pujari" types and not real Khenpos, Geshes or Rinpoches. Also monks reading, out Dharanis, or Parittis for laymen are found in all forms of Buddhism and was sanctioned by the Buddha himself. This is not sacerdotal in the sense of a Christian priest coming in between God and the devotee. There is no God in any form of Buddhism for whom the priest can become a go between. Also in page XI: "But the bulk of the Lamaist cults comprise much deep-rooted devil worship and sorcery, which I describe with some fullness. For Lamaism is only thinly and imperfectly varnished over with Buddhist symbolism, beneath which the sinister growth of poly-demonist superstitions darkly appears." Here Waddell has gone beyond his bounds and shown clearly the main motive for his writing this book. As a clergy's son and himslf a missionary, he was conditioned to see all other forms of religion as devil-worship. Also he was not trained to understand the metaphors of Vajrayana, which is the way of Allegory. In his Christian vision, all the Mandalas of wrathful deities found in Vajrayana were "devil-worship" and "poly-demonist superstitions". Almost 100 years afterwards a more sophisticated scholar, Dr. Daniel Goleman (Ph.D. Psychology, Harvard University), an award-winning journalist who reports on behavioural sciences for the New Fork Times has this to say about the same "devil-worship" and "poly demonist superstition" (in Mind Science 1991:91): "As a student of Psychology at Harvard, I had come to assume, as is the tacit assumption in the West, that psychology is a scientific topic that originated in America and Europe within the last century. So, when I got to Asia and really started to look into Eastern systems of thought I was astounded to find that cradled within every great religious tradition there is a psychological system, the esoteric part of the religion. And of those that I studied, it seemed to me that Tibetan Buddhism contained perhaps the most sophisticated of such psychology. The famous psychologist C.J. Sung, a student of Frued, who broke off from Frued because he found Freud's excessive linear modes inadequate, also thinks these Mandalas of wrathful and peaceful deities used in the Tibetan system (called Devil-worship and poly-demonist superstitions by Waddel) as a sophisticated method of integrating the mind (Jung 1998:59-76). Professor Herbert Guenther in his "Introduction to the Translation of Bskyed-pa'i Rim-pa cho-ga dan sByar Bai gSal Byed Zun jug sNye-Ma (Utpatti Krama Vidhi) called `The Creative Vision' says of Sravakayana/Pratyekabuddhayana/Mahayana and Vajrayana thus: "In general, the first two pursuits, constitute of the Hinayana, a rather conservative movement that, philosophically, represents a naive realism, the third pursuit constitutes the Mahayana, a more comprehensive movement embracing all the varieties summed up by the term idealism. However, from the holistic viewpoint that gained precedene in the development of Buddhist thought, these three pursuits rank rather low because they tend, precisely because of their excessively rational and reductionist character (realism being as reductionist as idealism), to diminish and ultimately even eliminate ones humanity. Certainly a world minus ourselves is a contradiction in itself, and a human being as a barren abstraction sheds little illumination on his or her concrete enworldedness and, to say the least, remains emotionally and spiritually unsatisfactory.
Once we understand the inadequacy of logical inductions and deductions as a way to impart meaning to our lives, we can "move on" to probe the forces working in and through us and to create a world in which we can live because it encompasses more than mere thinking. This moving on is the concern of ... the approach, referred to by the term Vajrayana." [Guenther 1987: VIII-IX]. The Creative Vision is a translation of a Tibetan book which deals with profound creative Mandala meditations. (Waddell's polydemonist magic circles). Geoffrey Samuel in his Civilized Shamans calls Tibetan Buddhism as as one of the great spiritual and psychological achievements of humanity (Samuel 1995:5).
It is clear that Waddell like most of the scholars of his time, including Indian scholars till the 60's and 70's educated in the then prevalent Western educational system was suffering from what Professor Herbert Guenther of the Saskatchewan University of Canada calls the "Kant/Hegel/Bradley syndrome" in his forward to S.B. Dasgupta's An Introduction to Tantric Buddhism. It is a result of an excessively linear educational system which trains/conditions people to see only what is linearly rational as correct/true/fact/non-superstition/of value. At the time Waddell wrote, science was making leaps and bounds using the linear Cartesian model called logical empiricism. But its limits and the blockage created to further growth by it was shown by Einstein in the beginning of the 1900's. And by 1970, it is no longer considered adequate to evaluate reality. Dr. Jeremy W. Hayward, who holds a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics from Cambridge University, who spent several years at Massachusetts Institute of Technology doing research in molecular biology says in Gentle Bridges: "There is no longer a feeling that the foundations of science are clear, definite, solved, no problem. As we saw, there was this certainty up until 1900. And again, following roughly a quarter of a century of shaking foundations, from 1930-1960 a new feeling of certainty arose, based on logical empiricism. And that false sense of certainty still goes in some quarters. ...Nevertheless, there is now a great debate among people who think about science as an activity. In the early 1970's there was a major conference on the structure of scientific theories. In the proceedings of the conference, one of its organizers, Fredrick Suppe said: "The situation today, then, in philosophy of science is this: the positivistic analysis of scientific knowledge erected upon the Received View (logical empiricism) has been rejected, or at least highly suspect. For more than fifty years philosophy of science has been engaged in a search for philosophical understanding of scientific theories. Today it is still searching." (Hayward 1992: 16-17).
"Mind Science" was a record of the seminar celebrating 10 years of collaboration between the Tibetan Community and the Harvard Medical School's Department of Continuing Medical Education. And Gentle Bridges is a continuation of that symposium by some scientists. Dr. Fransisco J. Varela, Ph.D, Biology, Harvard, who was one of the main organizers of both symposiums with H.H. the Dalai Lama as the guest of honour, is presently trying to use the Tibetan meditational tradition to open up new avenues and new insight within cognitive sciences.
It is exactly because the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition is non-linear and highly metaphoric that Waddell, stricken by the Kant/Hegel/Bradley syndrome of his time, thoroughly misunderstood and misinterpreted his so-called "Lamaism". It is exactly because of the same reason that science, which has found that linear rational thinking, has failed to deliver the goods, and is finding non-linear, metaphoric Tibetan Buddhism interesting today.
This outdated excessive linear education is also one of the causes of Nepalese professors being unable to understand Nepalese cultural elements like Vajrayana etc. In short, Waddell was not trained to understand the deep psychological value system of Tibetan Vajrayana. If anything, he was trained by the Kant/Hegel/Bradley syndrome milieu of his time to misunderstand it, and that he did with the thoroughness of an Englishman. It is interesting to note that he even has Kant's disciple, Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Ideas in the bibliography. And in page 111 he interprets the Buddha in a very Kantian way as replacing "A Supernatural Creator" by interpreting the universe as will and idea. So he saw only idolatry, poly-demonistic worship and silly jumbo-mumbo in his Lamaism whereas today's Western scientists see the profoundest "mind science" in it.
Now the Main Text
Page 10: "The point of divergence of these so-called Northern and Southern Schools was the theistic Mahayana doctrine which substituted for the agnostic idealism and simple morality, a speculative theistic system with a mysticism of sophistic nihilism in the background."
First of all, there is no God/Ishwar in Mahayana. So to call it theistic is not only a lack of knowledge but also a gross distortion of Mahayana philosophy. Nagarjuna himself has written a small text on "Ishwar, Kartrika Nirakarana", and Gyanasrimitra in the 7th chapter "Ishwaravada" of Gyanasrimitra Nibandhavali (K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute) and his disciple Ratnakirti in the 8th chapter, "Ishwarsadhana Dushanam" (Ratnakirti-Nibandhavali, K.P.Jayaswal Research Institute) have refuted the concept of Ishwar, and hundreds of other Mahayana Acharyas, too numerous to be mentioned here have refuted Ishwarvada. So how can Mahayan be theistic? As for the "Agnostic Idealism" of the Southern school, the Pali Diggha Nikaya-Brahma Jala Sutta itself refutes agnosticism as one of the 62 wrong views. So to call Southern Buddhism "Agnostic Idealism" is a gross misinterpretation of Southern Buddhism (this is the interpretation of Rhys Davids, an Anglo-German scholar). As for the "simple morality" (Sila, Pratimokchha Samvara etc.) they are also fully observed in Northern Buddhism including Waddell's Lamaism. There were and are Bhikchus following The Bhikchu Pratimokchhya Samvara even today in the so-called "Lamaism". As for the sophistic "Nihilism" of the Northern School, both the view of Sunyata and the view that things are neither existent nor non-existent are found in the Pali texts of the Southern Schools [(1) Sutta Nipata Parayana Vagga Tissametteyamanavakpuccha, (2) Sutta Nipata Jatukkannimanavakpuccha, (3) Sutta Nipata Mogharajamanavakpuccha, (4) Anguttara Nikay 6th Nipata, Mahavaygga, (5) Samyutta Nikaya Channa Sutta 3.22.90, (6) Samyutta Nikaya Lokayatika Sutta Nidana Vagga, (7) Angutta Nikaya 4th Nipata Sanchetana Vegga, (8) Anguttara Nikaya 5th Nipata, (9) Samyutta Nikaya 5.22.85 Yamak Sutta]. It is also to be found in the Samyukta Agama of the Sarvastivadins (who are not Mahayana) translated in Chinese Samyuktagama-- 297, SA 300, SA 335, SA 237] [Of the notion of Emptiness in early Buddhism -- Dr. Choong Mun -- Keat, 1999:34-39]
In the same page he writes, "The Mahasangika or "the great congregation" -- a heretical sect which arose among the monks of Vaisali" -- calling the Mahasangika a heretic sect is a clear influence of Anglo-German school's concepts. This was based on the chart given in the Pali Katha Vatthu which show, the Mahasangika and all the other 18 Nikaya as heretical school's branching out of Mother Theravada. At that time studies in Chinese and Tibetan sources had not been made. Today this mother Theravada and heretical Mahasangika has been challenged after the study of charts found in the Tibetan and Chinese traditions by three other Ancients -- (1) Vasumitra, (2) Bhabya, (3) Vinitadeva. Today's scholarship has challenged this concept of Waddell and there is no more the belief that the Southern Buddhism of Waddell and the Anglo-German scholars i.e. the Theravada alone represents the original Buddhism and that all others branched out from it. First of all the Southern Buddhism itself is a branch of the Vibhajjyavad, which itself is a branch of the Sthabirvada which separated from the Sarvastivada [Yin Shun quoted in Keat 1999: 100, also Bapat 1987:98 chart]. Secondly, the so-called Southern School of Waddell is also a branch out of the original Buddhism as much as Mahayana. Stanislav Schayer (Leningrad School) in his PreCanonical Buddhism says, "We now know that Mahayan does not necessarily represent a younger stage of evolution and that in many respects it has preserved old elements more truthfully than Hinayanism." (Schayer 1935: 121-132). The Mahasangikas were convinced that their decision was in conformity with the teaching of the Great Master and claimed more orthodoxy than the Theravadins (Bapat 1987: 88). The famous Theravadin Bhikku Mahathera Sangharakchita remarks that, "The Mahayana schools have on the whole been more faithful to the spirit of the Original Teachings" (Sangharakchita 1996:117-187). Dr. Edward Conze (Franco-Belgian School) says, "In so far as the Mahayana derives from anything, it is from the Mahasangikas. Even this is only partly true and it appears that at first, far from introducing any innovations, the Mahayana did no more than place a new emphasis on certain aspects of the commonly accepted traditional materials" [Conze 1962: 203]. Richard Robinson says, "The elders (Theravadins) claimed to be conservative, but in fact distorted the primitive teachings considerably. ...The Mahasangikas admitted Upasakas and non-Arhat monks to their meetings, and were sensitive to popular religious values and aspirations. They were progressive innovators; two out of three basic strands in the Mahayana are of Mahasangika origin. ...Yet in some ways, they remained truer to the primitive teachings than did the elders (Theravadins) [Robinson 1970: 37-38]. So Waddell's concepts are completely out of date and wrong.
Page 11: "This Mahayana doctrine was essentially a sophistic Nihilism and under it the goal of Nirvana or rather Pari-Nirvana, while ceasing to be extinction of life, was considered a mystical state which admitted of no definition." And on the footnote #2 on the same page he writes that the Buddha called his system, "The Middle Way ..." To avoid the two extremes of superstition on one side and worldiness or infidelity on the other." He quotes Rhys Davids. First of all, not even Pali Suttas are found which define the "Middle Way" as avoiding superstition on the other hand and worldliness on the other; but rather excessive worldliness and excessive asceticism. But also in the Samyutta Nikaya [12:15], the Sasta (teacher himself has called exactly the Mahayanist so-called "Sophistic Nihilistic" view as the middle way (Majjena). And the view is to be free from "Sabbam Athi" i.e. all exists and "Sabbam Nathi" i.e. all do not exist. Here both Waddel and Rhys Davids are seen to be wrong and misinterpreting the meaning of the words "Middle Way" (Madhyama Pratipada).
Page 12: "Mahayana is said to introduce innumerable demons ... with their attendant idolatry and sacerdoatalism." I have already dealt with this "demons" concept and sacerdotalism, so I shall not repeat it here.
Page 13: Waddell claims that Asanga (500 AD) imported Yoga system of Patanjali to Buddhism. This is again the influence of the Anglo-German school who have portrayed the Buddha as some kind of an ancient rationalist pure and simple -- that meditation was not really what the Buddha did. I don't think I need to refute this self-evident nonsense. The way of the Buddha was not some dry rational, logical linear thinking alone, although it does use it; but is mainly based on meditation. The Buddha has clearly said that there is no Klesha Chhyaya without Bhawana (Anguttara Nikaya). And the Buddha's teachings are for Klesha Chhyaya and not mere intellectual sophistry as Rhys Davids and Waddell would have us believe. Furthermore, Dr. S.N. Dasgupta says the opposite, that the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is nothing but the Hinduization of Buddhist meditational methods (Dasgupta 1975:236-238)
Page 14: He claims that, "distinct traces of Yoga are to be found in modern Burmese and Ceylonese Buddhism." This is already refuted above.
Page 15: He says, "Such was the distorted form of Buddhism introduced into Tibet; and during the three or four succeeding centuries, Indian Buddhism became still more debased." Here Waddell is propagating the myth which is still being propagated by many Indian writers and their Nepalese followers that the Tantric period of Indian Buddhism was a period of decline of intellectual and moral standards of Buddhism. But actual historical researches have shown to the contrary that it was exactly between the 3rd/4th centuries to the 12th century that Indian Buddhism reached the acme of its creativity in all fields. Most of the theories and intellectually sharpest logical and intellectual and philosophical books were written in India during this period and most of the authors were Tantric practitioners. Professor Herbert V. Guenther in his forward to Sashi Bhusan Dasgupta's An Introduction to Tantric Buddhism says that Sashi Bhushan "continues the myth of a gradual decline of intellectual and, possibly moral standards in Buddhism. As all Hindu scholars he believes in the virtual identity of Hindu and Buddhist Tantras, an attitude which A. Bharati in his Tantric Traditions (Page 21F) aptly terms detrimental to the study of Indian Absolutistic philosophy irrelevant to any Tantric study." (Dasgupta: 1974: X-Preface). Furthermore, Benoytosh Bhattacharyya calls Tantra the greatest contribution to mankind that India gave (Bhattacharyya 1989: 165). As for meditation in Burma and Ceylon, they are a continuity of what the Buddha himself taught and not vestiges of yoga influence upon these Buddhist traditions.
In the same page (15), he writes, "and this so-called `esoteric' but properly exoteric' cult was given a respectable antiquity by alleging that its real founder was Nagarjuna...." Again he has given a distorted version of even what the Tantric Buddhist texts claim. They do not claim that it began from Nagarjuna; but rather they were all taught by the Buddha but brought in later from various places, on earth or other lokas by different Mahasiddhas like Luipada, Savaripada, Krishnacharya and Nagarjuna (Taranath: History of the 7 Lineages and History of Buddhism in India). As in most places, Waddell has not shown his source (as he did not have any genuine sources with him) which claims that Tantra began from Nagarjuna. On the other hand there is a great possibility that he did not understand what his Sikkimese informants were trying to tell him. All of Buddhist Tantric practice is based on the view of Nagarjuna called the Madhyamic view. This is the Samyakdristi which is the 1st limb of the Astangika Marga based Buddhist Tantra. So Buddhist Tantric meditation is based on either the Prasangika Madhyamic view or the Svatantric Madhyamic (Sanskrit. Dristi, Tibetan. Tawa) of Nagarjuna and not that Tantra itself began from Nagarjuna.
There in the same page (15) he continues to say, "In the 10th century the Tantric phase developed in Northern India, Kashmir and Nepal into the monstrous and poly-demonist doctrine, the Kalachakra, with its demoniacal Buddhas, which incorporated the Mantrayana practices and called itself the Vajrayana...." Again he has not provided, as usual with him, any historical sources etc. to make such a fantastic statement. There is no difference in the base, the path and the fruit and the view used in Kalachakra or Guhyasamaja or Hevajra or Chakrasamvara. I do not see why Kalachakra is more "poly-demonic" than the older others. Furthermore, it is complete nonsense to call only the Kalachakra as Vajrayana. This shows remarkable lack of knowledge decide what is real and what is `fictitious'. This statement seems to be based more on his Christian Clergyman prejudices rather than on impartial scientific scholarship. For Christians like him, only the miracles of Christ are genuine, all others are either `fictitious' or works of `poly-demonist sorcery'. Tulku Thondup in his book Hidden Teachings of Tibet writes, "In both the Mahayana Sutras and tantras, there is the tradition of concealment and rediscovery of teachings through the Enlightened power of realized beings. The tradition has two aspects-first, appropriate teachings can be discovered by realized beings or they will appear for them from the sky, mountains, lakes, trees, and beings Spontaneously according to their wishes and mental abilities, second, they can conceal the teachings in books, and other forms and entrust them to Devas, Nagas and other powerful beings to protect and hand over to the right person at the proper time. Other realized persons will rediscover these teachings in the future (Thondup 1986:57). Tulku Thondup Rinpoche is a Tibetan who is what is wrongly called by Nepalese laymen as "Avatari Lama', which is more scholastically accurate to call `Nirmanakaya' which is the meaning of `Tulku (sprul-sku)' in Tibetan. He was lecturer in Indo-Tibetan studies at Lucknow University from 1967-1976 and Reader at Vishwa-Bharati University from 1976-1980, and a visiting scholar at Harvard University from 1980-1983.
Page 30: He has defined Lamaism thus, "Primitive Lamaism may therefore be defined as a priestly mixture of Shaivite mysticism, magic and Indo-Tibetan demonolatry overlaid by a thin varnish of Mahayana Buddhism. And to the present day Lamaism still retains this character." First of all he contradicts himself from what he said in Page 17 where he writes, "It preserves there, as we shall see, much of the loftier philosophy and ethics of the system taught by the Buddha himself." Secondly, he has not validated his claim of shaivite Mysticism influencing Lamaism. Again he appears to be the supreme authority to decide these things. Benoytosh Bhattacharyya on the contrary thinks in his An Introduction to Buddhist Esotericism-- "It has been made abundantly clear that Vajrayana was a direct development of the Yogachara philosophy of Mahayana Buddhism ..." and again, "The development in tantra made by the Buddhist and the extraordinary plastic art they developed, did not fail to create an impression also on the minds of the Hindu, who readily incorporated many ideas, doctrines, practices and gods, originally conceived by the Buddhists for their religion. The literature which goes by the name of Hindu Tantras, arose almost immediately after the Buddhist ideas had established themselves...." (Bhattarcharyya: 19931:35 & 50-51). But even Bhattarcharyya's concept of Buddhist Tantras from Yogachara is inaccurate as all Buddhist Tantras follow the Madhyamika, but that is besides the point.
Page 32: He calls Gung Thangla in Mangyul "on the Northern confines of Tibet." Actually it is just north of the Kyirong pass above Trisuli and in the west of Tibet. Here he says Guru Rinpoche, "After residing in Tibet for almost 50 years (say the chronicles, though it is probable he only remained a few years) ..." Again he has neither given the name of his chronicle, which he quotes nor gives any proof as to why according to him "though it is probable he only stayed a few years". Again he himself becomes the supreme authority to decide how many years Guru Rinpoche stayed in Tibet. Not even one record in Tibet agrees with Waddell, and there are no other outside records about Guru Rinpoche.
Page 32-40: There are many errors repeated from former points or based on former points.
Page 40: Here Waddell says, "And they (the Kagyu, Sakya and Nyingma) also adopted the plan of succession by re-incarnate lamas....". He thinks that the Dalai Lama was the 1st incarnate Lama. But the institution of the Dalai Lama began only after Tsong Khapa, after the 15th century, and that too he was recognized only after the 5th Dalai Lama because he became the Head of the State; whereas the 2nd Karmapa was already recognized from 1206 as the incarnation of Dusum Khenpa. By the time of the 1st Dalai Lama, who died in 1474, there were already 7 Karmapas. So it is historically wrong to claim that the other sects copied the Incarnate Lama system from the Gelugpas.
Page 45: He calls the Tanyik Serten as considered the most reliable authority on Guru Padmasambhava (he writes St. Padma in a typical Christian fashion). This is not correct. In fact no Nyingma Khenpo of any scholastic repute has even heard of such a text (Tanyik Serten).
Page 47: He translates Dzog Chen as "The Great End". This is totally wrong: it means "The Great Completion" or "The Great Perfection" and that is how it is translated by all modern authors. It is the Tibetan of the Sanskrit `Maha Sampanna' or the probably Prakrit `Maha Sandhi (Maha-Chen, Sampanna=Dzog)' (Trantric Practices in Nyingma:Sangpo: 1982:185-193). It is also sometimes translated as Maha Shanti.
Page 56: The chart of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism presented here is very faulty. He has shown as if all the other schools (Sakya, Kagyu, Gelug) derive from the Nyingma. That is outright wrong. The Nyingma is the oldest but just as the Nyingma begins from the Indian Guru Padmasambhava, the Sakya begins from the Indian Guru Virupada, the Kagyu from the Indian Guru Tilopada and Naropada and the Gelug from the Khadampa which was initiated by the Indian Guru Atisha. He has given Lhatsunpa, Kartogpa, Nadkpa, Mindrolinpa, Dorje Tugpa and Orgyenpa as if they were different sects of Nyingma. This is not correct. First of all, he has mixed up names of Tertons and monasteries to represent so-called subsects. Mindroling is the name of a monastery in Central Tibet whereas Lhatsunpa was a Terton. As there are over a hundred Tertons, if each Terton's teachings etc. is to be taken as a separate school, his history of only 6 is incomplete. However, even these are not considered as separate schools within the Nyingma tradition itself. He has divided the Sakyapa into (1) Sakyapa, (2) Ngorpa, (3) Jonangpa. First of all he has completely missed out the Tsarpa school of the Sakyapas, which is more important as a sub-school of the Sakya than the Jonangpa as the Jonangpa does not exist today (except one monastery in zamthan), and was extinct long before Waddell wrote his book. As for his chart of Kagyupa, it is just arbitrary and a collection of whatever names Waddell could get. He completely misses out what is called the 4 Major and 8 Minor lineages of the Kagyupa. He even shows `Kagyupa' as a different line from Karmapa and the Drukpa and Tagalong, Drikung. There never was separate Kagyupa from the 4 Major ones and he has missed the Tsalpa and Baram. The 4 Major are (1) The Karma Kagyu, also called Kamtshang Kagyu (and not Karmapa, as Waddell has written), which was started by the Karmapa Dusum Khyenpa, (2) The Tsalpa Kagyu, started by Zhang Yudrakpa Tondru Drakpa, (3) The Baram Kagyu of Baram Darma Wangchuk and (4) Phagmo Drukpa Kagyu, started by Phamo Dru Dorje Gyalpo. Three of the names, Lower, Middle and Upper Drukpa as given by Waddell are minor lineages out of the Drukpa Kagyu, which itself is one of the 8 minor Kagyu lineages from Phagmo Drukpa. The eight minor Kagyu lineages stemming out of the Phagmo Drugpa Kagyu are-- (1) Drigung Kagyu, (2) Taglung Kagyu, (3) Trophu Kagyu, (4) Drukpa Kagyu, (5) Martshang Kagyu, (6) Yelpa Kagyu, (7) Shugeseb Kagyu, and (8) Yamzang Kagyu of which only the Dirkung and Drukpa exist as separate entity today (Thinley: 1980:24)
Thus the Kagyu lineage also has been completely muddled up by Waddell. A clear picture of the entire Kagyu lineage is to be found in The History of the Sixteen Karmpas of Tibet by my own root Guru the Very Venerable Karma Thinley Rinpoche (Thinley 1980:21-30), (Thondup 1984:17-25), (Dudjom 1991:475-501) & (Thondup: 1987:48-56)
Page 57: Here too he has given a completely imaginary chart of the new schools with no relevance to real lineage history. He has also not shown his sources again. He has shown the Sakya lineage starting from Nagarjuna through Vasuputra to Konchog Gyalpo. First of all the Sakya Lam Dre lineage does not start from Nagarjuna but from one of the 84 Mahasiddhas called Virupada, and there is no Vasuputra mentioned in either the Sakya Kabum (the collected works of the Sakyapa) or in the Blue Annals. This seems to be some imaginary name created by Waddell himself, as he has not mentioned his sources. Also the first Tibetans to receive these teachings were Sherab Tseng and Drogmi Lotsawa, who spent many years in India. Between Drogmi and Virupa are 5 other Indian Siddhas completely left out by Waddell. They are Krishnacharya, Dombi Heruka, Damarupada, Avadhutipada and Gayadhara. Gayadhara went to Tibet and met Drogmi. He calls the Tantra of the Sakya `Gambhira Darshan' and even gives the Tibetan `Zabmo ta'. Here too he seems hopelessly confused about Tantras and their classification. The main Tantra of the Sakyapas is the Hevajra Tantra, but also includes Kalachakra Tantra, Chakrasamvara Tantra, Vajra Bhairava Tantra and many others. In the classification of Tantras, the Hevajra Tantra is called a Gambhira Tantra (Zabmo of Waddell) and the Kalachakra as Vaipulya Tantra. Waddell has completely muddled up these issues. Also he has translated LamDre as possibly `Phala Marga'. It is the Tibetan for the system of meditational Krama called Marga Phalam. He has also confused the fact of the 1st Sakya patriarch being inspired by Manjushree and ever since that all Sakya hierarchies are considered as incarnations of Manjushree; and claims that the whole lineage from before Nagarjuna being inspired by Manjushree. Likewise he has completely mixed up the meditative doctrine and Tantra of the Kagyu lineage. He seems to be unaware that Naropa was not the only guru of Marpa but Naropa sent him to Maitripada, Kukkuripada and many others. The Kagyu meditative doctrine is not only Mahamudra but also `Naro Sad Darma' (Naro Cho drug). The Tantra of Naropa is Chakrasamvara and the 6 Yogas of Naropa and not Mnam-Len-Byin-Labs, which again is unheard of and seems to be Waddell's own creation. It is not at all clear what these words mean but the Kagyu lineage is famous for meditative blessings and the Tibetan for that is `Nyam Len Jin Lab' (`Byin Labs' is pronounced Jin Lab). The songs of expression often chanted by Kagyupas is called `Jhinlab Char Web'. Waddell again is probably hopelessly muddled about this concept of the Kagyu lineage being a special meditative lineage of blessing (`Nyamlen' is taking into experience, and `Jinlab' is `adhistan' or blessing). And he calls it, its special Tantra. The Tantras of the Kagyu lineage are Chakrasamvara, Mahamaya, Hevajra etc., and especially Vajra Varahi as related to the Chandali Yoga (Tibetan Tummo [gTum-Mo]). Furthermore, the Kagyupa Mahamudra does not come from Naropa but rather from Maitripa to Marpa from a long lineage including Nagarjuna and Sarahapada.
Page 58: He claims that about 30 of the `Revelations' have been discovered. This is also hopelessly wrong. More than hundred had already been discovered by the time Waddell wrote his book. There are altogether 278 or more Tenons prophecied in the "Baidurya' I Phreng Ba" -- The Precious Garland of Lapis Lazulis", which is The Brief History of the Profound Termas [gTer-Ma] and Tertons [gTer-ston] (1813-1899) published by Ngodrup and Sherab Drimed 1977. He also thinks that these Termas are related only to Guru Padmasambhava. While the majority of the Tenons (`Revealers' as Waddell calls them) are mostly related to guru Padmasambhava, there are many other `Shyarma [gSar-Ma]' i.e. New School Tenons who brought out Termas not related to Guru Padmasambhava. Waddell is totally ignorant of this (1) Lord Tsangpa Gyare (1161-1211), (2) Gyud Chen Sangye Gyatso, (3) Rechung, the disciple of Milarepa (1084-?), (4) Drogon Chogyal Phagpa, the 4th Sakya Hierarch (1255-1280), (5) Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, the 3rd Karmapa (1281-X-1334), (6) Buton Rinchen Drup ,(1290-1364), (7) Gyalwang Gedun gyatso, the 5th Dalai Lama, (8) Lodro Rinchen Senge all discovered Termas not related to Padmasambhava while Nyalpa Nyima Sherab and Nyem Lo Darma Trag were New School teachers who brought out the Termas of Guru Padmasambhava (Thondup 1986:167).
Also two famous Indian Panditas who went to Tibet brought out Termas - (1) the famous Bengali Siddha and Mahapandita Atisha and (2) the last abbot (Upadhyaya/Khenpo) of Vikramashila, Sakya Sri Bhadra, the Kashmiri Pandita who saw Vikramashila destroyed by Bakhtiyar Khilji's hoard in front of his own eyes and wept saying, "Now Buddhism is finished from India" and went to Tibet with 9 Mahapanditas, some of whom were Nepalese. Also, it is a totally false allegation recklessly made by Waddell that these Termas deal with "codes of demon worship". Many parts of many of the Termas like the Nyin Thig and Chokling Tersar have been already translated into English and they deal with a profound meditational technique related to Vipassyana called `Chittanusmriti' and other forms of Vipassyana. None of them have any demon-worship in them. Waddell is either blatantly telling a lie or his mind is so constipated by Christian missionary vision that he perceives all but Christianity as devil-worship; or he has never seen a Terma at all.
Page 62: He calls `Sange Du' `Guhya Kala' mistaking `Du' for `Kala' or time but which is actually `Guhya Samaja Tantra', and he is ignorant of the fact that the six armed `Gonpo' is the Mahakala called `Sad Bhuja Nath'.
Page 66: Here in his chart he has confused and mixed up many names below the name of Dvagpo Lharje, who is the same as Gompopa. He puts Karma Bakshi as the direct disciple of Dvagpo Lharje, which is wrong. Dusum Khenpa the 1st Karmapa was the disciple of Dvagpo Lharje, while Karma Bakshi was the 2nd Karmapa. In fact Waddell has shown the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Karmapas (Dusum Khenpa, Karma Bakshi and Rangjung Dorje) as if they were 3 different names of the same person. Also the rest of the chart has no relation to the 4 Major and 8 Minor lineages that developed within the Kagyupa as already pointed out earlier (Thinley 1980:21-581).
Page 69: He says, "The hermit feature of this sect rendered it so unattractive that several sub-sects soon arose which dispensed with the necessity for hermitage. Thus appeared the sub-sects of Karmapa, DiKungpa, Talungpa and Dukpa ..." First of all, Waddell is making very wild guess as to why new sub-sects arose. His guess is totally off the mark because all of the Kagyu sub-sects are still renowned for their hermit style life - even today in India and Nepal. Second, he calls the Kamtsang Kagyu or Karma Kagyu as Karmapa, which is inaccurato and thirdly, he calls the Dukpa Kagyu a major sect with the other three. Actually the next majoris Tsalpa, as seen earlier and the Drukpa Kagyu is one of the 8 Minors. The reason why so many sub-sects arose is due to the many dynamic meditator hermit teachers who arose within the Kagyu system and not to avoid the hermitage, as Waddell would have us believe.
In the same page he says, "The Karmapa sub-sect was founded in the middle of the 12th century by Karmapa Ran Chun Dorje also named Dusum Khyenpo" Dusum Khyenpa (not Khyenpo as Waddell has written) is the 1st Karmapa, who started the Kamtshang Kagyu. "Ranchun Dorje" of Waddell is Rangjyung Dorje, the 3rd Karmapa. They were not the same person. Further down Waddell says, "This Karmapa (that is Dusum Khenpa and Rangjyung Dorje rolled into one by Waddell) does not appear to be identical with the famous `Karma Bakshi' ..." He does not seem to even know that Dusum Khenpa was the 1st Karmapa, Karma Bakshi was the 2nd Karmapa and Rangjyung Dorje was the 3rd Karmapa.
Page 69/70: He states that the first Sakya monastery built in Sakya is in the Western Tibet. This is completely off mark. Sakya is in the Tsang district of Central Tibet, not in western Tibet, although west of Lhasa. Then he writes a series of complete non-sense unheard of my any Sakya Khenpo or Rinpoche or Lopon or written in any Sakya records. He writes, "It's founder K'on dKon mChog rGyalpo, a pupil of Kugpa Lha-bTsas, who claimed'., inspiration from the celestial bodhisat of wisdom, Manjushree, through the Indian sages ranging from Nagarjuna to Vasuputra ..." and he mixed together the `old' and the `new' Tantras, calling his new doctrine the "new-old" occult mystery of the `deep sight'. Its mystic insight is called the `Fruitful Path'. It's special gospels are Nagarjuna's Avatansak, Vasubandhu's Paramartha. Its tutelary demon is Vajra Phurpa borrowed from the Nyingma book 'Dorje phurpa chi Choga' and from the newer school were taken Dem-Chok, Dorje Khando, Den zi, Maha-Mahama yab, Sangye Topa and Dorje Dutsi. Its demonical guardians are `The Guardian of the Tent' and `The Face Lord'. But now except in a few externals, it is practically indistinguishable from the Nyingma." That the lineage mentioned here is completely mixed up 1 have already shown afore. Drogmi Lotsawa is the teacher of Konchog Gyalpo and not Kugpa Lha bTsas (Roerich 1949/1979:208, Trichen 1983:IX / Thondup 1987: 57)
In the note, he has translated yab-SRAS as Vasuputra whereas it means `Father and Son' (Pita-putra) and is used for Nagarjuna and Aryadeva or also for each Sakya hierarch and son, also the Karmapa and the 4 sons and Tsong Khapa and his disciples. So Vasuputra is completely wrong. In that note he even goes so far as to make the wildest guess and say that Vasuputra is probably Vasubandhu without any proof at all to claim that. Then he goes on to say even more weird things by saying that Vasuvandu was the special transmitter of Nagarjuna's purer Sautrantic doctrines. This is indeed like a completely entangled ball of wool. Nagarjuna is renowned to any scholar of worth as the founder of Madhyamic not Sautrantic. Vasubandhu is also renowned to have left the Sautrantic philosophy for the Yogachara. He certainly is not a transmitter of Nagarjuna's purer Sautrantik doctrines. Nor is Yab Sras the Tibetan for Vasu bandhu, who is known in Tibetan as Yig Nyen [dByg-gNyen], and the Sakya do not hold any special lineage coming down from Nagarjuna to Vasubandhu or Vasumitra (whoever that be). All the 4 schools of Tibetan Buddhism study both Nagarjuna's Madhyamic philosophy and Vasubandhu or Vaibhasika/Sautantrika doctrines (Abhidharma Kosha). It is not a special lineage that distinguish the Sakyas from the others.
The tutelary deity of the Sakyas is not Vajra Phurpa (Sanskrit, Vajra Kilaya) but rather Sri Hevajra (Trichen 1983:7-23). But it also uses Vajra Kilaya, which was taken from the Nyingma. But it was not taken from the book, Dorje Phurpa chi Chopa, which is the "Puja Vidhi of Vajrakilaya" There is a whole Tantra related to Vajra Kilaya -- Vajrakilaya Mula Tantra Khanda/Tib. RDorje Phurpa rTsa-ba'I rGyud Kyi Dum Bu Waddell must have seen the Pujari (Chopen) type lamas in Sikkim use this text to do the puja of Vajrakilaya and just made a wild guess that this was the book from which it was taken by the Sakyas. This is a solid proof that the informants he met were Pujari type lamas and he actually never met real scholars like Lopons/Khenpos/Gheshes or Rinpoches, nor did he meet real meditators called Champas or Gomchens. Nor is there any Avatansaka of Nagarjuna or Paramartha of Vasubandhu so far either in Indian sources or Tibetan sources. The Avatamsaka Sutra was not a work of Nagarjuna and there does not seem to be any work of Vasubandh called Paramartha. And also neither the Avatamsaka Sutra nor any text called Paramartha are the special gospel of the Sakyapas, as claimed by Waddell; nor are they even studied in the 9 years scholastic curriculum of the Sakyas -- now founded in Dehradun, India. The Dem Chog is the Chakrasamvara common among our own Newars, the Dorje Khando is Vajra Dakini also found amongst the Newars, the Maha-Mahama yab is again a muddling up of Mahamaya Tantra as no such Tibetan deity is found. `The Guardian of the Tent' is Vajrapanjar Nath Mahakal whose iconography is found in Swayambhu and the `Face-Lord' is again a muddling up of Chatur Mukha Mahakal (4-Faced Lord), all of which Waddell has called `demons'.
Waddell has not even mentioned the two major deity cycle for which the Sakyas are well known i.e. the Lamdre Hevajra. and the Kalachakra (Trichen 1983:6 and Roerich 1949/1979:210-240). He says the Ngorpa (written `Norpa' by Waddell), the Jonangpa and the Sakyapa differ from each other only in the founder. That is also wrong. The Jonangpa practice the Kalachakra, the Ngorpa Hevajra while the Sakyapa besides Hevajra also take up the Nyingma Vajra Kilaya. He calls the Jonangpa founder as Kun gah Dol Chog. This too is wrong. He also writes in the footnote that Kunga Dol-chog is also called Dol-bu Sherab gyen. Here too, as in many places he has muddled up a couple of names into one mess. First of all, the founder of Jonangpa was Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen (1292-1361) and not Jonangpa Kunga Drolchok (1507-0566). Neither Kunga Drolchog nor Sherab Gyaltsen is called Sherab Gyen. Sherab Gyaltsen is the Tibetan of Pragya Dhwaja while Sherab Gyen is the Tibetan for Pragya Alankara. The founder of the Jonang school is of special interest to Nepalese culture and history students because he was from Dolpo. That is why he is called Dolpopa. The word `Dolbu Sher gyen' in the footnote by Waddell seems to be a mix up of the names Dolpopa and the Sherab of Sherab Gyaltsen. As usual he has not shown the source from where he got this name (Steam 1999:11-39, Lhair Gyal mTsen 1971:15-19, Chos 1580, KunsPangsPa:Cho:1962, Kapstein: 1971:15-19, 1992:7-21, Roerich 1976: 745-777, Ruegg 1963:80-8 1, Erhard: 1993:23-39, Grol Chug 1507-1566:125 fol., dzad-pa and mKhenpo:trans. Chatopadhya 1993:100, 123, 199)
Page 71: The sketch he has given here with the caption "A Sa-skya Lama" is worthless. It has nothing special to distinguish it from any average Tibetan or an average person from any of the Nepalese Himalayan ethnic group. The hat or cap he wears is not a special Sakya hat.
Page 72: Here he calls the Nyingma meditation thus: "Its mystic insight is Maha Utpanna (Dsog-Ch'en)". I have already given above the correct translation of Dzog Chen is `Maha Sampanna' or "Maha Sandhi" or `Maha Shanti'. Waddell writes, "Its tutelaries are `The Fearful Vajra [Vajra = phurba) and Dubpa Kah-gye." In the footnote he calls Dubpa Kah-gye the tutelary deity of the Guru St. Padmasambhava (notice the singular noun `the tutelary diety'.) First of all Vajra Kilaya (Tib. Dorje Phurba) is only one of the tutelary deities of the Nyingma. He calls it Vajra Phurba or the `Fearful Vajra'. `Dorje' is `Vajra' and `Phurba' is `Kilaya'. None of the words mean `Fearful' (The Fearful Vajra). Kilaya or Kila is a common Sanskrit term for nail or for nailing down. So Dorje Phurba / Vajra Kilaya could possibly be translated as `Adamantine Nailer' but certainly not `The Fearful Vajra'. He does not seem to know that the word `Kah-gye' stands for a short name for eight different deities. `Kah' means commandments (Sanskrit, Vachan) and `gye' means eight. So it is a clear indication that he does not know what he is talking about when he calls the `Kah gye [bKah-brgyad]' "a tutelary deity of St. Padmasambhava" as if it was one single deity (Dudjom 1991:475-483).
Page 73: Here Waddell writes that Ouru Padmasambhava's Guru is the Kashmiri Sri Simha and Sri Simha's Guru is Garab Dorje. First of all Sri Simha was a Tibeto-Chinese born in Shokyam in China and not a Kashmiri. Secondly, Sri Simha's Guru is Manjushrimitra and not Garab Dorje. Garab Dorje (Sanskrit, Prahe Vajra is the Guru of Manjushrimitra and is from Uddiyana near Kashmir. Furthermore, the Dzog Chen Ati Yoga teachings of Sri Simha did not go to Tibet through Padmasambhava but through Sri Simha's disciple Vimalamitra (an Indian) who went to Tibet. Waddell is totally unaware of 3 different meditational lineages called Maha, Anu and Ati within the Nyingma lineage. Guru Padmasambhava transmitted the Maha Yoga lineage and his Guru for this lineage was Prabha Hasti and not Sri Simha. Furthermore, the main Guru of this Maha Yogalineage is Humkara Vajra and not Garab Dorje. Humkara Vajra was a Brahmin of Evam Vihara of Nepal. Some people identify the place with E-Vihara of Patan today, but this is yet unproven (Dudjom 1991:475-501, Thondup 1984:13-35, Roerich 1949/1979:102-240).
Page 75: In this page Waddell claims, "In the four centuries succeeding the reformation, various sub-sects formed, mostly as relapses towards the old familiar demonolatry" [Para one]
"And since the fifteenth century AD, the several sects and sub-sects, while rigidly preserving their identity and exclusiveness, have drifted down towards a common level where the sectarian distinction tend to become almost nominal." [Para two]
"But neither in the essential of Lamaism itself, nor in its sectarian, aspects do the truly Buddhist doctrine, as taught by Sakya Muni play a leading part". [Para three]
On the contrary, Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug history show that each sect has zealously and ardently attempted to maintain the purity of each sect. This period was marked by intense and often heated debate between the Sakya, Kagyu, Nyingma and Gelug as to what constituted the correct modes of meditation and the correct view (Samyag Darshan) that came from India. There is a long history of very high level polemical debates for centuries between the Panditas of the various schools which continues even today amongst the refugees of Tibet. These debates and texts are well recorded and are of no less a standard than the debates between Dharmakirti (Buddhist) and Udyotkar or Kumaril Bhatta (Hindu). Waddell has completely missed the high standard of study continuing in the various lineages in Tibet continuing from Nalanda, Vikramashila, Odantapuri etc. He does not even seem to be aware of heated debates between Sakya Pandita, Gorampa of the Sakya on the one hand and Tsong Khapa, Khedrup etc. of the Gelug on the other hand and Mipham of the Nyingma on the one hand and Mikyo Dorje etc. of the Kagyu on the other hand, the heat of which is still felt-in the Sakya, Kagyu, Nyingma and Gelug colleges outside Tibet amongst the refugees.
Waddell seems to have mistaken the Chopen [Chos dPon] (Pujari) as the whole and sole representative of his "Lamaism", and he is completely ignorant of the fact that at the time he wrote, over 5000 students were studying the philosophy of Nagarjuna, the Abhidharma Kosha of Vasubandhu the Pramana Vartika of Dharmakirti, one of the world's greatest logicians in all history, in just one college called Sera in Tibet. There were many such colleges dotting the Tibetan landscape from Ngari in the west to Kham in the East even while Waddell was writing this gross disclaimer of what he calls "Lamaism". He is not even aware that thousands of profound commentaries were being written even up to his time on profound Sutras and Sastras coming from India which contained all the teachings as taught by the Sakyamuni. For instance, the Bodhicharyavatara of Shantideva alone has more than a hundred commentaries in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition written by Tibetans throughout the centuries. The famous debate initiated by Sakya Pandita and continued between the Sakyapas on the one hand and the Kagyu and Nyingmapas on the other shows that great sensitivity was shown to maintaining the purity of lineages coming from India and great sensitivity was shown so that wrong types of Chinese meditations with uncertain pedigree do not get mixed up with the lineages. This, Waddell seems blissfully unaware of.
Besides the scholastic lineages which continued to spew out brilliant Panditas like Sakya Pandita, Gorampa, Rong Tong of the Sakya, Mipham, Rong Zom etc. of the Nyingma, Tsong Khapa, Khedrup, etc. of the (Gelug) and Rangjung Dorje, Mikyo Dorje, Pema Karpo etc. of the Kagyu, profound meditators in all lineages continued to meditate in caves scattered all over Tibet for 6, 10, 12, 20 years or in some cases all their lives. These meditators and Siddhas were revered throughout the centuries by all Tibetans. And these meditators belong to all the schools each practicing the special style of Samatha-Vipassyana coming down through his/her lineage from Indian Siddhas of the past. Thousands continued to have deep realizations of the Buddha's teachings right up to the time of Waddell. And this meditative tradition continues even till today amongst the Tibetan refugees in Nepal, India and even in the West. Because Waddell based himself wholly and solely on Chopen type lamas and as all Pujas in the sects appear to look alike to an untrained mind, Waddell concluded that "all the sub-sects.., have drifted down to a common level where the sectarian distinctions tend to become almost nominal". An untrained Nepali would say the same thing if he attended a Catholic and Protestant Sunday Mass.
From Page 169-185: He talks of the Great Monastic learning homes like Sera, but again he seems to be unaware of the scholastic curriculum. The curriculum he has given is again of a Chopen type and not of the scholar. He talks about debates, but does not know what they debate about. At the time of Waddell what went on inside Tibet was limited to the tourist eye-view of a few Europeans who managed to enter Tibet. Very few actual Tibetan texts or commentaries were yet translated into European languages. The only two that Waddell has as reference were the Tibetan translation of the Lalitavistara the Gyache Rolpa and The History of Indian Buddhism by Taranath, both translated first into German. An analysis of Waddell's bibliography shows no actual Tibetan works but rather a predominance of works of Anglo-German school of Buddhist studies which were based solely on Pali Studies. So, Waddell thinks that the Pali tradition is the pure Buddhism of Sakyamuni and any deviation found from the Pali literature is a deviation. I have already clarified how this concept is mistaken. The curriculum given by Waddell in page 174 and 183 are all different types of Pujas. As I mentioned, he is not aware of the curriculum of Sutras and Sastras at all. The curriculum of the Sakya institutions consisted of the following: Trichen 1983:27.
The Sakyapas divided the explanation (Byakhya) and study of treatises on the Tripataka into the following six sections:
1) Paramita (The Way of Perfection), which comprise "The Five Dharmas of Maitroya" viz. (1) The Abhisamaya Alankara, (2) The Sutra Alankara, (3) The Madhyanta Vibhanga, (4) The Dharma-Dharmata Vibhanga, (5) Uttaratantra and in addition the Bodhicharyavatara of Shantideva. 2) Pramana (Logic and Epistemology), which comprise' the Pramana Samuccaya of Dignaga, the Pramana Varttika of Dharmakirti, the Pramana Vinischaya of Dharmakirti, and Pramana Yuktinidhi of Sakya Pandita. 3) Vinaya (Monastic Law) which comprises of Pratimoksha Sutra and the Vinaya Sutra of Gunaprabha. 4) Abhidharma, which comprises the Abhidharma Kosha of Vasubandhu and Abhidharma Samuccaya of Asanga. 5) Madhyamaka (Middle Way), which comprises the Mulamadhyamaka Karika of Nagarjuna, the Madhyamakavatara of Chandrakirti and the Chatushataka or' Aryadeva. 6) Trisamvaraprabheda (Discriminating of the Three Vows) of Sakya Pandita.
This was being studied in Sakya learning houses like Nalendra etc. at the time of Waddell and is still studied in the Sakya College in Dehradun today.
And the same curriculum minus the Pramana group and the Trisamvaraprabheda were studied in Nyingma and Kagyu institutions at the time of Waddell and is still studied in Nyingma and Kagyu institutions in Nepal and India (Norbu 1986:167).
In the Gelug tradition too, the same Sakya curriculum minus the Trisamvaraprabheda, which is the Sakya specialty, arc called the "Five Great Texts" (Pancha Maha Sastra), and these were studied from 20-25 years in the big monastic universities like Sera, Ganden, Drepung in the time of Waddell and is still continued in India today. (Gyatso 1987:30).
The rest of the book is no different in quality and standard from the first 75 pages that I have analyzed. It is astonishing to see that the Culture Department of Tribhuvan University still recommends such a totally misleading book as Waddell's. Some well known Nepali scholars have even quoted this masterpiece of a blunderbuss to authenticate their writings while others have further quoted this first writer in what the Buddha would have called "Andhavenuparampara" i.e. the blind leading the blind [Pradhan 2044 BS and Khatri 2054 BS:I 3 and others]. This issue becomes more sensitive when it is understood that what Waddell is misinforming about is also directly related to the culture of the entire Nepalese Himalayan and sub-Himalayan regions and indirectly related to the Newar Culture. I do not see how Nepalese professors think Waddell's book as a recommendable book when he calls `Dem Chog', which is Chakrasamyara, the main practice of the Buddhist Newars, a "poly-demonic practice". No wonder Geoffrey Samuel (1995:11) calls Waddell's book a crude caricature. Some scholars remark that `Samvara' is a name of an Asura in the Vedic literature. There are a couple of points here. First of all, this is a proof that the Vedics called all non-Aryan deities as Asuras (unless they had been integrated). That does not make `Samvara' a Rakshasa. Secondly, there is no proof that this `Samvara' is the same as the `Samvara' in Sri Chakrasamvara. The equation is unwarranted without further proof. Thirdly, even if it were the same `Samvara' it only proves that the deities used by Buddhist Tantriks were non-Vedic, non-Aryans (probably Sramanic); it does not prove that `Samvara' is actually a demon but rather that the Vedic called it a `demon' because it was not their `Deva'. In that case (assuming the above to be correct), Buddhist Tantra is totally non-Hindu influenced. Fourthly, that `Samvara' is called Asura in Veda does not validate Waddells' Christian idea that therefore Chakrasamvara etc. are `demons', but probably Waddell had no idea of all this anyway. And last of all any word, symbol or metaphor has the value, meaning and sense given to it by its users or practitioners or culture. They can have value and meaning only within such a context. Because of this, the same word-sound, symbol or metaphor can have different values, meanings and sense attached to them by different cultures, systems. A very innocuous word in one language-culture can have a very coarse-erotic connotation in another language-culture. It is astonishingly naive therefore to conclude that the first language-culture is a sexually oriented language-culture. In the same way a metaphor symbolizing devilry and `poly-demonist' ideas in one cultural paradigm can actually have the value of an angel attached to it in another cultural paradigm. No one culture has the copyrights to any metaphor and the meaning-value attached to it. According to Jungian pschology, "No individual symbolic image can be said to have a dogmatically fixed generalised meaning" (Jung 1964:30). We cannot therefore take the Sri Chakrasamvara or Kalachakra of the Buddhist Vajrayana and assume that the Buddhist practitioners of Vajrayana give these metaphors the same value, the same meaning, the same connotation as the Vedic or the Christian would give to the same metaphor. The connotation and implication of those who equate the Vedic and Christian metaphor-values with the Buddhist metaphor-values is that the Vajrayana Buddhists know, take, believe and understand that Sri Chakrasamvara etc. is a demon and worship him as a demon. This shows an abject insensitivity to other cultural norms than one's own.
In the Buddhist Tantric texts, Sri Chakrasamvara, Kalachakra etc. are called `Devatideva', `Bhagawan' etc. and not `Daitya' or `Rakshasa' or `Asura'. And this is the meaning-value attached to these metaphors by those who use or practice it. For instance, the `Sri Hevajra Tantra' begins with "Evam maya srutam ekasmin samaye Bhagavan. ... etc.". A metaphor that symbolizes compassion (Sunyata Karunabhinnam Hevajranatham Namayahma), Maitri, freedom of Klesha, defeating of Mara (Hevajraya namastubhyam maramayapramardiney) cannot and should not by any cultural standards be considered as `poly-demonic'; even if similar metaphor are used in other cultures and systems as a symbol of `demonship'.
Today, thousands of Western scholars like Prof. Robert Thurman, Prof. Jeffery Hopkins, Prof. Herbert Guenther, Dr. Elizabeth Napper, Professor Mathew Kapstein Dr. David Scott etc. find those same `poly-demonic practices' as one of the most subtly profound psychological methods to achieve integration of the mind i.e. freeing the mind from Klesha. As it is Buddhism is generally misunderstood by the Hindu populace of Nepal and India. Swami Vivekananda once admitted, "We Hindus never understood it" (Vivekananda 1965:3rd Vol.: 528-529). We do not need Waddell to create more misunderstanding.
I would like to end this emic critique of Waddell's book by quoting a few, lines from Radmilla Moacanin, a practicing psychotherapist of the Jungian school in Los Angeles which was written 100 years after Waddell on Tibetan Buddhism, which is a sort of critique of Waddell's interpretation and conclusion of Tibetan Buddhism or `Lamaism' as he called it. "It could be said that the aim of Buddhist Tantra is to penetrate into, harness, and transform the dynamic forces of the universe, which are no different from the psychological forces and archetypal constellations of our own psyche. But this cannot be done through the exercise of discursive thought or application of abstract theories but only by being deeply immersed in actual practices. Due to the enormous wealth of these practices, Tantra has given rise to much misunderstandings and misconceptions. In the Western world it has often been equated with magic (Waddell's sorcery) and exotic sexual practices." (Moacanin 1986:17).
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|Publication:||Contributions to Nepalese Studies|
|Article Type:||Critical Essay|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2000|
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