Modern spirituality and religion are mainly associated with the path of renunciation and suffering. According to this view, to consider ourselves as a spiritual person we can not experience pleasure, and we can not derive satisfaction from having, financial resources and wealth. In fact, the holy man must be as poor as a "church mouse".
In this article, we wanted to compare two different approaches in Buddhism about how to realize its greatest potential.
Buddhism, Sutras, pleasure and Tantra
According to the expert of Buddhism Myrdhin Reynolds Vajranatha all the teachings and practices of Buddhism can be divided into three vehicles to enlightenment or Triyana. To understand the difference between them, you can use the example of deadly poison. When a Hinayana practitioner encounters on his path poison of passions, he simply avoids contact with it, so he renounces to the worldly life and to the contact with all pleasures. A Mahayana practitioner does not have to avoid contact with the poison, because he has the antidote, which consists in meditation of emptiness or Shunyata. Instead a Vajrayana practitioner when encounters the poison does not avoid it, nor apply the antidote as he is not afraid to come in contact with that poison, because he knows how to transform energy through tantric Sadhanas and uses it to obtain spiritual attainment. Thus, the passions that for the ordinary people are the source of all problems, for a tantrik they are a chance for liberation.
The Sutras, or the teachings given by Buddha, are a gradual process of mental purification of illusions such as anger, hate, irritation, etc., while developing positive qualities such as love and wisdom. According to Sutrayana one should avoid and even better to steer clear of all known poisons of the mind.
What are the poisons?
These are all things that cause us desire, so that we avoid any kind of pleasure, for example money, pretty women, delicious food, etc. In this way, our mind stays clean. This path is called the path of reasons, because we develop gradually qualities through practice.
The path of transformation of mud into gold
The Tantric approach is reversed, and the contents of the Tantras is radically different from the Sutras content. Tantric yogi practices already as a Deity in the present time by which the results of the practices are much faster.
Lama Thubten Yeshe recognized as one of the most inspiring masters of Tibetan Buddhism spoke on this topic as follows:
Everything that we need in order to be complete is within us right at this very moment. It is simply a matter of being able to recognize it. This is the tantric approach.
Lama Thubten Yeshe
The fastest way to enlightenment
Tantra is known as the fastest path to enlightenment, which involves the transformation of all our energies, also the subtle ones. It is said that this is the path of transformation of mud into gold, and so instead of doing like adept practitioners of sutras which steer clear of poisons of the mind, tantra practitioners look for the source of desire and immerse in the experience, so that using tantric practices he gets rid of illusions and makes transformation. And the energy needed to transform is the energy of our own desires.
The conclusion is that both paths lead to the same result, so basically there is no difference in what we choose. However the above text explains the controversial approach to pleasure and shows why tantra energy of desire is necessary. It should be remembered that it is not pleasure the source of problems, but attachment.