102.2 Tantric initiation and the Three 'Kayas'
102.3 Tantric Initiation and the Four Tantras
102.4 More about Anuttara Tantra
102.5 Four Mula Yogas (Four Foundation Yogas)
After the preliminary practices, the formal Tantric practice begins with initiation. Initiation [灌頂] is known as Abhiseka in Sanskrit, which literally means 'sprinkling'. It is a kind of enpowerment [加持力] by a master called Guru. The emphasis on the need of a guru is one of the essential characteristics of the Tantric meditation. It is obvious that Tantric meditation cannot be practised without a Guru, which is different from the Hinayana and Mahayana meditation. Thus, it does not just mean being taught the method of meditation by a guru, but is an initiation supervised by a guru.
The equivalent word of Abhiseka that the Tibetans use is 'Wongkur', which means transmission of power, rendering the inner meaning of Abhiseka. In other words, the Tantric initiation is essentially a transmission of spiritual power from the Guru to the disciple. This is symbolized by the sprinkling of water, and very often embodied in a Mantra, a sacred syllable or phrase to be repeated over and over again, which is given at the time of initiation.
It may be misinterpreted that Vajrayana emphasizes 'other-power' of the designated deity (called Yidam [本尊] in Tibet) through initiation, which is actually very limited. The practitioner is not really blessed and protected by the deity, but is required to subdue his own mind [制心] through meditation, thus to control his consciousness through contemplation or visualization [觀想]. If the Tantric practitioner does not practice contemplation, they will have no progress and responses in reciting and upholding Tantras. Though it is the basic requirement for any Tantric practitioner, it is not easy to breakthrough, because he can come across different physical and psychological reactions. Thus, the guidance of a qualified and experienced Guru master is absolutely necessary, otherwise he may get into 'trouble' and enter a deviant way in the pursuit of Buddhahood.
The Tantric initiation is correlated with body, speech and mind, the basic division of human beings in Buddhsim. In Vajrayana, the attainment of Enlightenment is interpreted as the acquisition of the Three Kayas [三身]. Kaya literally means body. The Three Kayas represent different facets of the Enlightened Mind, different aspects of Buddhahood as it appears on three levels.
The Three Kayas also represent the body, speech and the mind of the Buddha. The aim of Vajrayana is to transform our body, speech and mind into the threefold personality of a Buddha. Our physical body is transformed into the Nirmanakaya of a Buddha with the aid of the 'Jar' Wong and its associated meditations. Our speech is transformed into the Sambhogakaya with the aid of the 'Secret' Wong. Our mind is transformed into Dharmakaya with the aid of 'Prajna' Wong. The fourth Wong represents the transformation of body, speech and mind collectively into Svabhavikakaya, which means the 'self-existent personality'. It is not really a body, but the totality of the other three.
The four kinds of Tantric initiations are also correlated with the Four Sets of Tantras, or the Four Yogas (not the four Mula Yogas, which will be discussed in section 101.5), but quite different Yogas sometimes known as the 'Four Tantras'. The practitioner attempts to transform his own body, speech and mind into an enlightened state by using the visualized deity as a model, and to realize the nature of emptiness at the same time.
The first three Yogas are known as Outer Tantra or Exoteric Tantra [外密], and the Anuttara Yoga comprises the Inner Tantra or Esoteric Tantra [內密]. These four initiations are collectively known as the 'Great Wong' or the 'Great Tantric Initiation'.
There are numerous systems of meditations (Sadhana) in each of the four sets of Tantras. Many of them lead to the acquisition of the so-called 'mundane Siddhis' (powers) such as long life, prosperity and pacification of harmful effect (Karmic force). However, it is said that only the Anuttara Tantra lead to the ultimate Sidhi, i.e. Mahamudra, known as the Great Seal [大手印] in this very lifetime. With this power of primordial wisdom, one can achieve enlightenment.
The two principal phases in Anuttara Tantras are: namely, the development stage or generation stage [生起次第] and the completion stage [圓滿次第], The former focuses upon luminosity while the latter upon emptiness.
Moreover, there are also numerous Anuttara Tantra deities. Among those who mostly worshipped are Hevajra, Chakrasamvara and the goddess Vajrayogini.
I general, there are four types of initiation in Anuttara Tantra: