lundi 2 avril 2018

Nāthisme et vajrayāna


François Xavier en Inde, Reinoso André

De manière générale, les religions avancent que leurs croyances et pratiques sont telles que les avaient enseignées (ou éventuellement voulues) leurs fondateurs respectifs. Comme si au cours des deux millénaires d’existence, la religion n’avait pas évoluée et qu’elle était foncièrement restée la même. L’ensemble des croyances et pratiques d’une religion à l’état actuel est alors présenté comme une sorte de « package deal » , à prendre dans son ensemble ou à laisser.

James Mallinson (SOAS University of London) est un chercheur dans le domaine du haṭhayoga et des traditions nātha. Le 17 novembre 2017, il avait donné une conférence qui avait pour titre « Textual and material evidence for interaction between Vajrayāna Buddhist and Nāth yogis in the Konkan during the 10th-15th centuries CE ». Konkan étant une région en Inde occidental. Sa théorie est que les écritures bouddhistes (vajrayāna) sur la recherche de l’immortalité à travers le yoga précèdent ceux des nāths. Il base cette théorie sur un texte intitulé l’Amṛtasiddhi, dont il existe plusieurs versions, entre autres des versions bilingues avec la traduction tibétaine. Mais il y eut des influences śaiva (kaula)- bouddhiste – nāth mutuelles jusqu’à relativement tard. Vers la fin de sa conférence, Mallinson cite l’exemple de Buddhaguptanātha, un des maîtres de Tāranātha (1575-1634), et de ses voyages en Inde occidental dans des communautés nātha. Ces informations viennent principalement d’une hagiographie de Buddhaguptanātha rédigée par Tāranātha.[1] Une version résumée en anglais peut être trouvé sur le site The Treasury of lives. La source principale de ce que nous connaissons de ce maître est Tāranātha. Pour l’anecdote, Mallinson raconte comment Buddhaguptanātha aurait visité une île devant la côte de l’Inde occidental, où il aurait rencontré une communauté de « nāths », habillés en noir et qui consommaient de l’alcool. Tāranātha dit que le nom de l’île est Sam lo ra na so, que Mallinson interprète en plaisantant à moitié (en suivant David Templeman) par San Lorenzo. Les « nāths » seraient plutôt des jésuites. Le fait reste qu’il y avait une présence portugaise en Inde à l’époque, et que les portugais avaient surtout investis les îles devant la côte indienne. Quoi qu’il en soit, cela situe l’époque (XVIème siècle) où Buddhaguptanātha fut actif, où Tāranātha reçut des transmissions de lui.

Selon son propre œuvre sur l’origine des lignées, Bka' babs bdun Idan, et son hagiographie de Buddhaguptanātha, les maîtres indiens principaux de Tāranātha furent Nirvāṇaśrīpada, Pūrṇāvajrapāda et Buddhaguptanātha. La fin du nom « nātha » est d’ailleurs une indication de la filiation nātha. Buddhaguptanātha avant reçu toute une formation nātha avant même d’aborder le bouddhisme. Il avait passé trente ans avec son gourou nāth Tirthanātha. A l’âge de trente ans il fit une série de rêves où apparaissait Vajrayogiṇī, une fois sous la forme d’une vendeuse d’alcool qui le libéra de ses blocages. C’est à partir de ces rêves, que Buddhaguptanātha devint un bouddhiste mais sans abandonner sa religion précédente.[2] David Templeman insiste sur une conversion très graduelle et toute en douceur, qui fut possible à cause d‘une transmission appelée Nātheśvari (tib. mgon po’i dbang phyug (ma)), entre bouddhisme et hindouisme. Les trois maîtres de Buddhaguptanātha (Tirthanātha, Brahmanātha et Kṛṣṇanātha) appartenaient à ce groupe dissident. Jusqu’à la fin de sa vie, Buddhaguptanātha continua ses pélerinages aux haut-lieux des deux traditions. Il existait apparemment une déesse du nom de Nātheśvari au Népal (elle est mentionnée dans un chant newar[3]). Tāranātha réfère à ce groupe comme les « Nāthapanthi ».[4]

Buddhaguptanātha pratiqua aussi l’alchimie (rasāyana tib. bcud len) et était un grand voyageur à la fois extérieur et intérieur (Oḍḍiyāna). Il séjourna seize ans dans un ancien temple de Śiva dans le sud de l’Inde. Tāranātha décrit en détail les exploits yoguiques dont fut capable son maître Buddhaguptanātha. Tāranātha reconnut que toutes les instructions reçues par Buddhagupta ne pouvaient être classifiées comme bouddhistes.
« Les douze branches (S. nikāya = bārah panth ?) de yogis racontent que Mīnapa/Matsyendra suivait Maheśvara (Śiva) et qu’il atteint les pouvoirs mystiques (siddhi) ordinaires. Gorakṣa reçut de lui les instructions sur les énergies (S. praṇa), les mit en pratique suite à quoi la gnose de la Mahāmudrā naquit naturellement en lui.”[5]
Tāranātha, qui ne cite malheureusement pas ses sources, ajoute que plusieurs histoires du même genre circulent mais qu’elles sont sans fondement. Pour Tāranātha, qui avait sa propre liste de mahāsiddhas, parmi lesquels ne figurait pas non plus Tilopa, ces maîtres étaient des Nāths et ils pratiquaient des sādhana shivaïstes ou śakta hors d’un contexte bouddhiste et par conséquent la plus haute réalisation du bouddhisme tantrique, étant des non-bouddhistes, ne leur était pas accessible pour cette raison même...[6]

L’hagiographie de Tāranātha (Treasury of lives, Cyrus Stearns) précise que d’autres maîtres indiens, bouddhistes et non-bouddhistes, tels que Bālabhadra, Nirvāṇaśrī, Pūrṇānanda, Pūrṇavajra et Kṛṣṇabhadra avaient enseigné Tāranātha, lui avaient fourni des manuscrits et l’avaient aidé à les traduire. A l’époque où Buddhaguptanātha séjournait au Tibet, ou était en compagnie de Tāranātha, plus précisément à un endroit appelé « Ghoratamta », ils reçurent la visite d’un yogi et d’une yogiṇī qui apportèrent un commentaire de « l’édition méridionale » du Tārātantra.[7] Tāranātha avait aussi traduit des chapitres des « Enseignements du Seigneur Kṛṣṇa » et des « Bénéfices de la récitation des mille noms de Viṣnu » en tibétain.[8]

Il me semblerait que l’état de connaissance tantrique (bouddhiste et/ou non-bouddhiste) n’était pas le même à l’époque de Tāranātha (XVIème) et disons 4 siècles plus tôt (XIIème) à l’époque de Milarepa et Gampopa. L’état du « haṭhayoga » n’était pas le même non plus. L’apport d’instructions nouvelles (quelle que soit leur origine) a continué d’affluer au Tibet. Pourtant tout ce que Tāranātha enseigne est considéré comme du bouddhisme tibétain, et comme du bouddhisme. Un autre apport de type alchimique/siddha au XVI-XVIIème siècle fut celui attribué à « Jâbir ». Peut-être que les écritures bouddhistes en matière de « haṭhayoga » sont plus anciennes que celles des nāths, mais il semble indéniable que les nāths ont continué leur influence sur le bouddhisme tibétain jusqu’à assez tardivement. Le « package deal » (expression de DKR) proposé actuellement contient tout cela.

***

[1] Tāranātha, "Grub chen Buddhagupta’i mam thar rje btsun nyi kyi zhal lung las gzhan du rang rtogs dri mas ma sbags pa'i yi ge yang dag pa’o", pp.531-73, in the Collected Works of Jo nang rje brtsun Tārānātha, vol.17, Leh 1982.

[2] Buddhaguptanatha and the Late Survival of the Siddha Tradition in India D Templeman 

[3] Dāphā: Sacred Singing in a South Asian City: Music, Performance and Meaning, Professor Richard Widdess, p. 258 etc. Elle serait la śaktī de Nāsaḥdyaḥ/Nṛtyeśvara, le Seigneur de la dance.

[4] Treasury of Lives

[5] The Seven Instruction Lineages (Paperback) by Jonang Taranatha, traduit par David Templeman, Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, p. 75. Réf. TBRC W22276-2306-7-163. 117. grub chen gau ra+kSha’i man ngag rnams kyi bka’ babs yin te/ de yang sde tshan bcu gnyis kyi dzo gi rnams na re/ mA Ni pas lha dbang phyug chen po la brten te/ thun mong kyi dngos grub thob/ de la gau ra+kShas rlung gi gdams ngag zhus te bsgoms pas/ phyag rgya chen po’i ye shes rang byung du skyes pa yin zhes zer ba sogs khungs med kyi gtam sna tshogs yod kyang*/ re zhig bzhag go/

[6] Masters of Mahāmudrā, Keith Dowman, Suny Press, p. 83. http://hridayartha.blogspot.fr/2011/11/dans-le-ventre-du-poisson.html

[7] J’avais fait une traduction française de ce commentaire (sgrol ma’i ‘grel ba) pour un ami. Il s’agit d’une version selon le yogatantra supérieur (S. anuttarayogatantra) et d’un yoginī-tantra selon Tāranātha lui-même.

[8] PIATS 2000, International Association for Tibetan Studies. Seminar,Henk Blezer,A. Zadoks.

12 commentaires:

  1. Nice essay, I enjoyed reading it. One thing: I wonder why Jim Mallinson although he quotes Tucci at some length doesn't even mention Tucci's (on the same page) identification of San Lo-ran-so with "San Lorenzo," the name Madagascar received from Diogo Diaz when he discovered the island on the saint's day, August 10, 1500. Indian ships did go to, and sometimes got wrecked on the coasts of, Madagascar already in the 14th century. I find Mallinson's suggestion that the island might be "Goa," not very convincing. There are even hints Buddhanåtha could have gone to Australia (he more certainly went to Java), and if so Madagascar isn't such a long stretch. Tucci says it quite clearly, "There is no doubt that this island corresponds to Madagascar which the Portuguese called Sao Lourenço."

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  2. Thank you for your kind message Dan. Buddhanātha was a great traveler, that’s for sure. If he did indeed go to Madagascar and Australia, he surely must have been on some sort of mission like Paul of Tarsus. A double mission, Nāth and Buddhist? The Jesuits could have given him such idea?

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  3. Dear HA,

    I wouldn't credit his travel impulses on the Jesuits or the Portuguese. India had a thriving sea trade, and as you know Padampa's dad was a sea captain some centuries earlier. The father of Buddhaguptanātha was also a seaman, or as Taranatha says, "a mighty trader." Here's a quote from David Templeman's dissertation, ch. 4:

    "Buddhaguptanātha was born in the extreme south-east corner of India at Indraliṅga near Rameśvaram. Although the town of Indraliṅga itself is not immediately identifiable, Rameśvaram which is defined in Tāranātha’s text as being near the sea, is most likely to be the ancient pilgrimage spot of the same name located near Adam’s Bridge off the coast of modern Tamil Nadu, the last town on the land-bridge leading to Śrī Laṅka."

    Sometimes geography *is* destiny, or so I would argue. Yours, D.

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  4. I could imagine young Padampa on his father's ship... I wasn't entirely serious, but one does sometimes wonder what made them wander? Was it to learn (receive teachings, pilgrinage,...), to teach or to preach (as is sometimes said about Ashoka's envoys)? Or as some suggest the "Follow the money" impulse? Traveling as a sort of cârya (spyod pa la gshegs pa)? A bit of everything? :-)

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  5. I'm not a total cynic, so I think it's the main part of human nature to follow the love, not "follow the money. " Padampa went to Wutai Shan because it was a place holy to Manjushri, not because he wanted to learn Chinese cooking so as to open a new restaurant back home in Coconut Country and rake in the cowries. And I think he went up into the mountains to begin with to find solitude for meditation. We'll ask David T. what he thinks motivated Buddhagupta. Myself? I tend to travel when people pay my way. So I guess you could say I follow the money, but I do love to travel to new and different places, and doing it is not in my case a way of making money, just the opposite. My dad never traveled much, so that's no explanation of me. Renunciates are supposed to leave their homeland, and the reason is plain. That's where the nagging attachments are, the ones that make us the most unfree.

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  6. I was thinking somebody really ought to collect Asian Buddhist travel stories, to finally explode that tenacious myth that Euros were the only ones seriously affected by the travel bug. Here's a fun example:

    Guṇavarman was a Kashmiri monk. He first stayed awhile in Sri Lanka, then visited Java, where he is sometimes credited with making the population into Buddhists. From there he was invited to China, arriving in Canton in 424 (I think). He sailed on a ship of an Indian named Nandi (Nan Ti). He came at the invitation of the Emperor at Nanking, and in China is known as the founder of the Saṃgha for Buddhist nuns.

    Oh, by the way, there is a known inscription in the Malay peninsula mentioning "Mahāvāvika Buddhagupta," but he belonged to the 4th century.

    And we ought to mention Zhang He (1371-1433), a Chinese Muslim (he had evidently gone on the Hajj) navigator. He sailed under the Chinese flag all the way to the east coast of Africa.

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  7. Pha yul spong ba rgyal sras lag len yin//

    :-)

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  8. I did wonder about proselytism in Buddhism (re: Guṇavarman). It wasn’t only a Christian, Nestorian, Zoroastrian, Manichean or Muslim feature. Many texts end with « read me, copy me, teach me etc. », and some may have taken the hint. Especially when alls sorts of mlecchas come to you and want to spread the good word. I would be curious to read more about Buddhist proselytism.

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  9. I too wonder. In the post-Dharmapala Buddhist world, at least, it's easy to make arguments for the existence of some kinds of Buddhist missionary movements. Try this website for example where you can find this marvelously relevant quote: "Go Ye, O Bhikkhus, and wander forth for the gain of the many, for the welfare of the many, in compassion for the world, for the good, for the gain, for the welfare of gods and men. Proclaim, O Bhikkhus, the Doctrine glorious, preach ye a life of holiness, perfect and pure."

    In that I can detect shades of the Great Commission, Matthew 28:19-20 — "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."

    On the other hand, I've often heard Tibetan friends express the idea that one should not try to teach Buddhism to someone who isn't interested. They have to express an interest right up front. Then you can try to explain it to them if you can.

    I haven't yet managed to see this book: Linda Learman, ed., Buddhist Missionaries in the Age of Globalization, Univ. of Hawaii Press (Honolulu 2005). The title looks promising if you're curious about this kind of thing.

    Another thing that comes to mind -- The exhortation to read, copy, teach makes better sense in India where book preservation is such a big issue. In India's monsoon climate those palmleaf manuscripts tend not to last long (they require a lot of protection and upkeep, in any case), so copying them over and over is a matter of their survival, first of all.

    I think there is a reason we don't speak much about Buddhist proselytizing missions in contrast to the huge body of literature about Tibet and other Buddhist countries as mission fields for the Christians. I imagine this is not because Buddhists don't want other people to join, it's just that they are more realistic, perhaps even a bit pessimistic, ever since Gautama's vision of the lotus pond. I think, in agreement with my friends, if we can speak of 'Buddhist missionaries' at all, they ought to be invited to come and teach to people who have already expressed an interest.

    I wonder what the opposite might look like: Imagine snatching up people from their homes in foreign countries and forcing them to take up residence in refugee centers.

    I mean, don't they have to first experience dissatisfaction with their home countries and take some initiative to get out of them before you can accept them as refuge takers? Well, not sure how well the analogy works out, but I gave it a try. Btw, it seems we have taken a major detour from the subject of the original blog. What's interesting about the new Mallinson & Singleton book "Roots of Yoga," is just that it shows how hard it can be to justify a fundamentalist position in yoga history. They go so far as to give Buddhists a lot more credit than they have gotten in the past from the yoga historians. I see progress in this.

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  10. Thank you for your input and the references Dan !

    As far as the « playing hard to get » of Tibetan teachers, that’s the official line (required qualifications of teacher and student, twelve years of mutual exploration, the bowl turned upside down or the dirty bowl, the master who will come to the student when the latter is ready, the Buddha’s Ehi passiko, etc.), it all sounds pretty noncomittal. The Dalai Lama and other masters go as far as to state that one is not required to abandon one’s native religion (if one has a religion) to practice Buddhism, although one of the refuge vows states not to go for refuge to other gods. One has the impression one can walk in and out freely whenever one likes.

    One side of proselytism is the persuasion, welcoming attitude and ease of walking in. The reverse may be the difficulty of walking out again. In our day and time, one won’t be held back physically to draw out of a religion, but other forms of holding someone back (metaphysical threats in the form of karma and/or samaya etc., apostasy, falling out of grace, peer pressure, etc.) may be actively applied. For me this proceeds from the same urge religions may feel. In the unfolding of the Sogyal/Rigpa affaire and other scandals, we saw and still see it’s not that easy to walk out of Tibetan Buddhism. Of course religions will always say that the suffering following from leaving a religion (apostasy) is called for and self summoned. Non of its compassionate followers would wish it upon those leaving, it’s merely a divine/karmic law. They would expose themselves to the very same suffering if they ever thought of leaving…

    What you say about book preservation may be true. On the other hand, many of the texts requiring to be copied, taught etc. appeared in millenarist contexts (kaliyuga, mappo), where it was urgent to be saved because of the imminent dangers, taught by the same texts (see Michael Strickmann, Mantras et mandarins). Copy and teach me, or else…

    I am probably a bit more cynical than you are. Reading about Gayadhara in hagiographies and his alleged attraction to gold, I could think of other reasons for Buddhist missionaries. Follow the money some buddhologists would say. Even Trungpa says as much when talking about Marpa’s early career, one does sense a certain gold rush atmosphere during the Tibetan Renaissance.

    I agree with you that, as far as I know, Buddhists didn’t snatch people away from their homes to convert them. I wonder what happened when non-Buddhist princesses married Buddhist kings ?

    I will end with the link to the presentation of a documentary with the title « Birmanie, le pouvoir des moines » (Joël Curtz, Benoît Grimont 2017), showing how Buddhist monks go to Christian villages to convert the Christian Chin villages. Unfortunately the documentary is no longer available online. It’s worth watching. http://pro.publicsenat.fr/birmanie-le-pouvoir-des-moines/

    Best wishes, Joy

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  11. A link to a Facebook posting on the subject
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=862350633924877&set=a.109144349245513.18066.100004498449003&type=3&theater

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  12. The Fishhook approach explained by Gyatrul Rinpoche

    Gyatrul Rinpoche on What Trungpa Rinpoche Gave Up

    It really is Trungpa Rinpoche who brought the Kagyu doctrine to this country, and it is through his kindness that we now have the presence of this lineage in this country…

    Especially you older students of Trungpa Rinpoche got caught by his fishhook. Those of you who like to smoke were attracted; those of you who like to drink were attracted; those of you who are party goers were very attracted. And he gave up a lot for you. What did he give up? His own reputation. He willingly accepted the criticism he received from his own people-and from other Americans, and from people in other countries-but he did all this so as to establish you on the path to liberation, which is where you are now. Would you be sitting here this evening if he hadn’t done that?

    It is your responsibility to repay his kindness, which is not something he needs; it is something you need. You need to fulfill your connection—to connect with him, a being who works only for others. Now you have that same opportunity to maintain the dharma centers for the sole purpose of benefiting sentient beings. That is the gift that you’ve been given. [Rinpoche speaks in English:] But I’m not saying, “Keep the pot!”

    Excerpted from “The Four Kilas of Vajrakilaya,” a talk by the Ven. Gyatrul Rinpoche at the Ngedon School, Karma Dzong, Boulder, Colorado, September 24, 1991, translated by Sangye Khandro. Published in The Vajrakilaya Sadhana Practice Manual, compiled by the Vajravairochana Translation Committee.

    https://www.chronicleproject.com/absolutely-suicidal/

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