In this critique, I would like to make general Nepalese scholars aware that Austine Waddell’s “Buddhism & Lamaism of Tibet” cannot and should not be taken as an authoritative book on “Tibetan Buddhism”, the common appellation for what I call the Vajrayana of Tibet. Waddell’s book contains literally thousands of mistakes, wrong information, misinterpretations, and perhaps even purposeful distortions. We cannot consider the entire book in this critique but I shall take the preface and the first 75 pages, which will give a sufficient idea of the whole. The edition used for pagination in this critique is Gaurava Publishing’s 1993 edition.
Before I take them up page by page, a little background seems necessary. First of all, Waddell wrote the book over a hundred years ago when general information about Buddhism was minimal, not to mention that of Buddhism of Tibet. Written in 1894, “Buddhism & Lamaism of Tibet” was first published in 1899 as “The Buddhism of Tibet or Lamaism”. At that time, the Anglo-German school of Buddhist studies was the dominant school of Buddhist studies, and its conclusions were based solely on Pali texts and Theravada Buddhism, which were more easily available to the English colonials and to English scholars like Waddell. Thus, his views are heavily influenced by the views of this school. For instance, the name he mentions in XIII: Rhys Davids, Oldenberg and Beal, all of belong to Anglo-German school – (Joshi: 1983 Page 1).
This school of Buddhist scholars view the Pali Theravadins tradition as the only true form of Buddhism. 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 owning to the enormity of the subject, we shall not deal with that issue here. Furthermore, Waddell nowhere distinguishes between High religion and Folk religion, which are found in all religious traditions. He mixes them into a single pot-pouri, further confusing things.
If Waddell were today to interview even educated Hindus of Kathmandu Valley, asking them what their religion’s main scripture was, he would most likely hear, “Our Veda is the Srimad Bhagavat”, or something similar. Very few would actually mention Rig Veda/Sama Veda/Yajur Veda or Atharva Veda. If he further asked, “Do you believe in Sankaracharya?” they would reply, “Yes, he was one of our greatest saints and I agree to everything he says, which Hindu would not?” Many Hindu scholars would completely agree with this statement. However, were Waddell to persist, asking these educated Kathmanduites, “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 in 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 Hindus would be completely non-plussed. We are not talking here of uneducated country folks. So should Waddell write that the Veda of the Hindus is the Srimad Bhagavata? He has made this type of mistake with his “Lamaism”.
Secondly, Waddell was a son of a clergyman (a Christian missionary). At the time he wrote, the Christian clergy studied and wrote on other religious systems to show to the world how they were inferior to Christianity. They showed how all religions, except Christianity, were forms of devil worship or sorcery. As a Christian missionary’s son, Waddell had these blinders on when he wrote about “Lamaism of Tibet”.
Waddell never met any proper Rinpoches, Geshes or Khenpos, the people truly qualified to interpret Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism. Most of his research was performed in Sikkim [preface XII] and he nowhere mentions that his informants were educated scholars or Rinpoches. He seems to have come in contact only with ordinary monks of the “Pujari” type, “Grantha Dhuras”, in Buddhist terminology (Chopen [Chos-dpon] in Tibetan). The book was written before the Younghusband Expedition to Tibet, in which Waddell also took part.
Now to a consideration of the book itself:
In Preface page IX – Waddell claims that the Lamas convinced themselves that he (Waddell) was a “reflex” (Tulku) of the Western Buddha Amithabha. No genuine Tibetan Buddhist accepts anybody as an incarnation of anybody unless they are certified by high 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 anything of Eastern politeness despite living many years in the Indian subcontinent. For a Tulku [sprul-sku] (Sanskrit-Nirmanakaya, called by Waddell a “reflex”) to be recognized by Tibetans in general, he must first be recognized by a very high lama. This has been the tradition for over a thousand years.
Page X – Waddell inaccurately considers Padmasambhava as the founder of Lamaism. Although Guru Padmasambhava played a key role in establishing Vajrayan Buddhism in Tibet, what he established became only one lineage in Vajrayana of Tibet. The lineage is called Nyingmapa. He did not establish the other lineages, although he is generally considered the first 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”. This statement contains two gross mistakes:
1) All lamas of all sects do not consider Guru Padmasambhava as their founder. This is historically wrong. The Kagyupa was founded by Marpa; the Sakyapa was founded by Khon Konchog Gyalpo and his son Sachen Kunga Nyiingpo; and the Gelugpa was founded by Tsong Khapa. All educated lamas know this very well. Guru Padmasambhava founded the Nyingma order and not the others [Dudjom:1991: 468, Thinley:1980:23-2, Trichen:1983:14-15, Trungpa:1982:XLX and Roerich 1949/79:44:215-216/399-405].
2) The respect and value accorded to Guru Rinpoche by his followers is no more and 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 where the Buddha was staying. He did not sleep with his head turned towards the Buddha, a behavior sanctioned by the Buddha himself.
Page XI – “Lamaism lives mainly by the senses and spends its strength in sacerdotal functions…..” Another half-baked idea of Tibetan Vajrayana, since only one group of monks spends most of their time in such rituals. The monks in colleges (Shedra [bShad-grwa]) and retreat centers (Drupda [bGrub-grwa]) do not largely engage in ritual activity. The above two quotes (X and XI) show that Waddell’s informants were mostly uneducated “pujari” types, and not real Khenpos, Geshes or Rinpoches. Moreover, monks reading out Dharanis, or Parittis, for laymen are found in all forms of Buddhism. This activity was sanctioned by the Buddha himself. This is not sacerdotal in the sense of a Christian priest coming in between God and the devotee, for whom the priest can become a go between, and no form of Buddhism accepts any God.
On page XI, Waddell writes, “ 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 goes beyond his bounds and shows clearly the main motive for his writing this book. As a clergyman’s son and missionary, he was conditioned to see all other forms of religion as devil-worship. He was in no way 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 later, a more sophisticated scholar, Dr. Daniel Goleman (Ph.D. Psychology, Harvard University), an award-winning journalist who reports on behavioral sciences for the New York Times, wrote the following about Waddell’s “devil-worship” and “poly-demonist superstition” (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” (emphasis mine ). Likewise, Geoffry Samuel in his “Civilized Shamans” calls Tibetan Buddhism “one of the great spiritual and psychological achievements of humanity” (Samuel:1995:5).
The famous psychologist C.J. Jung, a student of Freud who broke off from Freud because he found Freud’s excessive linear modes inadequate, also finds the mandalas of wrathful and peaceful deities used in the Tibetan system a sophisticated method of integrating the mind (Jung:1998:59-76). Professor Herbert Guenther of Canada’s Saskatchewan University, 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 precedence 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 one’s 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 dealing with profound creative mandala meditations, which Waddell characterizes as polydemonist magic circles. Professor Guenther lectured at Lucknow University from 1950-58. In 1958, he became Head of the Department of Comparative Philosophy and Buddhist Studies at the Sanskrit University in Varanasi. In 1964, he became the Head of Department of Far Eastern Studies at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.
Professor Guenther, in his forward to S.B. Dasgupta’s “An Introduction of Tantric Buddhism”,
like most scholars of his time, including the Indian scholars of until the 60’s and 70’s, educated
in the prevalent Western education structure, was suffering the “Kant/Hegel/Bradley syndrome”.
was the result of an excessively linear educational system that trains/conditions people to see only what is
rational as correct/true/fact/non-superstit
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.”
“Mind Science” was a record of a seminar celebrating 10 years of collaboration between the Tibetan scholars under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Harvard Medical School’s Department of Continuing Medical Education. “Gentle Bridges” is a continuation of that symposium by some scientists. Dr. Fransisco J. Varela, PhD, Biology, Harvard, who was one of the main organizers of both the symposiums with H. H. the Dalai Lama as the guest of honor, is presently trying to use the Tibetan meditational tradition to open up new avenues and new insight within cognitive sciences.
Waddell, stricken by the Kant/Hegel/Bradley syndrome of his time, and because of non-linear and highly metaphoric Tibetan Vajrayana tradition, thoroughly misunderstand and misinterpret his so called “Lamaism”. This is the exactly the same reason science, having found the limitations and failures of linear rational thinking, today is discovering the value of non-linear, metaphoric Tibetan Buddhism.
This outdated excessive linear education is also the reason behind why Nepalese professors are failing to understand Nepalese cultural elements like Vajrayana. 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 to misunderstand it, and he did so with the thoroughness of an Englishman. Interestingly, his bibliography even includes Kant’s disciple Schopenhauer’s “The World as Will and Ideas”. On 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 let us go to 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, Mahayana incorporates no God/Ishwar. Calling it theistic not only reveals a huge lack of knowledge, and is also a gross distortion of Mahayana philosophy. Nagarjuna himself wrote a small text on “Ishwar, Kartrika Nirakarana”; and Gyanasrimitra in the 7 th chapter “Ishwaravada” of Gyanasrimitra Nibandhavali [K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute], and his disciple Ratnakirti in the 8 th chapter, “Ishwarsadhana Dushanam” [Ratnakirti-Nibandhavali, K.P. Jayaswal Research Institute] have all refuted the concept of Ishwar. Hundreds of other Mahayana Acharyas, too numerous to mention 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 (although it is the interpretation of Rhys Davids, an Anglo-German scholar). As for the “simple morality” (Sila, Pratimokcha Samvara), this is also fully observed in Northern Buddhism, including Waddell’s Lamaism. There were and are even today Bhikchus in the Vajrayana tradition following The Bhikchu Pratimokchhya Samvara. 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
In the same page, Waddell 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, and is based on the chart given in the Pali Katha Vatthu, which shows the Mahasangika and all other 18 Nikaya as heretical schools branching out of Mother Theravada. At that time, studies in Chinese and Tibetan sources had not yet been conducted. Today, this theory of “mother Theravada” and “heretical Mahasangika” has been challenged after the study of the charts found in the Tibetan and Chinese traditions, written by ancients writers: Vasumitra, Bhabya, and Vinitadeva.
These days, the belief that the Theravada alone represents the original Buddhism and that all others branched out from it no longer exists. First of all, the Southern Buddhism itself is a branch of the Vibhajjyavad, which branched out of the Sthabirvada, which had separated from the Sarvastivada. Yin Shun quoted this in Keat [1999: Page 100, also Bapat: 1987 page 98 chart]: The so-called Southern School is a branch out of original Buddhism as much as Mahayana.
Stanislav Schayer (Leningrad School) in his “Pre-Canonical 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: page 121-132].
The Mahasangikas were convinced that their decision conforms with the teachings of the Great Master and claimed more orthodoxy than the Theravadins [Bapat: 1987 page 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:1966: page 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: page 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: page 37-38].
Thus, 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 in footnote #2 on the same page, he writes, quoting Rhys Davids, that the Buddha called his system, “The Middle Way….” To avoid the two extremes of superstition on one side and worldliness or infidelity on the other.”
First of all, the “Middle Way” in Pali Suttas is defined not only as avoiding superstition on one hand and the worldliness on the other, but also strongly mentions the way between the excessive worldliness and the excessive asceticism.
In the Samyutta Nikaya [12:15], the Sasta (teacher) has called the Mahayanist so-called “Sophistic Nihilistic” view as the middle way (Majjena). The view is to be free from “Sabbam Athi” i.e. all exists, and “Sabbam Nathi” i.e. all do not exist. Here, both Waddell and Rhys Davids are wrong in the interpretation of “Middle Way” (Madhyama Pratipada).
Page 12: “Mahayana is said to introduce innumerable demons…..with their attendant idolatry and sacerdotalism.”
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 that have portrayed the Buddha as some kind of an ancient pure and simple rationalist - that meditation was not really what the Buddha did. I don’t feel it necessary to refute this self-evident nonsense. The way of the Buddha was not some dry rational, logical linear thinking. Although logical thought is used, it is mainly based on meditation. The Buddha has clearly said that there is no Klesha Chhyaya without Bhawana [Anguttara Nikaya]. 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:Vol I: Page 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 a myth still propounded by many Indian writers and their Nepalese followers that the Tantric period in Indian Buddhism was a period of decline of intellectual and moral standards in Buddhism. Actual historical research, however, has shown to the contrary. It was exactly between the 3 rd/4 th centuries and the 12 th century that Indian Buddhism reached the acme of its creativity in all fields. Most of the theories, sharpest logical, intellectual development, and philosophical books in India were written during this period. Most of the authors were Tantric practitioners. Professor Herbert Guenther, in his forward to S. B. 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, Sashi Bhushan believes in the virtual identity of Hindu and Buddhist Tantras. A. Bharati, in this Tantri Tradition [Page 21F], aptly terms this attitude detrimental to the study of Indian Absolutistic philosophy irrelevant to any Tantric study.” [Dasgupta:1974:Page 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.
Continuing on page 15, Waddell 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 is giving a distorted version of what the Tantric Buddhist texts claim. In the Buddhist Trantric texts, it has never been claimed the Tantra began from Nagarjuna. The Tantras were all taught by the Buddha, and were 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 & History of Buddhism in India]. As in most places, Waddell has not shown any source (as he did not have any genuine sources with him) which claims that Tantra began from Nagarjuna. On the other hand, it is a highly likely that he failed to understand what his Sikkimese informants were trying to tell him. All of Buddhist Tantric practice is based on Nagarjuna’s Madhyamic view, the Samyakdristi, which is the 1 st limb of the Astangika Marga based Buddhist Tantra. So while Buddhist Tantric meditation is based on either the Prasangika view or the Svatantric Madhyamic (Sanksrit. Dristi, Tibetan. Tawa) of Nagarjuna, Tantra itself did not begin from Nagarjuna.
He continues on this page to say, “In the 10 th century AD, 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 provides no historical sources for such a fantastic statement. There is no difference in the base, the path, the fruit and the view used in Kalachakra or Guhyasamaja or Hevajra or Chakrasamvara. Kalachakra is no more or less ‘poly-demonic’ than the older others. Furthermore, it is complete nonsense to accuse only the Kalachakra Vajrayana, and reveals a remarkable lack of knowledge on the field. I re-iterate here that it is exactly these Kalachakra types of mandala, which Waddell, in his uneducated fashion called ‘poly-demonist’ that C.G. Jung finds powerful means to re-integrate the mind in his Vol. II, Psychology and Religion: East and West: 1958.
Jung says in his psychological commentary on ‘The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation’ – “The gods are archetypal thought forms belonging to the Sambhogakaya. Their peaceful and wrathful (according to Waddell ‘poly-demonic’) aspects, which play a great role in the meditation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, symbolize the opposites. In Nirmanakaya, these opposites are no more than human conflicts; but in the Sambhogakaya, they are the positive and negative principles united in one and the same figure” [Jung, C.G:1958/1978:123].
Page 17: Waddell makes a gross historical error, calling Jainism an offshoot of Buddhism. I need not refute such a gross error as according to both Buddhist and Jain sources, Jainism (Nirgrantha Natha Putras) already existed a century or more earlier than the Buddha himself. [Winternitze: 1983:19-25].
At the end of Page 17, Waddell contradicts himself by writing, “still it (Lamaism) preserves there as we shall see, much of the loftier philosophy and ethics of the system taught by the Buddha himself.” Refer to XI of the preface where he had just written, “But the bulk of the Lamaist cult comprise much deep rooted devil-worship and sorcery….”, and “For Lamaism is only thinly and imperfectly varnished over with Buddhist symbolism, beneath which the sinister growth of poly-demonist superstition darkly appears.”
Page 24: Here, we find three major errors. Shantarakshita was not, as Waddell claims, the family priest of King Tri Song Detsen. He was a Pandita of Nalanda called to Tibet to spread Buddhism. A few lines below, Waddell claims that before being invited to Tibet, Guru Padmasambhava was a resident of Nalanda. This is inaccurate. The students of Nepalese cultural history should find this part interesting, as all Tibetan sources including, the Pema Kathang [Tarthang: 1978: 364, Kunsang: 1993: 59, and Roerich:1949/1979:43], say clearly that although he had been a teacher at Nalanda, he was residing in the Yanglesho when he was called. This place is an Asura Cave complex above Vajrayogini one at Pharping, Nepal. He may also have been in a cave in the Himalayas where he was said to be enlightened. As Guru Padmasambhava initiated the Nyingma school, for the predominant followers Vajrayana system and amongst ethnic groups of the Himalayas and lower Himalayas, this place is as holy as Bodhagaya.
It is lamentable that even so-called professors of Nepali Culture lack knowledge of such culturally important place. Subsequently, Waddell calls Guru Padmasambhava: “ the founder of Lamaism…. And is more deified and celebrated in Lamaism than the Buddha himself.” This is not only historically wrong, and it also grossly misinterprets the Buddhist culture of revering one’s Guru as the Buddha’s representative. Psychologically, the Guru is more important to an individual than the historically distant Buddha. This reverence to the Guru is modeled after Sariputra 2 (one of the two main disciples of the Buddha). It is simply following the same principles when thirteen hundred years later Guru Rinpoche, who brought Buddhism to Tibet, is being revered as equal to a Buddha.
Secondly, Guru Rinpoche did not establish “Lamaism.” What Waddell called “Lamaism” has four major schools (1. The Nyingmapa, 2. The Sakyapa, 3. The Kagyupa, 4. the Gelugpa), each with its own founder, and their traditions goes back to Indian Buddhist Gurus. It is historically and technically correct to say that Guru Rinpoche was the first to introduce Buddhism to Tibet. He is the founder of the Nyingma tradition, and is also highly revered by the other traditions.
Page 26: Here, Waddell incorrectly says ‘sLobdPon’ is the Tibetan equivalent of ‘Guru’. It is the Tibetan equivalent of ‘Acharya’. The ‘Guru’ in Tibetan is ‘Lama’. In the same page, he quotes Marco Polo calling the magical powers (Pratiharya/Siddhi) as devilries. It is not surprising that 19 th century Christians, along with the even older Marco Polo, calling all magical display by other religions works of devilry, while with the same breath, calling Christ’s magical display divine. This point need not be elaborated now in the 21 st century.
Page 27: Here, Waddell discusses how Guru Rinpoche incorporated local deities as “defenders of his religion” (Dharmapala) by subduing them. He goes on to write how Kobo Daishi also incorporated Shinto deities, again showing a remarkable ignorance of Buddhism as a whole. For example, in the Anguttara Nikaya, in the 4 th and the 5 th Nipat, the Sasta has clearly said that Bali should be given to Bali Grahak Devas. These are Devas favorable to Buddhism. Many Devas took refuge in the Buddha when the Buddha was alive, and these are the Bali Grahak Devas or Dharmapalas. But this does not mean that later Gurus could not subdue and convert other Devas and turn them as protectors of Buddhism. Nowhere, even in the Pali Nikayas, this activity is forbidden. In fact, it is in the true spirit of the Buddha that through the centuries, as Buddhism has spreads to other lands, new deities were subdued to protect Buddhism. It is natural to do so. Otherwise, Buddhism would be meant only for the people and culture of Madhya Desha.
In the Pali Digga Nikaya and the Udumbarika Sihanada Sutta of the Southern Schools, the Sasta gave clear permission to Nigrodha, and thus to all Buddhists, to continue whatever is in their culture, as long as it does not contradict the basic Buddhist tenets like the Samyag Dristi and so on. One could not continue cultural elements like animal sacrifice and call it Buddhist. The Digga Nikaya clearly permits Buddhists to continue other cultural elements. What Waddell and Rhys Davids have in mind are Christian models, where an entire culture must be supplanted by Christian culture. Buddhism does not operate like that. Using local deities and offering them Bali, not animal sacrifice, is perfectly Buddhist and does not create a mixed, impure Buddhism. “Buddhism has never refused to accept, rework and transform the ideas of other people” [Tucci:1980:15]. This is true to the Buddhist spirit.
Page 28: “ The Guru…..with Shantarakshita…..instituted the order of the Lamas….” This is completely misleading. The Guru and Shantarakshita instituted no new thing that could be called “the order of the Lamas”. They ordained Bhikshus according to the Mula Sarvastivada Vinaya, the most common Vinaya in India at the time. They instituted the 1 st Bhikshu order based on the Mula-Sarvastivada Vinaya and not some “order of the Lamas”.
In the note on the same page, Waddell writes that Shantarakshita belonged to the “Svatantra School”. This is an inaccurate, incomplete, and misleading statement. There is no “Svatantra School”. Waddell or his informants apparently confused few things. Shantarakshita was a Bhikshu of the Mula-Sarvastivada school, and his writings like the “Tatva Samgraha” indicate that he subscribed to the Svatantrika Madhyamika school, that is his philosophical hermeneutics was based on this tradition. The Svatantrika Madhyamika lineage began with Bhava Viveka, also called Bhavya, missing from Waddell’s list in the footnote. Furthermore, all Madhyamika lineages end in Nagarjuna. Since Waddell does not mention his sources, we cannot know why he also included Sariputra and Ananda in the Svatantrika Madhyamika school lineage, although this school developed only after Nagarjuna and Bhava Viveka.
Page 29: Here, Waddell correctly writes that the word “Lamaism” has no Tibetan counterpart. It is a complete misnomer and should certainly not be used by Nepalese scholars since Vajrayana is very much an integral part of Nepalese culture, both Newar and Himalayan. We should call it Himalayan Vajrayana, Newar Vajrayana, Tibetan Vajrayana.
Page 29: Waddell here refers to ‘Termas’ as, “the fictitious scriptures of the unreformed lamas”, without even seeming to know why they are called Termas (Sanskrit Nidhi). He provides no proof of their falsity, leading one to believe that Waddell himself is the supreme authority deciding what is real and what is ‘fictitious’. This statement is based on his Christian clergyman prejudices rather than on impartial scientific scholarship. For Christians like himself, only Christ’s miracles are genuine, all others are either ‘fictitious’ or works of ‘poly-demonist sorcery’.
Tulku Thondup Rinpoche 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 an the proper time. Other realized persons will rediscover these teachings in the future [Thondup: 1986:57].
Tulku Thondup is a Tibetan lama of the type wrongly called ‘Avatari Lama’ by Nepalese laypeople. The more scholastically accurate term is ‘Nirmanakaya’, the translation of the Tibetan term ‘Tulku [sprul-sku]’. Tulku Thondup was a lecturer in Indo-Tibetan studies at Lucknow University from 1967-1976, a Reader at Vishwa-Bharati University from 1976-1980, and a visiting scholar at Harvard University from 1980-1983.
Page 30: Waddell defines 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, Waddell contradicts what he said on Page 17: “It preserves there, as we shall see, much of the loftier philosophy and ethics of the system taught by the Buddha himself.”
Secondly, he nowhere validates his claim of Shaivite mysticism influencing Lamaism. Again, he makes himself the supreme authority on these things, while on the contrary, Benoytosh Bhattacharyya, in his ‘An Introduction to Buddhist Esotericism’, writes, “It has been made abundantly clear that Vajrayana was a direct development of the Yogachara philosophy of Mahyana Buddhism….” Likewise:
“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 Hindus, 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…..” [Bhattarcharyyya:1931:35 & 50-51].
Although Bhattarcharyya’s theory of Buddhist Tantras deriving from Yogachara is also inaccurate, since all Buddhist Tantras follow the Madhyamika, that issue is beyond the scope of this article.
Page 32: Waddell locates Gung Thangla in Mangyul “on the Northern confines of Tibet”, whereas it is just north of the Kyirong pass above Trisuli and in west 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 neither names the ‘chronicle’ from which he quotes, nor gives any proof why he thinks “it is probable he only stayed a few years”. No single record in Tibet agrees with Waddell, and no other outside records about Guru Rinpoche exist.
Page 32-40: There are many errors repeated from former points or based on former points.
Page 40: Here, Waddell, thinking that the Dalai Lama was the first incarnate Lama, says, “They (the Kagyu, Sakya and Nyingma) also adopted the plan of succession by re-incarnate lamas….” In fact, the institution of the Dalai Lama began only after Tsong Khapa, after the 15 th century, and only after the 5 th Dalai Lama, because he became the head of state. The Second Karmapa had been recognized in 1206 as the incarnation of Dusum Khenpa. By the time of the 1 st Dalai Lama, who died in 1474, there had already been seven Karmapas. It is historically inaccurate to claim that the other sects copied the system of Incarnate Lama from the Gelugpas.
Page 45: Waddell calls the Tanyik Serten the most reliable authority on Guru Padmasambhava. He even, in typical Christian fashion, calls Tanyik Sertin, ‘St. Padma’. This is incorrect, as no Nyingma Khenpo of any scholastic repute, has even heard of such text called the Tanyik Serten.
Page 47: Waddell translates Dzog Chen as ‘The Great End’, a totally incorrect translation. The name means ‘The Great Completion’ or ‘The Great Perfection’ and is translated by all modern authors. Dzog Chen is the Tibetan translation of the Sanskrit ‘Maha Sampanna’, or the probably Prakrit, ‘Maha Sandhi (Maha-Chen, Sampanna=Dzog)’ [Tantric Practices in Nying-ma: Sangpo:1982:185-193].
Page 56: The chart of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism presented here is very faulty. Waddell makes it appear as if all sects (Sakya, Kagyu, Gelug) derive from the Nyingma, which is simply wrong. The Nyingma, the oldest, began from the Indian Guru Padmasambhava; the Sakya school from the Indian Guru Virupada; the Kagyu from the Indian Guru Tilopada and Naropada; and the Gelug from the Khadampa, initiated by the Indian Guru Atisha.
Waddell incorrectly lists Lhatsunpa, Kartogpa, Nadakpa, Mindrolinpa, Dorje Tugpa and Orgyenpa as different sects of Nyingpma. Here, he is mixing up names of Tertons and monasteries to represent so-called sub-sects. Mindroling is the name of a monastery in Central Tibet, whereas Lhatsunpa was a Terton. Over a hundred Tertons exist. So if each Terton’s teachings are to be taken as a separate school, Waddell’s history of only six is incomplete. However, even within the Nyingma tradition, these are not considered as separate schools.
Similarly, Waddell has divided the Sakyapa into (1) Sakyapa, (2) Ngorpa, (3) Jonangpa. He has completely missed the Tsarpa, the more important sub-school of the Sakya than the Jonangpa. The Jonangpa does not exist today, except for one monastery in Zamthan, and was virtually extinct long before Waddell wrote his book.
As for his chart of Kagyupa, it is simply arbitrary and a collection of whatever names Waddell could get. It completely lacks the “Four Major and Eight Minor Lineages” of the Kagyupa. He even shows ‘Kagyupa’ itself as different from Karmapa, Drukpa, Taglung and Drikung. A separate Kagyupa from the Four Major schools never existed, and he has missed the Tsalpa and Baram. The Four 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.
The three names Waddell lists: Lower, Middle and Upper Drukpa, are minor lineages of the Drukpa Kagyu, which itself is one of the Eight 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)Shugseb Kagyu, and (8)Yamzang Kagyu, of which only the Drikung, and Drukpa exist as separate entities today [Thinley:1980:24].
Thus, Waddell has completely muddled the Kagyu lineage. A clear picture of the entire Kagyu lineage is to be found in “The History of the 16 Karmpas of Tibet” by my own root Guru, the Very Venerable Karma Thinley Rinpoche [Thinley:1980:21-30, See also Thondup: 1984:17-25, Dudjom: 1991:475-501, and Thondup: 1987:48-56.].
Page 57: Here too, again without citing his sources, Waddell gives a completely imaginary chart of the new schools with no relevance to real lineage history. He has Sakya lineage starting from Nagarjuna through Vasuputra to Konchog Gyalpo. Actually, the Sakya LamDre lineage did not starts from Nagarjuna but from Virupada, one of the 84 Mahasiddhas; and no Vasuputra is mentioned in either the Sakya Kabum (the collected works of the Sakyapa) or in the Blue Annals. This may be an imaginary name created by Waddell himself, as no sources are mentioned. Also, the first Tibetans to receive these teachings were Sherab Tseng and Drogmi Lotsawa, who spent many years in India. Between Drogmi and Virupa, there are five Indian Siddhas. They have been completely ignored by Waddell. They are: Krishnacharya, Dombi Heruka, Damarupada, Avadhutipada and Gayadhara. Gayadhara went to Tibet and met Drogmi.
Waddell calls the Tantra of the Sakya, “Gambhira Darshan”, and even gives the Tibetan name, “Zabmo ta”. He seems hopelessly confused about Tantras and their classification. The main Tantra of 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 Gambhira Tantra (Waddell’s Zabmo), and the Kalachakra Tantra, the Vaipulya Tantra. Waddell has completely muddled up these issues. Also, he translated LamDre as “Phala Marga”, Tibetan for the system of meditational Krama called Marga Phalam. He is confused with the fact that all Sakya hierarchies are considered as incarnations of Manjushree because the 1 st Sakya patriarch was inspired by Manjushree. He claims that the whole lineage pre-existing Nagarjuna was inspired by Manjushree.
Likewise, he completely mixes up the meditative doctrine and Tantra of the Kagyu lineage. He seems unaware that Naropa was not the only Guru of Marpa. Naropa had sent Marpa to Maitripada, Kukkuripada, and many others Gurus. Mahamudra is not the only Kagyu meditative doctrine. It also contains ‘Naro Sad Darma’ (Naro Cho drug). The Tantra of Naropa is Chakrasamvara and the Six Yogas of Naropa, and not Mnam-Len-Byin-Labs, which 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, known in Tibetan as ‘Nyam Len Jin Lab’ (‘Byin Labs’ is pronounced Jin Lab). The songs of expression often chanted by Kagyupas are called ‘Jhinlab Char Web’. Waddell is probably just hopelessly confused about 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 a special Tantra. The Tantras of the Kagyu lineage are Chakrasamvara, Mahamaya, Hevajra and especially Vajra Varahi as related to the Chandali Yoga (Tibetan Tummo [gTum-Mo]). Furthermore, Kagyupa Mahamudra does not come from Naropa, but from Maitripa to Marpa, and before them, from a long lineage that included Nagarjuna and Sarahapada.
Page 58: Waddell claims that about 30 ‘Revelations’ have been discovered. He is hopelessly wrong. Over a hundred had been discovered by the time Waddell wrote his book. Altogether 278 or more Tertons are prophesied in the “Baidurya’I Phreng Ba” – The Precious Garland of Lapis Lazulis”, The Brief History of the Profound Termas [gTer-Ma] and Tertons [gTer-ston] (1813-1899), published by Ngodrup and Sherab Drimed 1977. V Waddell also thinks these Termas relate only to Guru Padmasambhava.
While most Tertons (‘Revealers’ as Waddell calls them), are connected to Guru Padmasambhava, many other ‘Shyarma [gSar-Ma]’ i.e. New School Tertons, also brought out Termas not related to Guru Padmasambhava, something Waddell is totally ignorant of. These include:
(1)Lord Tsangpa Gyare (1161-1211),
(2)Gyud Chen Sangye Gyatso,
(3)Rechung, the disciple of Milarepa (1084-?),
(4)Drogon Chogyal Phagpa, the 4 th Sakya Hierarch (1255-1280),
(5)Karmapa Rangjung Dorje, the 3 rd Karmapa (1281-X-1334),
(6)Buton Rinchen Drup (1290-1364),
(7)Gyalwang Gedun Gyatso, the 5 th dalai Lama,
(8)Lodro Rinchen Senge.
They all discovered Termas not related to Padmasambhava, while Nyalpa Nyima Sherab and Nyem Lo Darma Trag were teachers of New School, who brought out the Termas of Guru Padmasambhava [Thondup:1986:167]. Two famous Indian Panditas who went to Tibet also discovered Termas. They were:
(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 hordes, in front of his own eyes and wept saying, “Now Buddhism is finished from India”. He went to Tibet with nine Mahapanditas, some of them were Nepalese.
Waddell recklessly makes a totally false allegation that these Termas deal with “codes of demon worship”. Large sections of many Termas, like the Nyin Thig and Chokling Tersar, have been already translated into English and they deal with profound meditational techniques called ‘Chittanusmriti’, which is related to Vipassyana. None of them have anything of demon-worship. Waddell is either blatantly lying, or his mind is so constricted by Christian missionary vision that he perceives all but Christianity as devil-worship; nor he has never seen a Terma.
Page 62: Waddell calls ‘Sangwa Du’ ‘Guhya Kãla’, mistaking ‘Du’ for ‘Kala’ or time, when it is actually ‘Guhya Samaja Tantra’. He fails to recognize that the six armed ‘Gonpo’ is the Mahakala, called ‘Sad Bhuja Nath’.
Page 66: Here, in the chart, Waddell confuses and mixes up many names below the name of Dvagpo Lharje, who is the same as Gompopa. He incorrectly lists Karma Bakshi as the direct disciple of Dvagpo Lharje. Dusum Khenpa, the 1 st Karmapa, was the disciple of Dvagpo Lharje, while Karma Bakshi was the 2 nd Karmapa. In fact, Waddell lists the 1 st, 2 nd and 3 rd Karmapas (Dusum Khenpa, Karma Bakshi and Rangjung Dorje) as if they were three different names of the same person. As noted above, the rest of the chart has no relation to the Four Major and Eight Minor lineages that developed within the Kagyu [Thinley:1980:21-58].
Page 69: Waddell states, “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, Di-Kungpa, Talungpa and Dukpa….”.
First of all, he is making a very wild guess about why new sub-sects arose. His supposition is totally inaccurate since all Kagyu sub-sects are renowned for their hermit style life, even today in India and Nepal. Secondly, he inaccurately calls the Kamtsang Kagyu or Karma Kagyu as Karmapa. Thirdly, he calls the Dukpa Kagyu a major sect with the other three. Actually, the next major is Tsalpa, as seen earlier, and the Drukpa Kagyu is one of the Eight Minors. The reason why so many sub-sects arose is due to the many dynamic meditator, who led a hermit life and taught to their disciples. It has nothing to do with the avoidance of hermitage.
On the same page, Waddell continues, “The Karmapa sub-sect was founded in the middle of the 12 th century by Karmapa Ran Chun Dorje also named Dusum Khyenpo”.
Dusum Khyenpa (not Khyenpo as Waddell wrote) is the 1 st Karmapa, who started the Kamtshang Kagyu. “Ranchun Dorje” of Waddell is Rangjyung Dorje, the 3 rd Karmapa. They were not the same person.
Further down he 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 1 st Karmapa, Karma Bakshi was the 2 nd Karmapa, and Rangjyung Dorje was the 3 rd Karmapa.
Page 69/70: Waddell incorrectly states that the first Sakya monastery built in Sakya is in Western Tibet. Sakya is in the Tsang district of Central Tibet, not in western Tibet, although it is west of Lhasa. Then, he continues with complete nonsense unheard of by any Sakya Khenpo or Rinpoche or Lopon or written in any Sakya records. He writes. “Its founder was K’on dKon mChog rGyalpo, a pupil of Kugpa Lha-bTsas, who claimed inspiration from the celestial bodhisatva of wisdom, Manjshree, through the Indian sages ranging from Nagarjuna to Vasuputra…” and he mixes 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’. Its 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 guardian 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 I have already discussed above. Drogmi Lotsawa is the teacher of Konchog Gyalpo, and not of Kugpa Lha bTsas [Roerich 1949/1979:208, Trichen:1983:IX / Thondup: 1987: 57)
In the note, Waddell incorrectly translates yab-sras as ‘Vasuputra’, whereas it means ‘Father and Son’ (Pita-putra). The yab-sras is used for Nagarjuna and Aryadeva, for each Sakya hierarch and son, for the Karmapa and the four sons, and for Tsong Khapa and his disciples. He goes so far as to make a wild guess with no proof that Vasuputra is probably Vasubandhu.
Then, he makes even more peculiar statements, saying that Vasuvandu was the special transmitter of Nagarjuna’s purer Sautrantic doctrines. This is like a completely entangled ball of wool. Nagarjuna is renowned as the founder of Madhyamic, not Sautrantic. Vasubandhu is renowned to have left the Sautrantic philosophy for the Yogachara. He is not a transmitter of Nagarjuna’s purer Sautrantik doctrines. Nor is Yab Sras the Tibetan for Vasu bandhu, who in Tibetan is known as Yig Nyen [dByg-gNyen], and the Sakya do not hold any special lineage coming down from Nagarjuna to Vasubandhu or Vasumitra (whoever that may be). All four schools of Tibetan Buddhism study both Nagarjuna’s Madhyamic philosophy and Vasubandhu’s Vaibhasika/Sautantrika doctrines (Abhidharma Kosha). It is not a special lineage that distinguishes the Sakya from the others.
The tutelary deity of the Sakyas is not Vajra Phurpa (Sanskrit, Vajra Kilaya) but Sri Hevajra [Trichen:1983:7-23]. The Sakyas also use Vajra Kilaya, taken from the Nyingma, but not from the book “Dorje Phurpa chi Chopa”, which is the “Puja Vidhi of Vajrakilaya”. An entire Tantra in there relates to Vajra Kilaya, the 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 perform the Vajrakilaya puja and merely guessed that it was the book from which it was taken by the Sakyas. This conclusively proves that the informants he met were Pujari type lamas and he actually never met either real scholars, or real meditators, called Champas or Gomchenpas. No Avatamsaka of Nagarjuna, or Paramartha of Vasubandhu exists 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 Vasubandhu called Paramartha.
Neither the Avatamsaka Sutra nor any text called Paramartha are special texts of the Sakyapas, as Waddell claims. They are not even studied in the nine-year scholastic curriculum of the Sakyas, now followed in Dehradun, India. Dem Chog is the Chakrasamvara common among our own Newars. Dorje Khando is Vajra Dakini, also found amongst the Newars. The Maha-Mahama yab is a muddling up of Mahamaya Tantra as there is no such Tibetan deity. ‘The Guardian of the Tent’ is Vajrapanjar Nath Mahakal, whose iconography is found in Swayambhu, and the ‘Face-Lord’ is again a mistaken for Chatur Mukha Mahakal (4-Faced Lord), all of which Waddell has called ‘demons’.
Waddell fails to mention the two major deity cycle for which the Sakyas are well known, the Lamdre Hevajra and the Kalachakra [Trichen:1983:6 & Roerich:1949/1979:210-240]. He wrongly says the Ngorpa (written ‘Norpa’ by Waddell), the Jonangpa, and the Sakyapa differ from each other only in the founder. The Jonangpa practices the Kalachakra, the Ngorpa practices the Hevajra, while the Sakyapa, in addition to Hevajra, also take up the Nyingma Vajra Kilaya. He incorrectly calls the Jonangpa founder Kun gah Dol Chog, and writes in the footnote that Kunga Dol-chog is also called Dol-bu Sherab gyen. As in many other instances, he has confused a couple of names into one. The founder of Jonangpa was Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen (1292-1361), not Jonangpa Kunga Drolchok (1507-0566). Neither man is called Sherab Gyen. Sherab Gyaltsen is Tibetan for Pragya Dhwaja. Sherab Gyen is Tibetan for Pragya Alankara.
The founder of the Jonang School is of special interest to Nepalese culture and history students, since he was from Dolpo, and is therefore called Dolpopa. The word ‘Dolbu Sher gyen’ in Waddell’s footnote is apparently a mix up of Dolpopa and the Sherab of Sherab Gyaltsen. As usual, Waddell does not show the source for this name [Stearns: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:1963:80-81, Erhard:1993:23-39, Grol Chog:1507-1566:125 fol., dZad-pa and mKhenpo:trans. Chatopadhya:1993:100, 123, 199)
Page 71: The sketch Waddell provides captioned “A Sa-skya Lama” is worthless, having nothing special to distinguish him from any average Tibetan or an individual of any Nepalese Himalayan ethnic group. The hat or cap he wears is not a special Sakya hat.
Page 72: Here, Waddell discusses Nyingma meditation: “Its mystic insight is Maha Utpanna (Dsog-Ch’en)”. I mentioned above that the correct translation of Dzog Chen is ‘Maha Sampanna’, or ‘Maha Sandhi’, or ‘Maha Shanti’. Waddell writes, “Its tutelary are ‘The Fearful Vajra (Vajra = phurba) and Dubpa Kah-gye.” In the footnote, he calls Dubpa Kah-gye, a tutelary deity of the Guru St. Padmasambhava (notice the singular noun: ‘the tutelary deity’). Vajra Kilaya (Tib. Dorje Phurba) is only one of Nyingma tutelary deities. Waddell translates Dorje Phurba as ‘Fearful Vajra’. ‘Dorje’ is ‘Vajra’ and ‘Phurba’ is ‘Kilaya’. None of the words translates as ‘Fearful’. Kilaya or Kila is a common Sanskrit term for nail or for nailing down. So Dorje Phurba, Vajra Kilaya, could be translated as ‘Adamantine Nailer’, never ‘Fearful Vajra’. Waddell does not realize that ‘Kah-gye’ is a short name for eight different deities [Dudjom:1991:475-483]. ‘Kah’ means commandments (Vachan in Sanskrit) and ‘gye’ means eight. So calling the ‘Kah gye [bKah-brgyad]’ “a tutelary deity of St. Padmasambhava”, as if it were a single deity, clearly indicates that he does not know what he is talking about.
Page 73: Here, Waddell writes that Guru Padmasambhava’s Guru is the Kashmiri, Sri Simha, and Sri Simha’s Guru is Garab Dorje. Sri Simha was a Tibeto-Chinese, born in Shokyam in China, not in Kashmiri. 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 arrive in Tibet through Padmasambhava, but from Sri Simha’s disciple, Vimalamitra (an Indian). Waddell is totally unaware of the three different meditational lineages of the Nyingma lineage: Maha, Anu and Ati. Guru Padmasambhava transmitted the Maha Yoga lineage. His Guru for this lineage was Prabha Hasti and not Sri Simha. The main Guru of this Maha Yoga lineage 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, the history of Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug show that each sect has zealously and ardently attempted to maintain the purity of its teachings. This period was marked by intense and often heated debate between the different schools about what constituted the correct view and the correct modes of meditation (Samyag Darshan) that came from India. A long history of very high level polemical debates has continued for centuries between the Panditas of the various schools and persists even today amongst Tibetan refugees. 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 characterizing the various lineages in Tibet continuing from Nalanda, Vikramashila, Odantapuri etc. He is not even aware of the heated debates between Sakya Pandita, Gorampa of the Sakya, Tsong Khapa, Khedrup, etc., of the Gelug, Mipham of the Nyingma, and Mikyo Dorje, etc., of the Kagyu. The heat 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 perfect and the only representative of his “Lamaism”. He was completely ignorant of the fact that, he when wrote the book, over 5000 students were studying in a single college called Sera in Tibet the philosophy of Nagarjuna, the Abhidharma Kosha of Vasubandhu, Dharmakirti’s, one of the world’s greatest logicians in all history, the Pramana Vartikain. Many such colleges dotted the Tibetan landscape from Ngari in the west, to Kham in the East. He was totally unaware that thousands of profound commentaries were being written even up to his time on profound Sutras and Sastras that came from India, which contained all the teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha. For instance, Shantideva’s Bodhicharyavatara alone has over hundred commentaries in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, written by Tibetans throughout the centuries. The famous debate initiated by Sakya Pandita still continues between the Sakyapas on the one hand, and the Kagyu and Nyingmapas on the other. This shows that great sensitivity was shown in maintaining the purity of lineages coming from India. Great sensitivity was also shown to avoid wrong types of Chinese meditations, with uncertain pedigree, from mixing up with the pure lineages. Of this, Waddell remained blissfully unaware.
Besides the scholastic lineages, which continued to produce brilliant Panditas like Sakya Pandita, Gorampa, Rong Tong of the Sakya; Mipham, Rong Zom, etc., of the Nyingma; Tsong Khapa, Khendrup, etc., of the Gelug; and Rungjung Dorje, Mikyo Dorje, Pema Karpo etc., of the Kagyu, profound meditators in all lineages continued to practice in caves scattered all over Tibet for 6, 10, 12, 20 years, and in some cases, all their lives. These meditators and Siddhas were revered throughout the centuries by all Tibetans and they belong to all the schools, each practicing its special style of Samatha-Vipassyana, which came down from the lineage of Indian Siddhas of the past. Thousands continued to have deep realizations of the Buddha’s teachings up through Waddell’s time. This meditative tradition continues today amongst Tibetan refugees in Nepal, India and Western countries. Because Waddell relied solely on Chopen type lamas, and since all Pujas look alike to an untrained mind, he 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: While talking of the Great Monastic learning centers like Sera, Waddell seems unaware of the scholastic curriculum. The curriculum he discusses belongs to Chopen, and is not of scholarly nature. He mentions debates, but does not know the subjects debated. During Waddell’s time, only a few Europeans who managed to enter Tibet, had any idea what happened there. Very few Tibetan texts or commentaries had been translated into European languages. The only two that Waddell used for reference were the Tibetan translation of the ‘Lalitavistara’, the ‘Gyacher Rolpa’; and ‘The History of Indian Buddhism’ by Taranath, both were first translated into German. An analysis of Waddell’s bibliography reveals no Tibetan works of significance. The list is dominated by works of the Anglo-German school of Buddhist studies, based solely on Pali studies. Therefore, Waddell considers the Pali tradition to be the pure Buddhism of Sakyamuni, and thinks any deviation from the Pali literature a divergence. I have already discussed this concept is false. The curriculum Waddell provides on pages 174 and 183 are all different types of Pujas. He was completely unaware of the curriculum of Sutras and Sastras.
In reality, 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:
This works were studied in Sakya learning centers like Nalendra during Waddell’s time. Today, the study continues in the Sakya College in Dehradun.
The same curriculum, minus the Pramana group and the Trisamvaraprabheda, were studied in Nyingma and Kagyu institutions, and are still studied in Nyingma and Kagyu institutions in Nepal and India [Norbu:1986:167].
The Gelug tradition also follows the same Sakya curriculum, minus the Trisamvaraprabheda, the Sakya specialty. In large monastic universities like Sera, Ganden, and Drepung, such course like “Five Great Texts” (Pancha Maha Sastra) was studied for 20-25 years. Today, they still continue to do that in India. [Gyatso:1987:30]
The rest of Waddell’s book is no different in quality and standard from the first 75 pages that I have analyzed. It is astonishing that the Culture Department of Tribhuvan University recommends such a totally misleading book. Some well known Nepali scholars have quoted this “masterpiece of misinformation” to authenticate their writings, while others have quoted Waddell in what the Buddha would have called “Andhavenuparampara” i.e. the blind leading the blind [Pradhan:2044 BS & Khatri:2054 BS:13 and others].
This issue becomes particularly sensitive when one understands that Waddell’s misinformation directly relates to the culture of the entire Nepalese Himalayan and sub-Himalayan regions, and indirectly relates to Newar culture. How can Nepalese professors recommend a book that calls ‘Dem Chog’, which is Chakrasamvara, the main practice of the Buddhist Newars, a “poly-demonic practice”? Geoffrey Samuel calls Waddell’s book a crude caricature [Samuel:1995:11].
Some scholars have remarked that ‘Samvara’ is a name of an Asura in the Vedic literature. A couple of points should be considered here.
First, this proves that the Vedics call all non-Aryan deities, Asuras (unless they had been integrated into Hindu fold). That does not make ‘Samvara’, a Rakshasa.
Second, nothing indicates that this ‘Samvara’ is the same as the ‘Samvara’ in Sri Chakrasamvara. Without further proof, the equation is unwarranted.
Third, even if it was the same ‘Samvara’, this only proves that the deities used by Buddhist Tantriks are non-Vedic, non-Aryan (probably Sramanic). But it still does not prove that ‘Samvara’ is actually a demon. The most probable reason why the Vedics called it a ‘demon’ is because ‘Samvara’ is not a Vedic ‘Deva’. In that case (assuming the above to be correct), Buddhist Tantra is totally non-Hindu influenced.
Fourth, because ‘Samvara’ is called Asura in Veda doesn’t validate Waddell’s Christian idea that Chakrasamvara, etc., are ‘demons’. Waddell, however, probably had no idea of all this in any case.
Finally, any word, symbol, or metaphor has value, meaning, and sense assigned by its users, practitioners, or culture within a certain context only. The same word-sound, symbol, or metaphor can mean, or have different values, and sense in different cultures and systems. A very innocuous word in one language-culture may have a very coarse-erotic connotation in another. It is astonishingly naïve, therefore, to conclude that the first language-culture is a sexually oriented one. Likewise, a metaphor symbolizing devilry and ‘poly-demonist’ ideas in one cultural paradigm could actually have the value of an angel attached to it in another.
A single culture does not have the copyright to any metaphor and the meaning-value attached to it. According to Jungian psychology, “No individual symbolic image can be said to have a dogmatically fixed generalized meaning” [Jung, C. G.: 1964:30]. We cannot take the Sri Chakrasamvara or Kalachakra of the Buddhist Vajrayana and assume that Buddhist practitioners of Vajrayana give these metaphors the same value, meaning, and connotation as the Vedic or the Christian would. The Vedic and Christians who equate with Buddhist metaphor-values might think that Vajrayana Buddhists take, believe, and understand that Sri Chakrasamvara, etc., are demons and worship them as such. This shows an abject insensitivity to cultural norms other than one’s own.
In the Buddhist Tantric texts, Sri Chakrasamvara, Kalachakra, etc., are called ‘Devatideva’ and ‘Bhagawan’, and not ‘Daitya’, or ‘Rakshasa’, or ‘Asura’. This is the meaning-value attached to these metaphors by those who use or practice them. For instance, ‘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, defeat of Mara (Hevajraya namastubhyam maramayapramardiney). This cannot and should not, by any cultural standards, be considered ‘poly-demonic’, even if similar metaphors are used in other cultures 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, and so on, find those same ‘poly-demonic practices’ as one of the most subtle and profound psychological methods to achieve integration of the mind, i.e. freeing the mind from Klesha. As it is, the Hindu populace of Nepal and India generally misunderstand Buddhism. Swami Vivekananda himself once admitted, “We Hindus never understood it” [Vivekananda:1965:3 rd Vol.:528-529]. We do not need Waddell to create further misunderstanding.
I wish to end this emic critique of Waddell’s book by quoting a few lines from Dr. Radmilla Moacanin, a
psycho-therapist of the Jungian school in Los Angeles. Dr. Moacanin’s writing is a sort of critique of
interpretation and conclusions on Tibetan Buddhism, one hundred years after Waddell. “It could be said
the aim of Buddhist Tantra is to penetrate into, harness, and transform the dynamic forces of the universe,
are no different from the psychological forces and archetypal constellations of our own psyche. This cannot be
done through the exercise of discursive thought or application of abstract theories but only by being deeply
in actual practices. Due to the enormous wealth of these practices, Tantra has given rise to much
and misconceptions. In the Western world it has often been equated with magic [Waddell’s sorcery] and
sexual practices.” [Moacanin:1986:17]