Culadasa John Yates:
Sutrayana ”doesn't go far enough”
See this video from July 2019: https://youtu.be/X7brJ8qrLBo?t=3404
Although Culadasa's bio says that together with his hinayana lineage, he also has vajrayana lineage, I have never seen or found a reference that would state that he is a tantric practitioner or that he would teach tantra. If you know that my information lacks in this regard, please correct me. I have sought this bit of information for few years but never found it. In some webcasts he has mentioned vajrayana in general but I have never seen him talk about tantric practices in the sense that it was something that he and his students were actively involved with.
In the video he says that he has gone through buddhist meditation training and that, despite of some illumination, "buddhist meditation traditions" (in plural) have severe deficiencies. He goes on to say that combination of shamanism and buddhism would tap what his practices have left untapped. In this connection, he also mentions Tibetan buddhism and Bon-tradition. That he doesn't mention his own vajrayana teachings or practices, adds to my belief that, despite of his lineage, he is not a vajrayana practitioner or teacher of it.
|Culadasa John Yates|
To my knowledge, Culadasa is a practitioner of sutrayana, so I cannot take his statement about the deficiency of all buddhist traditions seriously. I am aware that buddhism in general and Tibetan vajrayana in particular has all kinds of problems but in general based on my own observations vajrayana practitioners go farther in their practice than practitioners of sutrayana. I leave scholars, academics and doctors of buddhism entirely out of this. In terms of bhumi analysis (OHBM) it can be clearly seen that tantrics have more bhumis open and perfected, or in common terms have more clarity and purity than sutrayana practitioners do. By saying this I do not deny the benefits of sutrayana, neither in mahayana nor in hinayana, because I know from my own experience that sutra practice reaps benefits. However, in my experience as well as Culadasa's, sutrayana leaves a lot of the psyche into the shadow. It just "doesn't go far enough". For this reason I have discussed the greater benefits of tantric practice.
The problem is that sutric meditation practice is built on one's own effort, energy and ability of attention which in the present samsaric condition are very limited. On the other hand , tantric deities that are archetypes of the enlightened mind cannot but reveal all the nooks and corners of the mind or psyche, leaving nothing hidden. This is the potential of tantric practice but like I said it needs to be practiced correctly. Some ex-Tibetan buddhists, like Stephen Batchelor, have not understood this so they have renounced tantra.
Culadasa, "As you progress on the paths of awakening, the changes of you recognising them (parts of our pscyhe) as something that needs to be purified, diminishes.".
It is such a strange thing to say but at least he is honest. This precisely is Culadasa's testimony of the insufficiency of his long sutric practice that according to his experience, he is no longer able to find the very inner obstructions and habits that lead him to behave in unethical and destructive ways.
May All Beings Be Free,
-Kim Katami, 23.8.2019
Open Heart Sangha,