1 – Introduction to Kalachakra by Ven. Jhado Rinpoche
Bodhgaya, January 2002
Today Rinpoche is beginning with the introduction, because many of you have come to Bodhgaya to receive the Kalachakra empowerment from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, so for this Jhado Rinpoche is extremely thankful for your presence. Rinpoche personally is also here to receive the Kalachakra empowerment from His Holiness and hence from this point of view we are all the same in the sense that we are all here to receive this empowerment. Rinpoche is here in order that we do not waste this precious opportunity, he says that we are all here to help each other and he hopes that through tonight’s talk he will be able to be of some benefit or help or service to everybody in providing and sharing with all of us as much knowledge as he has of Kalachakra.
Please do not think that Rinpoche is here to establish some Dharma connection with you, he is not here to play the role of the Guru. It does not mean that after tonight’s talk we are officially Rinpoche´s disciples, neither that Rinpoche is our Guru; this is a very informal session in which Rinpoche is sharing his knowledge with all of us.
This series of talks have been scheduled to last for a period of two days. Within each day there will be a two-hour session from 6 to 8 p.m. and since these two sessions are relatively short, Rinpoche would like to make these talks really brief. From Rinpoches´s point of view, he thinks that it would be probably better if he talks only from 6 to 7.30 p.m. and during this period of time Rinpoche would like to introduce the Kalachakra to everybody. And during this period of time, there will probably be certain points that you may not be clear about, so during the last half an hour of the session then you may pose any questions you may have related to Kalachakra. Rinpoche is not proclaiming that he knows everything about Kalachakra, he does not say that he will be able to answer all of your questions related to the Kalachakra, but he will try his very best to answer all of your questions. And who knows, maybe amongst your questions there may be certain very intelligent questions that may pose a new perspective related to the Kalachakra, and this entirely new perspective will be maybe of benefit to Rinpoche himself, too. So in the last half an hour you may ask your questions.
As a general preliminary before the teachings, common to all Buddhist practices, the door of entry to our Buddhist practice is refuge in the Three Jewels. The door of entry to the supreme vehicle of the Mahayana is the precious mind of bodhicitta. So please generate these two states of mind, refuge in the Three Jewels as well as the mind of bodhicitta as the preliminary motivation to these teachings and for that we will recite the prayer of going for refuge and generating bodhicitta three times. Since the center has made the preparations to offer the mandala as well as the body, speech and mind of the Buddha, so following that we should recite also the short mandala offering.
For us, disciples who are receiving the Kalachakra empowerment what are the prerequisites for receiving such a form of empowerment ritual. Since there are differences in terms of the qualities of the disciples, there are for example disciples of the lower capability, the middle capability and the highest capability, there also different prerequisites, related to the different categories of disciples before they receive the empowerment.
In general while we are receiving the actual initiation or empowerment, a very crucial point is that one must first understand the basic differences between a Buddhist tradition and a non-Buddhist tradition. When we compare Buddhism with other non-Buddhist religions, one must understand the fundamental differences such as special characteristics, which define and separate a Buddhist from a non-Buddhist path.
Also within the path of Buddhist practice there are differences in terms of different traditions. One can understand that there is a general classification of what one calls the Theravada tradition as well as the Mahayana tradition.
If one practices the scriptures according to the Mahayana tradition, one is considered to be a Mahayana practitioner. One must understand why the Mahayana tradition is claimed to be the supreme vehicle, what are the characteristics that define the speciality of the Mahayana tradition. On top of understanding why the Mahayana teachings are so precious, one must also understand that within the Mahayana there are two different categories of teachings. One is the Paramitayana, or the causal vehicle and the other is Vajrayana, or the resultant vehicle, the path of secret mantra.
Within these two one must understand, why is the path of Mantrayana or Vajrayana more precious or more profound in terms of methods of achieving enlightenment, when compared to the causal vehicle of Paramitayana. One must understand what is the difference that makes it more profound. It is definitely not because Vajrayana in tantric rituals they employ beautiful implements, vases, vajras and bells, statues and instruments. All these things, external ritual implements alone are not the reason, why Vajrayana is more profound than sutrayana, since these ritual objects can be seen also in other non-Buddhist traditions. Therefore one must understand the core of the teachings, what is in the Vajrayana teachings that makes them more profound than sutrayana teachings, one should be clear about these points.
Within the practice of the secret mantra or Vajrayana, there are four categories of tantras. Within the four tantras the highest is the highest yoga tantra or anuttarayogatantra and one must understand why is this anuttarayogatantra the most profound of all the four classes of tantras and one should be clear regarding these points as well.
Besides that, within the highest yoga tantra level of tantric practices one can also understand that there is the classification according to the earlier translations of the Nyingma tradition. The earlier translation of tantras has different specific deity practices and some of the new translations of tantras also have different deity practices related to highest yoga tantra such as Hevajra, Vajrabhairava and Chakrasamvara. Within these highest yoga tantras nowadays the Kalachakra tantra has become extremely popular and renown in the international scale. Before it was known only in the regions of Tibet, Mongolia and India, but nowadays it has become so widespread, that almost everybody knows about Kalachakra. This is another subject that we will touch upon in the sequences of talks.
During the process of introducing the Kalachakra Rinpoche will talk about the topics of the ripening empowerments related to the generation stage, as well as the ripening empowerments related to the completion stage. One must understand what visualisations should we do during the empowerment ceremony, what imprints will be placed on our mind streams after attending or receiving this empowerments, what practices need to be done and what siddhis or spiritual accomplishments can be achieved on the basis of these meditations. So by understanding the nature and the sequence of these empowerments, at the time when we actually receive the empowerments we will be ready, or at least we will have a rough idea of what is going on.
There is no specific outline of these two sessions of the talks; this is just roughly the outline of the talks that Rinpoche will set up.
The difference between a Buddhist and a non-Buddhist tradition
The first outline is to show the differences between a Buddhist and a non-Buddhist tradition. In general within the world there are many different religions, but what are the major characteristic of Buddhism. It is not in the symbolic rituals of offering flowers, incense, offering prostrations, making so-called sacrificial offerings, these are not what defines a person as being a Buddhist or defines a practice as being a Buddhist practice.
Within the scriptures there’s the mention of the definition of refuge where it says that the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha are the objects of refuge for those desiring liberation. The Three Jewels – the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha are the objects of refuge, that can protect us from the sufferings and the problems of this life, and not only this life, but also future lives, as well as for all eternity, they can help us to achieve the ultimate goals. In general in the cycling existence whatever problems or sufferings we may encounter, all these have their roots or origins in our karma and delusions (or afflictive emotions), which are stored within the continuity of our mind stream. The continuity of our mind stream has karma and afflictive emotions, which give rise to the results – experiences of problems and suffering.
By going for refuge in the Three Jewels, one can be free from karma and delusions, one can achieve the ultimate result, the liberation, the complete freedom from the causes of suffering and simultaneously what we call the complete freedom from suffering itself. Going for refuge to the Three Jewels in order to be free from suffering is the main practice of beings of the lower scope, although it does not cover the entirety of the outline for the lower scope of practice.
In the Buddhist texts the Buddha is saying that one is one’s own protector and that one does not go to others for protection. For example, the individual has accumulated negative karma in past lives and combined with the afflictive emotions within our mind streams, that gives rise to our suffering, it results in suffering. But on the other hand, even though we have these undesirable phenomena on our mind streams, one can apply what we call antidotes to these delusions. One can purify one’s karma to a pure state of mind with applying antidotes to negative karma, one can cultivate what we call the pure view, the right view and right action, by gradually causing ourselves to engage in more virtuous states of mind and engage in more virtue to purify negative karma and therefore it is possible to achieve what we call the liberation or complete cessation of all our sufferings.
In the scriptures it is mentioned that we don’t need to go to any specific place, any specific direction or realm in order to put an end to our sufferings. The end of sufferings can be achieved within this body itself, within this very body and mind that we have, one has the potential to achieve the highest happiness but one must know the pathway of practicing, one must know the correct methods and one must actually put this into practice to achieve the results of the highest happiness. The Buddha said like this: the path of liberation is shown within the Buddhist path.
The path of liberation is not shown in other religions, so for example in the other religious traditions it is said, that if you follow a particular way of practice, by meditating in such and such a way, than you achieve abilities like to fly in the air, or dive underground, and all the different kinds of spiritual attainments. It teaches different ways of achieving different samadhis or meditative concentration, but it is not taught that by practicing in those ways you can achieve the total cessation of suffering.
In the Buddhist path there are methods of achieving liberation from suffering and achieving the highest happiness, and these are not mere words, the actual goal can be actualised. The delusions and afflictive emotions in our mind stream are mere implicit phenomena, sometimes they arise, sometimes they do not. So by following the path of practice, if one is able to meet a good teacher, who can teach Buddhism in a proper way, and if he is a good disciple, who can actually accomplish the teachings in a proper manner, it is possible to achieve the goal of putting an end to one’s suffering and achieving the realization of the highest level of happiness in this life and body.
In the Buddhist path the preciousness of the Buddha’s teachings does not simply mean that if you are impoverished, than you can pray to the Buddha and the Buddha will give you money, or if you are sick, then you pray to the Buddha and Buddha will cure your sicknesses and if your business is not doing so well, than the Buddha can will help you. In general even if such miracles could happen, they themselves are not the core of the Buddhist teachings, they themselves do not make the Buddhist teachings precious. One must understand what is the core teaching that makes the Buddhist path such a precious spiritual tradition.
The difference between the two traditions
Now we reached the second major outline, which is differentiating between the two traditions within the Buddhist path. Why do we say that the Mahayana tradition or the path of the greater vehicle is the superior tradition. The lower vehicle or the Hinayana tradition are teachings in accordance with the capacities or the specific needs of the disciples there and then, so they are not the ultimate goal or the ultimate teachings of the Buddha. In order to accomplish what we call the ultimate abandonment of faults, and to achieve the ultimate perfection of qualities, than one needs to follow the Mahayana tradition, to follow the practices of the bodhisattva.
When we talk in terms of the lower, lesser vehicle and the greater vehicle, it does not mean that within the Buddhist teaching there is something of inferior quality and something of superior quality, it doesn’t refer to that. In general whatever teachings one is practicing or cultivating, whichever teachings are directly the most beneficial for oneself, that are the best teachings for one’s practice. In terms of that the most beneficial teaching is always considered to be the best, this does not mean that the Buddhist path discriminates against specific traditions by looking down on them, feeling that they are inferior, that is a wrong attitude.
When the Shakyamuni Buddha descended upon this world and manifested the deed of enlightenment, following that the Buddha had many disciples, like Mogayana and Shariputra, who manifested the deed of achieving arhatship, they got to the state of arhats. But why these disciples, even though they were so close to the Buddha, did not manifest the deed of achieving enlightenment. Because the reason why the Buddha himself had reached such a state of realization and achievement, is because in initial stages of training the Buddha had generated the mind of bodhicitta, the mind of enlightenment, aspiring to achieve enlightenment for the sake of others. And than in the middle, when the Buddha was training or accumulating the causes to achieve enlightenment, the Buddha did this for the benefit of others. And ultimately the Buddha achieved the goal of enlightenment also for the benefit of others, based on the mind of bodhicitta. When the Buddha achieved enlightenment, he was able to abandon all the imprints of delusions and he was also able to accomplish the ultimate abandonment of all obscurations, of all delusions, as well as their imprints. So due to abandoning of faults, the Buddha has achieved the perfect omniscience, the ability to understand all phenomena.
But when you talk in terms of arhats like Shariputra and Mogayana, these arhats themselves cannot claim to have achieved omniscience, because they merely abandoned the obscurations of delusions, they have not abandoned the obscurations to omniscience; therefore what they achieved is only a fraction or a partial abandonment. It is not a perfect abandonment, but a partial abandonment, the abandonment of delusions. Then also in terms of the qualities of attainment, the arhats have not attained qualities like the Buddha, and that is why they are called arhats, they are not called Buddhas. People like Shariputra and Mogayana have not achieved the ultimate goal of buddhahood, but have achieved mere arhatship.
In this case the goal is achieving the qualities of the ultimate abandonment and the ultimate achievement, and these are done through following the footsteps of the Buddha. Firstly through generating the mind of bodhicitta and then in the middle through accumulating the causes, perfecting the two accumulations of merit and wisdom over three countless eons and ultimately to achieve the result of complete pervaded abandonment and unpervaded attainment. Therefore one needs to follow such a path of Mahayana in order to achieve such a state of buddhahood and it is for this reason, why one says that the Mahayana teachings are of the superior nature to the Hinayana teachings.
In general, when the Buddha taught the Dharma, in the beginning he taught the Sravakayana, Sravaka vehicle in which he taught the different practices of the higher trainings of ethics, the higher training of meditative concentration and the higher training of wisdom. These three higher trainings are the fundamentals of the path of liberation.
With regards to the teachings of the Mahayana tradition, the cultivation of loving kindness, compassion and bodhicitta are practices for the courageous bodhisattvas, who will take the responsibility of benefiting others. This is the sequence of the Buddhist path as told by the Buddha, first cultivate the three higher trainings as a foundation, and on top of that cultivate the mind of love and compassion, as well as the bodhicitta.
The ultimate goal that the Buddha is trying to point to us is what we call the great nirvana without residue in which one completely abandons all faults and perfects all qualities. Such a great altruistic path is only for those bodhisattvas of great courage, which can take the responsibility of freeing others from suffering and placing others in happiness, on the path of taking such a responsibility upon themselves. For this reason we say the Mahayana is the greater vehicle.
Sometimes it is said that in the Mahayana tradition, they completely abandoned the training of the lower vehicles, some people may say that all the Mahayanists practice only love and compassion, they do not concentrate on the three higher trainings of ethics, concentration and wisdom. This is completely incorrect, the Mahayana tradition does not attempt to set up a separate path of practice, without taking the lower vehicles as a foundation. The teachings of lower vehicle are also cultivated in the Mahayana path, but as a foundation and on top of that love, compassion and so forth are also cultivated.
The path of Tantrayana
Within the path of the Mahayana tradition, there are two categories, the causal vehicle, which is the Paramitayana or sutrayana and there is the resultant vehicle, called Tantrayana or secret mantra, or Vajrayana. In these two vehicles, the path of the secret mantra is considered to be more profound than the path of sutrayana, the path of the causal vehicle.
The path of secret mantra has been very widely practiced over the past centuries, especially in the region of Tibet, but it is not something made up by Tibetan Lamas, it is not what we call Lamaism, but it is a very valid tradition of Buddhist practice, that has been handed down uncorrupted over the centuries, over generations of living realized spiritual masters.
Tracing it we come all the way through very eminent masters like Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, Aryadeva and so forth, as well as the panditas of the great renowned Buddhist institute of the Nalanda monastery. Within the panditas of Nalanda monastery, most of them cultivated the simultaneous path of sutra and tantra. These tantric practices were handed down from these great masters, it is not something made up by Tibetan Lamas, it is a valid tradition.
What exactly is it that makes the tantric tradition more profound than the sutra tradition. It is not because of the very wondrous, miraculous things we hear about the tantric practices, for example it says in certain scriptures that if we recite a certain number of OM MANI PADME HUNG, than we are able to liberate certain beings from the lower realms and enable them to be born in the pure realms. Just these benefits of the tantric practices alone, even though they are valid, but these are very mild reasons, much too ordinary reasons, to claim that the tantric practices are very profound. The main thing we have to understand, it is a path of practice along the Buddhist path, shown by the Buddha, and besides that it is the cultivation of the method and wisdom aspects of the path.
The cultivation of method and wisdom is shown differently in these two vehicles, the causal and resultant vehicle. In the causal vehicle one cultivates method and wisdom and within the resultant vehicle one cultivates method and wisdom as well. These two are the main practices.
In the sutrayana or the causal path one cultivates the practices of method and wisdom separately, one cultivates method while he’s bound by wisdom and one cultivates wisdom while he’s bound by method, one is never cultivating both simultaneously. In the practices of tantra or the resultant vehicle one cultivates method and wisdom together in one practice, simultaneously. As one is meditating on the aspect of a deity, or on a deity generated in the space in front of oneself, simultaneously one is bringing to the mind the empty nature of this divine form. When one is meditating on the divine form of the deity one is cultivating the aspect of method, through accumulating merits by visualising the divine form. Simultaneously one is also being mindful of its empty nature, so one is also cultivating the wisdom aspect by remembering the wisdom of emptiness. Therefore one simultaneously cultivates the causes to achieve the Buddha’s holy form as well as the Buddha’s holy mind in one state and this is a very basic reason why we say that the tantric practices are more profound than the sutra practices.
How does one cultivate both aspects of the path of method and wisdom simultaneously in one state of mind? Firstly one must understand that in regard of whatever deity practice is found in the four classes of tantras. While one is cultivating the practice of deity yoga, firstly this has to be done on the basis of meditation on emptiness. Firstly one meditates on the wisdom of emptiness and one imagines dissolving one’s ordinary form into the state of emptiness. Then this wisdom that understands emptiness arises into the aspect of the divine form of the deity and then one understands that this wisdom, this divine form of the deity is not another inherently existing phenomena, but is a divine personification of the wisdom of emptiness, arisen out of the wisdom of emptiness. Through the cultivation of divine pride of this form of the deity one is simultaneously focusing on its empty nature.
This wisdom of emptiness arising into these various forms of the deity is also the resultant stage, taking the result to the path in sense that this divine form that one is visualising is the ultimate state, the ultimate result that one achieves at the end of the path. So this is enhancing our practice, so that we may speed towards our goal of buddhahood.
But even though we visualise all sorts of deities this does not mean that we are already Buddhas, just through mere visualisation alone we cannot say that we have already accomplished buddhahood, that is entirely wrong. But then again we cannot say that one cannot attain buddhahood, because all sentient beings have the potential to achieve buddhahood, all sentient beings posses the linage of the Buddha. Therefore, through visualising the divine form of the Buddha’s body one perfects the different aspects of the path through accumulating merits and also through understanding or focusing on empty nature one is able to perfect the accumulation of wisdom. This makes the tantric path a very quick path and also makes it a very special practice.
One must understand why we call it the resultant vehicle, the path of the Vajrayana. The word vajra has this sense of something that is so strong that is indestructible and indivisible. In the sense of indivisibility it is a metaphor for the indivisible practice of method and wisdom along the path. When one is cultivating the deity yoga, one simultaneously cultivates method and wisdom, without cultivating them separately one cultivates them indivisibly as one entity. When one visualises the results and environments, such as the pure realm, or the celestial mansion of the deity, one also visualises the form body of the deity, the enjoyments of the deity, as well as the entourage of the deity. By bringing the result into the present moment one actually ripens one’s potential to achieve such states. This path of Vajrayana is the indivisible cultivation of method and wisdom through cultivating the yoga of the deity, by bringing the results into the path. So this is why we say the Vajrayana is the resultant vehicle.
Nowadays in the world at large the practice of Vajrayana, of tantra is very wide spread, many people have a lot of interest in such a path and one must understand why is the Vajrayana called Vajrayana and why is it called the resultant vehicle and what makes it so profound and precious.
The four categories of tantras
In general when we talk about the tantras, the path of Vajrayana, there are four categories of tantras. In general when we hear the word highest yoga tantra or the anuttarayogatantra immediately our eyes light up, we get very interested, because many people have the misconception associating the highest yoga tantra practices with unrestrained behaviour, such as drinking intoxicants and unrestrained physical relationships and so forth, claiming this to be the highest yogic practices. This is entirely wrong; it is not this unrestrained behaviour that make the highest yoga practice a very profound path.
What is the core essence of highest yoga tantra? One must understand that the emphasis in the path of practice in the Buddhist path is mainly on the cultivation of method and wisdom and this is cultivated indivisibly in the path of tantra. The indivisible cultivation of method and wisdom is not mentioned in the sutrayana path in which one cultivates these two aspects separately, while in the tantric path one cultivates them simultaneously, indivisibly so therefore the path of tantra is considered a more profound practice.
Within the path of tantra one talks about the base, the path and the result – the base of your practice, the path to be cultivated and the result to be achieved. The base in tantra is usually described as the physical constituents of our body. In our body we have the psychic channels, the energy winds as well as the energy drops, what we call the bodhicitta substances. These are not imagined, they are parts of our actual physical and mental experiences. When we are born we have naturally formed in our bodies different psychic channels, as well as different energy winds, that flow within them, as well as different substances as blood and semen which we inherited from our parents, that flow within our psychic channels.
Within the tantra it is mentioned that the energy winds within our body or the lung, are associated with the different levels of mental consciousness. They are divided into the gross energy winds and the gross consciousness as well as the subtle energy winds and the subtle consciousness. These different energy winds have different states of consciousness associated with them and give rise to different forms of discursive thoughts appearing in our minds. For example, while we are sleeping, as we lie down and as we gradually fall asleep our mind becomes more and more subtle, the usual gross mind and gross winds, which are active when we are awake, these winds gradually gather to the region of the heart and the winds become more and more subtle and the mind also becomes more and more subtle, so we gradually lose consciousness and then we start dreaming and so forth. And as we wake up these energy winds disperse from the region of our hearts and our mind becomes more and more gross, the winds become grosser and we eventually wake up. One can actually experience these different states of gross and subtle winds and mind.
In the sutra tradition, as well as in the tantric practices of the three lower classes of tantra, one meditates, one practices, one cultivates the path on the basis of the gross wind and mind. But in highest yoga tantra we not only do that, but we actually stop to the gross winds and mind and attempt to activate the subtle or even extremely subtle winds and mind. And the reason being that one tries to use these extremely subtle winds and mind to focus and to meditate on the object of emptiness, on the view of emptiness. Ultimately, one tries to use the subtle wind and mind to meditate on emptiness and than one destroys all the gross and subtle delusions, as well as the imprints through such a profound path. One attempts to achieve the indivisible holy form and holy mind of the Buddha, on the basis of extremely subtle wind and mind, one activates this extremely subtle wind and mind using them to meditate on emptiness and the divine form of the deity and ultimately one attempts to achieve the indivisible body and mind of the Buddha.
Such a practice is shown only within the path of highest yoga tantra and therefore we say that the highest yoga tantra is the most profound path in the sense that it has a system explaining the physical constituents, the energy winds, the channels, as well as the elements within them. And while striking the vital points of the Vajra body, one attempts to stop the gross winds and mind, one attempts to activate the extremely subtle wind and mind and on the basis of that one meditates on emptiness and divine form of the deity and one achieves the indivisible holy body and mind of the Buddha.
This Method of practice is not shown in the sutrayana path, it is not shown in three lower classes of tantra, it is shown only exclusively in the highest yoga tantra practice, that’s why we say the highest yoga tantra is the most profound and precious of all tantras.
In the life stories of the Buddha one can see different scriptures of how the Buddha went to different places around India and manifested different deeds in order to tame the minds of various disciples. Rinpoche just mentioned a particular place in Sarnath where one can see stone carvings and stone engravings of the deeds of the Buddha. Within one particular engraving is shown the deed of a miracle, where the Buddha manifested different miracles to tame the different heretics, non-Buddhists, Tritikas who were challenging the Buddha. On the engraving is shown that from the Buddha´s heart two lotuses emanated, and on top of each lotus there is another Buddha.
In accordance with the scriptures of both the Theravada and Hinayana tradition, it is mentioned that when Buddha manifested these deeds of miracles it was almost inconceivable, because from the Buddha´s heart thousands and millions and billions of emanations were emanated. Some of them were emanations of the holy body, emanations of the holy speech and emanations of the holy mind, all simultaneously appearing in the whole universe. This was manifested by the Buddha. These manifestations are all mentioned in the very scriptures, so another point we can see is that in the Samantabhadra´s prayer, the King of Prayers, is mentioned within one verse that says: “on a tip of a single hair there are countless Buddha realms, there are millions of Buddhas and each of them has a million of Bodhisatvas around”. How can this be possible in terms of gross mind and gross body that we commonly have? This is virtually impossible, let alone a thousand Buddhas, you wouldn’t be able to put even one Buddha on the tip of a hair, if the Buddha had the same gross body and mind as we do commonly.
What it is pointing to is that the Buddha´s indivisible holy body and mind are formed out of the extremely subtle wind and mind. When there is extremely subtle wind and mind there is no physical obstruction, therefore there can be a thousand Buddhas congregating on a single tip of hair. For example, if there was something on the tip of hair and everybody wanted to see it, all our minds would be able to converge on that tip of hair. This is only the limitation of our gross body and mind, but for the Buddha, whose mind is the body and whose body is the mind and his form are subtle wind and mind, the Buddha´s body and mind can all converge on one single point, for example on a tip of hair. These extremely subtle wind and mind has also been mentioned.
How can these deeds of miracles be possible from the Buddhist point of view? It can be explained if you see it from the view point of tantric science, how these phenomena can be accomplished through different methods of practice in tantra. So it is said that the Buddha’s miracles are not requiring faith, you can even trace how the Buddha actually did it and how we ourselves can also accomplish such a method by following such a path. We don’t act out of blind faith, but there are methods and reasonings than we can search for in the tantras.
Activating and employing the extremely subtle wind and mind is the main focus of the highest yoga tantric practices. With regards to the other portions of it, such as the practices of the mind of bodhicitta and cultivating the proper motivation of bodhicitta mind, as well as cultivating the view of emptiness -the practices of bodhicitta and emptiness are no different from those, which are being expounded in the sutra tradition. There is no special so-called tantric bodhicitta or tantric emptiness to be cultivated, which is different from the sutras. The bodhicitta and the view of emptiness that are cultivated in tantras are exactly the same as those in the sutras, there is no separate ones to be cultivated.
So when one is practising and cultivating the profound points of tantric practice, some people say that one needs to change some external aspects, like dress differently, or even be a non celibate person, thinking that celibates such as fully ordained monks and nuns or novices are incapable of practicing tantra. This is a very gross mistake, because if you look at the lineage masters of the Guhyasamaja tantra, which is considered to be the king of tantras. The Buddhism has produced eminent lineage masters as Nagarjuna, who was a fully ordained monk, Aryadeva, who was a fully ordained monk as well as Chandrakirti, who was a great scholar, a great master, who wrote very great treatises on both sutra and tantra, especially about the profound view of emptiness. These lineage masters were fully ordained monastics for the entirety of their lives; they did not even once showed the aspect of being a lay person.
Therefore it doesn’t mean that you have to change your external aspect to practice tantra, these are very gross misconceptions. Another good example is Lama Tsong Khapa whose main practice was Guhyasamaja, the king of tantras. In order to control and to manipulate one’s energy winds and mind, to activate and employ the subtle wind and mind, one does not need to change one’s external aspect or to abandon one’s monastic conduct, nor does one need to engage in specific non-celibate conduct. One must understand this fundamental point. http://kalachakranet.org/teachings/