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I heard (only heard) a couple of times somewhere that there is a training in Tantrayana that can purify you, by deleting or burning your own past bad karma.

Unfortunately, I don't know the name of this training -- but I lived in Indonesia and sometimes a Tantrayana monk came and offered something like this (again, if I remember correctly)

Is there some kind of training like this?

  • Never heard of anything like this in Tibetan Buddhism, are you sure you have not misunderstood? There is burning of negative energy which is a metaphor for forcing oneself through pathological emotional habits, but that's not deleting of past karma. – Andrei Volkov Nov 9 '14 at 19:52
  • @AndreiVolkov Thanks. I will try to find more information about this – Blaze Tama Nov 10 '14 at 0:57
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    In Tibetan Buddhism, there are many Karma Purification practices, such as the 100-syllable Vajrasattva Practice, the 35-Buddha Purification practice, etc. Mostly, I think, these are like lighting a match in a completely dark building. A little light can do a lot! Give you some space to work perhaps and "illuminate your situation". Any practice that helps you still your mental noise is a good one. – PFS32 Jan 15 '15 at 20:35
  • The use of 'burning' in the title made me wonder if you meant the practice of tummo? In Theravada, the jhanas are sometimes said to 'burn up defilements', e.g., cf.: accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/gunaratana/wheel351.html#ch1.2 – Adamokkha Jun 3 '15 at 12:44
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In the Theravada pali cannon:

In this Devadaha Sutta , the Buddha refutes the theories of the Jains — here called the Niganthas — and heaps ridicule on the idea of trying to burn kamma by asceticism. First he notes that none of the Niganthas have ever come to the end of pain by trying to burn it away in this way;

"Going to Niganthas who teach in this way, I have asked them, 'Is it true, friend Niganthas, that you teach in this way, that you have this view: "Whatever a person experiences — pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain — all is caused by what was done in the past. Thus, with the destruction of old actions through asceticism, and with the non-doing of new actions, there will be no flow into the future. With no flow into the future, there is the ending of action. With the ending of action, the ending of stress. With the ending of stress, the ending of feeling. With the ending of feeling, all suffering & stress will be exhausted"?'

"Having been asked this by me, the Niganthas admitted it, 'Yes.'

"So I said to them, 'But friends, do you know that you existed in the past, and that you did not not exist?' (*basically, have you seen your own past lives?)

"'No, friend.'

"'And do you know that you did evil actions in the past, and that you did not not do them?'

"'No, friend.'

"'And do you know that you did such-and-such evil actions in the past?'

"'No, friend.'

"'And do you know that so-and-so much stress has been exhausted, or that so-and-so much stress remains to be exhausted, or that with the exhaustion of so-and-so much stress all stress will be exhausted?'

"'No, friend.'

"'But do you know what is the abandoning of unskillful mental qualities and the attainment of skillful mental qualities in the here-&-now?'

"'No, friend.'

"'So, friends, it seems that you don't know that you existed in the past, and that you did not not exist... you don't know what is the abandoning of unskillful mental qualities and the attainment of skillful mental qualities in the here-&-now. That being the case, it is not proper for you to assert that, "Whatever a person experiences — pleasure, pain, or neither pleasure nor pain — all is caused by what was done in the past. Thus, with the destruction of old actions through asceticism, and with the non-doing of new actions, there will be no flow into the future. With no flow into the future, there is the ending of action. With the ending of action, the ending of stress. With the ending of stress, the ending of feeling. With the ending of feeling, all suffering & stress will be exhausted."

  • This answer does not accord with the title and the tags, since the Sutra that you quoted is not 'of definite meaning' (according to Tibetan traditions) and you have not explained it by way of an authoritative Tantrayana teacher. Moreover, you spoke of 'burning karma by way of this or that' and did not give a general answer. – Tenzin Dorje Dec 27 '15 at 9:10
  • This is the theravada Belief and it is how we believe it. As the OP who posted does not believe Samadhi has given reasons to support his belief and there's nothing wrong with that. @TenzinDorje – Theravada Dec 27 '15 at 16:19
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    @Theravada I'm not commenting the content of the answer, but I think it does not answer the question, since it is not a answer from the Tantrayana perspective. But maybe I misunderstand what tags (and titles) are for. – Tenzin Dorje Dec 27 '15 at 18:35
  • I agree with Tenzin Dorje. The question is asking from a Tibetan perspective so it is wrong to cite texts from another tradition and just say they're wrong. – Bakmoon Dec 28 '15 at 12:46
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In my opinion, you cannot change the past. We are now is the result of the past actions whether mentally or physically. There are some people who are ill and need to replace their failure organ with someone else's. However, not all organ replacement works well with the 'new' body.

But we can take care of the present moment and do good deeds as much as we can. This will add more 'water' so that the 'saltiness' of a glass of water can be reduced.

  • Hello B1100 and welcome to Buddhism.SE! We've put together some information to help you get started here. – Crab Bucket Jun 17 '15 at 12:30
  • Short and sweet! :-) – Theravada Dec 27 '15 at 16:19
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Purification of karma is the same as purifying the mind. The mind holds all of the negative karma. When one attains nirvana, one has exhausted their negative karma. They become immune to the material reaction. So mantra, meditation, tantra, all of these have that aim. To purify the mind. It happens at many levels, conscious and unconscious. You can think of all the practices of meditation and yoga "burning karma." It sounds magical because of the burning word, but really it just is referring to ways you can rapidly purify and still the mind. This can be a very difficult process if it is made to be done expediently. For example, if you have done some black magic on someone in a past life you may have to experience some of the reaction. The purification process usually relies on the energy of a deity or a guru to assist in this process, to make it as manageable as possible. But one cannot think of this as any ordinary thing, one may have millions of years of karma to deal with. Most Buddhist practices are designed to deal with the negative karma. Ending bad thoughts, habits, through the puja, mantra, meditation...don't think of it as something extra special. Ending all your negative karma, ending all karma, is the goal.

  • "Ending all your negative [and positive!!] karma, ending all karma, is the goal.", yes Mr. Marcus Quinn Rodriguez Tenes, but till then, there is never such as "burning vipaka (results) of kamma" done. Till then it ripes, what ever one likes to do. Its just that with advanced practice, one can easily bear its fruition. Such may have caused the strange idea of having a way to burn kamma under the Buddha Dhamma label. – Samana Johann Dec 28 '15 at 14:29
  • The misunderstanding is that the "burning karma" means you do not experience the karmic reaction. Purification, burning the karma, they are not free. You don't just recite the mantra and poof it is gone. You may experience some very difficult things physically or emotionally as part of the process. It is simply an empowered process by the deity or guru that more systematically directs spiritual energy at creating a pure mind. If done with sincerity, it usually results in an accelerated process of experiencing the karma in a safer way. – Marcus Quinn Rodriguez Tenes Dec 28 '15 at 14:58
  • This is a process like weeding the garden. Normally without these practices, the negative thoughts remain in your garden free to grow and mature into fruit bearing trees. However through these sort of "karma burning" practices, one can uproot these seedlings or burn the seed so you escape the fruit being bore from them. But that doesn't mean the uprooting or the burning does not cause any karma, that is the karma. That in itself can be painful. The deity simply empowers the process of the weeding, as opposed to letting your mind just sit and letting it grow. Meditation also "burns karma". – Marcus Quinn Rodriguez Tenes Dec 28 '15 at 15:01

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