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Anuttarayoga Tantra (Sanskrit, Tibetan: bla na med pa'i rgyud), often translated as Unexcelled Yoga Tantra or Highest Yoga Tantra, is a term used in Tibetan Buddhism in the categorization of esoteric tantric Indian Buddhist texts that constitute part of the Kangyur, or the 'translated words of The Buddha' in the Tibetan Buddhist canon.
The Buddha taught the most profound instructions for transforming sensual pleasure into the quick path to Enlightenment, which in turn depends upon the ability to gather and dissolve the inner winds (Sanskrit: prana) into the central channel through the Power of Meditation.
The practice of Anuttarayoga Tantra in the Vajrayana tradition of Buddhism is characterized by the requirement of Empowerment from a qualified Guru, usually a Lama, use of ritual techniques, and the practice of various meditative and subtle Body yogas, to effect personal transformation and to attain Enlightenment through the realization of the Mindstream as a Meditational Deity, or a Yidam.
Anuttarayoga Tantra literally means 'Unexcelled Union Continuity'.
While the term is frequently translated as 'Highest Yoga Tantra' in English writings, this is not quite accurate.
Rather, they chose consistently to use a comparative rather than a superlative.
But this is based on a mistaken back translation of the Tibetan translation (rnal byor bla med kyi rgyud) of what appears in Sanskrit texts only as Yogānuttara or Yoganiruttara (cf. SANDERSON 1994: 97-98, fn.1)."
In the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, Anuttarayoga tantra is sometimes used as a synonym for the Mahāyoga tantra of their nine-yāna formulation, wherein six levels are articulated in two triads, the 'Outer' and 'Inner tantras.
The Outer Tantras
The Inner Tantras are
In the New Schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the four categories of tantras are;
A further sub-classification is sometimes made among Anuttarayoga tantras into '
Varieties of Anuttarayoga Tantras
Five collections of Anuttarayoga tantras became prominent in Tibet initially
Guhyasamāja or 'Esoteric Community'
Yamāntaka or 'Death Conqueror' (alternatively known as Vajrabhairava or 'Vajra Terrifier')
Hevajra or 'O, Vajra!', Mahāmāyā or 'Great Play of Illusion'
Cakrasaṃvara or 'Wheel of Great Bliss'
The Kālacakra or 'Wheel of Time' tantra, was disseminated slightly later.
To date, the term 'Anuttarayoga Tantra' has not been discovered in Indian sources, wherein the categories used are Mahāyoga, and Yogottara , Yoganiruttara, or Yoginī-tantras for what the Tibetans consider "Father" (pha rgyud) and "Mother Tantras (ma rgyud).
According to the Gelug view, following Tsongkhapa's reasoning, Father Tantras emphasize the creation of a Buddha Form through the cultivation of an illusory Body, on the basis of practices with the energy system of the subtle Body.
The yoginī-tantras which became known in Tibet as 'Mother Tantras' (ma rgyud) emphasize the development of enlightened awareness (the "mind of the illusory Body) through the cultivation of the fundamental pure mind of all beings, known as 'brilliance' (prabhāsvara) (frequently translated, following the Tibetan, as 'clear Light').
The example typically advanced for this category is the Kālacakra.
In the Deity Yoga practices of Anuttarayoga Tantra, two stages are practiced:
the Generation Stage
and the Completion stage.
Schaeffer (1995: p. 16) holds that the Zabmo Nangdon (Tibetan: ཟབ་མོ་ནང་དོན, Wylie: zab mo nang don) is a major work of 'Rangjung Dorje' (Tibetan: རང་འབྱུང་རྡོ་རྗེ, Wylie: rang 'byung rdo rje) (1284–1339), the third Karmapa, born to a Nyingma family he received the full transmission of The Nyingma Tradition, in addition to the Karma Kagyu.