For Mahāmāyā the mother of Buddha see: Maya (mother of Buddha)

The Mahamaya-tantra, (Sanskrit:Mahāmāyā-tantra, Tibetan: sgyu 'phrul chen po'i rgyud) is a tantra associated with Dream Yoga. It is considered by the Shangpa Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism to be a seminal work and is one of their five principle tantras. Mahāmāyā-tantra is a tantric text concerning Mahāmāyā. Mahāmāyā (Mahā holds the semantic field: "total", "great"; Māyā holds the semantic field: "magic", "phantasmagoria", "illusion", "dream") is a deva or deity in Indian religions. Mahāmāyā, Māyā or Maya, is also a force and/or the principal deity who creates, perpetuates and governs the phantasmagoria, illusion and dream of duality in the phenomenal Universe. Stated simply, Maya is the goddess of dreams. Mahāmāyā is also the name of Shakyamuni Buddha's mother.

The point of origin of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage was the Mahasiddha Khyungpo Naljor of Shang, in west-central Tibet.[1] The Shangpa Kagyu lineage propagates five tantras of the Anuttara yoga class, each tantra is considered the seminal expression of a principal sadhana:

  • the Hévajra tantra is the zenith of candali (heat) yoga
  • the Chakrasamvara tantra is the zenith of consort yoga (karma mudra)
  • the Guhyasamaja tantra is the zenith of illusory body and clear light yogas
  • Mahamaya tantra is the zenith of dream yoga
  • Dorje Jigdzé is the zenith of enlightened action.

These tantras are communicated through the teachings of five early Indian masters: Niguma, Sukhasiddhi, Dorjé Denpa, Maitripa and Rahula. The Shangpa Kagyu tradition almost died out this century. It was preserved and restored through the vigorous activity of Kalu Rinpoché towards the end of his life.[1]

Sinha (2007) outlines that the author of the Brhad-vimansastra quotes the Mahamaya-tantra:

Their magic spells sometimes had unexpected uses, as we read in the Brhad-vimansastra, a hitherto untranslated text on flying machines which is said to date ill from the medieval period:

"Only those who have had the knowledge of Mantra, Tantra (and twenty other skills here omitted for brevity) taught to them personally by a guru are fit and proper persons to pilot a flying machine."

The author quotes the Mahamaya-tantra and other Tantric texts as sources from which the secret doctrines may be learned. The Mahamaya-tantra does indeed contain spells for flying, taking a bird's shape and travelling to any place on Earth. It also promises the ability to espy holes in the ground, perhaps marking spots where other, less talented sky-striders came to grief.[2]

Sacred Himalayan Traditional Tibetan medicine employs mystic pills. Nyingma sources report pills made according to sadhana associated with the Mahamaya tantra[3]

Tibetan translation

The following quotation mentions Vairochana, Kun-byed rgyal-po and Nubchen Sangye Yeshe:

Even the work of translating such esoteric texts as Kun-byed rgyal-po, mDo-dgougs-'dus and the Mahamaya cycle of teachings by Vairochana, Nyag Jnana Kumara, Nubchen Sangye Yeshe and others, was carried out in great secrecy.[4]

Mahamaya Tantra (Tib. gyu ma chen mo) The mother tantra of the annutarayoga tantra which is one of the four main tantras in Tibet. The Mahamaya Tantra was transmitted in the second transmission of the bka babs bzhi of the Kagyu.

Further reading

  • Rinpoche, S. (1992). Mahamaya Tantra (With Gunavati Commentary by Ratnakara Santi). The Rare Buddhist Texts Series No. 10. New Delhi, India: Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies. NB: Critically edited Sanskrit text with Tibetan; in English. "The original Sanskrit text on Mahamayatantra is restored with the help of its Tibetan version and the Sanskrit commentary Gunawati. This small text having three chapters deal with very important subjects such as S[i]ddhis[sic], Classification of Hetu, Phala and Upayatantras, and manifestations of the deity."[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Holmes, by Ken (undated). Eight Chariots and Four Lineages. Soure: [1] (accessed: January 31, 2008)
  2. Sinha, Indra (2007). The Five-Fold Sacrament. Source: [2] (accessed: January 31, 2008)
  3. Tendu Rilbu Pill of the Palyul Nyingma Buddhist Association, item "16. Sacred object accomplished according to sadhana of the Peaceful Mahamaya Tantra" and item "17. Sacred objects accomplished according to the sadhana of the Wrathful Mahamaya Tantra."
  4. Source: [3] (accessed: February 11, 2008)
  5. Source: [4] (accessed: January 31, 2008)

External links

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