Skillful means tantra (Tengyur Section)

  • Tib.: thabs rgyud/

First published 2010. Last updated 3rd Aug 2023.

Commentaries and liturgical works related to the father tantras, centered on a range of deities in six main groups (Toh 1784-2216)

Skillful means, or “father” tantras (pha’i rgyud), are a subset of Unexcelled Yoga tantras in which, it is said, the emphasis is on skillful means more than on wisdom, the vast more than the profound, seeing the deity as the aggregates, elements, and sense-fields more than the channels, energies and essences, practicing the perfection stage using principally the energies and channels rather than the essences, and in which male deities are more numerous than female.

The 436 Tengyur works placed in this category by the dkar chag are here divided for convenience into two groups:

I. The 135 works on the tantras related to Guhyasamāja (Toh 1784-1917); and

II. The 301 works on the other skillful means tantras, those related to Yamāri, Vajrabhairava, Mañjuśrīnāmasaṃgīti, Ekajaṭa, and Vajrapāṇi (Toh 1918-2216).