Wisdom tantra (Tengyur Section)

  • Tib.: shes rab kyi rgyud/

First published 2010. Last updated 30th Jul 2023.

Commentaries and liturgical works related to the mother tantras, centered on a range of deities divided into six main families (Toh 1401-1783)

Wisdom, or “mother” tantras (ma’i rgyud), are a subset of Unexcelled Yoga tantras in which, it is said, the emphasis is on wisdom more than skillful means, the profound more than the vast, seeing the deity as the channels, energies and essences more than as the aggregates, elements, and sense-fields, relying more on the practice of gtum mo and bliss than on practices of the channels and energies, and in which female deities are more numerous than male. They are often also called yoginī tantras (rnal ’byor ma’i rgyud).

The 383 Tengyur works placed in this category by the dkar chag are here divided for convenience into two groups:

I. the 206 works on the tantras related to Śaṃvara or Cakrasaṃvara and his consort Vajrayoginī or Vajravārāhī (Toh 1401-1606); and

II. the 177 works on the other wisdom tantras, those of Catuḥpīṭha, Mahāmāyā, Vajrāmṛta, Buddhakapāla, Buddhasamayoga, and Tāra (Toh 1607-1783).