Kriya Tantra

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The Nine Yanas
4. Yana of kriya tantra
Skt. kriyātantra yāna
Tib. བྱ་རྒྱུད་ཀྱི་ཐེག་པ་
ja gyü kyi tekpa
Wyl. bya rgyud kyi theg pa
Read main article for nine yana overview
Three Outer Yanas Leading From the Origin
1. Shravaka yana
2. Pratyekabuddha yana
3. Bodhisattva yana
Three Yanas of Vedic Asceticism
4. Yana of kriya tantra
5. Yana of charya tantra
6. Yana of yoga tantra
Three Yanas of Powerful Transformative Methods
7. Yana of tantra mahayoga
8. Yana of scriptural transmission anuyoga
9. Yana of pith instruction atiyoga

Kriya tantra (Skt. kriyātantra; Tib. བྱ་རྒྱུད་, ja gyü, Wyl. bya rgyud) — the first of the three outer classes of tantra and the fourth yana according to the nine yana classification.

The kriya tantras, or ‘action’ tantras, are so-called because they are concerned mainly with external conduct, the practices of ritual purification and cleanliness and so on.[1]

Overview Given by Alak Zenkar Rinpoche[2]

Entry Point

The initial point of entry to the path of secret mantra vajrayana is ripening empowerment, so here one receives the water empowerment, which establishes the potential for ripening into the dharmakaya, and the crown empowerment, which establishes the potential for ripening into the rupakaya. Then one keeps the general samayas of the kriya yoga as they are explained in the particular texts themselves.


In terms of determining the view, the basis of the path, one realizes that the ground of purification, the nature of mind itself, is the wisdom of empty clarity, and is ultimately beyond all extremes of elaboration, such as existing, not existing, appearing or being empty. Then one views the aspects of relative appearance, which are what must be purified, as the characteristics of the completely pure deity.


As for the path and the way of practising meditation, it centres around the four realities: the reality of oneself and the reality of the deity are practised by means of the six aspects of the deity, by visualizing oneself as the samaya form (Skt. samayasattva) and then invoking the wisdom being (Skt. jñānasattva) into the space in front, considering oneself as a servant and the deity as one’s master. One then focuses upon the reality of the mantra recitation which is the sound, and on the mind and the ground, and meditates upon the reality of concentration, which consists of remaining in the ‘flame,’ continuation of sound and culmination of sound.


One performs the three kinds of ritual purification, changes the three types of clothing, adopts a diet of the three white foods and practices ritual fasting and mantra recitation.


In the short term, one becomes a desire realm vidyadhara, and ultimately one attains awakening as Vajradhara of one of the three buddha families: of the family of enlightened body, Vairochana, of the family of enlightened speech, Amitabha, or of the family of enlightened mind, Akshobhya.

Texts Belonging to this Category of Tantras