My first thought after my discovering that my teacher taught the tantras was to find out if Buddha actually taught them. If he did, then I wanted nothing to do with Buddhism in any form. I first sought out sources from the Theravada Buddhists and then online research.
Ven. S. Dhammika wrote this:
"Esoterism is the idea that some spiritual teachings should be kept secret from the majority and only be revealed to a select few. The Upanishads, which were composed around the time of the Buddha, were secret teachings only made available to high caste people who pledged total loyalty to the teacher. Even in Tibetan Buddhism or Vajrayana, some teachings are reserved only to those who have been initiated. The idea that the Dhamma should be restricted to or monopolized by an ‘in-group’ was repugnant to the Buddha. He perceived the truths he taught as being understandable to all, relevant to all and applicable to all. On one occasion he said, ‘Three things shine openly, not in secret. What three? The orb of the moon, the orb of the sun and the Dhamma and discipline taught by the Tathàgata’ (Anguttara Nikaya I. 283). He reiterated this same point just before his final passing when he said; ‘I have proclaimed the Dhamma without any idea of a hidden and open teaching. Ido not have the closed fist of the teacher who holds anything back’ (Digha Nikaya II. 100).http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Esoterism
And the Pali Canon says:
32. Thus spoke the Venerable Ananda, but the Blessed One answered him, saying: "What more does the community of bhikkhus expect from me, Ananda? I have set forth the Dhamma without making any distinction of esoteric and exoteric doctrine; there is nothing, Ananda, with regard to the teachings that the Tathagata holds to the last with the closed fist of a teacher who keeps some things back. Whosoever may think that it is he who should lead the community of bhikkhus, or that the community depends upon him, it is such a one that would have to give last instructions respecting them. But, Ananda, the Tathagata has no such idea as that it is he who should lead the community of bhikkhus, or that the community depends upon him. So what instructions should he have to give respecting the community of bhikkhus?"
It's quite easily verifiable that Gautama taught the opposite of karmamudrā and anything related to sexual yogas. This isn't even remotely controversial. One specific example, MN 66 Laṭukikopama Sutta states that sensual pleasure is:
[A] filthy pleasure, a worldly pleasure, an ignoble pleasure. And I say that this pleasure is not to be cultivated, not to be developed, not to be pursued, that it is to be feared.
There are many other examples, such as MN 108 Gopakamoggallāna Sutta, where samādhi conjoined with sensual passion is specifically criticized. Anyone who's actually interested in this can check out Access to Insight, The Shorter Chinese Saṃyukta Āgama (T.100), The Online Sutta Correspondence Project, and so on.
Gautama only ever taught the Śrāvakayāna.
There are a number of important Mahāyāna sūtras which are every bit as ascetically inclined as anything in the Nikāyas and Āgamas. Many of these passages were still being quoted by people like Śāntideva and Vimalamitra in the eighth century CE. For example, the Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā Sūtra:
May you dwell in crags, in the wilderness, and in caves, and abiding there, not exalt yourselves or vilify others. May you exhort yourselves continually, ever mindful that you turned away from millions of former buddhas. Abandon your craving for body and life; indifferent, apply yourself to the Dharma, generating ardent respect.
The Samādhirāja Sūtra:
There has been no buddha in the past, nor will there be in the future, who abides in the household and who so established has achieved this supreme, highest enlightenment.
The Viśuddhaśraddhādārikāparipṛcchā Sūtra:
[T]here are eight things by which a bodhisattva accomplishes the ascetic disciplines [dhutaguṇa] and always takes pleasure dwelling in the wilderness. What are the eight? (1) Having few desires; (2) Knowing satisfaction; (3) Fulfillment of the True Dharma; (4) Supporting oneself with what is meritorious; (5) Always upholding the four traditions of the spiritually ennobled [āryavaṃsa]; (6) Seeing the misery of saṃsāra, his mind is always disgusted and aloof; (7) He constantly observes [things as] impermanent, suffering, empty, and without self; (8) Having a deep faith that is unshakable, he does not fall into heterodox teachings. At that time the Blessed One again spoke these verses:
Having few desires and knowing satisfaction, [the bodhisattva] does not abandon restraint. The manifold benefits of taking pleasure in the Dharma are what he nurtures as his riches. He finds enjoyment in always cultivating the traditions of the spiritually ennobled. When he sees the misery of saṃsāra, he generates thoughts of dread. For this reason he always takes pleasure in practicing the ascetic disciplines, alone, without companions, like the single horn of a rhinoceros. [Seeing all] compounded things as suffering and without self, he possesses gnosis and deep faith, abiding in true exertion.
Seeing the Dharma for himself, he does not fall into heterodoxy. He always dwells in remote areas as praised by the Buddha. Purified, secluded, and without distress, [the bodhisattva] is without contention, cognizant of his own manifold shortcomings. Aloof from associations and divorced from flattery, [the bodhisattva] takes pleasure in dwelling in the wilderness.
The Ratnarāśi Sūtra:
The wilderness-dwelling monk, Kāśyapa, should make his bed and seat in a wilderness, an abode in the forest, and a border area. He should dwell in wilderness border regions such as those without thieves, herdsmen or shepherds, without snakes, without wild beasts and flocks of birds, with few flies and stinging insects, with little noise, with few sounds of commotion.
If that [monk] is a dweller in that wilderness abode, he should bring about eight deliberations. What are the eight?
(1) He should not be concerned about his body.
(2) He should not be concerned about his life.
(3) He should not be concerned about wealth or honors.
(4) He should not be concerned about all garrulous associations with others.
(5) He should undertake to die in a wilderness like an animal.
(6) He should dwell in the wilderness making use of the advantages offered by the wilderness.
(7) He should live with his livelihood in accord with the Teaching; he should not live wrongly.
(8) He should live in accord with a livelihood free from worldly material possessions and defilements.
He should dwell in a wilderness abode bringing about these eight deliberations.
The Ugraparipṛcchā Sūtra:
There has never been a bodhisattva who dwells in the household and who has awakened to unexcelled, perfect enlightenment. They all, moreover, having gone forth from the household, fixed their thoughts on the wilderness with a predilection toward the wilderness. Having gone to the wilderness, they awakened to unexcelled, perfect enlightenment. And [it is there that] they acquired the prerequisites [Skt. saṃbhāra] [for enlightenment; i.e., merit and gnosis].
And also from the same sutra:
I should examine the matter as follows: “I came to the wilderness on account of being afraid of such frightening and terrifying things [as inauspicious rebirths, and so forth, as mentioned in a previous passage]. I cannot be freed from such frightening and terrifying things as these by living in the household, by living in company [with others], or by living without exerting myself, without applying myself diligently to yoga, or by thinking distractedly. All bodhisattvas mahāsattvas who appeared in the past were delivered from every fear by dwelling in the wilderness; in this way they obtained the fearlessness that is unexcelled, perfect enlightenment. All bodhisattvas mahāsattvas who will appear in the future will be delivered from every fear by dwelling in the wilderness; in this way they will obtain the fearlessness that is unexcelled, perfect enlightenment. All bodhisattvas mahāsattvas who appear in the present and who have obtained unexcelled, perfect enlightenment are delivered from every fear by dwelling in the wilderness; in this way they obtained the fearlessness that is unexcelled, perfect enlightenment. Therefore, I too, frightened and terrified here, and desiring to transcend every fear and attain the fearless state, should dwell in the wilderness.
A few more examples from Mahāyāna sūtras. The Pañcaviṃśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra:
Furthermore, Subhūti, the bodhisattva, mahāsattva, who is engaged in the practice of perfection of wisdom, examines this very body as it truly is, from the soles of the feet up and the tips of the hair down, bounded [on the outside] by nails, body hair, and skin, and filled [on the inside] with many kinds of impurities. He observes this body as it truly is and that in it there are the following: (1) hair of the head, (2) hair of the body, (3) fingernails and toenails, (4) teeth, (5) skin, (6) skin irritations, (7) flesh, (8) tendons, (9) blood, (10) bones, (11) marrow, (12) heart, (13) kidneys, (14) liver, (15) lungs, (16) spleen, (17) large intestine, (18) small intestine, (19) mesentery, (20) stomach, (21) urine, (22) feces, (23) tears, (24) sweat, (25) fat, (26) saliva, (27) nasal mucus, (28) pus, (29) bile, (30) phlegm, (31) watery body fluid, (32) oily body fluid, (33) impurities, (34) brain matter, (35) cerebral membrane, (36) mucous discharge of the eye, and (37) ear secretions.
For example, Subhūti, if a person with seeing eyes were to open a farmer’s sack filled with different kinds of grain, such as sesame, mustard seed, lentils, mung beans, barley, wheat, and rice, he would know, “This is sesame,” “This is mustard seed,” “This is lentils,” “This is mung beans,” “This is barley,” “This is wheat,” and “This is rice.” Likewise, Subhūti, a bodhisattva, mahāsattva, examines this very body as it truly is, from the soles of the feet up and the tips of the hair down, bounded [on the outside] by nails, body hair, and skin, and filled [on the inside] with many kinds of impurities.
And from the same sūtra:
Furthermore, Subhūti, when the bodhisattva, mahāsattva, who is engaged in the practice of perfection of wisdom, has gone to a charnel ground and sees many different kinds of corpses that have been discarded in that charnel ground, abandoned in that place for dead bodies, which have been dead for one, two, three, four, or five days, which are swollen, dark blue, putrid, worm-infested, partially eaten, or dismembered, he should compare his own body with them in the following way: “This body also has the same quality. It is of the same nature, and it has not gone beyond that condition.” O Subhūti, this is how the bodhisattva, mahāsattva, who is engaged in the practice of perfection of wisdom, dwells watching the body in relation to an outer body.
And again, from the same sūtra:
Furthermore, Subhūti, the bodhisattva, mahāsattva, who is engaged in the practice of perfection of wisdom, examines this very body as it truly is, in relation to its constituent elements. [In so doing, he observes,] “In this body, there is the earth element, water element, fire element, and air element.” For example, Subhūti, consider how a skillful cow-butcher or cow-butcher’s apprentice might slaughter a cow with a sharp knife. After slaughtering it, he might then divide it into four quarters. Then, after dividing it into four quarters, while either standing or sitting, he might examine it. In just this way, the bodhisattva, mahāsattva, who is engaged in the practice of perfection of wisdom, also examines this very body as it truly is, in relation to its constituent elements.
The Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā Sūtra:
Realizing that sufferings are endless, the mild-mannered abandon their evil course of conduct. You too should apply yourself always to the good course, lest afterwards you have regrets.
You for whom the Buddha is dear, as well as the noble assembly, and the qualities of moral training and ascetic discipline, apply yourself constantly in this way, relinquishing reputation, profit, fame, and renown.
It won’t be long before everything valued is lost; there is nothing permanent in this world.
The Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā Sūtra also states:
These women are beautiful and pleasing only on the surface. On account of its impurities, I have no interest in this contraption of sinews and bones. Oozing of excretions — blood, urine, and excrement — how can I delight in what are surely only suitable for a cemetery?
I would not listen to song nor would I take up instrumental music; such pleasures are like dreams, bewildering to the ignorant. The ignorant, attached to false discrimination, end up in ruin. Why should I be like a foolish person who is a slave to his defilements?
When frost appears, all of these trees and creepers will no longer be enjoyable as trees are in the forest. Impermanence destroys all beauty. Am I out of delusion to give myself up to wantonness in this unsteady life?
The mind is insatiable like the ocean. Desire is repeatedly attached to the continuation of craving. Looking at the world where people kill one another out of passion, I will be as unshakable here as Mt. Meru is by the wind.
Its History: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vajrayana
"Tantrayana was taken to Tibet from India in the 9th Century by Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) and the abbot Santaraksita.
Sahara lived in India in the 10th century and was one of the teachers of Marpa the founder of the Tibetan Kagyu lineage. (Marpa travelled to India several times to get teachings from his main teacher Naropa and from other teachers including Sahara)
Tibetan Buddhists and followers of Vajrayana Buddhism believe there is more than one Buddha. Guru Rinpoche - Padmasambhava - who brought tantra from India to Tibet is considered as another Buddha - a fully enlightened being.”
And who was Padmasambhava? And someone posted: "Padmasambhava is considered as another Buddha." The Tibetan Buddhism scholar, Waddell, in his book "Tibetan Buddhism", says Padmasambhava had three wives, one of whom was Tibetan, and being a practitioner of tantra, had many consorts. This doesn't sound like a Buddha to me. If I recall correctly, he also used spells/magic. He was from Odiyana in India, where tantra and magic flourished, and this is the form of Buddhism he brought to Tibet, which was very popular, I imagine because of the shamanic tradition already indigenous to the country.
And this from: http://www.buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/showthread.php?103-Tantra-and-the-Buddha/page5
“Tibetan Buddhism originates from the Vajrayana Buddhism which was practiced in India a long time after the death of the Buddha and it also contains aspects of the Bonpo shamanistic religion which was practised in Tibet before Buddhism and alongside of it.
The present day Bon religion we see imported in the west has now got aspects of Buddhism mixed in with it. (Just as an aside, I have a book of very old photos taken in Tibet in between 1880 and 1950 and there's a photo of a priest in a Bon temple with dead animals and human heads hanging from the ceiling) “
The period of Indian Vajrayana Buddhism has been classified as the fifth or final period of Indian Buddhism. Although the first tantric Buddhist texts appeared in India in the 3rd century and continued to appear until the 12th century, scholars such as Hirakawa Akira believe that the Vajrayana probably came into existence in the 6th or 7th century, while the term Vajrayana first came into evidence in the 8th century."
Anonymous (July 21, 2011 5:53 AM):
If you read the Trimondi's "female sacrifice" chapters (there are two), you'll see that the instructions to these higher tantric practices say that "if the consort isn't willing, administer alcohol. If she still isn't willing, take her by force". I think that's specifically in the Hevajra Tantra. So it's not just about sweets.
Some of the translations of the esoteric practices leave out the dicey parts deliberately. It can be difficult to find a complete text. I was researching the Hevajra Tantra, and there's what I suspect to be a complete translation available (now considered a rare book, and very expensive), but the University of Washington (Seattle) has a copy, so someday if I make it to Seattle I want to check it out.
It seems like the guys on the Tibetan Buddhist forums are ok with tantra, but that's because the conscientious ones aren't participating. A couple of months ago a new member posted a thread about his girlfriend being told by her lama to strip half naked and do a ceremony (not involving actual sex) with a male member of the sangha, also stripped half naked (lower half for the guy, upper half for the woman). The woman was so uncomfortable about it that she had to down some alcohol before going through it. She was keeping it secret, but the boyfriend found out about it on one of her emails and freaked out, and came on to the forum to ask if this is normal practice in Tibetan Buddhism, and he was afraid she was in a cult. ALL the guys were very sympathetic and basically said it was disgusting, and sex has no place in religion.
The problem, I think, is that people don't react well to what they perceive to be allegations. When someone posts about a real occurrence, then people are supportive.