Himalayan Art Resources

Tantra Classification: Charya Tantra (Performance)

Tantra Classification Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Masterworks
- 84000 List of Charya Tantras
- Confusions: Manjushri Mulakalpa, Siddhaikavira
- Others...

- Charya Tantra
- Charya Tantra: Popular
- The Four Tantra Classification & Confusions

1. Tatagata Family:
- Maha Vairochana Abhisambodhi Tantra [Toh 494]
- Manjushri Mula Kalpa [p102] [Toh 543]
- Siddhaikavira Tantra [p103] (See Text), Arapachana Manjushri

2. Padma Family:
(There are no texts translated from an Indian language into Tibetan from this classification)

3. Vajra Family:
- Vajrapani Abhisheka Tantra [Toh 496]
- Nilambaradhara Vajrapani Tantra [Toh 498]
- Vajrapatala Tantra [Toh 499]

The Charya Tantra Classification although following the Kriya system of Three Buddha Families, Tatagata, Padma and Vajra, has very few actual texts and very few deities and mandalas. Not all of the Tibetan Traditions agree on the text titles found under Charya. The Sakya Tradition includes The Manjushri Mulakalpa and Siddhaikavira Tantras as Charya. Most other schools classify those texts as Kriya Tantra. A deity such as Bhutadamara Vajrapani is found in both the Charya and Anuttarayoga Tantras. In the Charya Tantras Bhutadamara is a main deity where as in the Anuttarayoga Tantras he performs the function of a supporting deity found in tantras such as the Hevajra and Vajradaka.

The principal mandala of the Charya class is the Maha Vairochana Abhisambodhi. This ritual and meditation practice lost popularity in the 15th century and very few works of art can be found after that time. The practices of the Manjushri Mulakalpa and the Siddhaikavira remain popular as do all of the Vajrapani practices from the Vajra family of tantras.

According to the Mitra Gyatsa of Mitra Yogin there are Nine Charya Tantra Mandalas (see Mitra Gyatsa):
16. Vajrapani (Sutra Tradition) 9 Deity
17. Amritakundali (?) 5 Deity
18. Vajrapani Nilambara 5 Deity
19. Vajrapani Chaitya 5 Deity
20. Vajrapani (Drozang Tradition) 9 Deity
21. Vajrapani Angkusha 13 Deity
22. Chanda Vajrapani 5 Deity
23. Vajra Garuda 9 Deity
24. Akshobhya 13 Deity

Kriya Tantra | Charya Tantra | Yoga Tantra | Anuttarayoga Tantra

Jeff Watt [updated 8-2018]

(The images below are only a selection of the principal mandalas of the Charya classification of Buddhist Tantras).