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Cinacara – Manual On Chinese Tantric Practices In Hinduism

Cinaara refers to esoteric mystical Chinese practices prevalent in the tantric tradition of India. The evidence of these practices can also be found in the mystical traditions of various other lands such as Kirata, Bhoata, Cina, Parasika, Kamboja, Huna, Yavaja, etc. Some of these practices are said to have been borrowed from these traditions. On such is cinacara.

Tara Tantra, adopted both by Hindu and Buddhist tantrics, states that the origin of Cinacara was in Mahacina (greater China).

Mahachinaarakrama is regarded as an important manual of this school of esoteric practices, as the name suggests, it formulates the practices prevailing in Mahacina.

Cinacara tantra appears to entertain the view that true asceticism or spirit of self sacrifice means that all objects of enjoyment can be present before a person but he shall not, in any way, be attracted to them.

As per an oral tradition, a certain Brahmin, Vasishta was praying to a Goddess to obtain Her vision. He received an instruction from Goddess to go to Mahacina and learn the right hand method from Janardhana-Vishnu-Buddha. On reaching Mahacina, Vasishta saw that Buddha was engaged in worship with panchatattvas. Having learnt the method of worship, Vasishta came back to Nilaparvata and propitiated Kamakhya Devi with pancha makaras (the ritual use of the five forbidden things, i.e. mansa, madira, mudra, matsya and maithuna connected with tantric practice) and attained self-realization (siddhi).

Mahacinacarakrama states a caution that all the deities have a place in the body of a woman, therefore the worship of the woman is considered to be the best of all worships.

The real secret of this form of practice (achara), according to Mahacinacarakrama is that instead of theoretically preaching the doctrines of pravritti and nivritti, it harmonizes the two factors with greater emphasis on the latter.