The reason for entering this path (Mantrayana) is as follows: The Victorious Ones, considering the remedies, have taught the 84,000 Dharma sections. These can be condensed into the twelve aspects of excellent speech or into the nine gradual vehicles. If these are again condensed, they can be included within the three of four Collections and so forth. In such a way, regardless of the number of teachings given, all are steps for the paths of entering into this Unexcelled Yoga.
The Tripitaka--the Three Collections--and the 84,000 entrances to the Dharma are described in the following way:
- The 21,000 pitakas of the Vinaya were taught as the remedy to tame the disturbing emotion of desire.
- The 21,000 ptiakas of the Sutra were taught as the remedy to tame the disturbing emotion of anger.
- The 21,000 pitakas of the Abhidharma were taught as the remedy to tame the disturbing emotion of delusion.
- The 21,000 pitakas of the Secret Mantra were taught as the remedy to tame the combination of the three poisons (the three previous emotions in combination).
The twelve aspects of excellent speech are: General Discourses; Proclamations in Song; Prophesies; Poetic Pronouncements; Special Aphorisms; Declarations; Narratives; Parables; Succession of Former Lives; Extensive Sayings; Marvels; and Established Doctrines. [JOKYAB]
These are the twelve main divisions of the Buddhist canon: According to the Mahayana perspective of Asanga, the first five are considered to be the Shravakas Collection, the next four are Vinaya, the following two are the Bodhisattva Collection, and the last is the Abhidharma. [EPK]
The nine gradual vehicles are the three of the Shravakas, Pratyekabuddhas, and Bodhisattvas, and the three of the Kriya Tantra, Charya Tantra, and Yoga Tantra. According to the New Schools, the additional three are these of the Father Tantra, Mother Tantra, and the Nondual Tantra. According to the Nyingma School, these are Mahayoga, Anu Yoga, and Ati Yoga. [JOKYAB]