HIS HOLINES5 THE XIV DALAI LAMA...Transcript; original in Audio
SIX YOGAS OF NAROPA
Dharamsala, 22 March 1990
Now, to be able to enter into the great vehicle of the fortunate ones, the vehicle of the Vajrayana path for the practitioners of great capacity it is very important after having trained the mental continuum in the common path of the Mahayana, to enter into the Tantric path. The practice of Tantra has been very widespread in Tibet, so much so that any practices related to Tantric Sadhana are considered practice of Dharma, whereas the recitation of greet philosophical treaties like Madhyamaka-Avatara or Abhisamaya-Alankara, the recitation of these texts is not considered normally by ordinary people as practice of Dharma.
Strictly Speaking, to be able to engage in the proper practice of Tantra is very difficult, but still the practice of Tantra has been very widespread in Tibet. So although the practice of Tantra is very widespread, but since the practitioners engaging in such a practice do not possess all the necessary qualifications that are necessary on the part of practitioners, therefore not many people gain realizations that are said to ensue [from] practices.
Also I think the practice of Tantra being too widespread could also become a source of interferences for serious practitioners for having deep realizations. In any case, the practice of Tantra has been very wide spread in Tibet. As we discussed earlier, the minimum requirements on the part of practitioners of Tantra are that the practitioner must at least have, from the depth of his or her heart, admiration and interest in the generation of Bodhicitta, the aspiration to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all and also a certain understanding of emptiness. Equipped with these two factors, if one engages in the practice of Tantra, then one will be able to derive the benefits that Tantric practice is supposed to provide. And as stated earlier, the motivation or attitude for listening to this teaching should be influenced by understanding of emptiness of all phenomena and also strongly influenced by the altruistic aspiration to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all. And on top of that, a special requirement for listening to this teaching is that on the part of the disciples you should listen to this teaching with strong pride and identity of being the divine deity and also your perception and attitude towards the Master who is giving this commentary or teaching should be that of a divine deity. The environment in which you are listening to this teaching should be imagined as being the pure Celestial mansion of Heruka deity. Visualize the Guru in the aspect of one-faced, two armed Heruka and yourself in the same aspect, and as it is customary in the tradition Kangsang Bodje Chang, on your part the disciples should generate into the form of Heruka with one face and two arms without the hand implements. So with these practices complete in your mind, you should listen to the teaching.
Certain rituals which are preliminary to the conducting of this commentary, such as making Torma offerings and so forth have been performed. The teaching which is being conducted today is the commentary of the profound path of the Six Yogas of Naropa. The transmission or lineage of this practice stems from the MahaSiddha, Naropa, the Indian pundit and the Tibetan translator, the great Marpa Lotsawa, and Milarepa. This practice has especially been widespread in the Kagyu tradition and Lama Tsong Kapa has received this lineage and composed this commentary known as the “commentary which possess the three convictions”. In Kagyu tradition there are many different instructions on practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa. In all the subdivisions of Kagyu tradition, the Six Yogas of Naropa practice is considered as a unique practice and very special practice in Kagyu tradition and often these instructions are given to a very small group. Only to group of disciples who are committed to engaging in the preliminary practice such as 100,000 prostrations, 100,000 VajraSattva Mantra recitations and so on. So it seems there is a very pure and strict tradition in the Kagyu lineage. And also the commentaries that one finds in the Kagyu tradition, there are many different versions composed by various great Kagyupa masters. The text on which my teaching or commentary is being based is the one composed by Lama Tsong Kapa known as the “Three Convictions”. There is also another commentary to be found in Lama Tsong Kapa’s collected works. Among these two, the lineage and transmission that is extant to this day is the one that I am using now. And the type of transmission that I have received is that of explanatory commentary, that is Sheti. Since the teaching that is being given today is a rather public one, I am not giving the experiential commentary. For those who are serious in receiving the experiential transmission, they should receive that from individual Lamas, their own spiritual teachers individually.
As I stated yesterday, the practice of the Tantra is something that has to be undertaken in secret and one should not take these practices too lightly. Although I do not accuse you of lacking faith in such a path, still merely having faith alone is not enough. So today, the transmission being given is that of the explanatory and not the experiential one. I received the transmission from late Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. I received also the experiential commentary from him. As we discussed yesterday and the day before, what is important is on your part to have the determination and wish to engage in the practice after having received the teachings. Your attitude towards receiving these teachings should not be just that the teaching is very profound, important and precious. Among the audience here, there are quite a lot of people, so it is quite difficult on my part, rather hard for me to discriminate among the audience here.
The name of the text on which I am basing my commentary is known as “The Three Convictions” composed by Lama Tsong Kapa. The great Indian Pundit Naropa was highly realized meditator, a Mahasiddha and also a great scholar who received teachings of many different Tantras from various masters and condensed, synthesized all the essential points of the various teachings and condensed into what later became known as the Six Yogas of Naropa. Many of the essential instructions of the Six Yogas of Naropa could be found in Tantras like HeVajra and like the practice of Clear Light, illusory body and so forth, particularly the practice of illusory body are extracted from the Tantras of Guhyasamaja. These essential points of the Six Yogas are extracted from various Tantras, originally Tantras of the Buddha and this particular instruction known as the practice of Six Yogas are something which is very comprehensive and one of the principal practices of the Six Yogas are the practice of Tumo, and Tumo is often known as the foundation-stone of the path, the foundation-stone of the practice.
The text begins by paying homage to one’s spiritual mentor or Guru, perceiving him as inseparable from VajraDhara. Lama Tsong Kapa pays homage to Buddha VajraDhara who is the Buddha of the Tantric lineage and perceiving him as inseparable from his root Guru, makes the homage. This also indicates the importance of tracing the lineage of every authentic or generally Tantric practices to the original propounded of the Tantric path, VajraDhara. The significance of paying homage to one’s Guru at the beginning of the composition of the text is to emphasize the point that realization and progress on the path depends heavily upon one’s relation to a spiritual master. This fact has been demonstrated in history through historical evidence and also I know quite a lot of friends who have told me that, in their practice, the greater their faith, respect and admiration for their spiritual mentor, Guru, increases, the greater progress they make in their path. It brings about great realizations, insight, new understanding and so on. Therefore the practice of Guru yoga is very important. Hence the statement “taking Guru yoga as the life of one’s path”. As stated in the “Compendium of Deeds”, the Tantric text by Aryadeva, the Buddha taught three modes of approach depending upon the different propensities and mental dispositions of the practitioner. One is the path of detachment in which practitioners totally renounce delusions, negative emotions. The second mode of approach is recommended to practitioners of the path, practitioners who have a very strong altruistic motivation for the benefit of all sentient beings-These are practitioners who are considered their own welfare, supported (short gap in tape) and face difficulties and hardships for the sake and benefit of all sentient beings. They consider thinking about the welfare of all sentient beings more important than the fulfillment of their own desires and aspirations. To such practitioners, certain types of emotions such as desire are permitted to be adopted as skillful means in the process of the path. And then for practitioners of greatest capacity, Buddha has taught a third mode of approach, the practice of Tantra. The practitioners who have great mental capacity who are capable of engaging in very profound, union of profound method and wisdom, to them the practices of Tantra in which techniques for utilizing emotions such as desire, hatred and so forth into the entity of the path are recommended. So thus Buddha taught these three modes of approach depending on the different propensities and mental dispositions and interest of practitioners. In the third category of the approach, the practices based on the meditation on principal deities of the Mandala which are often perceived in the aspect of erotic appearances corresponding to the approach of the path. In the Tantric path, utilization of emotions like desire, hatred and so forth into the entity of the path, is crucial, corresponding to that principal deity which you meditate upon is perceived in certain similar appearances. It is also account of the same reasons that Buddha when giving teachings on account of the same reasons that Buddha when giving teachings on Tantra assumed a different appearance, the appearance of VajraDhara, whereas the other types of Sutra teachings w were taught by Buddha in his appearance as a fully ordained Bhikshu. I don’t know if it is necessary to try to confirm the the existence of Buddha VajraDhara to any historical figure.
Such links cannot be understood only at a rather mystical and experiential level. With that, the verse on homage being over, the second verse, (short gap in tape). The next two verses outline the promise to compose the (gap) compositional style. This text was written at the instance of Degun Chebama, Sonam Gyaltsen, who was himself a meditator. At his request, this text was composed. Sonam Gyaltsen himself has composed a rather extensive commentary on the practice of Six Yogas of Naropa. So although this text has been composed at the request of Sonam Gyaltsen, it is also meant for all his followers, who would undertake the practice at the Six Yogas.
The entire commentary is broadly divided into two outlines. The first one is the preliminary practices, and the preliminary practice are further divided into two divisions, the first being the common practice of the Great Vehicle Path in general, which in turn has two sub-divisions, the first being the need for training in the common path given for this system. Kuna Lama Rinpoche, Tenzin Dyansen, used to say that all Lama Tsong Kapa’s writings are very profound and based on very comprehensive structure of the entire path. Although this commentary is rather short, it lays a very complete foundation and structure in the sense that not only is the explanation limited to the topical issues but rather all the related issues are dealt with as well. This is very important in order to clarify any misunderstandings and so forth. Whenever dealing with any practical issue of the path it is very important to understand that in relation to many of its related factors. Lama Tsong Kapa himself said in his autobiography, “I have never been satisfied with the partial knowledge of the text and have always insisted on developing a complete understanding”. And also these understandings have not been satisfied with merely superficial understandings, but rather he has penetrated to the depth of the meaning. In a similar manner, one who engages in the path outlined in the text, one should not be satisfied with a particular aspect of the path alone. Although this is very good, one’s progress witll not be as good as one desire. On the other hand, if one is able to understand the practice with the proper understanding of the essential point in a wider context then, although the emphasis should be placed on the particular issue or aspect of the path, but since that practice would be undertaken with a perspective of its relation to other aspects of the path, one’s progress would be great. For these reasons, many of Lama Tsong Kapa’s teachings, text, for dealing with the actual issue, the actual topic of the text, lays a very stable foundation. Lama Tsong Kapa says that, for the practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa, it is very crucial to have one’s mental continuum be trained, be enhanced and made receptive according to the common training, trainings of the common path. He substantiates his point by citing from Marpa and his follower’s writings. One of the principal disciples of Marpa Lotsawa known as Lama Mogpa, who was the lineage holder of Marpa Lotsawa’s instructions. He was one of the four greatest disciples of Marpa Lotsawa. Lama Mogpa, in his writings, records from a Tantra known as Tagani, in which VajraDhara states that first practitioner should engage in practice of purification and accumulation of merit, and then later should be introduced to the practice of the Middle -Way path. In this Tantra it states that first the practitioner must lay a proper foundation of the observing a pure moral discipline be it on the basis of taking a lay parson's vows or monastic vows, and having laid a proper foundation of pure moral discipline, later the practitioner should be introduced to the profound view of the Middle Way. Just as Chunan Lama Rinpoche used to say that, in the practice of Tantra, one's emphasis on the practice of emptiness and the two stages of Tantra should be fifty/fifty. I think this is true. Therefore someone who has no understanding or any idea of what emptiness means, then no matter what profound Sadhana one undertakes one practices, one wouldn’t derive the benefit that Tantric practice can provide.
Every Sadhana in Tantra begins with the mantra OM SUDDHA DHARMA SHUDDHA SUBHA DHARMA, the meaning of which is the total empty nature of all phenomena, which emphasizes the importance of having reflected on the meaning of emptiness. So every Sadhana begins with a meditation on emptiness and dissolving all dualistic appearances into total absence. So without such preparation, even though one might engage in meditation on a deity, one’s practice would be very strongly influenced by Self-grasping attitude. Therefore, such type of practice of deity yoga will not destroy, in any way, the root of one's delusions, which is the ignorance misconceiving the true nature of reality. The reason why deity yoga is powerful in destroying the delusion within our mind is because it is combined, or it is done on the basis of meditation on emptiness.
So one finds that all the Sadhanas are preceded by meditation on emptiness and also ends with a meditation on emptiness. So this shows the importance of meditation on emptiness in the Generation Stage. Therefore cultivating the profound view of emptiness is very important. I cannot say that just to become a Buddhist it is indispensable to understand emptiness. The factor on which the distinction between Buddhist and non-Buddhist is based is on whether or not one takes refuge in the Three Jewels or not. But it is indispensable for those who are wishing to engage in the practice of Tantra to develop the profound view of emptiness. Any type of emptiness doctrines, according to the four Buddhist school of Tantra, be it VaibaShika, SvatanTrika, YogaCharya or Madhyamaka. And it is also stated that the views of the two truths of the lower schools serves as a step for understanding the views of the two truths according to the higher schools. Lama Tsong Kapa also quotes from Jetsun Milarepa, the great yogi Milarepa, in one of his instructions known as the instruction which rescues the individual from the impassable passage of the intermediate state or Bardo, Milarepa says that initially the individual must take refuge in the Three Jewels and then later generate both aspiration and practical aspects of Bodhicitta. So this shows that in order for the individual to engage in the instructions that Milarepa was giving, initially the practitioner must have his mental continuum enhanced and prepared through the training in the common path. Without these common practices, although one might receive certain types of inspiration or blessings, the harm that you derive from engaging in such a practice without preliminaries would far outweigh the little benefit that you might gain. Milarepa says that, if the disciples on their part, without having the proper preparations, try to hastily engage in the practice of Tantra, then not only will they cause their own downfall, but they will also drag down their spiritual masters. It is like, he compared it to ‘dzoz', a Tibetan animal crossbreed between Yak and Cow, to those, when they are yoked together. If one falls down, the other falls down as well.
And then Lama Tsong Kapa also quotes from Gampopa. In his teachings on what is known as the four Dharmas he has emphasized the importance of training one's mind through stages of the path, practices of three capacities, initial, middling and great capacities. The four Dharmas here are: directing one’s mind towards the Dharma; directing one's practice of dharma on the path, meaning the path to Enlightenment; and the third dharma is one's path being free of delusions; and the fourth Dharma, he calls, being able tc perceive the delusion in the aspect of wisdom; that refers to the Tantric path. So in Gampopa’s writings, such as Jewel Ornament of Liberation, one finds a strong emphasis on the practice of the stages of the path, the Lam Rim. In his Jewel Ornament of Liberation, the entire subject matter of his text was summarized in two lines at the beginning of the text. So Lama Tsong Kapa says that, in same commentarial writings of Six Yogas of Naropa such as these composed by Chocho Pamen Topa, there is no mention of the practice of the preliminary paths. But this does not mean that such practitioners do not require the practice of the preliminary paths but rather that these texts were composed primarily for practitioners who have already been trained through the common path. Therefore just as one finds in the writings of Yambumpa, his commentary on the Six Yogas of Naropa, there is no mention of the practice of the preliminaries.
One should understand that, for all practitioners to engage in the Six Yogas of Naropa, it is important, it is indispensable, to train one's mind in the common path prior to engaging in the path of Six Yogas. So one's notion of the Six Yogas should not be such that, because it is a profound path, it does not require on the part of the practitioners to have trained their minds in the common path. It is essential to understand the point that, only after having trained one’s mind in the Common path, then one could engage in the practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa. So when we speak of the practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa requiring training in the preliminary practices, one should not misunderstand the practice of the Six Yogas here. One of the Six Yogas is the practice of Tumo or inner heat or inner fire, and in this respect, it is important to realize there are certain types of ordinary Kundalini yoga, nonBuddhist system which do not require training in the common path. So the type of Tumo practice of inner heat referred to here is a very unique practice which does require being trained in common paths. Therefore Lama Tsong Kapa says that one's, not only, understanding of the path, but also one’s practice of the path should not be partial, but rather should be complete and comprehensive.
The next outline is the stages of training the mind on such paths. So Lama Tsong Kapa recommends practitioners to engage in the Common Path according to the instructions of the great Indian master Atisha. First laying a stable foundation by developing a very positive relation to a spiritual master, and based on such proper reliance on a spiritual master one should be able to appreciate the potentials of one's human existence and the rarity of such existence in the future, and then such appreciation of human potentials would induce the practitioner to make one's human existence meaningful and make it worthy, and the best to make one's human existence meaningful would be by engaging in the path of the Mahayana practice. And entrance or the gateway to the Mahayana path ia the generation of Bodhicitta. And if the practitioner has a genuine generation of Bodhicitta within one’s mind, the practitioner becomes a Mahayanist, whereas if one's generation of the Bodhicitta remains mere word, then one would also be a Mahayanist in just words.
Lama Tsong Kapa says that for all of these practices first of all what is crucial is to be able to overcome overt attractions and attachment to the perfections of this life, affairs of this life. Otherwise this attachment or attraction to this life would be a great interference and obstacle to one's path. And then one also needs to realize, from the depths of one's heart, the transient nature of this life and with such reflections one must be able to overcome attachment and attraction to this life. And by overcoming attractions to imperfections of worldly existence, one must be able to direct one's mind towards the attainment of liberation and also one must overcome the self-centered attitude without which one's generation of love, universal compassion and altruistic aspiration to attain Enlightenment for the benefit of all would also not be Successful. And after having generated such altruistic aspiration, one must develop from the depth of one's heart the determination to engage in the practices of the Bodhisattva path and to shoulder upon oneself the responsibility to work for the benefit of all. Thus engage in the Bodhisattva deeds which consist of the practices of the Six Perfections and particularly the practice of calm abiding, that is Shamanta, and Vipassana, special insight into the true nature of reality. And it is only after that when one has trained one's mind through such common paths one should examine whether one is capable of committing oneself by taking the Tantric vows, observing the commitments and so on. And if you find that you have the capacity, then by reading the Fifty Verses on Guru devotion, learn the proper way in which you should relate to your spiritual mentor and then enter the Tantric path.
Lama Tsong Kapa emphasizes the importance of developing detachment to worldly existence. So long as you are not able to develop a strong sense of renunciation, you will not be able to definitely emerge from the fetters of cyclic existence, and therefore your desire or aspiration to attain liberation will not be genuine or spontaneous. Then Lama Tsong Kapa also quotes from Milarepa in which Milarepa says that "if one's understanding of the infallible law of cause and effect is not deep enough and profound enough, then living one's life according to this principal will not be complete or perfect, and if one's perception of the unsatisfactory nature of worldly existence, and the cycle of' existence, is not profound then one will not generate genuine aspiration for the attainment of liberation". Lama Tsong Kapa then recommends the practitioners to refer to his other works where he has spoken about the common paths of the Mahayana in detail.
The next outline is the preliminaries of highest yoga Tantra, the uncommon path. The importance of explaining this is that there been certain misunderstandings that for the practices of highest yoga Tantra it is not necessary for certain individuals to be initiated into the Mandala. The first outline us divided into two; the first being the general preliminaries. This in turn is divided into two, the first being need for receiving a full empowerment. It is possible that there are certain cases where individual who have received empowerments in their previous lives, and also have attained high realizations which have not degenerated due to the passage of time and also change of his or her body, and also such circumstances where the Lama, the Guru, has perceived that such an individual is continuing their path then it would be a totally exceptional case but otherwise for all practitioners of highest yoga Tantra, being initiated into the complete Mandala is very important. Lama Tsong Kapa substantiates his point by quoting from Milarepa in which, when Milarepa met Gampopa and Gampopa asked for instructions of the Six Yogas of Naropa, Milarepa first instructed him to receive empowerment and then come to seek the teachings. So in order to practice the Six Yogas of Naropa and also highest yoga Tantra in general it is very important, indispensable in fact, to be initiated into a Complete Mandala, and to have received the four empowerments. Lama Tsong Kapa also quotes from Tantra in which Buddha says in order to derive the benefits of the Tantric path, being initiated into the Mandala is crucial and if an individual practitioner, without receiving such empowerment still insists on practicing the Tantra, although they might derive insignificant benefits but the harms they would bring would be far greater. So people who, without being initiated into highest yoga Tantra, engage in such profound practices like the two stages of the Tantra, create their own downfall. So being initiated into highest yoga Tantra is like the root or foundation of the Tantric path, without which, even though you might have some understanding of the Tantra, one will not be able to attain the realizations even though one might attain some insignificant realizations, but the harms that one will derive would far outweigh the benefits.
And also the process of empowerment should be complete. That is, it must proceed with first entering into the Mandala through the proper rituals and then later initiated according to the four empowerments, the vase empowerment and so on. And such an empowerment ceremony must have a transmission in an uninterrupted, unbroken lineage. So, the points which emerge are that being initiated into a Mandala is an indispensable faster and also that empowerment Ceremony should be conducted in a proper, orderly manner. It is improper to receive the later empowerments without first having received the earlier ones. Lame Tseng Kapa says that merely receiving certain blessings or permissions or rituals and so forth is not adequate; one must receive the full empowerment. The types of empowerment that are must related to the practices of the Six Yogas of Naropa are the empowerments of HeVajra Tantra or Heruke, and Chakrasamvara.
The next outline is the need for observing the commitments. After having received full empowerment, it is crucial to observe all the vows and commitments and pledges that you have taken during the empowerment. One should not neglect the vows and commitments, nor should one remain ignorant of the vows one pledges. It is totally contradictory for practitioners of highest yoga Tantra who have taken the Tantric vows but still do not have any idea how many root infractions there are or how many auxiliary vows there are.
Uncommon preliminaries: Vajrasattva Meditation and Recitation
Now the next outline is the uncommon preliminaries, generally speaking, the preliminary; practices are training in the common paths, (unintelligible) empowerments, observing the vows and commitments and so on. And also the Guru Yoga meditations on Vajrasattva and making Mandala offerings and so on. As has been custom and tradition for masters of this lineage, generally speaking, we speak of two major uncommon preliminaries. These are Vajrasattva meditation and recitation for the purification of negativities and obstructions and meditation on Guru Yoga to receive inspiring power.
So, just as it is the tradition, Lama Tsong Kapa says, "I will explain these two preliminaries separately and individually".
First is the Vajrasattva meditation and recitation for the purification of negativities and obstructions. Now for the practice of Vajrasattva meditation, first one must take refuge in the Three Jewels the depth of one's heart, completely entrusting oneself under the care of the Three Jewels. Most of us, since we have certain commitments of the Tantric practice, we do Sadhanas. Therefore, we do practice Vajrasattva meditation. So if you are doing your Sadhana on your own, 1t is important sometimes to repeat the practice of taking refuge in the Three Jewels until there is some kind of effect or transformation within your mind. Then you can proceed onto the next stage of the Sadhana.
So Lama Tsong Kapa says here that one must take refuge in the Three Jewels from the depth of one’s heart, completely entrusting one's welfare under the care of the Three Jewels. Then one should view all sentient beings as equal to oneself, in suffering the fate in the cycle of existence and also reflect on the fact that all sentient beings have been one's mother in previous life at one time or another. And also reflect upon their infinite kindness of being beneficial to us and also giving us protection and so on. Such recollection of their kindness should induce the sense of repaying their kindness. And reflect upon the fact that all sentient beings, although they instinctively desire happiness, they lack happiness and they suffer, remaining under the strong sufferings. And then develop from the depth of your heart a sense of responsibility to help them to relieve their sufferings. And conclude that it is only by your self attaining the completely enlightened state that one will have the total, infinite capacity, limitless capacity to bring about the welfare of other sentient beings. Motivated by such strong desire to attain complete Enlightenment state for the benefit of all, generate the altruistic aspiration of Bodhicitta. Motivated by such aspiration, one should engage in the path.
It is said that if you repeat 21 Vajrasattva mantras with all the necessary qualifications complete in your mind, then it will have the force to decrease, it will have the force to stem or prevent the increment of the negative potentials. Therefore do the meditation.
The actual meditation on Vajrasattva should be done as discussed earlier based on the understanding of emptiness. So although the deity on which you are visualizing or meditating at the imaginary level is something that is your own mental creation, the type of deity that you visualize will have due to your mental capacities, faculties, propensities and so on, …sorry, by meditating on different type of appearances of the deities, they have certain significances. For instance, the meditation on Manjushree is supposed to have special significance in increasing one's wisdom and understanding of emptiness, whereas the Vajrasattva is a particular appearance or manifestation of the Buddha which has special significances for the practices of purification and so on. In reality, all these different manifestations of the Buddha should not be seen as separate individual beings but rather, all of them are various different types of appearances, manifestation appearing to serve different purposes. So the manner in which one meditates on Vajrasattva, there are different types. Some types of Vajrasattva meditation consist of generating oneself as Vajrasattva or in others you visualize Vajrasattva at your heart.
Then there are also meditations on Vajrasattva according to yoga Tantra where he is visualized as solitary without consort, whereas the Vajrasattva as meditated according to highest yoga Tantra is visualized in union with his consort. So if you are doing repetition of the Vajrasattva mantra based on the solitary Vajrasattva according to the Yoga Tantra, then you do not meditate on the union of bliss and emptiness, whereas if your meditation of Vajrasattva is that of the union with consort according to the highest yoga Tantra, then your meditation should be reinforced by, should possess the faculty of awareness of the wisdom of bliss and emptiness. And another crucial point to bear in mind is visualizing Vajrasattva at your crown and sees him as inseparable from your root Guru or as the text explains here, at your crown visualize from a syllable PAM emerging a lotus. PAM is combination, of the first letter of PADMA combined with a Bindu, or drop, which makes it PAM and the first syllable PA represents the object and the Bindu or drop on top of it represents emptiness. The Combination of the two which makes the letter PAM represents the union of emptiness and the object on which the emptiness is qualified. And the union of them symbolizes the union of the indivisible nature of appearance and emptiness.
So, in short, it represents emptiness; it indicates the conventional nature of phenomena; phenomena exist only nominally and by the force of designation. On the very fact that the lotus emerges from PAM has the significance of meditating on emptiness. On top of the PAM from the syllable AH emerges a white moon disc. AH stands for emptiness in the sense that AH is a negation term in Sanskrit. Negation here indicates the negation of inherent existence. On top of the white moon disc, visualize from the syllable HUM emerging a white five-spoke Vajra. HUM generally represents indivisible nature. HUM is a letter which is composed of many different parts. It has a Bindu, a moon crescent, top of the HUM letter and so on and this HUM transforms into the 5-spoke white Vajra. Generally speaking, there are different types of Vajra, having five spokes, nine spokes, three spokes, and single spoke and so on. But you visualize here five spoke Vajra, white, at the centre of which you visualize a syllable HUM and light rays emitting from the Vajra. You should visualize the Vajra as radiant and illuminating, and at the tip of the light rays you should visualize Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who perform activities fulfilling the wishes of other sentient beings and makes offerings to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
And this 5-spoke Vajra transforms and emerges as Vajrasattva in union with his consort. And both Vajrasattva and his consort should be visualizing as being adorned with various jeweled ornaments. The jeweled ornaments are mainly of pearl, and pearl- It is said that the etymological explanation of the Sanskrit term for pearl has some connotation of being liberated or being freed or here it symbolizes being freed or being purified of negativities. And at the heart of Vajrasattva you visualize white moon disc on which is standing a white HUM. Light rays emitting from the HUM towards all directions invite the wisdom beings, who are Vajrasattva in union with his consort, identical to you, from all aspects, and you make offerings to these Vajrasattva together with their consorts.So having drawn forth the wisdom beings, they merge into the Vajrasattva which you have visualized at your crown and they merge into indivisible nature and they become of a single taste that is of inseparable nature.
Again light rays radiate from your heart towards all directions inviting initiating deities. You make offerings to those initiating deities, make offerings like flowers, incense, perfumes and so forth. The system of offering, the custom of offering was modeled on the custom that was prevalent in Indian society at that time. And also many of the divine apparel, ornaments and also the robes and so forth are based on the prevalent fashion or custom of India. It is said that if the teaching, if Buddha had taught the teachings in Tibet, he'd have modeled his offerings on substances like Tsampa or butter and so on.
Then you make requests to these initiating deities to empower you, and the initiating deities, many of which are holding the vases in their hands, pour down nectars upon you which fill your entire body, the excess of which spills at your crown and becomes Aksobya. And then you make requests to the Vajrasattva at your crown: "May myself and all other sentient beings be able to purify our negativities". Then light rays emit from the heart of Vajrasattva towards all directions inviting Vajrasattva equal to the number of all sentient beings and all of the Vajrasattva remain et the crown of all sentient beings, and nectars and light rays emanate from their bodies which fills the entire body of all sentient beings and yourself, cleansing your body and mind of all negativities and their imprints and on your part and also on the part of all sentient beings, you must repent from the depth of your heart for the accumulation of negative actions and also you imagine by the force of all the nectars and light rays you receive, you generate within your mental continuum the genuine wish to attain liberation, and true renunciation, overcoming attraction to this life and so on.
By the force of such purification, imagine at that point, the Vajrasattva at your crown becoming more powerful and radiant, as powerful that he has the capacity or power 'to purify all your negativities. Visualize the syllable HUM at the heart of Vajrasattva at your crown surrounded by the 100 syllable Heruka Vajrasattva mantra, and light rays and nectars flow from these letters flow down through the point where the two secret organs of Vajrasattva and his consort meet and they enter through your crown protrusion, filling your entire body and it purifies all your negativities and their imprints, making your mind very receptive for the eventual realizations of the path.
There are different types of visualizations such as the nectars flowing upward and downward and illuminating your entire body instantaneously and dispelling the impurities and so on. All the letters of the mantra should be visualized as white and radiant and also sort of moist and almost sort of sprinkling nectars. Also by the force of your strong prayer towards them, it motivates them and also reminds them of their pledge which they initially made to work for the benefit of all sentient beings, which enables all the positive conditions to aggregate together. So since on the part of Vajrasattva, because all the limitations, personal limitations have been overcome, by the force of these factors you imagine, you visualize the nectar stream entering through your crown protrusion, gradually filling your entire body from the tip of our toes and heels and when it fills your entire body, all your negativities, mental obstructions, impurities, imprints and so forth, these should he imagined coming out of your body. Since the nectar fills from below upwards, these impurities and so forth spill out of your body from the upper part of your body.
That is known as upward drive. So this means that the impurities, negativities and so forth are pushed upward from below. So this is known as upward drive.
Downward drive or top down is. When the nectars flow down from your crown protrusion, it pushes the impurities, negativities, imprints and so forth downwards, which emerge from the lower part of your body. So that is known as the downward or top down drive.
There is the appropriate visualization for the Completion Stage practice.
The third [Visualization] alternative is recommended.
Otherwise if you do any of the earlier two types of visualizations, Upwards or downward drive since it involves certain types of visualization with certain elements coming out of your body, it is not very appropriate. The third type of alternative is known as the instantaneous illumination or drive. That is, just as when the light rays or nectars enter through your body, instantaneously they eliminate the impurities, negative imprints, negativities and so forth instantaneously. Specifically, if you visualize these in the form of darkness, just as light dispels darkness instantaneously, illuminates it, in the same manner, the light rays and nectars which enter through your crown protrusion instantaneously dispels these impurities just as light, when it is switched on, immediately, instantaneously illuminates the darkness. One cannot use conventions like "When the light is switched on, the darkness went outside": darkness disappears instantaneously there and then.
So this type of visualization is very appropriate for practitioners of Completion Stage where there is no involvement of anything emerging out of your body, but generally speaking, one could also perform other types of visualizations as explained earlier such as top-down or upwards and so on. There is also a tradition where you do 21 repetitions of the mantra: the first 7 you do top-down, the second 7 upwards and the third 7 instantaneous illuminations. These are also associated with the visualizations of purifying negativities of body first, speech second and mind third.
There is also the tradition of associating repetition of Vajrasattva mantra with the visualization of receiving the four Empowerments in which case you do 28 [7X4] repetitions, the first 7 associated with the vase empowerment, purification of bodily negativities, the second set of 7 are purification of speech, associated with the secret empowerment, third with the wisdom empowerment and purification of mind and fourth the word empowerment, purifying collective imprints of body, speech and mind. And a more profound practice of Vajrasattva meditation could also be performed on the basis of visualizing the three main channels in your body, the central channel and the two side channels, and also the principal channel-wheels at your crown, throat, heart and naval. Although it is not important to have a clear and vivid image of all the specific branches or spokes of all the channel wheels, but you should have an overview and then when you visualize nectars flowing through the central channel, first it fills the channel wheel at your crown. That visualization is associated with purification of the negativities of body and the receiving of the vase empowerment and then you repeat the process when the nectar and light rays fill the channel spokes at the throat, the empowerment is the secret empowerment, purification of speech. Repeat the same process for the channel wheel at the heart associated with the wisdom empowerment and negativities of mind.
And repeat the same process at the channel wheel at the navel which is associated with the fourth empowerment and so on. This type of visualization could also be performed. So these are the types of meditations which one could do in relation to Vajrasattva. What is important is, during all these types of practices, on your part it is important to have complete within your mental continuum a deep sense of repentance for all the negative actions you have accumulated in the past, a strong sense of resolve» never to indulge in the actions again and then equipped with these two factors of mind, recite the mantra, if possible, very clearly in Sanskrit. That is rather difficult, so as correctly as possible.
Then also, it is important to reflect upon the fact that all things lack inherent existence. Therefore this true nature of reality allows for us to purify all the stains and negativities from our mind. Although we instinctively desire from the depths of our hearts to fulfill our selfish wishes, but it is very important now and then to remind ourselves that it is important to reflect upon the importance of working for the benefit of all others.
Also Vajrasattva meditation could also be associated with certain types of healing practices, for instance, if you have a fever or a nervous energy imbalance and so on, there are appropriate visualizations which could be performed as a process of healing, but one. should not be satisfied with these healing visualizations alone. I must warn you that it cannot substitute for the cure that you can receive from medicines. If you have a very strong and high realization, advanced level of realizations, then it might be a different question, but for us ordinary people, we cannot substitute a medication with visualizations, although there are visualizations such as these. It is also said that although we, in our meditation, generate ourselves into a divine body, but since we still possess this physical body, which is composed of flesh, bones and so on, it is said that when you have certain illness at certain points in your body, if you concentrate your visualization at that particular point, then it does help. It is also said that at that point, if one meditates on one's personal root Guru inseparable from the meditational deity, at that point and makes strong requests and prayers, it also helps.
Basically, since we are practitioners of the Dharma, right from the beginning of the training in the practices of the initial scope, initial capacity, there are many different types of reflections which do help us lessen our mental anxieties. These reflections, although they cannot bring about physical alleviation of our physical pains and suffering, but it does help us not to be overwhelmed by the anxieties which are normally associated with illness and so on. For instance, when a practitioner of Dharma encounters difficult situations and faces adverse circumstances, the person reflects upon the fact that the individual himself or herself must have accumulated innumerable negative actions in the past and these imprints still remain in one's mental continuum, so these physical pains and so on are manifestations of or consequences of these actions, so that realization does lessen the mental anxiety.
Also the practitioner of Dharma realizes that so long as one remains in this cycle of existence and has to rely on the physical existence of a body, because the body, this physical aggregate, is ultimately in the nature of suffering, whenever we face sufferings, difficult situations and so on, the person realizes that as, and recognize that as, indications of the true nature of worldly existence, whereas if the practitioner is a practitioner of greatest capacity, then whenever the person encounters such circumstances, instead of being overwhelmed by these adverse circumstances, the person will try to take upon oneself, share upon oneself all the similar sufferings of other sentient beings and offer all one’s happiness, virtues and so forth mentally to others. Although in reality it may not relieve or lessen the physical suffering, but it does help a lot mentally.
So at the end of the session it is very important to perform the purifications complete with the four powers, and also reflect upon the empty nature of the three elements of your actions, that is, the agent, the action itself and the object of the action. These are the three elements of action.
One must reflect upon the empty nature of these 3 elements of the action. And from the depth of your heart you generate a deep sense of regret and repentance for the negative actions you have accumulated out of ignorance in the past. Since the purification practices require a strong sense of regret on your part, it is recommended that at this point one should lessen the grip on the identity of a divine being but still retain the appearance of a deity.
Having made this request, Vajrasattva at your crown becomes very pleased and dissolves through your crown protrusion and your body, speech and mind become inseparable from the body, speech and mind of Vajrasattva. What is very important in the practice of purification is one factor, the strong resolve never to indulge in the [sinful] actions again. The question might arise that there are certain types of actions that you know you cannot avoid committing and then the question could he raised that if you developed a strong sense of resolve never to indulge in them, isn't it telling a lie because you know that you are likely to commit these actions again, but this not true. What is important on your part is to develop from the depth of your heart, a strong resolve never to indulge in the actions again. Then whenever you find yourself uncontrollably indulging in the actions, then again at that point remind yourself and purify them. Kundowan(?) Rinpoche has stated this point.
So the entry of Vajrasattva into your body makes your Body, Speech and Mind inseparable from that of Vajrasattva.
Guru Yoga: Merit field and offerings
The next practice is meditation on Guru Yoga to receive inspiring powers, which is divided into two parts: the first is meditating on the Guru as merit field.
In front of you, visualize your root Guru being seated on a jeweled throne. You visualize your Guru in the aspect of VajraDhara, and based on such visualization, make offerings based on the 7-limb practices. Lama Tsong Kapa has recommended this type of Guru Yoga in his commentary on the Six Session Guru Yoga, and also in his commentary on one of the Completion Stage texts. This is also similar meditation you find in the Six Session Guru Yoga. So in front of you, above you in space, the space also represents emptiness, your Guru whom you visualize should be seen as a manifestation of bliss and emptiness, and also you should perceive him as assuming a physical existence from within the sphere of emptiness. So before you engage in the Guru Yoga practice, first it is important to cultivate the experience of bliss. It is from your own experience of great bliss that you can meditate on Guru Yoga; you cannot borrow the wisdom of bliss and emptiness that is within the mental continuum of your Guru, VajraDhara. You have to use your own. You find such terms in many of the Tantric rituals, for instance, like the ritual of Palden Lhamo so in such practices, it is very important to first cultivate within your mind a certain experience of bliss which is conjoined with the object emptiness and then this wisdom of bliss and emptiness could be seen as assuming different physical appearances.
And also when making offerings to Tantric deities in a Sadhana. All these offerings should be seen as creations or manifestations of your wisdom of bliss and emptiness. The same is true in the practice of the Dharmapala. Otherwise Dharmapala practices become just like beating a drum. It is important that one must understand that one's practice of Tantra, Sadhana and so forth should be different from the types of rituals that are performed by pre Buddhist Bon Shamanistic religion. The type of Bon that we find now is very different from the pre-Buddhist Bon Shamanistic religion. The present-day Bon take Buddhist masters like Nagarjuna, DharmaKirti, ChandraKirti.... (end of cassette #1)
(cassette #2).....these faculties complete within one's mind. Otherwise, Tantric practices and Tantric rituals and so forth become like mere child's play. It isindispensable for Tantric practitioners to have a stable foundation and understanding of Sutra approach, whereas for practitioners of the Sutra path, it is not necessary to have understanding of Tantra. For a Tantric yogi understanding of the Sutra approach is indispensable.
So visualize in front of you above in space, being seated on a jeweled throne, on a seat of lotus and sun disc, visualize your root Guru, which is the physical manifestation or emanation of the wisdom of bliss and emptiness. Even the jeweled throne on which the Guru is seated should be seen as a manifestation of the union of bliss and emptiness. The reason why we visualize them as precious made of gold and so forth.
(Personally, I don't know why gold is considered very precious, except that it is rare. What use could we have for jewels like diamonds and gold they cannot satisfy our hunger and so on; compared to them, food is more precious; they do serve some purpose. In any case, there is a worldly convention which considers them precious. This very fact that these things are considered precious reflects well the relative nature of things - phenomenal nature of things. For instance, let us take the example of currency; if you look at the money itself, the notes, they are just a piece of paper, but still people consider them precious, and although there is no inherently existing capacity on the part of these bank notes to serve as certain sort of currencies, it is the convention which makes them precious, have certain value).
Visualize this throne upraised by lions. Lions are considered kings of the wild animals, but I am told in reality, tigers are more cunning and clever and courageous than the lions - I don't know. So in any case, as worldly conventions believe, visualize a jeweled throne upraised by lions. We don't know if this `lion' refers to snow lions. If we try to search for that the snow lion, the Chinese called the `lion' we don't find it. There is a rumor that the second Dalai Lama has seen one, he has mentioned that, but that Snow-Lion looks like a goat.
Anyway, on this jeweled throne upraised by lions, visualize a cushion of Lotus and Sun disc. This cushion of Sun should not be mistaken with the Sun which you find in the cosmos. There is no way we could use this Sun in the cosmos as a seat! There does seem to be some symbolism connected with the Sun and Moon; the Sun is associated with daylight and the moon is associated with night. Therefore they are also associated with the two side channels -right and left channels. It is said that when there is a sun and moon eclipse that is said to be a sign of change in the breathing processes. Today I can't tell it definitely because my nose is blocked, but when there is no blockage of your nostrils, examine when there is a solar and lunar eclipse try to find out if there is any perceptible change in your breathing process. There does seem to be some change; it is subject worthy of experiment.
So, the external sun and moon in the cosmos and their relation and passage does seem to have some relation or correspondence to the physiological structure of our body. One finds such explanations in the Sakyapa's practice called Lamdre. There's a unique explanation of these correlations in the Sakyapa's practice of Lamdre. So one must realize the symbolism of these oceans (Sic) otherwise it will just be mere play.
On top of such a cushion you should visualize your root Guru in the aspect of the Sixth Buddha family, the master of the Sixth Buddha family, VajraDhara, blue with one face and two arms, holding a Bell and Vajra, adorned with ritual ornaments and silk garments, and visualize at his crown a white OM; at his throat a red AH and at his heart a blue HUM- all of them radiant and illuminating. These three syllables are said to contain very profound meanings; perhaps there is some etymological explanation according to the Sanskrit language. Visualize light rays emanating from these three syllables in all directions. Invite the Buddhas and also meditational deities and the lineage Gurus starting from VajraDhara and dissolve into Guru VajraDhara which enables you to feel the visualized VajraDhara more powerful. Many of these different visualizations are designed to suit the different types of mentalities of practitioners.
So these deities, lineage masters and so forth should be visualized being absorbed into the Guru VajraDhara. As one finds in the songs called "Calling the Guru from afar" the Guru should be seen as the embodiment of all the Buddha families and one must remember that one's Spiritual Guru, although he might be equal to VajraDhara in terms of qualifications, realizations and so forth, from the point of view of his kindness to us directly, he is far superior to VajraDhara himself. As an object of offering, in short, one should develop s deep conviction that one's Guru, one's spiritual mentor is the supreme object worthy of offering and the supreme field of merit. It is said that one advantage that you have when making offerings to your Guru is that you can be sure that there is someone who receives the offerings, where as when you make offerings to the Buddha, there is no guarantee that the Buddha will accept your offerings. I think this cannot be taken literally. In the case of making offerings to the Guru, there is a kind of a personal relationship which allows the possibility of making offering which pleases your Guru. When we are talking about Guru here, we are talking only in terms of a spiritually qualified Guru, not all teachers. Such a qualified Guru is very kind to us. We rely and totally depend on such a Guru. This Guru serves as the door or gateway through which we receive the inspiring forces and blessings of the Buddha. Right from the beginning of our progress, on the path of overcoming attraction, and attachment to this life, to the ultimate attainment of liberation and the fully enlightened State, we depend on Guru. So it is in this respect that the Guru is said to be the most Supreme Object of offering. The reason why making offerings to the Guru pleases all the Buddhas is that all the Buddhas have made a pledge that they would work for the benefit of all sentient beings and when a Guru is successful in leading a practitioner on a spiritual path, that opens the possibility for that individual to attain liberation. Therefore, the Buddhas become pleased because the Gurus do a service in some way for them.
Offerings: External, Internal, Secret and Suchness
Now, the next outline is making offerings and beseeching the Guru. As Nagarjuna says in his "Five Stages", make offerings, consider offerings to the Guru as Supreme. By making offerings to the Guru and pleasing one’s Guru, one will be able to attain the supreme wisdom.
Mandala: 37 Heaps
And principal among making offerings is the Mandala offering which is offering the entire universe mentally to the Guru. This visualization could be done by reciting the Mandala offering manual OM VAJRA BHUMI AH HUM, thus laying the golden ground or base. Then OM VAJRA REKHI AH HUM, you visualize the iron fence. Then visualize the four cardinal directions. So when the Mandala is being offered to the Guru as an offering, then the eastern direction should be considered the one in front of the Guru and when making offerings in order to receive blessings and inspiration, you should consider the eastern direction to be the one in front of you. It is quite important to understand this. Often there are very impressive leading chanters, who although they have a very impressive voice, don't know where to pour the grains when making Mandala offerings.
So having visualized the four planets in the four cardinal directions, then we visualize the two other planets accompanying them, all of them facing inwards to Mount Meru in the middle, The Mandala offering mentioned here is that of the 25 heaps. So when we make a Mandala offering which has 37 heaps, then one of the things that we offer is the victorious banner, and that should be visualized in front of you by pouring the grain in front of you. Visualize the Mandala being filled with all sorts of jewels and precious objects. I saw somewhere that this Mandala offering manual was composed by Naropa.
Thus make the Mandala offering to your root Guru and also make external offerings such as flowers, incense, perfumes and so on- also secret offerings, the inner offerings and the offerings of Suchness. In the Sadhana of Tantric practices, there are four types offerings spoken of which are associated with the Four Empowerments, these being external offerings associated with the vase empowerment. This refers to offerings such as the five sense objects, visible form, and sound and so on. And then the inner offerings which are associated with the secret empowerment. Just as the secret empowerment blesses and enhances one's channels, energies and drops, and the inner offering here refers to the physical elements such as the five meats and the five nectars which are offered.
Among the four offerings, the inner offering is said to be most important and crucial in highest yoga Tantra. In the Sadhana, you find that Inner Offerings are made to the entire lineage Gurus, meditational deities and even the sentient beings and so on whereas the Outer Offerings are only made to the deity. So the most important offering in the highest yoga Tantra practice is the Inner Offering. The reason why it is so is that the Inner Offering is made on the basis of the physical elements such as the six vital constituent and so on which serves as the basis for the eventual arisal of the experience of the [illusory ] body and Clear Light. (page18) The offerings made of the physical elements is known as the ‘Inner Offering'. Although such offerings are called ‘inner offering', in reality what is being offered is not the substance itself because the substance dissolved into emptiness and purified into emptiness and from within emptiness they are visualized in a purified form, but at the initial stage for Tantric practitioners, it is very important to rely on these external factors. But as the mediator progresses and advances on his/her path, then reliance on external factors lessen, gradually one will be totally independent of external offering substances.
This fact could be understood also in relation to reliance on a consort; because at the initial stage, there is strong reliance on external factors, it is very important for the mediators or Tantric yogis seeking an appropriate consort to seek someone who is completely qualified and is most suitable and appropriate to the individual. Whereas as the yogi progresses on his/her path, and advances in his/her realizations, then there is less emphasis on seeking a consort who does possess the qualifications. So when we meditate on a deity according to a Sadhana, it is not the continuum of the self or individual being which is designated on the basis of the ordinary body and mind. Rather, that type of individual identity has been dissolved into emptiness and from within the total absence, one generates a divine body that is completely pure, and based on such a divine body then one developed an identity of a divine deity. So in reality, although one might still remain as the ordinary old self, but in actual meditation the identity of the divine being is not done on the basis of the physical aggregates of the ordinary being.
Secret offering refers to offerings made through entering into union with the consort, and this is associated with the wisdom knowledge empowerment. In the wisdom-knowledge empowerment ceremony, the disciples or initiates enter into union with their consorts, and it is through such a process that the third empowerment is received. So the secret offering is associated with the wisdom empowerment.
The fourth offering is known as the offering of Suchness offering to make offerings with a proper understanding of the union. This Suchness should not be confined to understanding of emptiness alone although sometimes the term ‘Suchness' is used as a synonym for emptiness. But here it refers to the union of the two truths that refers to the illusory body and Clear Light. This union is different from the union of bliss and emptiness. The union of the two truths, in such a union, the union of bliss and emptiness become one of the pair, and then it is conjoined with or it is unified with the illusory body which constitutes the final union as the union of the two truths. So the wisdom of bliss and emptiness which has been generated through the secret offering should be utilized as one pair, and then that should be unified with the illusory body, the unification of which constitutes the offering of Suchness. This is associated with the word empowerment.
So these four offerings should be made in their proper order, and also make offerings to the Guru, Such as singing Songs of praise and so on, and one must observe the vows and commitments one has taken as an offering to the Guru and make requests and Supplication to the Guru to enable you to overcame interferences and accelerate your progress of the path. By the force of your making requests and supplications, visualize light rays of three colors, white, red and dark blue, from the three parts of the body: Crown, throat and heart respectively, entering through the three points, of your body which fills your entire body and purifies the negativities of body, speech and mind. You receive the four empowerments in their proper sequence. Visualize again that light rays from entire parts of the body of the Guru and enter through the pores of the body into you, which purifies all the subtle imprints of negativities, subtle obstructions which interfere with or which hamper your realizations. Thus you obtain the fourth empowerment, enabling you to unify body, speech and mind in an inseparable, non-dual manner.
During the resultant Stage of Buddhahood, the body, speech and mind becomes non-dual in the sense that they are manifestations emerging from the combination of subtle energy and subtle mind. Imagine that this visualization has implanted within you the potency to perceive the body, speech and mind of the Buddha inseparably. The three syllables OM, AH, HUM represents the body, speech and mind of the Buddha.
The mention of receiving four empowerments here should be understood only in terms of blessings. It is not an actual empowerment. Then dissolve the Guru VajraDhara through your crown protrusion and imagine that your body, speech and mind become inseparable from the body, Speech end mind of your Guru.
Such types of Guru Yoga practices should be undertaken at the beginning of your session or during the intervals or at the end of the session. So these are preparations and the more proper and perfect your preparation through Guru Yoga and meditation on Vajrasattva and so forth would be, the greater success you will have in your actual meditation on the Six Yogas. Therefore it is always very important to have a very strong base of a proper foundation. As explained earlier during the Vajrasattva meditation, we have visualized the three channels within our body, visualized the Guru, VajraDhara, entering through your crown protrusion, gradually descending through the central channel and at your heart Visualize the Guru entering into the indestructible drop at your heart and becoming inseparable from it and always remaining his presence within your heart.
Now the second outline is the mode of actual practices (that refers to the Six Yogas), the mode of actual practices based on the preliminaries. It is divided into two, the first being meditation on the Generation Stage. Lama Tsong Kapa says that there are certain misunderstandings with respect to Generation Stage practice. A few maintain that practice of the Generation Stage is required only for attaining powerful attainments of worldly or mundane natures but for attainment of highest liberation, it is not indispensable. Such misunderstandings are found in Tibet, but Lama Tsong Kapa says that according to the lineage transmission stemming from Lama Marpa, Marpa Lotsawa, and his good disciples Tauru and Mora and so on, and also Milarepa himself, the practice of GS is considered indispensable. Milarepa says in his songs that, in order to train your mind, in order to train your Rigpa awareness during death, rebirth and the intermediate state, engage in the practice of the two Stages.
Kilnungsung Gyaltso mentions in his text that the ultimate meaning of Clear Light is more subtle than the example metaphoric Clear Light. This difference in subtlety should not be understood from its nature, but rather from the point of view of the degree in which they are purified, or they are free of the delusions. Otherwise one will have to maintain that the ultimate meaning of Clear Light is subtler than the basic Clear Light which pervades the consciousness of all living beings. So as we discussed earlier, this innate mind of Clear Light, if the individual is able to remain or abide in that state permanently, then one would be freed from having to indulge in negative actions and enter into gross thought processes, but such is not possible for ordinary beings like us.
One could perceive the inner, innate mind of Clear Light as a linear sort of line, and existence, rebirth, death and intermediate state could be seen as different frequencies emerging from that line. And death is the point where it returns to its original state. So for ordinary beings, the innate main of Clear Light remains under the control, under the influence, of the conceptual thought processes. Whereas if one is capable of preventing the arisal of these thought processes, one would be able to return to the natural states of the innate mind. As an imprint of, or as a consequence of, the fluctuating conceptual thought processes, one enters into such different types of states like rebirth, intermediate State, death and so on. So the essence of Tantric practice is trying to purify these three states, death, intermediate state and rebirth. The manner which this could be affected is, for us beings on this planet, Earth, due to the physical compositions of our bodies, we possess certain elements, the six constituents of the body, which do have correspondence or similar features to the three Kayas of the Buddha, Dharmakaya, Sambagakaya and Nirmanakaya. So these three States, death, intermediate State and rebirth, have certain features similar to the three resultant Kayas of the Buddha. In the ordinary state at the Ordinary level, the features which give rise to the emergence of these three States, death, intermediate state and rebirth, also have features that are similar to the paths that eventually lead to the actualization of the three Buddha Kayas. Therefore Indian masters like Nagarjuna have utilized that point and explains certain paths which utilize those correspondences or similarities, correlating death, intermediate state and rebirth with the three bodies of the Buddha.
There is also a correlation to the three Kayas within one cycle of a day, the 24 hours of the day. Lama Tsong Kapa says that among the two stages of the path, although it is the Completion Stage which is the actual path which directly purifies death, intermediate state and rebirth, but in order to engage into such a direct path, one must first rehearse through Generation Stage and prepare one’s mind. So the practice of Generation Stage is indispensable for entering into Completion Stage. Although there might be few exceptions where individuals are carrying on from the point of the path where they have left off earlier in their previous existence, generally speaking, for all practitioners, one must proceed from Generation Stage first.
Milarepa Says that the yogi of the Generation Stage meditates on deities which are his own mental creations and elaboration, but such a yogi eventually reflects upon the deity which is his/her own mental creation as illusory like a dream, and then eventually that creation is consumed into the Cessation of dualistic appearances. So this dualistic appearance, he refers to, the appearances, not only to the appearances of true existence, but also the physical appearances, as Yogis of Generation Stage, by meditating on the deity Yoga, gradually dissolve such appearance. Nagarjuna also says that by abiding in the Generation Stage„ those who wish to proceed to the Completion Stage, should view the Generation Stage as a stepping-stone. If the practice of Generation Stage is indispensible, then the question would be, what type of generation should one undertake and what is the essential practice the generation stage?
Lama Tsong Kapa says that a practitioner who has trained in the deity yoga a Mandala which contains at least five deities, such as the five deities of Heruka, according to the Gandapa tradition, than later, during the Completion Stage practice, one could concentrate merely on single, solitary deity together with the consort, or just the principal deity. But otherwise, if one is beginning one’s Generation Stage practice, one should not be satisfied meditation on a solitary single deity. Lama Tsong Kapa then outlines the proper practice of Generation Stage. He says since in the practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa, the practice of Tumo, inner fire, should be seen as the foundation stone. The deity or Tantra with which it is most closely associated are the HeVajra Tantra and one of the four aspects or four types or classes, and Chakrasamvara. There have been great masters in the past who have undertaken the practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa in relation to Chakrasamvara deity, Such as Gampopa and Elpakman Toba(?) and Chejedigumba(?). Lama Tsong Kapa says that there are two principle Tantra with which the practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa is most closely associated. Lama Tsong Kapa says that the practice of Tumo is common to both the Tantras as one could undertake the practice of the Six Yogas in relation to either of the two, but otherwise one's practice of Generation Stage should not be confined to meditation of a single deity, a solitary deity alone. But this doesn't include this practice of VajraYogini because in VajraYogini there is a meditation on the body Mandala deities, as there are a lot of other deities. The same is true of the Solitary Yamantaka in which one talks of the 49 Causal deities and 49 resultant deities. So, strictly speaking, they cannot be categorized as single, solitary deities. The same is true of Hiegrava [Hayagriva], the secret aspect, but I don't know the reason why this is so for the secret aspect of Hiegrava. I don't know. One cannot justify it, saying that because it’s a practice of Gelugpa.
Heruka: 5 Deities: There must be more than 5 deities!
Lama Tsong Kapa says that one must base one's practice of Generation Stage at least on a Tantra like the five deities of Heruka according to the Gandapa tradition, so the Mandala that one is meditating on should have at least five or more than five deities. Such practice should be undertaken in four sessions every day. For us, we can't even maintain two sessions! Then Lama Tsong Kapa explains the actual practice of the Generation Stage, how to develop the experience of it.
Appearance of Deity: Almost see with bare eyes
First one must mentally review the entire Sadhana, and then if the principal deity of the Mandala has a lot of faces and arms, multiple faces and arms, then leave as neutral the other faces but concentrate, particularly on one specific face, like the principal face and then based on that try to develop a clear perception with the appearance of the deity and strong divine pride or identity. At the initial stages, it is very difficult to have clear appearance of all the deities, all the aspects and different parts of the body, but at the initial stage, you leave neutral all the other parts and concentrate on something like the principal face and then concentrate just on the principal face and the two arm and then at the initial stage when you have a kind of blurred image, you should be satisfied with that at the initial stage. And what is important ...(short gap in tape)... laxity and also what is important to bear in mind is that in the process of your meditation, if there appears some perceptible changes in the object of your meditation, you should not follow these changes but return to the original appearance which you initially had. So eventually try to make the object of your meditation more clear and vivid to the point where you almost see it like with your bare eyes. If it becomes blurred, then again reinforce your visualization to the point where it becomes very vivid. This is possible. For instance, when we have dreams, some of the dreams are so vivid that we feel as if we are seeing them, like seeing things with our bare eyes. Such type of vivid appearance or perception should be cultivated in our meditation, so through the process of familiarizing and meditation, it is possible to get to a stage where one will be able to have a clear and vivid perception of the deity.
So one should be able to eventually maintain one's concentration of the clear vivid appearance for a period of about four hours, the sixth part of a day, a sixth of a day, it is quite difficult, isn't it? Lama Tsong Kapa has mentioned in one of his writings that if the mediator is able to maintain his concentration on a particular deity for the sixth part of a day, that is four hours, then naturally, it will lead to the process of dissolution of the winds into the central channel because the manner in which the subtle energies and mind function are the same. Then once you have a clear and vivid image of the principal deity, the principal face and so on, and then start to elaborate on the object of meditation, gradually increasing the size and eventually having a clear, vivid appearance of not only the deity but also the consort and all the other meditational deities.
Then the second stage is to cultivate divine identity or pride. At the initial stage, although the divine identity or pride is a simulated one which you create at your imaginary level, through process of familiarization and meditation one must be able to come to a point where whenever you meditate and visualize a deity, the divine identity comes as a byproduct spontaneously. So these two factors, divine appearance and divine identity should be cultivated separately. It is possible for some to have a clear and vivid appearance but not strong divine pride or divine identity but not very clear and vivid appearance. These two are not the same, they should be cultivated separately with special emphasis on both, If you are successful in your cultivation of the divine identity -normally when we think of ‘me', ‘I’ and `self', immediately or instinctively, we identify with or associate it with our body, the physical body we have which is composed of flesh, bones and so on, but through meditation, we will get to a point where, when we think of `self' and ‘myself', our sense of identity will not be confined to the physical existence that we have, but rather it will be that of e divine being. So one's cultivation of divine identity should be such that at the mental level, at least one would be free of the ordinary perception and conception. So ordinary perception and conception are said to be the factors which are to be overcame and purified through the Generation Stage practice. So there is a very specific purpose for cultivating divine appearance and divine identity. But the manner in which these conception and appearances are overcome is not like totally rooting them out, but rather in the meditative session, they prevent the arise of the instinctive sense of identity of one's ordinary being and appearance of ordinary person. There is no way that we could prevent ordinary perception of external things at the sensory level, what we are trying to achieve during meditation is to try to overcome the ordinary identity that we have and the ordinary appearance of our existence (during the meditation session) through cultivating the divine appearance and divine identity.
The question could be raised that this divine appearance, divine perception and divine identity are mistaken states of consciousness erroneous. It is said that they are not erroneous or mistaken but they are states of mind which are consciously and deliberately cultivated at the imaginary level. So when you arise from the meditative equipoise, the meditative session, one is able to perceive all appearances of the environment and the beings as manifestations of the deity, the entire environment as celestial mansions of the deity and the beings in it as the deities, Mandala deities. During these practices, according to Sakyapa masters and also this is true of the Nyingmapa tradition they maintain that both the environment and living beings within it are from beginning less time inseparable from the primordial nature. Such mental states like the negative emotions, such as desire, hatred and so forth, although they are very powerful and dominating, they are all adventitious, they are all unstable, they are not the essential natures of our mind, whereas the innate mind of Clear Light is the essential nature of the mind. Therefore it has an uninterrupted continuum.
Since our delusions are unstable and rooted in unstable bases, they are adventitious and occasional, circumstantial. Therefore, they could be removed and put to an end, whereas the divine appearance which is manifestation of the innate mind, in terms of its continuum, is eternal. Lama Tsong Kapa has mentioned in one of his writings that meditation on emptiness as found in highest yoga Tantra is very superior to the practice of meditation on emptiness as found in the Sutra system not because there is difference in subtleties of the two emptiness but rather the difference emerges from the type of objects on which the meditation on emptiness is undertaken. In Tantras the object of the meditation on emptiness is the divine body, which is a pure phenomenon, so the impure phenomena belonging to the category of cyclic existence such as delusions and their subsequence and so forth, and because they are products of a deluded mind and rooted in an unstable basis or foundation, they could be removed and put to an end.
Lama Tsong Kapa quotes from a Tantra in which it states that all three realms of existence are Celestial mansions and the sentient beings living within them are the Mandala deities, so one's practice must possess three attributes. These are:
i) that all appearances are the aspect of the deities or celestial mansions and
ii) every experience is in the nature of great bliss, and
iii) All apprehensions are within the awareness of emptiness.
So these three attributes should be complete within one’s Tantric practice. So when we talk of the experience of great bliss here, although in the Generation Stage there is no possibility of experiencing great bliss as a result of the energies, the Pranas being drawn into the central Channel, that great bliss referred to here is one which is induced by the imaginary experience of union with a consort. Although the bliss induced by drawing the winds into the central channel cannot be found in Generation Stage, during the Generation Stage one does engage in union with a consort at an imaginary level, thus unifying method and wisdom and also by consecrating the places, such experience of bliss is possible. That is how the Generation Stage ripens one’s mental continuum and makes it receptive for the eventual experience of the Completion Stage.
23rd March 1990 H.H. Dalai Lama Tsong Kapa The Six Yogas of Naropa
As Lama Tsong Kapa said, at the beginning of his commentary on the Five Stages of Completion, it is very fortunate for people like us who have had the great opportunity to meet with the precious Dharma and have obtained the fully endowed human existence which has great potentials, and have met with a very profound path that any individual can attain highest enlightenment within a short lifetime. So if we utilize these potentials and opportunities that we have, then we will be able to attain the completely enlightened state of Buddhahood within this life time. In order to engage in the practice of the path, it is vital to first of all have a good understanding of the entire process of the path. For that a study of the text which outlines these paths is important, and the text on which we are conducting the study is the commentary on the practices of The Six Yogas of Naropa.
There are many instructions based on this practice composed by many Kagyupa masters and Lama Tsong Kapa. The text on which we are basing our commentary today is the one composed by Lama Tsong Kapa known as "The Three Convictions". There is no need for any repetition of the part that we covered yesterday since the commentary given is not that of an experiential type. So the outline that we met yesterday is meditations on the Completion Stage which has three outlines and some subdivisions.
The first one is the nature of the bases. The resultant state of Buddhahood, the omniscient wisdom of the Buddha, is something that has to be attained on the basis of potential that is inherent within the mental continuum and particularly when that feat is achieved through relying on the practice of highest yoga Tantra -there are techniques which enable the person to penetrate and pinpoint the vital points of the body. Therefore, understanding of the nature of the physical elements, the stationary channels, the energies that flow within them, the energy winds and so forth is essential. Therefore the explanation of the nature of the bases, which refers to the nature of the mind and the nature of the body are explained.
Based on such a proper understanding of the bases, the mind and the body, then one engage in the path which is associated with them. Explaining the process of the path in such a systematic order is very essential. This emphasizes the point that attaining the omniscient state of the Buddha is something that is not possible mainly by making inspirational prayers. Rather, it has to be consciously sought after by developing both the knowledge and the understanding of the paths that leads to the goal. Because of that fact, I express my admiration for the scientific approach, the scientific mentality. The Scientific approach is such that, through experiment and observations, if they find indications of the presence or existence of certain phenomena, they will accept it. And as long as they do not find any indications or evidence pointing to or suggesting the existence of certain phenomena, they leave them neutral. That is very similar to the spirit of the Buddhist approach. In the Buddhist approach, anything that contradicts reality should not he accepted because it is Sutras or scriptures. Anything that conforms to reality should be accepted. Buddha himself has emphasized the point that his followers should examine his words. They should not be accepted at their face value just because they were spoken by him; they should be analyzed as to whether they conform to reality or conflict with reality. Even in ordinary terms, when somebody has Confidence in the truth of a matter, then they can very strongly assert and ask other persons to examine their statement. Otherwise it would be like the Chinese position; because they don’t have confidence in their own views, therefore they cannot allow other people to investigate the situation. So, when we have confidence in the truth of the matter, the more explanation you will find for how it is. The more questions that are raised the better it is, because the questions will have explanatory power.
Generally speaking, there is very little contact between people who consider themselves spiritual practitioners and scientists, but often I have emphasized the importance for spiritual Buddhist practitioners to try to have dialogues with scientists. Through scientific experiments they are able to explain in quite some detail about physiological states of the body and also psychological states of the mind and their functions and so on. To try to relate them or compare them to the explanations one finds in the Buddhist texts, the physiological explanations one finds in the Tantric texts and also the psychological states. Through dialogues with scientists, we will also gain insight into the functioning of the subtle chemicals and so on within our brains. Recently I visited Czechoslovakia. Until recently, it was a Communist country, but I found that there exists an organization which specializes in experimenting with the experiences that are derived through spiritual practices. So I was quite interested. So these are points which Buddhist practitioners should bear in mind.
Nature of the Mind
The first outline, the nature of the basis, is explained in two subdivisions, the first being the nature of the mind. Generally speaking, gross levels of mind are states of mind which cannot exist independently of our body, such as the sensory perceptions and so on, but according to Buddhist explanation we assert subtler states of consciousness or mind which can exist independently of the body. Just as the explanations are found in Buddhist scriptures, it is very important for Buddhist practitioners to be able to explain them through experience. Therefore, establishment of the existence of reincarnation or continuation of the consciousness even after cessation of the physical existence is very important. Generally speaking, we are all very confident and we take it as very obvious the presence of consciousness within us, but when we try to examine the nature of the mind it becomes very difficult, the moment we try to explore the question what mind is, what consciousness is. It is very difficult. So in order to understand what the object of meditation is, the understanding of the true nature of the consciousness or mind is very important.
Therefore it has been explained first, and in order to understand the vital points of the body which are later pinpointed and penetrated upon through meditation, the nature of the body is explained later. It is said that consciousness or mind functions in a manner or propelled by an energy wind or Prana, so they function together. Just as there are many gross levels, many different levels of energy winds, the Pranas, so are there different degrees of consciousness. Since it is the energy winds that propel the movement of the consciousness or mind, by gaining control over the movements of the energy winds, one will be able to gain control over the consciousness or mind which mounts on them. For example, like if we stop the vehicle in which we are driving, the person driving in the car would also stop moving. So in Tantric practice, we will find that, through techniques like meditation and channel winds, one’s energy winds and Bodhicitta drops and so on, by gaining control over them, the meditator or practitioner gains control over the consciousness. Unlike the Sutra approach where there are no techniques that utilize any physical exercises or movements of the physical elements in the Sutra system, it is only by a psychological approach of the subjective mind that the meditator or practitioner tries to gain control over the consciousness and transform it -whereas in Tantra, techniques for transforming consciousness and gaining control over it also involve movements, exercises and training of the physical elements as well. Therefore understanding the true nature of mind and body, the physical elements, becomes vital for the practice of Tantra.
Now I will explain the nature of the mind first. Lama Tsong Kapa quotes from a Tantra in which Buddha explains the empty nature of the consciousness. This quotation from the Tantra explains the ultimate nature of the mind, which is the absence of any existence of consciousness, which identifies the objects of consciousness first. These are the five objects, visible form, sounds, and so on. And also the five sense faculties based on which the sensory perceptions arise. And then it later identifies the six mental consciousness’s and also the other aggregates such as the aggregates of feeling, discernment and volition. And the quotation also explain the identitylessness of the person which is designated on the basis of the aggregates of body and mind. The emptiness as explained here is the emptiness of inherent existence or intrinsic nature of phenomena, and when one talks of emptiness one shouldn't have the notion that emptiness negates something which used to exist before, but rather the understanding of emptiness or knowledge of emptiness is the recognition of the absence. It is the realization or recognition of the absence of something which was not there, but rather imposed by our conceptual thought. Thus these verses explain the ultimate nature of the mind.
For drawing the attention of the mind within and also not letting it stray towards external objects and also eventually to be able to return to its natural state of Clear Light, all of these require understanding of the true nature of the mind, which is the emptiness. One finds an explanation of the emptiness of the mind in the practice of what is Called "The Isolated Mind" in the five stages of completion. Understanding of the ultimate nature of mind is very crucial because it is the mind which creates the entire phenomenon. It is in one sense the creator and it is also the factor which gives rise to actions and so on. Therefore the realization of the true nature of mind is very important and the understanding of the nature of the body is vital for the Yoga which involve techniques for pinpointing the vital points of the body. So when doing such practices, when pinpointing the vital points of the body, it is vital for the practitioner to perceive not only oneself but also all other sentient beings and also the environment in which they reside as manifestations of divine beings. And all of these phenomena and things must be perceived in an illusory nature.
Tumo: Generation of heat
And that meditation is done on the basis of Tumo meditation which involves meditating on the three channels within one's body and visualization of letters within the Channel wheel [Chakras]. At the crown a syllable HAM and a “short AH” at the navel. Ignition of the flame of the short-AH causes blazing or dripping of the HAM which is in an upturned position at your crown. There are different techniques for the melting of the Bodhicitta drop in the Shape of HAM at the crown. In some Tantric practices, a practice known as the Vajra recitation is employed, whereas in this practice the meditation on Tumo, the inner heat is employed. Through such techniques the practitioner is able to experience the great bliss which later becomes conjoined with the emptiness, thus gaining within the mental continuum of the practitioner a very powerful state of wisdom which has the capacity to overcome all delusions. Such, in short, is the practice of Tumo. This quotation, which I cited from one of Naropa's writings, condenses the entire essential points of the Tumo practice.
Generally speaking, when we talk of the nature of the mind, there are different types of natures, the ultimate nature of mind which refers to the emptiness of the mind, and then there is conventional nature of the mind as well, but here, Lama Tsong Kapa has emphasized the understanding of emptiness of the mind. His point is that one must not be satisfied with the understanding of the conventional nature of the mind alone. Rather, based on such knowledge and understanding, one must really understand the ultimate nature of the mind and then remain in meditative equipoise upon that ultimate nature. Lama Tsong Kapa’s point is that mere understanding of the conventional nature is not enough. He quotas from Marpa Lotsawa. First he substantiates his point by citing from VajraDhara that was cited earlier. Then later he quotes from Marpa Lotsawa in which Marpa Lotsawa says that the profound view of the MahaMudra he found mainly from the Indian master Metrepa who used to live at the banks of the river Ganges, and on account of whose kindness, Marpa Lotsawa was able to realize emptiness of the mind. Thus he was able to grasp with bare hands the emptiness of the mind, thus enabling him to perceive the innate nature of the mind. And he states that he was also able to perceive and meet with the mother of the three Kayas. So this "mother of the three Kayas” refers to the basic body of the Buddha, or this mother could also refer to emptiness.
There is an expression known as the meeting of the mother and son Clear Light, in which case the mother Clear Light often refers to emptiness. Another reference of the mother Clear Light is also to the type of experience of Clear Light which comes about naturally at the point of death. And the son Clear Light here refers to the type of meditatively experienced Clear Light which the meditator or practitioner is capable of bringing about consciously or deliberately. So a meditator who has advanced realizations of the Tantra is at the point of death able to recognize the experience of Clear Light and will not remain overwhelmed by death, but rather, will be able to utilize that occasion. And that type of experience is also known as the meeting of the mother and son Clear Light.
Although such terms are used, in reality there are no two different types of Clear Light, mother or Son Clear Light, but rather, the meaning is that, unlike ordinary people, for whom the Clear Light of death is experienced uncontrollably, due to the force of their karmic actions, but for meditators, when that experience of the Clear Light of death comes about, they are able to have control over it and still retain their awareness and utilize it for their practice.
Marpa Lotsawa states that he gained his profound view of MahaMudra from the Indian master Metrepa. So when we talk of MahaMudra, we should understand it in different terms. As Chube Gyaltsen (?) mentions in his commentary on MahaMudra, one reference is to common MahaMudra view that refers to the understanding of emptiness that is common to both Sutra and Tantra. So here the reference is to the common MahaMudra view on emptiness. And Metrepa's view on emptiness is that Lama Tsong Kapa quotes from Metrepa himself in which he mentions that those who desire to seek understanding of emptiness should be free of views that appear to the views that accept sense data or deny sense data, and these two views are identified as the philosophical schools, the lower schools such as Vaibashika which deny the existence of sense data as objects of perception, and philosophical schools such as Svatantrika Yogacharya who insisted on the presence af sense data as mediums for perceptions. So in short what he means here is that one's profound view of emptiness should not be that of Vaibashika or Svatantrika Yogacharya but rather be that of the Madhyamaka. And he mentions that his view on emptiness is one which conforms to the views expounded by Nagarjuna and Aryadeva and Chandrakirti. Those who wish to gain the profound view of emptiness, Meitreya recommends them to follow Indian masters like Nagarjuna, Aryadeva and Chandrakirti. Lama Tsong Kapa says that Nagarjuna and Aryadeva are considered as the model Madhyamaka, that all the subsequent Madhyamaka philosophers to identify themselves as followers of Aryadeva and Nagarjuna. So the point is that, simply because someone explicitly states to follow Aryadeva and Nagarjuna doesn't mean that their view is that of Madhyamaka Prasangika because Nagarjuna and Aryadeva are taken as the authority by all Madhyamaka philosophers. But Maitreya specifically mentions Chandrakirti and Chandrakirti is explicitly associated with the philosophical movement known ss the Madhyamaka Prasangika. Therefore it comes out very clearly that those who wish to seek the profound view of emptiness have to follow Chandrakirt’s interpretation of Nagarjuna. So Lama Tsong Kapa states that those who wish to gain the profound view of emptiness in relation to the practice of The Six Yogas of Naropa must follow the views of the philosophical tradition of Chandrakirti. So Marpa Lotsawa, although he had many highly realized masters, he considered Maitreya as one of the greatest, particularly for his knowledge of emptiness.
In the verses which Lama Tsong Kapa quoted from the Tantra, there was a mention of phenomena being neither true nor false. This indicates the dual nature of being dependently arising. All things and phenomena cannot exist without depending on their causes and conditions, nor to the conceptual thoughts which label and designate them. In order to substantiate this point, Lama Tsong Kapa quotes from the Sixty Verses of Reasoning by Nagarjuna in which Nagarjuna States that any phenomena or things that exist by the force of causes and conditions and by being dependent on other factors, they lack independent nature. Therefore they lack (end of cassette #2, beginning of Cassette #3)
Therefore, there isn’t even the slightest phenomenon which has objective existence which justifies inherent existence. But at the same time, one must be able to maintain phenomenal or conventional nature of their existence, conventional reality. The fact that things lack inherent, intrinsic nature doesn’t equate with nonexistence of things like the horn of the rabbit and so on which are mere conceptual creations, because the reason which implies or proves the absence of inherent existence of phenomena is that they are dependently originated. So things which exist by being dependent on other factors do exist and they do matter to us. So at that conventional level there is causality, effects and causes, aggregation of cause and conditions. So it is very crucial to understand that, although there are no phenomena which are not conceptually imputed, but that doesn't mean that anything that is conceptually imputed can exist. There is a certain amount of objectivity [inserted by me]. That doesn’t also mean that they have independent existence, existing in their own right. Therefore Lama Tsong Kapa sums up by saying that it is very important that one must have a proper understanding of the profound view of emptiness which negates completely any level or any degree of intrinsic or inherent existence, and based on such understanding, one must meditate on that view. If the practitioner lacks such understanding and meditation, no matter what type of practices one engages in, let alone being able to attain Buddhahood that person will not be able to attain liberation from Samsara.
So as explained earlier, things, lack inherent existence; they do not exist intrinsically. Therefore the level of their existence, the status of their existence is mere phenomenality and conventional. But such a view, if not properly understood, has a grave danger of forcing the person to misunderstand that things do not exist at all. Therefore it is very important to have an understanding of Dependent Origination. Milarepa himself says in his writings, “In relation to the worldly conventions, Buddha had asserted that things existed conventionally, but in the ultimate sense, there are no interferences which obstruct one's attainment of enlightenment, nor is there attainment of Buddhahood". So in the ultimate sense, there are no Buddhas, there is no meditator, no object of meditation, no path, no beings who travel on the path, there are no resultant fruits or prayers of the Buddha, nor wisdom. There is no nirvana as well.
So in the ultimate sense, that is if interpret or if we define existence in an ultimate manner, then all these phenomena do not exist.
But Samsara and nirvana and so forth which do exist, exist only nominally and by the force of designation. After having explained the absence of inherent existence of all the phenomena Nirvana, Samsara, Buddhahood and so on, then Milarepa goes on to say that if, by this, we take it to mean that all phenomena do not exist, Samsara and sentient beings do not exist, then if there are no sentient beings, where did the Buddhas of the three times come about, come from? And such views completely contradict our normal experiences, our conventional experiences.
We do have experience of Cause and Effect. Therefore at the conventional level, in an unanalyzed or unexamined worldly convention, there is Samsara and Nirvana. So when we talk of emptiness, we must understand emptiness as kind of a quality or property of phenomena, it is the mere absence of the inherent existence of the phenomena or object we are talking about. It adds emptiness of, the phenomena, it is the ultimate nature of that thing, one should not have a dualistic notion of emptiness as existing independently or separate from the object on which it is qualified. Therefore one finds in The Heart Sutra, that "emptiness is form and form is emptiness and there is no emptiness apart from form". So the emptiness of the form and form are of one nature, and in such a manner, one should understand the non-duality of the two truths, conventional truth and ultimate truth. So if the meditator has understood the nature of phenomena in such terms, then one will be able to perceive the wisdom and not the consciousness. This means that when one examines the true nature of the mind, one finds the non-findability of the mind when analytically sought. That realization is the experience of wisdom. And such a meditator will perceive Buddha, not sentient beings. For example, when we talk of Nirvana, Nirvana should be understood as the emptiness of Samsara. It is on the basis of the ultimate nature of the mind of sentient beings that one should understand the meaning of Buddhahood. And also the meditator who has directly experienced the empty nature of his or her mind will be able to perceive all appearances in the aspect of emptiness and also wisdom of bliss as one finds in the Tantric practices in which one trains in the pure vision of all phenomena appearing in the aspect or manifestations of bliss and emptiness.
Therefore, Lama Tsong Kapa sums up that, although all phenomena such as Samsara and nirvana, sentient beings, Buddha and so forth, do not exist inherently or in an ultimate sense, but at the conventional level they do exist nominally. Therefore, they exist by depending on other factors, such as causes and conditions. Lama Tsong Kapa mentions that the profound view of emptiness as understood and realized by Milarepa is in complete conformity with Chandrakirti's Prasangika view. Therefore Lama Tsong Kapa recommends practitioners of The Six Yogas of Naropa to seek the profound view of emptiness according to the Madhyamika Prasangika school.
And Lama Tsong Kapa mentions that, just as when you go rowing, you have to skillfully row using the two paddles, in the same manner, when seeking the profound view of emptiness, you have to find the middle way. That means, maintain a complete equilibrium between the conventional truth and the ultimate truth.
Lama Tsong Kapa says that those who maintain that, for the practice of emptiness according to the MahaMudra approach, no analysis is necessary, that is completely mistaken. What is meant by that statement is that, during the actual meditative session, no analysis is to be used, but that doesn’t rule out the importance or indispensability of using analysis at first and developing the actual understanding of emptiness. Therefore he concludes by stating that the practitioners of the Six Yogas of Naropa should definitely strive to seek the profound view of emptiness. He substantiates his point by first quoting from Buddha VajraDhara, from the Tantra, and then from Marpa Lotsawa and Metrepa and also the good yogi Milarepa. So he concludes by stating that understanding and true knowledge of emptiness of inherent existence is an indispensable factor for the practice of MahaMudra and The Six Yogas of Naropa.
In all these practices of highest yoga Tantra, understanding of emptiness of inherent existence is taken for granted. It is presupposed, the understanding of emptiness which is common to both Sutra and Tantra. Therefore, if the practitioner hasn't developed an overview of the entire Buddhist approach, then one will miss the point of the importance of understanding emptiness for the practitioners of The Six Yogas of Naropa. If such a practitioner tries to approach this practice then one will not be able to succeed.
The Second outline is the nature of the body, and also understanding of the different degrees or levels of the mind as explained in the Guhyasamaja Tantra. It is very important such as the subtleties of the mind. So when we talk about the subtleties of mind, we are talking about one group or category, that is, the levels of mind which arise prior to the cessation of the eighty indicated conceptions. And then there is a second category of mind, mental levels, which come about only when the eighty indicated conceptions are ceased. And that category of mind is subdivided into different levels, technically known as the appearance, increase, black near-attainment, and so on. So these divisions are made on the basis of already a very subtle level of mind. The fourth level of mind, the subtlest mind is known as the fundamental innate mind of Clear Light. Understanding of these subtleties is very important, that’s how one understands the isolated mind. So in order to introduce the practitioner to that isolated mind, the subtlest level of mind, first of all it is very important to develop an understanding of the different subtleties and gross levels of mind.
The second outline is the nature of the body. The vital points of the body which are pinpointed during the meditations on energy channels, channel wheels and so on are the Channel wheel at the navel and the lower and upper opening of the central Channel. There are the vital points which are penetrated and pinpointed in one’s meditation on the Yogas. For instance, Tantra of Chakrasamvara, according to (luypatration ??) [Luipa], the vital point chosen is the navel. According to Guhyasamaja or Akshobhya tradition, the vital point chosen for meditation is the lower opening of the central Channel, and for Kalachakra, the heart.
So according to the instruction of Marpa Lotsawa, when we talk about applying the techniques that pinpoint the vital points of the body, we have to understand two types, two periods of time of practice, the sleeping state and the waking State. Generally speaking, for ordinary beings, particularly those who engage in the Sutra system of the path, it is only the waking state which could be employed for the practice of the Dharma. The state sleep remains beyond our control. But in highest yoga Tantra, we do find techniques that enable the practitioner to utilize and manipulate sleep states.
If that is possible, then the practitioner could perhaps have long hours of sleep. That might give some justification for dozing off during the teaching sessions.
So, for the practices during the sleeping State, it is crucial to understand the vital points at your heart and throat. As will come later, when one focuses one’s attention at the heart, one will be able to experience deep sleep, and when one focuses one’s attention at the throat, one will have clear and vivid dreams. And during the waking state, particularly in the practice of Tumo, it is important to understand the vital point at your naval and particularly for relying on the consort, entering into union with the consort, it is important to understand the vital point at your crown. This is quite parallel to explanations one finds in the Kalachakra Tantra, where it speaks of different types of Bodhicitta drops, vital drops that remain, principally at certain locations such as mid-brows, navel, throat and the secret organ and heart and also at the jewel. The navel is said to be the principal location of the vital drops that are related to the experience of deep sleep, and also the fourth state -I think that refers to the sexual climax, I'm not sure.
So it is very important to identify what is sleep. In one of the writings of Chembrayam (?)….he mentions that during deep sleep there is no sleep. And then the question has to be raised; if that is the case, then a person who is in deep sleep is not regarded as being in sleep; if there is no sleep, no experience of sleep, then how can one say that he is in deep sleep? Nandonen Rinpoche counters that objection by giving an analogy. For example, when a person faints, then at that state there is no consciousness. So perhaps one could define the process of dissolving the gross levels of mind to a subtler state as sleep, so sleep would be understood in terms of the process. So although we speak of sleep all the time, it is quite hard to define what exactly sleep is. In the text that talks about mind and mental factors, it is counted as one of the mental factors.
When the individual goes to sleep, the winds or energies are drawn into the heart chakra and within the secret jewel, and when the energies remain dense in those areas, the person remains in a deep sleep. So although specific parts of the body or parts of the Central Channel are associated with specific states of time such as sleeping state, dream state and so on, that does not mean that practices of all types should not be undertaken during the waking state as well.
The next outline is the stages of traversing the path which has two subdivisions, the first being the practices of physical yoga exercises literally known as the Magical Winds and Hollow Body as the first step. In some other instructions stemming from Marpa Lotsawa, there are certain traditions such as the meditator protecting from the recitation of HUM, the syllable HUM and accumulating merits by the practice of Guru Yoga and also engaging in physical Yoga exercises and meditating on hollow body and so forth. But the instruction that stems from Milarepa, through Milarepa from Marpa Lotsawa, in which the actual practice begins with the physical yoga exercises and hollow body. So Lama Tsong Kapa says that he will follow the second tradition and therefore he will first explain the physical yoga exercises literally known as the magical winds. Since the yogi will later be engaging in practices that involve the techniques of penetrating and pin pointing vital points of the body, it is very crucial for the practitioners to have a very supple and flexible body. For that, training in the physical yoga exercises is recommended.
Lama Tsong Kapa explains six types physical yoga exercises. It seems there are slight variations of Naropa’s physical yoga exercises according to different traditions like Kamsung (?) and Dupa (?) but here Lama Tsong Kapa mentions only six. So training in the physical yoga exercises should be done in conjunction with first taking refuge in the three jewels, cultivating the altruistic motivation to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings, and making heartfelt prayers and requests to the Guru. Because the subsequent practice that one is engaging in is the Buddhist path, therefore taking refuge is vital. Since it is a Mahayana path, generation of Bodhicitta is essential. And since it is the Tantra’s path, for which the basis is the Guru Yoga practice, therefore meditation of the Guru at your crown is very important. Then one should generate oneself in the aspect of the deity. The Six types of physical yoga exercises are:
1) holding one’s breath like filled vase;
2) bending one's body like hook;
3) rotating one's body like a wheel;
4) throwing up in the air and dropping down with the Mudra of Vajra winding;
5) Straightening one’s Spine like an arrow in the manner of a vomiting dog;
6) shaking one’s entire body and the joints to enable the smooth flow of blood in arteries.
If the commentary or guide being given is the experiential one, then all the exercises have to be demonstrated and performed together with the disciples. But we will not do that today because it is not the experiential commentary.
Now to explain the first physical yoga exercise, that is, holding the vase breath. The meditator should be seated on a very comfortable meditation cushion and keep your spine straight and place your two palms on your knees and then start with the breathing process.
Nine rounds of breath
First start with the right nostril and exhaling through the left nostril, gradually, very slowly and deeply and at the end you should take a deep breath and then retain the breath within your body. This is known as dispelling the impure winds through the nine rounds of breathing.
And then you should keep your body very straight and keep the two thumbs folded in your palms and place them on your knees and take a very deep breath. After having inhaled, you should swallow saliva without making any noise and imagine that it presses down the wind which you have inhaled. By constricting the muscles at the lower points of your body, draw upwards the downward- moving winds and then hold a kind of enclosed wind at your navel and retain that vase breath as long as possible. And all of the subsequent physical yoga exercises should be performed on such a basis of holding this vase breath. In fact, the first one is not one of the physical yoga exercises; it is like the preliminary which is necessary to be conjoined with all the subsequent physical yoga exercises. When the point comes when you can no longer retain your breath within, then you should gradually release it through your nostrils, not through your mouth.
The second one is rotating oneself like a wheel. The meditator should sit in a Vajra, cross-legged position and hold the two big toes, the right with your right hand and the left with your left hand, and straighten your spine and start rotating your abdomen and waist clockwise three times, then counter clockwise three times. Then sideways, first towards the right and then second towards the left, and then protrude towards the front and then retract backwards. For a serious practitioner of The Six Yogas of Naropa, it is essential to follow the instructions of these six physical yoga exercises under the instructions of an experienced guide who will demonstrate them.
The next one is the hollow body meditation. Just like the six physical yoga exercises, the visualization of the hollow body is also necessary for preparing one's body and safeguarding it against possible side effects of the Yoga of Naropa. In this practice, the meditator should visualize one's body as hollow, like an empty shell, like a fully blown balloon. Lama Tsong Kapa states that, although one doesn't find any scriptural sources in the writings of Indian masters for this practice of hollow body, it seems this practice was devised by Tibetan masters in order to safeguard the meditator against possible side effects of meditation in the future. The reason why it is recommended is for practitioner who generally speaking, there are two techniques for centralizing the Winds in the central channel, the peaceful approach and the more wrathful or violent approach. The violent or wrathful approach could have rapid consequences or rapid results, but it is also risky, so in order to protect the practitioner from these side effects, such practices like the visualization of the hollow body are very effective. Lama Tsong Kapa says that application of the gentler techniques, the peaceful ones, although they might take a longer period, they are much safer, whereas the application of the violent or forceful techniques would have very negative side effects. So those practitioners who cannot bring about the desired results through application of the peaceful techniques then [they] have to resort to the violent, physical, forcible methods; then it is very important to safeguard against the possible side effects by meditating on the hollow body and six physical yoga exercises and so on.
The next outline is the practical stages of the actual subsequent paths, which is divided into two. The first one is the various modes of dividing the path. In the first outline, Lama Tsong Kapa explains the different modes in which one could divide the path leading to enlightenment. He says that one could divide the entire path, from the point of view of the mental capacities of the practitioners, those who are capable of attaining enlightenment within this lifetime or during the intermediate state or during the subsequent rebirths. But from the point of view of the nature of the path itself, one could divide it into two, that is, the actual practices of the Completion Stage and the factors that accelerates the practical of the Completion Stage such as engaging in the conducts and so on. There is also a system of dividing the entire path into ten: the Six Yogas of Naropa on top of which the Generation Stage and so on.
So, as explained earlier, from the point of view of' the mental capacities of the practitioner, it could be divided into three, and from the point of view of the actual nature of the path, it could be divided into two, that is, the actual practices of the Completion Stage and the factors that accelerate or stimulate the practice of progress on the path. It is the second mode of division which the followers of Marpa Lotsawa have adopted. Marpa Lotsawa says in one of his writings that he received [it] from the great pundit, Naropa, the teachings of HeVajra, the profound HeVajra Tantra, and he received also the instructions of the practices of the mixings, of the transference of consciousness and also he received the practice of inner heat or Tumo and reliance on the consort. He has been introduced to these practices in an experiential guide. So he explains that he received in particular the practices through which the experience of the four Joys could be induced through the techniques of Tumo meditation based on HeVajra Tantra. So the practice of Tantra based on HeVajra Tantra, the essential instructions are two: these are the practices of the inner heat, or Tumo, and reliance on the live consort or actual seen(?). And Marpa Lotsawa also states in his writings that he heard or received the teachings on the five Stages of Guhyasamaja from his Indian master (?), and also he received the instructions on the practice of illusory body and Clear Light from him too. So the practice of Clear Light and illusory body are mainly based on the original Tantra of Guhyasamaja and the practice of inner heat to HeVajra and the practice of transference of consciousness and resurrection into a dead body on a Tantra called Drongjukpa (?). It seems there are different ways of counting The Six Yogas of Naropa. Here Lama Tsong Kapa lists them as:
first, the inner heat, Tumo,
-Second, the illusory body,
-third, Clear Light,
-fourth, the transference of Consciousness,
-fifth, resurrection into a dead body or ‘entry’ into a town' (that's the literal translation)
-and Sixth, the Yoga of Bardo, the intermediate state.
Lama Tsong Kapa States that dream yoga and the practices of or associated with intermediate state or Bardo state are parts of the practice of illusory body because the dream body and the physical body during the intermediate state are subtle bodies which exist independently of the physical, corporeal existence of the being, and such bodies are in the nature of subtle wind, subtle energy. Therefore it has a lot of corresponding features to the illusory body and also the practice of the Clear Light of sleep is a part of the practice of illusory body as well.
And the practice of transference of consciousness and resurrection into a dead body are explained together, in conjunction. Transference of consciousness refers to transferring one's consciousness at the point of death into a higher state of existence and ‘Dong-Juk’ which literally means ‘entering into a town', which means resurrection into the dead body, refers to a feat in which a practitioner who has gained such realization is capable of possessing and entering into a fresh corpse, the body of a person newly died. I don't know what karmic links a person who enters into such a body could have with the physical, corporeal body of the dead person, because a physical body of an individual being is a product of the individual's own karmic action, but if we understand, reflect upon certain phenomena which we find within our modern times, such as transplant of heart into another person’s body -if we try to understand that a part of a physical body which used to belong to one individual before could have certain use or karmic links with another individual being, Milarepa also says that the entire essential instructions of Marpa could be summed up in the practices of Generation Stage, inner heat, reliance on an actual physical consort, and understanding of emptiness and experience of Clear Light and illusory body and dream yoga.
In this system, those who maintain that there are more profound and more sophisticated practices in Marpa Lotsawa and Milarepa's tradition, apart from The Six Yogas of Naropa, Lama Tsong Kapa says that it's mere hearsay; one must understand that the essences of the practice of The Six Yogas of Naropa is the practice of MahaMudra. There isn’t any practice of MahaMudra that is not encompassed in The Six Yogas of Naropa. The practice of MahaMudra should not be understood as isolated from The Six Yogas of Narapa unless one defines that only in terms of the common MahaMudra that is common to the Sutra.
Generally speaking, in the practices of the Completion Stage of highest yoga Tantra, first it isindispensable to rely on techniques or methods which allow the person to draw into the central channel the vital energies or Pranas. So the entire practice of highest yoga Tantra Completion Stage could be categorized in two classes, first, the techniques or methods for drawing the winds into the central channel and second, the practices which are recommended to practitioners who engage in them following the entry of winds into the central channel.
So as stated earlier, when the person focuses one’s attention at the lower opening of the Central Channel, by the force of that concentration and visualization, one will be able to draw the winds through that opening.
Although there are many different practices, according to The Six Yogas of Naropa, the vital point through which the winds or energies are drawn into the central channel is the navel channel wheel, and that is done by relying on the practice of Tumo, inner heat, focused on the short-AH and this practice in said to be one of the most recommended ones because it has less side effects. For instance, by concentrating mainly on the channel wheel at the heart, it could have side effects which could cause imbalances in the energies, thus causing nervous breakdown and also focusing one's attention at the lower opening of the central channel, it is also said to have side effects. The one that is emphasized here, by focusing the attention at the navel channel wheel is said to have less side effects.
So Lama Tsong Kapa states that one should rely on such practices as Tumo, focusing one's attention at the short-AH within the navel channel wheel and thus through such concentration and meditation one should be able to draw the winds into the central Channel. Otherwise merely remaining in a meditative equipoise of a non-conceptual nature for a long period of time and gaining certain experiences of bliss should not be confused with the experience of bliss associated with highest yoga Tantra. Such types of bliss could also be derived by relying on the Sutra path, and also nonBuddhist meditative techniques as well. One should not be satisfied with the mere bliss of meditative states alone. In fact, that is not the main aim when one engages in the practice of the Yogas.
Milarepa, when he met Gompopa, Gampopa told Milarepa that he, Gampopa, possessed a very powerful meditative stabilization which brings about a great experience of bliss for a long period of time, a concentration which he could maintain even for many days at a time. But Milarepa responded by saying that such types of meditative stabilization would not get you anywhere: "You should rather concentrate on my short AH, the practice of Tumo, focused on the short AH". Therefore the practice of Tumo is said to be, is reputed to be the foundation stone of the path, according to this system.
Therefore, it is important to understand what that statement means. Lama Tsong Kapa explains that in all the Completion Stage practices, all of them should be based on an experience of simultaneous bliss derived through, as a result of having drawn the winds into the central channel, and it is through Tumo meditation that one will be able to draw the winds, the Pranas, into the central Channel, retain them within the central channel and absorb them within the Central channel.
When the practitioner is able to experience, have the experience of entry, abiding and absorption of winds into the central channel, then the person would be able to retain the melted Bodhicitta drops which flow within the central Channel, would be able to retain them without any emission, without any conscious effort. Such realization is very rare. Such a person who has such realizations will be able to bring about the experience of simultaneous bliss by relying on the external condition of seeking the union of live consort. So it is only when the internal conditions such as the experience of Tumo and so forth is complete that the meditator is recommended to seek the external condition of entering into union with a consort. Due to such experience of great bliss, one would be able to meditate on illusory body during the waking state. And based on the illusory body meditation, one would be able to meditate on Clear Light. Such a practitioner during the sleeping state would be able to maintain the meditation on the illusory nature of the dream. Such a feat could be achieved only if the person is able to gain control over the Clear Light of sleep which precedes the experience of dream. All of these practices, realization could be attained only when the practitioner has succeeded in drawing the winds into the central channel, and such centralization of winds into the central channel is possible through practice of Tumo.
Therefore Tumo is said to be the foundation stone of the path. So if the practitioner is capable of having gained control over the Clear Light of sleep, the person, the individual, will be able to recognize all the signs that are related to the dissolution processes that arise when the level of mind or consciousness comes to a subtler state. So what is meant by gaining control over the Clear Light of sleep is that at that point, the person should not lose awareness. One should be aware that the experience of Clear Light of sleep is arising, and when such a feat is achieved, then the person will be able to manipulate dreams for specific purposes. All of these require a certain amount of realization during the waking state when you have to make conscious efforts and deliberations for manipulating your dreams. Therefore what is crucial is to be able to recognize dream states as dreams. Through such practices, it is possible for the individual to be able to recognize later the intermediate state, or Bardo, as the intermediate State, and then be able to maintain one’s awareness and utilize that for practices, and also special transference of consciousness.
Special transference of consciousness here refers to transference of consciousness [wind energy]. Ordinary transference of consciousness refers to the type of transference which average practitioners could conduct at the point of death by the force of aspiration and motivation, but special transference of consciousness is done by the force of the wind energy. That the ability to draw winds into the central channel and also resurrection into a dead body. To be able to accomplish that feat also requires the entry of the winds into the central channel. Therefore in the practice of The Six Yogas of Naropa it is the practice of Tumo or inner heat which is the foundation stone; unlike in father Tantric practices like Guhyasamaja where you have equivalent practices like Vajra recitation. Lama Tsong Kapa says that if you understand these significances, there is not much difference what types of divisions you make, different listings of the path and so forth, but what is crucial is the understanding of the essential points of the individual paths.
The next outline is the actual practices of the path which has two sub-divisions, the first being the main practices of the path which has two sub divisions: drawing the winds into the central channel and generating the four Joys, which in turn is divided into two, the first being the internal method of Tumo, which in turn is divided into two, the first being the entry of winds into the central channel through Tumo practice. This is further divided into two, the practice of Tumo yoga. It is further divided into three, the first being the visualization of energy channels. First visualize in front of you, in space, all your root Gurus and lineage Gurus surrounded by the heroes and heroines, Dakinis and so on, and make offerings of all your possessions, body and so on, without any sense of attachment or possessiveness and make repeated aspirational prayers, and arrange a meditation seat which is slightly upraised at the rear and put on a meditation belt. Meditational masters recommend the color should correspond to the color of the deity. For instance, in the case of VajraYogini, you could have it red to correspond with the principal deity of the practice. Or you could have it blue.
Posture and Meditation belt length
The length of the meditation belt is said to be, when you make it double, then you could tie it around your head. That is said to be the recommended length. So when you put it on, you should put it around your knees, beneath your knees so that it raises both knees slightly up, so that it protects your knees from any sort of physical pain when sitting for a long time. And then, place your two arms on your shoulders, the left inside and the right outside, crossing at your heart. This physical, posture would form six triangles in your bodily posture, or you could keep your two arms in a meditative position at your heart and the two thumbs joining, touching each other, forming a triangle; that physical posture also forms six triangles. Then you should keep your spine straight and keep your head slightly bent and keep your eyes cast down, looking slightly at the tip of your nose and keep your tongue touching the upper palate of your mouth and keep your teeth and lips in the natural position. Keep both your body and mind attentive and vigorous but not with too much exertion.
Three channels: White, Red and Blue in the Center
Then visualize three channels. First, visualize the central channel. The lower end of the central channel starts about four fingers widths below your Navel and it is slightly closer towards your spine, and visualize the central channel slightly larger and the two side channels slightly thinner. The Central channel blue and the right channel white.. .I think white [karma:right is Red and left is white;Kagur Kalachakra; derge parma, vol 102; page 264]… and I think left channel is red [karma:left is white]. One should understand that the channel as we visualize in the meditations does not imply that the channels do exist exactly as visualize in the meditations, but that does not prevent the experience of realizations we can gain by doing the visualizations. But generally speaking, there do seem to be different channels through which mainly blood flows and some channels through vital energies or Prana flow and also channels which are associated with the flow of regenerative fluids. So when we talk of winds here, what are translated as winds, one should not understand this in terms of ordinary winds. Rather it is a type of energy which propels the different physical elements. So in the two side channels, although many different physical elements do flow within them, these two side channels are associated, one with the red energy and one with the white energy, Bodhicitta drop. And due to that, they are also associated with arise of different sorts of conceptual processes. So when the meditator is capable of gaining certain control over the flow of energies within these channels, automatically the meditator gains control over the thought processes. And through meditation, the meditators eventually need to stop the flow of energies and physical elements within the two side channels.
Chakras: Channel Wheels- Crown, Throat, Heart and Navel
So after having visualized the energy channels, visualize the Channel Wheels, the first at the navel, a triangle which has 64 petals, red Color [and facing upwards]. [letter AH, red, standing, moon crescent, Bindu and Nada]
As explained earlier, the lower opening of the Central Channel ends at the level of about four finger widths below the navel. And then visualize the two side channels, slightly longer than the central channel, about two finger widths longer. And both of these two channels should be visualized as being plugged into the Central Channel at the lower opening.
At the heart, a circular channel wheel with 8 petals, white [and facing downwards. Letter HUM, white, upturned, on a moon disk, almost ready to melt-moist or ice].
At the throat, a circular Channel wheel having 16 petals, red, facing upwards.[Letter OM, standing, red, on moon disk]
At the crown, a triangular Channel wheel, and 32 petals; it is multi-colored, [and facing downwards. Letter HAM, white, upturned, on a moon disk].
At the Centre of the four channel wheels, visualize knots forming at the central channel by the two side channels. The two side-channels sort of form loops and make a knot at these four points.
As for the color of the side Channels, although the Central Channel is said to be blue, during the actual meditation on Tumo the reflection of the flame within the Central channel ignited by the Tumo makes it reddish. So as explained earlier, the Channel wheel at the navel is triangular, has 64 petals, is a red color and the petals are facing upwards.
Letters, colors and directions or positions
The heart channel wheel is circular, in the shape of a syllable HUM, the color is white and the petals are facing downwards. The channel wheel at the throat is circular, has 16 petals, red, facing upwards. The channel wheel at the Crown is triangular, has 32 petals and it is multi-colored; the petals are facing downwards. Therefore you have two sets of channel wheels each facing towards each other, symbolizing the union of method and wisdom.
First visualize these three channels together with the Channel wheels and try to have a very vivid and clear visual image of these channels. It is said it is important to first train in the passage ways of the channels so that you would have a very clear and vivid image of these Channels. So if you are capable of maintaining a vivid image of the appearance of the channel wheels, then you should try to retain as long concentration as possible, but if, in spite of your effort, the Channel petals and so forth do not come about vividly, then first concentrate mainly on the visualization of the three channels and then gradually increase the sphere of your meditation including the channel petals and so on. And it is said that one should not concentrate for long at the heart Channel wheel because it could have interferences, or side effects. The main point is to try to retain one's concentration, particularly at the point where the two side channels are plugged into the central Channel below your navel. And after having done this, visualization of the channel wheels should be done in combination with the physical yoga exercises and hollow body meditation as explained earlier.
The next outline is visualization of the letters. After having visualized the channels and channel wheels, one should visualize the letters within the channel wheels.
Lama Tsong Kapa says that in the root Tantra of HeVajra and also the explanatory Tantra known as the (?) and so on, and also in the writings of Yogacharya and many MahaSiddhas, there is a very strong emphasis on the visualization of letters within the central channel. There are different versions of meditating on the letters within the central channel. The Shorter version would be visualizing single syllables within the four Channel Lama Tsong Kapa refutes the view that it is sufficient merely to visualize the AH at the navel and HAM at the crown. He maintains that it is also necessary to visualize syllables within the throat channel wheel and heart channel wheel as well. This is crucial because when the Bodhicitta drops at the crown melt, then they flow through the central channel, and if you have visualized letters within the channel wheels, then at that point, the melted Bodhicitta which flows within the channels will remain for a while at that particular point, vital points thus inducing experiences of bliss, making the experience of bliss [last] longer.
Now the manner in which you do the meditation is: you should adopt the physical postures and so on as earlier, the preparation should be engaged in as earlier.
The location at which you should visualize the short-AH [is]. At the navel, you should visualize the Short AH. At the heart, the syllable HUM, at the throat OM [and at crown HAM].
The syllable AH is the Short one, and HUM, the long one, and OM [is also] the long version of OM, the recitation of which has composites of AH, U, MA.
And at the crown is HAM.
So the short-AH should be visualized within the channel wheel at the navel, slightly towards, closer to the spine. The short-AH should be visualized in the original Sanskrit letter because it is said to be in the shape of a Tibetan full stop which looks like an upturned throne, and which also looks like a flame. So the Tibetan script known as "Uchin" has a full stop. Or also one "could visualize it in the shape of a red Torma, sort of upturned Tibetan full stop, which looks like an upturned Torma- it is very pointed. So that is the short-AH [with Bindu and Nada].
But the other letters could be visualized in any language, as the letters should be visualized very small, tiny, and it should not be so large that it is coming out of the central channel, nor large enough to constrict the channel. The purpose for which these letters are visualized at these vital points of the body is to draw the winds through that point. Therefore, one should visualize these letters well within the channel and the AH Tung, the short AH, should be visualized also possessing the moon crescent, the drop, the Bindu and the Nada as well. It is red-colored; And at the heart channel wheel, one should visualize well within that Channel wheel a letter HUM. Visualize it on a moon disk, the syllable HUM facing downwards. One should visualize it like ice, sort of moist and almost at the point of dripping. And at the throat channel wheel, well within the channel wheel, visualize on a moon disk, a red OM Standing. In some writings, we find mention of AH, a standing AH there. According to the SamBuddha Tantra, OM is explicitly mentioned, so this is what should be visualized, a red OM standing on a moon disk.
And at the crown, well within the channel wheel on a moon disk, a white HAM facing downwards, so it is an upturned HAM on a moon disk. So the letters OM at the throat and short-AH at the navel should be visualized being in the nature of fire, and both of them are in standing position, and the two other letters, the HAM at the crown and the HUM at the heart are both in an upturned, facing downward position, and they should be seen in the nature of composite of vital drops, Bodhicitta drops. So since they are visualized in order to bring about the experience of melting of the drops, they are visualized in an upturned position because eventually they will be melted through the heat generated from the ignition of the flame. They are visualized facing downwards. Therefore their position and color have correlations or correspondence with the actual meditations.
For all of these four letters, they should be visualized well within the central channel at the points where the two side channels loop around the central channel and form a knot. At the heart, one visualizes six knots, three each formed by the two side channels, and at all the other vital points, are two knots, one each by the side Channels. So the letters should be visualized well within the central channel at the point where these loops are formed. The exact location of those letters within the central Channel is very important. Lama Tsong Kapa then quotes from explanatory Tantras of SamBuddha to explain the exact locations of these letters within the central Channel and also their colors and so on, positions. The Bodhicitta drop at the heart is also known as the ‘Spring Seed’ and the vital drop at the navel is known as the drop, or ‘tigle' and through the meeting or merging of the Spring seed and Tigle, or `Bindu’, the experience of bliss is produced. The reason why the white Bodhicitta drop is called spring seed is because it is the source of the experience of bliss, just as when spring comes, the flowers and leaves starts to bloom, giving joy to people.
Lama Tsong Kapa says that in many writings, although the importance of meditating, visualizing the four letters within the central channel is explained, but there is no explicit identification of the exact location of these, but he thinks it is very important to have a clear idea of the exact location of these letters. Otherwise one will not be able to successfully draw the winds into the central channel. And Lama Tsong Kapa says that, although the short-AH -according to SamBuddha, there is no mention of visualization of Bindu or drop to be visualized along with it, but he thinks it is important. Then he quotas from another text (?) .. in which there is a mention of visualizing all six syllables along with the Bindu drops. SamBuddha says that if you visualize the object of meditation very illuminating and radiant, it will have a special significance of overcoming mental laxity and also your meditative experience should be very lucid and clear. Then the manner in which you should maintain your hold, mental hold on the object of meditation, one should not have the dualistic notion, feeling of Subject and object. Rather one should have the feeling that one’s mind is transfused or mixed with the object of meditation. If you are capable of doing that sort identifying yourself with the object of meditation, then there will not be any sense of duality. And also such meditations should be free of intense exertion and of too much laxity. And the subtler your object of meditation is, the better it is for your realizations, but if you find maintaining your mental hold or focus subtle letters, small letters [is difficult] then you should slightly increase the size. But as you progress in your mental hold of the object, then one should reduce the size of the letters. (end of Cassette #3, beginning of cassette #4)
Generally speaking, mental sinking or laxity comes about when one’s level of mind remains lower and depressed. And the recommended technique which one applies to counteract it is to try to uplift one’s state of mind. Therefore, it is said that if one is capable of, if one is able to gain mental stability out of the experience of bliss at the Tantric meditation, then there is less danger of arising mental laxity. And the meditative experience of Tantra also has less danger of [being] interfered [with] by mental excitement as well because mental excitement arises when the state of mind is too overexcited. But in Tantric meditation, because the practitioner has got one's levels of mind into a rather deep state where the gross levels of conceptual thought processes are no longer present, therefore the meditative single pointedness gained through such practice is less vulnerable to the arise of mental excitement end laxity.
So Lama Tsong Kapa explains that still it is important at the initial stage, since we lack such experiences of bliss, it is important to aware of the arise of mental laxity and excitement. Therefore one’s meditation should be undertaken in a very balanced [way] and in equilibrium between; intensity and laxity. One must also be aware of the fact that the reason why, the purpose for which one engages in the meditation of Tumo is to bring about the experience of the four Joys and that also is done in order to bring about the experience of emptiness. And the experience of the four Joys only comes about when the practitioner is successful in melting the Bodhicitta drops into the channel.
So whatever vital points of the body one pin points although one might have an initial experience of the winds drawing into the Central Channel, but at the initial stage, it would be a partial experience and the flow of energy within the central channel will not he complete. For instance, if energy winds are drawn through the channel opening at the crown, then one experiences joy, but then this would dissipate within the channel Spokes and the flow would not continue down to the throat channel wheel, whereas when ell the knots within the central channel are completely loosened, the experience of the melting of the Bodhicitta would be complete within the central channel. But that experience or realization comes about only at a rather advanced level of completion stage. So, for instance, during our sleep„ before we get into the dream state, we experience the Clear Light of sleep. Therefore we do pass through the dissolution processes which are associated with signs, but they are a rather fleeting experience and we are never aware of them. So at these points we also experience the Four Joys associated with the dissolution process, but without a certain amount of realization of the path, we will not be able to prolong them and still retain our awareness.
Therefore what is vital is to try to achieve the feat of retaining the experience of bliss mixed with Bodhicitta within channel wheels for a prolonged period of time. For instance, by focusing one’s attention primarily at the syllable HAM at the crown, it increases the white Bodhicitta drops which is the source of bliss and then by focusing one's attention at the throat channel wheel, it would have special power for individual to maintain awareness during the dream State, and by focusing one’s attention primarily at syllable HUM at heart, one would be able to gain control over the Clear Light of waking state and dream state. And by focusing one's attention primarily at the short-AH at the navel, one would be able to increase the experience of the ignition of the inner heat at that place.
The next outline is, having visualized the channels and the letters, the third one is the practice of vase breath. As explained earlier first one should maintain awareness and concentration on the three channels. The practice of vase breath is also found in non-Buddhist Tantrism. And perhaps, I think they also have visualization of the Channel Wheels and so on, so as explained earlier first maintain the awareness and concentration on the vivid appearance of the Channels and then maintain your concentration at the point where the three Channels meet, at the lower opening of the central channel. And then maintain your attention on the four letters within the channel, particularly on the abort AH within the navel Channel Wheel. So in order to have the winds enter the central channel, first of all it is very important to identify the exact location through which the energies flowing through the two side channels are brought into the central channel.
Simply meditating on the vase breath is not enough? It is very important to have unmistaken identification of the location. Once you are successful in identifying the exact location of the point which the energy winds are drawn into, then you would be able to have successful realizations of the Tumo practice. So if your mental hold or attention on the letter at the naval Channel wheel is stable and firm, than since the energies that propel the consciousness function in a similar manner, therefore the stronger your concentration at that level, at that point would be, the greater the entry of the wind into the Central channel would be.
Lama Tsong Kapa says that, in many writings such as Heruka Tantra, and also SamBuddha and so forth, there is no explicit mention of the need for practicing or maintaining the vase breath, but rather simply through maintaining one's mental concentration on the syllables at those points, it is possible to ignite the inner heat and have the experience of melted Bodhicitta. Therefore vase breathe meditation is something that is not indispensable, but Tibetan masters of Tumo practice have recommended it, and by engaging in the practice of vase breath, it does seem to have a certain advantage of making the progress of drawing the winds into the central channel through the experience of Tumo more rapid, quicker.
The vase breath meditation is composed of four steps. The physical postures and so forth which have to be maintained are similar to as explained before. The time when this vase breath should be practiced according to (Berpugmandu’s ??) commentary. It is recommended to be undertaken when there is equal force of respiration through the two nostrils, but that doesn’t mean that one shouldn't undertake it. One could undertake it during both daytime and nighttime. But at the initial stage, there is an advantage if you start the vase breath meditation at a point when there is equal force of breathing through both nostrils. If you are doing it seriously, try to see that there is no blockage of the nostrils, either out of illness, natural illness or it is artificially blocked. So when your nostrils are clear, then if you examine carefully, you will be able to observe the force of respiration. Lama Tsong Kapa has mentioned in his commentary on the Five Stages of Tantra, that it is quite difficult for us to observe the change in the force of the flow through the different nostrils. But because there are two conflicting explanations, one according to Kalachakra Tantra and one according to Guhyasamaja Tantra, Kirti Lobsang Gyatso (?) has mentioned in one of his writings that he has examined it and he has observed that the one explained in the Kalachakra Tantra is said to be true. And Kirti Lobsang Gyatso was a great meditator, a highly realized person, and I don’t think he would go to the extent of telling lies. There is also a story where Lama had an attendant and Lama asked him, "Has the dawn broken?" and the attendant said, "No, it’s still dark", and the Lama Said, "Well, don’t tell me a lie; I can find it out through the process of breathing." So it seems it is possible to detect the change that takes place in the force of the flow of breathing through the two nostrils.
So the first of the four steps that comprise meditation of the vase breath, the first one is the inhalation. You should not inhale through your mouth, but rather through your nostrils, not forcibly but rather gently and deeply. The second Step is to retain the breath within your channel, upon having inhaled, you should retain it; within and then imagine that when you breathe through the two nostrils, imagine that it sort of pumps up the two side channels and imagine that the two side channels are filled. And the third step is to dissipate or disseminate the winds. So at the point when the two side channels are filled with the breath, then imagine that they enter through the central channel from the lower opening where the two side channels are plugged into the central channel. At that point swallow saliva without making any noise, and imagine that the saliva you have swallowed presses down through the two side channels, the winds. And then from the lower parts of your body, draw upwards gently the downward moving wind at the level of the short AH, and retain your concentration on the short-AH as long as possible. So that is the third Step.
The meaning of the vase breath is that you have to maintain, mix the two winds at the level of your navel, forming a kind of an enclosure, enclosing the short-AH within it like a statue within an amulet box.
Lama Tsong Kapa says that, except for a few exceptional cases, one should first draw upwards the downward voiding wind, and then visualize the winds drawn from upwards, thus forming an enclosure at the level of the navel. So when you have drawn both the upward moving wind and the downward moving wind, one should visualize at the level of your navel but rather one should not have the notion of your entire body being filled with wind like a fully blown balloon. The point is that at the level where you have visualized the short-AH letter, one should visualize the two winds meeting and forming a kind of enclosure and enclosing the short-AH within it. So it is at that point the life supporting wind, the life-bearing wind and the downward-voiding wind are mixed.
Generally speaking, when the two side channels are blocked, then the central channel opens up, and when the central channel is blocked, it is the two side channels become filled and open.
The fourth step is shooting up like an arrow. When you come to a point where you can't retain the breath any longer, you should imagine experiencing a type of bliss, and the wind energy within the central channel sort of dissipating within the central channel, but one should not visualize the energy emerging out of the crown. What is important is that when you find it impossible to retain the breath any longer, when you find it uncomfortable, it is very important to release the breath and not to try to force your attention any longer. At that point, although one might be able to retain, but if it is done forcibly, then instead of having the benefits, it would have more harm. This could also have the negative consequence of drawing the winds not into the central channel but into the side channels. Lama Tsong Kapa also says that it is possible on certain occasions that, due to such experiences, one might experience certain types of bliss at the point of the navel, but attainment of these experiences of bliss are not genuine experience of the entry of the winds into the central channel. What is vital is to try to achieve a realization where the moment you focus your attention at the navel, the energy winds would naturally abide at that point. It is from that point that one should try to prolong one’s meditative session. So it is important to understand the appropriateness of the length of duration of one's meditation and retention of the vase breath and so on. So the vase breath meditation there are different techniques both peaceful and violent and forcible techniques as well. But the preferred method is the peaceful one. So while maintaining the vase breath, one should extend one's meditation by visualizing the other syllables at the heart, throat and HAM and visualize the melted Bodhicitta drops flowing from the HAM where the HAM is melted, flowing through the channel wheels at the throat, and then heart, and eventually into the short-AH at the navel, which intensifies the heat of the short-AH, thus increasing the flame of the Tumo, inner heat. So one should, meditate on the short-AH at the navel until one obtains certain indications of success in one’s practice.
Now the next outline is the process of entry, abiding and absorptions of winds into the central channel through the Tumo practice. Many of these writings such as the commentaries of The Six Yogas of Naropa and Lama Tsong Kapa’s commentary on The Five Stages and his commentaries on the Completion Stage of Chakrasamvara -all of these appear as writings which were composed when Lama Tsong Kapa himself had the general experiences of the realizations that he was talking about in the texts.
As a result of maintaining the physical posture and penetrating the vital points of the body and also maintaining one's mental hold or concentration at the vital points, gradually when one examines at the upper opening of the central channel, particularly at the nostrils, one will find that, as a sign or indication of having the winds enter into the central channel, you would find that the force of breathing coming through the two nostrils becomes the same, well balanced and not just once or twice fleeting experiences, but rather when the balanced force of breathing through the two nostrils continues for a long time, it is an indication that the wind energies have entered into the Central Channel. But although you have this indication of the energy winds having entered the central channel, that doesn’t mean the energy winds would permanently flow within the channel. It would he just an occasional experience which has to be stabilized and prolonged. So when the meditator has such indication, it is from that point one should put more emphasis and undertake one's more intensively. And when entry of the winds into the central channel becomes firm and stable, then eventually even the subtle respiration will completely cease. Milarepa has said in one of his writings that when the energies flowing through the two side channels enter into the central channel, one experiences bliss and eventually the respirations will cease.
At the initial stage when the meditator is engaging in the Completion Stage practices, it is only the gross level of the energy winds which cease, but still there are subtle energies which enable the ignition of the inner heat, and thus melting the Bodhicitta at the crown, and so on. But when the meditator eventually experiences death like Clear Light, then even the subtle levels of winds, energy winds, which have a propelling force, will have ceased as well. It is at that point that, although there are no energies which propel the experience of consciousness, but due to the force of the determination which the meditator has developed prior to the experience of such Clear Light, the meditative experiences come about naturally by the force of habituation or familiarity with the process. For instance, when the experience of the Four Joys of upward reversal order is experienced, all the Four Joys associated with that experience are of the subtlest nature, so there are no propelling winds or energies at that point. And such experiences come about due to the force of habituation and a long period of familiarity with the process.
Dogtong (?) Lotsawa has mentioned in his commentary on Kalachakra Tantra, Kalachakra are (?) that certain types of energies are still present in the body of a dead person. So this energy, the brain’s energy within the dead body, allows the process through which the body goes through the changes.
For, even in .the case of having the experience of complete cessation of respiration through the nostrils, there are two types. For certain individuals for whom entry of the winds and absorption of winds into the Central channel is difficult, even at that point when one has the experience of total cessation of the respiration, one will have certain side effects like the wind energies remaining within the abdomen and the abdomen becoming larger. And it is also such experience of total cessation of respiration is also possible for people who have accumulated subtle laxities. So the indication or sign for a genuine experience of the absorption of wind into the Central Channel is that respiration through the nostrils is completely ceased and also there is no movement within the abdomen. But I don't know how one could have movement within the abdomen if there is no respiration.
If the meditator has not been able to successfully identify the exact location of the short-AH within the navel Channel wheel and then has skill persisted in his meditation on the vase breath, entry of winds could take place not into the central channel but in the two side channels.
And then the duration or period, length, during which one should be able to retain the vase breath according to the tradition is that you touch with your right palm your two knees once and then snap six times and then again. Repeat the process for about 108 or so on. Although the instruction explains that one should snap six times, but if you start counting, then all your concentration will be spent on counting, so the best thing is to touch your two knees and then your forehead and then snap. As Lama Tsong Kapa said in his great expositions of the Tantra, advanced meditators can hold for 108 repetitions, middling for 72, and leaser meditators for 36 repetitions.
March 24, 1990 H.H. the Dalai Lama; The Six Yogas of Naropa
Great skillful master Buddha ShakyaMuni has taught various means and methods of actualizing the resultant state of Buddha hood such as the Sutra system which emphasizes the practice of the Six Perfections and then the Tantric approach which outlines techniques for employing negative emotions such as desire and so forth into the entity of the path. It is the latter category, the highest yoga Tantra, the most sophisticated and refined of techniques, in which the entire practice could be contained within the practice of the four empowerments: the vase empowerment, the secret empowerment, the wisdom empowerment, and the word empowerment. The practices of these four empowerments are contained in the practice of the two stages: Generation and Completion.
In order to achieve successful realization based on one’s practice, one must first have a good understanding of the entire process of the path. For that, the study of a text which outlines the essential points of the path is crucial. The text on which these teachings are being based are The Six Yogas of Naropa composed by Lama Tsong Kapa in which the practice of Tumo is taken as the foundation stone. It is the practice of Tumo which is most crucial in the practice of the mother Tantra. Its equivalent in the father Tantra is the practice of Prana Yoga or the Energy Wind Yoga, whereas in the mother Tantra the emphasis is placed mainly on the practice of the inner fire or the Tumo. Its source in the original Tantra could be found mainly in the HeVajra Tantra. So this commentary by Lama Tsong Kapa on The Six Yogas of Naropa could be seen essentially as a very extensive guide on the practice of Tumo. One could say that this guide by Lama Tsong Kapa on the practice stands out as the king among all of the texts that give the instructions on the practice of Tumo. Lama Tsong Kapa has given the explanation on the practice of Tumo in its wider context in relation to other aspects of the Tantric path as explained in such major treatises as the Guhyasamaja Tantra and so on. So please listen to this teaching with the proper motivation influenced by the altruistic aspiration to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.
Now the point where we left yesterday is the experience of the four Joys following the entry of winds into the central channel, which has three subdivisions, the first being the arisal of signs associated with the process of the dissolution of the elements and the ignition of the Tumo flame as we discussed yesterday, first starting from the visualization of one's body as hollow, and training in the passageways of the channels, and the visualization of the three channels and the channel wheels visualizing the letters, holding vase breath, and also engaging in the physical yoga exercises and so on, and also the ignition of the Tumo flame which blazes the syllable HAM at the crown and dripping the Bodhicitta drops from that. So due to these practices, the more intense one’s experience of joy or bliss becomes, the deeper one's withdrawal of the gross levels of mind or conceptions would be.
So when you experience the entry of the winds into the Central channel, one would experience certain signs associated with the dissolution process. There are four principle signs such as: the mirage-like vision, the smoky vision, the fire flies like vision and the butter lamp like vision. Subsequently to the experience of these four visions one experience a sort of clear sky like vision so that the four initial signs associated with the dissolution of the four elements (the elements of earth, water, fire, and wind). Lama Tsong Kapa says that there are three views about the experience of these different visions current under the Tibetan masters, but he says that he recommends the third one; he thinks the third one is the preferred one, in which the visions are said to be similar to that of the appearance of smoke, mirage and so on.
Due to the force of the entry of the winds into the central channel, one would also have different degrees of the experience of these visions. Also due to the difference in the force of the melting of the Bodhicitta drops, and also the force of the entry of the winds, and also due to the degree of familiarity with the process of dissolution, due to these different conditions and factors, different individuals will have various degrees of the experience of this vision, some very powerful and some less. Also, individuals could have different visions, for some more extensive or pervasive, for some less, Also for some more stable, and for some less. I think it is also possible at the initial stages for experience of the four visions may not be in their proper order. But gradually as you progress on the path, as you advance in your realizations, then the experiences will be much more ordered, also stable. Lama Tsong Kapa also says that the experience of these visions which is associated with the dissolution process could be . . . (gap in tape) . . . some possible not only for some practitioners who have succeeded in drawing winds into the central channel, but also for some who have attained certain high levels of meditative experience of non-conceptuality. Therefore Lama Tsong Kapa says it's important for practitioners to be able to discriminate between the two.
For those who experience the dissolution signs due to the force of the entry of the winds into the central channel, Lama Tsong Kapa says there are three types of experiences: one is initial, second one is, although genuine but very occasional, and not stable, which is just a sign of occasional entry of the winds into the central channel, but the more advanced one is the one in which the winds have really absorbed into the central channel. When the element of earth dissolves into the element of water, one experiences the mirage-like vision. When the water element dissolves, it is smoky and so on. The meaning of the earth element dissolving into the water and the water element dissolving into the fire, and so on, generally speaking, these four elements, within them the earlier ones are said to be comparatively closer compared to the later. So the meaning of the earth element dissolving into the water element is that when the power or force of the earth element diminishes, the power and force of the water element becomes more obvious and manifests and that's the meaning of first stating that the earth element dissolves into the water element. And eventually, the wind element dissolves into consciousness or mind and then eventually the consciousness dissolves into the space, the experience of which is known as the experience of the great empty or Clear Light.
The fire flies like vision is similar to the type of sparks or fire which you can see during the night when there are fireworks. The Butter lamp like vision refers to a type of glow which you can see when there is a butter lamp which is not disturbed by wind. It's a very stable glow. Abi Sharab (?) Gyatso, in his commentary on Guhyasamaja and Chakrasamvara, says that this butter lamp like vision refers to a type of vision which one has when you place a butter lamp within a sort of a hollow shaft or tube and then you see a glow reflecting on the ceiling. Since there is no disturbance of wind, the reflection on the ceiling is very stable and glowing. I think this description is pretty nice because during the fire flies like vision there is a sort of fluctuation of sparks and then in the next stage there is no fluctuation, so there is this stable glow-like vision. So these are visions which are associated with the dissolution of the gross levels of mind and energy winds. So just as when we have gold mixed with sand or small pebbles, after having cleared away the sand, what is left [behind]would be the gold. In the same manner, through the dissolution processes, due to meditation and also a strong force of intention which you make at the beginning of your meditation session, at that point a separation takes place between the gross levels of mind and energy and the subtler consciousness.
Lama Tsong Kapa says that when the dissolution process takes place, it is natural for the inner heat at the navel to be ignited. So when we talk of ignition of Tumo fire, it is important to understand different types of the ignition of Tumo. Generally speaking there are two different types of Tumo fire being ignited. One is ignition of the Tumo from within the navel channel wheel and also from the secret organ and there is also the experience of ordinary Tumo, the experience of which comes about from outside the central channel. Also the manner in which the heat is experienced, one could be rather superficial sort of bursts of heat, but other type of experiences are kind of slow deeply felt prickly heat. So for the practitioners of Tumo, one should not be satisfied with just a mere statement that Tumo fire should be ignited, but rather one should examine and analyze what types of Tumo fire could be ignited and in what manner and in what intensity and so on. Such discriminations could be made only at the feet of an experienced master who himself has experienced the ignition of the Tumo fire.
Lama Tsong Kapa says that if you had the experience of the ordinary Tumo being ignited, which takes place outside the central channel, there is no guarantee that the Bodhicitta drop at the crown could be melted. Also, there is a danger of causing certain physical imbalances of the elements within one’s body causing illnesses like jaundice and fever. Although here this text explains that as a consequence of the ignition of ordinary Tumo, illnesses such as jaundice increase. The Tibetan term for Jaundice is “Tripa”. But in Lama Tsong Kapa’s commentary, he mentions "tikpa" which means sexual desire. So I think both could be taken to be correct.
Where as if the experience of the Tumo is genuine and takes place within the central channel, then it is guaranteed that the heat induced by the experience of Tumo ignition would cause the melting of the Bodhicitta drops and, therefore, it would increase the red and white elements. The more intense the flame burns, the greater the melting of the Bodhicitta drop will be, and the greater: the melting of the Bodhicitta drop will be, the greater the flame of the Tumo will become. Therefore, the experience of the two, the melting of the Bodhicitta drop and the blazing of the Tumo fire, would be mutually complementary.
The next outline is the experience of four Joys induced by the melting of Bodhicitta drops. When the melting of the Bodhicitta drops takes place or is experienced, it flows through the central channel through the four Channel Wheels starting from the crown, descending down the channel wheel at the throat, then at the heart, then at the navel, and eventually, at the tip of the sexual organ. The flow of the melted Bodhicitta drops at these four points of the body throat, heart, navel and secret organ, are accompanied with the experience of the Four Joys, the first joy, then second, great joy, the third, the extraordinary joy, the fourth, the simultaneously generated joy. Lama Tsong Kapa says that when the Bodhicitta drops melt and flow through the central channel, it flows together with the red Bodhicitta drops as well. The experience of the Joys-individually, each of them has four parts associated with the melting of the white drops and three parts associated with the melting of the red drops.
When the flow of the melted Bodhicitta drops is reversed upwards from the tip of the sexual organ back to the crown, the four joys associated with the reversal order are said to be more intense and superior to the experience of the four Joys undergone when the Bodhicitta flows downwards.
Lama Tsong Kapa says that, generally speaking, for both practitioners of the path and those who are not practitioners of the path, in order to experience the melting of the Bodhicitta drops, ignition of the Tumo at both the navel and the secret place has to take place. For ordinary people it is the factors which give rise to the experience of sexual climax and for practitioners it gives rise to the experience of the Joys. Therefore, one should understand that the mere ignition of the Tumo fire, in order to melt the Bodhicitta, does not require the entry of the energy winds into the central channel.
Also Lama Tsong Kapa says that for it is possible for some practitioners, without having the energy winds enter into the central channel, to experience the melting of the Bodhicitta drops during meditation. In such experiences, when the actual melting of the Bodhicitta takes place that is not due to the entry of the winds into the central channel, then the lower the flow of the melted Bodhicitta drops goes, the more difficult it would be for the individual to retain the melted drops and prevent its emission. Therefore for such individuals it is very important to try to employ techniques to reverse the flow of the melted drops before they fall too low. Especially once the drops get to the tip of the sexual organ, it is impossible for the individual to retain them without emission.
But for the practitioners who experience the melted Bodhicitta brought about by the entry of the winds into the central channel, there is no such danger because the practitioner will have the capacity to prevent any emission.
Lama Tsong Kapa says that the main purpose for bringing about the experience of melted Bodhicitta through the force of the Tumo fire due to practice is to generate the experience of the wisdom of simultaneous generation. For that it is vital to have that melted Bodhicitta drop flow at least until the point of the navel. Particularly when it reaches the tip of the sexual organ, the individual practitioner should be able to retain it without having any emission.
Therefore, the wisdom of Simultaneous Generation of the completion stage comes about only as a result of the energy winds not only entering into the central Channel, but also absorbing within it. For such practitioners, since the energy winds which normally propel the elements within one's body have already ceased therefore even if the melted Bodhicitta has reached the tip of the sexual organ, there wouldn't be any force which could propel it to cause emission.
Lama Tsong Kapa says that, generally speaking, due to the different propensities and physiological structures of the individuals, there are different people. For some, the experience of the entry of the winds is more difficult whereas the experience of the melting of the Bodhicitta drops is easier. Therefore, for some, the experience of the Four Joys is easier as compared to the experience of the four Empties. For these individuals for whom the melting of the Bodhicitta comes about easily, it is important to be aware of the fact that when the actual experience of the melting of the Bodhicitta takes place; to try to reverse the flow of the melted Bodhicitta up from within the central channel. The lower it reaches within the central channel, the more difficult it is to reverse it later.
There are different techniques for reversing the flow of the melted Bodhicitta; some are gentler and more peaceful and others are more forcible and direct. The gentler one is trying to reverse the flow of the melted Bodhicitta due to the force of visualization. If you have to use the more forcible method because you can’t reverse it only through visualization, then you will have to engage in physical exercises, yoga exercises, generating oneself into the aspect of a deity.
Be seated in VajraSana position that is, crossed leg [karma: VajraSana and cross leg(lotus) are two different postures!], and with both your hands press your abdomen towards the wall and then glance upward strongly. All your fingers and toes should be drawn inwards or folded. Then focus your attention strongly on the syllable HAM at your crown and recite the syllable HUM [?] twenty one times and imagine the melted Bodhicitta drops reversing; returning to their principle location, that is the crown. Then imagine that the reversed Bodhicitta drops disseminated throughout your channels within your body. Then shake your body just as sheep and goats when they come out of water shake their entire body. That's how one should reverse and disseminate the melted Bodhicitta. It's a rather forcible technique and if this technique is not employed properly it could have some undesirable side effects.
The next outline is meditation on the wisdom of simultaneous generation. As earlier, when the experience of Bodhicitta melting takes place and the flow of the Bodhicitta reaches the tip of the sexual organ as I explained during the empowerment, the explanations on the experience of the joys, ...ging(?) the tip of the sexual organ was based on the main practitioner. Recently I had some discussions on the question of the Prana Yoga and the melting of the Bodhicitta drops with some non-Buddhist, Hindu, scholars and they also told me that, according to their explanations, so far as the experience of the joys associated with the melting of the Bodhicitta is concerned, there is no difference between male and female practitioners. So this explanation here, talking about the tip of the sexual organ, is based on a male practitioner.
When the flow of the melted Bodhicitta reaches the tip of the sexual organ, it is retained there without emission. It is at that point one should try to reflect upon one’s understanding of emptiness and enjoin that understanding of emptiness with the experience of bliss. One should try to remain in that meditative equipoise, focusing upon the experience of bliss and emptiness as long as possible. At the initial stage, when you are undertaking the practice related to the dissolution processes, it is said that your visualization should have three attributes: one is that you should be aware of the actual dissolution process at that point, and you should have the mindfulness that the next vision will follow, and also have the recollection that the certain experience has already proceeded. As you advance, then during the dissolution process, one would attain one’s mental concentration totally absorbed in the understanding of emptiness.
Until one reaches such an advanced level, one’s meditation related to the dissolution process should have the three attributes or mindfulness: the present vision, the vision which already had taken place, and the vision which is about to take place.
When the dissolution process reaches the final point, that is the experience of the Clear Light, it is at that point, just prior to entering the actual experience of Clear Light that one should reflect upon emptiness recollect one’s understanding of emptiness, whatever understanding you have of emptiness. Due to the force of that recollection, the experience of joy you have will be able to become a wisdom realizing emptiness and that is the meaning conjoining bliss and emptiness.
Wisdom realizing emptiness and the experience of bliss become two attributes of the entity of one consciousness. That is how one engages in the meditative stabilization of wisdom that is the union of bliss and emptiness.
Lama Tsong Kapa has said in his commentary on the Five Stages of Contemplation that the type of understanding of emptiness that is to be conjoined with the experience of great bliss in Tantra should at least be that of Yoga Charini [karma: Yogacharan] view or Madhyamika view of emptiness. Even if you don't have the understanding of emptiness, you should try to place your mind and mental concentration in an equipoise manner in the experience of bliss as long as possible. Lama Tsong Kapa has mentioned in his commentary on the Five stages that practitioners who have reached a certain level but a profound understanding of emptiness, but still have the experience of great bliss, it is a highly commendable experience. As far as the view of emptiness is concerned, the actual objective view of emptiness, there is no difference between Sutra and Tantra. However, what is different between Sutra and Tantra is the subjective experience of the view. The subjective wisdom that realizes emptiness the Tantra is superior and different from that of the Sutra system. According to the Sutra system it is the ordinary, conceptual level of mind which realizes emptiness, whereas in the Tantra it is the innate mind of Clear Light which perceives emptiness. So from the viewpoint of the subjective experience, there does seem to be differences in the view between Sutra and Tantra.
Right from the initial stage, the beginner’s level, it is quite important to try to have the experience of non-conceptuality by withdrawing the gross level of mind, bringing about a separation between the gross level of mind which pollutes our fundamental mind, and try to experience the non-conceptual mind. When we reflect within and try to explain the nature of our mind, we find that within our mind there is a never ending chain of fluctuating thoughts, one following the other. We find as if our conceptual thoughts really sort of covers or views the essential mind. Due to that, most of our conscious mind is distracted toward external objects and takes upon the aspect of the object which it perceives. Therefore it never has any time to return to its natural state and reflect upon itself. Unless we put a conscious and deliberate stop to the processes of these thoughts, the thoughts will not naturally cease. So when we try to do that consciously and deliberately and succeed in doing that, what we experience is a sense of emptiness, a sense of absence. At that point I think it is possible to have a clearer and more vivid experience of the mind. Particularly for the practitioners of MahaMudra, it is very important to prepare one's mind through such practices.
The conceptual thought processes are like waves or bubbles which come from mind and it is in this sphere of mind that they have to return. This type of meditation is not that difficult. It's only because we neglect it. But rather, if we make the effort, I think that this meditation is not that difficult. Through such meditation it is possible to have a clearer image and understanding of consciousness and mind and therefore, giving us a very great advantage when later engaging in the meditation on the ultimate nature of the mind. That's how one should undertake the meditation during the meditative session or equipoise.
Next Lama Tsong Kapa explains how to carry on one's meditation during the intervals between two sessions and after session periods. Even in our daily lives, when we are happy, whatever we see around us is okay and quite nice, also we see people around us as kind and good. But on the other hand, if we are angry and cross, we see even our friends and we find them rather disturbing. In the similar manner, if you have had a successful experience of great bliss during the meditative equipoise, when you wake up or when you get out of the meditative you will be able to extend that experience of bliss toward all the external environment and sentient beings within it. But Lama Tsong Kapa says that, that alone is not enough. One should be able to perceive entire environment and the sentient beings within it as manifestations of the union of bliss and emptiness. One should be able to perceive every event and every phenomenon as arising or emerging out of emptiness. And when one is able to perceive everything in the nature of emptiness then since during the meditative equipoise you have been able to employ the blissful state of mind in realizing emptiness, during the after-session periods or interval times, you will be able to perceive, just as all things are manifestations or creations of emptiness. In the same manner they are in the nature of great bliss and are manifestations or creations of that bliss.
It is very clear that all sentient beings are products or creations of innate mind of Clear Light. Appearances of the impure phenomena, such as the cycle of birth and death and so forth, all of them come about from the source of this Clear Light when the innate mind of Clear Light goes through a reversal cycle from Clear Light; on to black near-attainment to increase to appearance and then on to the eighty indicative conceptions and so on. It is such a manner that the entire process of the cycle of life and death begins. Thus, one should undertake the practice of the wisdom of simultaneous generation during the meditative session and also after session periods combined with the meditation on Tumo, vase breath and also the experience of the Four Joys.
The next outline is the external method of relying on an action seal. (This outline has been placed somewhere up but it should come down here). The external method of relying on an action seal-- action seal refers to the live consort or partner. Generally speaking, action seals are of different types, such as the view born, the mantra born, and the Simultaneously Generated consort. One should seek the partner appropriate to one's mental capacity, mental propensity, and realizations, and the partner should also possess certain qualifications. In all these cases it's very important on the part of the practitioner seeking such a partner to possess all the necessary qualifications; otherwise it could create bad examples and could perhaps lead people to justify getting disrobed on the pretext of seeking consorts. That would be like a fox jumping where a lion jumps.
For these practitioners who have not reached to such an advanced level where the reliance on a live consort is warranted, in such cases one must rely on a wisdom consort which refers to the visualized consort.
(end of Cassette #4 and end of day's teachings)
The outline is the practice of Clear Light and illusory body based on the generation of Four Joys. First, general discussion on the practices of the remaining paths in reliance on Tumo meditation, Lama Tsong Kapa says that in the instructions related to the Six Yogas of Naropa, there is a very explicit mention the entry of the winds into the central channel for the meditation of Tumo, there is no explicit mention of one's experience of the illusory body and Clear Light based on such realization; but the fact that they are necessary is very clear from the statement that Tumo meditation is the foundation stone in the practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa. Tumo being the foundation stone indicates that there are other subsequent parts which must be built on the basis of Tumo realization. But such procedures of the path are not explicitly found in the instructions related to the Six Yogas of Naropa. Lama Tsong Kapa says that he will explain them in detail.
As explained earlier, the practices related to Clear Light and illusory body have their sources in the Guhyasamaja Tantra and generally speaking there are two major traditions related to the practice of Guhyasamaja, one is that of the Nagarjuna school and Ashhesha. until one experiences the entry, abiding, and absorption of the energy winds within the central channel, there is no possibility of being able to achieve the meditative stabilizations of the three appearances (white appearance, red increase, and black near-attainment) which are realizations related to isolated mind. During the experience of isolated mind there is the experience of the Four Empties. Particularly when one experiences the illusory body, the experience of Clear Light takes place at that point.
It is only after a complete experience of the isolated mind that one attains the genuine illusory body and instructions related to the practice of illusory body and Clear Light are found in other writings of Marpa Lotsawa and his followers, particularly those related to the practices of the Five Stages. Although such instructions are not explicitly found in the text related to the Six Yogas of Naropa these practices are found in other writings of Marpa Lotsawa and should be incorporated here.
Stages of the dissolution of consciousness, technically known as Appearance, Red Increase, and Black Near-Attainment, are likened to the vision of cloudless space pervaded by moonlight, sunlight, and total darkness. It is only after the experience of these three levels of the dissolution of mind associated with the three visions that one attains the illusory body. Lama Tsong Kapa says that for the identification of the illusory body, particularly the meaning of its illusory nature, there has been some misunderstanding in the part with Tibetan masters. Many limit their understanding of illusory nature to the one that is common to both Sutra and Tantra. Also some interpret the meaning of illusory nature here to the experience of perceiving all appearances as manifestations of the deities and the external environment as Mandala. That is the type of appearances one develops during the Generation Stage, but not of the Completion Stage. Lama Tsong Kapa mentioned that as for these different interpretations and the misunderstandings that they have caused, these have been treated in detail extensively by Lama Tsong Kapa in his commentary on the Five Stages of Completion and also in his commentary the Completion of the Five Stages on one meditative Seed.
Lama Tsong Kapa says that it is important to have a proper understanding of the different types of recognition of dreams as dreams that different individuals have. If the recognition of dreams as dreams is gained through the force of the Prana yoga by gaining control over the energy winds, then during the actual sleeping stage one will be able to experience and still maintain the awareness of the Clear Light of sleep. But there are also cases where practitioners prior to going to sleep engage in a meditative stabilization and during the sleep are still able to maintain that continuum of the meditative stabilization.
Often people mistake that as the awareness of Clear Light of sleep. The Clear Light of sleep and also dreams are both recognized by the force of the entry of the winds into the central channel, then the experience of recognizing the Clear Light of sleep as sleep would he obtained first and then the recognition of dreams as dreams would ensue. And once that is attained, due to the force of one's intention during the dream state one will be able to assume dream bodies and travel to desired places. There are also other practitioners such as ourselves for whom the entry of the winds into the central channel has not taken place but due to the force of intention it is possible to train in such a manner so that we would be able to recognize dreams as dreams and during the waking state to have a stable meditative state, thus enabling is to generate a sleep into meditative states of mind. Such types of realization are sometimes also termed as having the experience of Clear Light of sleep but it's just termed as such but it's not a genuine experience of the awareness of Clear Light of sleep but during the waking state due to both the external and internal condition if one has been successful in having the experience of entry, abiding and absorption[karma: ཞུགས་གནས་ཐིམ།] of energy winds within the central channel, and then giving rise to the experience of the Four Joys and thus leading to the experience where all the appearances are perceived as manifestations of the union of bliss and emptiness, then the individual will be able to assume illusory body.
Lama Tsong Kapa raises a question here. In addition to the practice of the Four Joys and illusory body the practitioner should resort to practices such as manipulating the Clear Light of sleep and training in the awareness of the illusory nature of dreams, particularly pinpointing at the two channel wheels, heart and throat channel wheels, we need to resort to such practices. Lama Tsong Kapa responds saying that, for human beings on this planet, due to the physiological structures of our body, there are certain occasions such as deep sleep and dream state during which comparatively deep levels of dissolution processes do take place, particularly during the sleep state. The natural dissolution of energy winds, withdrawal of energy winds, so because the process is natural, if that practitioner, by the force of meditation utilized that and take advantage of it, one would have successful practice which would intensify one's other practices, thus enabling to expedite the process of drawing the winds within the central channel during the awakened state. Lama Tsong Kapa has mentioned in one of his writings that it is possible for meditators by relying on such practices to attain even the completely enlightened state without having to rely on a live consort. In short, the greater one’s control or manipulation of Clear Light of sleep would be, the more effect it will have on the practices during the awakened state. They will be mutually complimentary. And also of course such practitioners, if the individual is not able to attain the completely enlightened state within this lifetime but at the point of death one's awareness of the Clear Light experience would be far greater compared to ordinary people. Therefore manipulating the Clear Light of sleep by focusing one’s attention at the heart channel wheel is very important. For such practitioners, even if the practitioner, due to the exhaustion of one’s karmic action, has to cease his or her physical existence and die, at that point one will be much better equipped in retaining one’s awareness during the experience of the Clear Light of death and manipulate it and utilize it into positive, practical purposes. And through the training in the illusory nature of dreams, which involves assuming dream bodies, because of that familiarity during the intermediate state the practitioner will be able to maintain his or her awareness and utilize that state during which one's physical body is very subtle, and he able to utilize and manipulate that intermediate state of existence for one's practices. Therefore, both the practices related to the Clear Light of sleep and dream, illusory nature of dreams, are very important and beneficial.
The next outline is individual practices of the specific paths. Lama Tsong Kapa mentions that the illusory body and Clear Light during the waking state and Clear Light during the sleep state and so forth should be understood as explained earlier, but slightly varied instructions on the practices of these two paths, illusory body and Clear Light, according to the instructions of this particular lineage. Therefore, he will explain them separately. The first one is the practices on illusion (not illusory body or nature). It is explained in three subdivisions, the first being meditation on the illusory nature of appearance. So as explained earlier, during the meditative session the practitioner has successfully placed his or her concentration on understanding emptiness and understanding of Suchness, later conjoined with the experience of bliss in indivisible manner, when the practitioner gets out of the meditative equipoise, the awareness of the emptiness would be very vivid, and whatever appearances, be it external environment or sentient beings, all of the appearances will appear in the aspect of the meditational deities and celestial mansions. Certain instructions of this lineage recommends the practitioner to develop this experience of illusory nature particularly in an environment in a meditation cell which has no windows, just a ventilation (opening) above in the ceiling. The illusory nature being spoken of here is that of all phenomena, although lacking inherent existence, but still projects appearance of solid and independent existence. So just as the illusions which are created by the magicians due to the aggregations of many conditions when the illusion is created, so forth as the appearance of such as Horses and Oxen and Cows and so forth are concerned, the appearance is very vivid, but at the same time there is nothing objectively existing as Cows and horses. In the same manner, although all phenomena when apparent to our consciousness appears as independently existing and objectively existing on their own right but they lack such inherent nature, such a Status of being and understanding of emptiness should also be combined with an understanding of illusory nature.
For instance like the persons, when we talk of person we have person as the accumulator of action and experience of the consequences and so on, the person, someone who hears and sees and so on, although lacks inherently and independent existence but at the conventional level still performs these functions. So in short, we should examine our own innate instinctive notion of our own personal identities, it appears we identify ourselves with either our body or our consciousness or as aggregation of them, but by employing reasoning, such as whether there are inherently one without aggregates or is it inherently separate and so on. One should eventually conclude and arrive at the conclusion of the absence of inherent existence, reinforcing one's understanding of the total absence and at the Same time reinforcing the appearance in such manner one would develop the understanding of illusory nature. Through such practices one would be able to generate the wisdom which has three attributes, these being that all appearances as manifestations of divine deities' bodies or celestial mansions, such divine appearances as illusion like or illusory and that illusory awareness in the nature of great bliss. The more intense your experience of the great bliss during the meditative Sessions would he the more deeper your realization of emptiness during the meditative Session will be, thus leading to eventual experience of non-conceptual understanding of emptiness.
The second outline is meditation on the illusory nature of dreams, which is divided into four subdivisions, the first being recognizing one's dreams as dreams. (He says this is a correction of his earlier translation of this). Generally speaking there are two types of recognition of dreams as dreams. One is by the force of gaining control over the energy winds and other one is due to the force of intention. The practitioners who are capable of recognizing dreams as dreams due to the force of gaining control over energy winds are those who during the awakened state have had the experience of the wind absorbing within the Central Channel and have experienced the Four Joys. For such practitioners, one first recognizes Clear Light of sleep as sleep, one would be able to retain awareness of the Four Empties associated with the Clear Light of sleep. But for us it is not possible, therefore the only alternative left for us is to try to develop recognition of dreams as dreams due to the force of intention, and for those meditators there are certain conditions which would prove conducive. For instance; like hanging up lot of posters reminding one to remember dreams as dreams (joke). Generally speaking, recognizing dreams as dreams is not really difficult nor is it even if you achieve it a great feat. There„ are people who naturally have that ability. I have met some people who have told me of their experiences of experiences during sleep, I don't know if they're telling the
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