The 7th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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While trong-jug can be used to animate corpses, travel as an animal, and other trivial things, its primary use is giving practitioners virtual immortality. Trong-jug is the authentic living root of all vampire lore. Because the procedure is real, and lineage holders are active today, its implementation is always veiled under a thick coat of secrecy. Trong-jug is used this way:
Having identified a healthy young victim, the adept transfers his/her Consciousness Principal (CP) to that vicinity. Using erotic projections to loosen the target's own CP, the adept "hooks" it through a lower orifice and removes it, causing (brief) clinical death. The practitioner's CP then enters the victim's body through its crown chakra and stabilizes at the heart chakra. The adept's original body is now dead, but his/her mind functions through its newly stolen body.
Trong-jug is usually done when the lineage holder has grown old or diseased. In this way, (s)he can pass from an aged weak body to a young strong one in a (theoretically) never-ending series. Adepts in the West usually place all their assets in a trust fund that can be quickly transferred to the victim, thus insuring the continuity of their material gains once their new identity has been assumed. Targets (or I should say the bodies of targets) often alienate or lose friends and relatives because of their radically different personality.
Adepts like to say that they are doing their victims a favor by "freeing them for a better reincarnation," or helping sentient beings by keeping "empowered teachers (i.e. themselves)" around, because it is unpleasant for them to admit to what they really are: ruthless, vicious predators. Some insist that they always send their target's CPs to heaven worlds, but this is also a lie.
Lineage holders also like to emphasize the difficulty of the technique, but in fact it is fairly easy for those who have a good foundation in tantric yoga, especially phowa. However, initiation and instruction from an authentic lineage holder is best and makes the technique readily available when it is required.
Trongjug: The Transference of Consciousness
A corpse can be taken by an evil spirit and become a rolang, but a body may also be taken by a living Tibetan master through the practice of trongjug. The great Nyingma master H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche explained that “the practice of transference is quite special. If someone is very old and will not live much longer, but still wishes to continue his dharma practice and help others, then he can enter a fresh corpse that is young, strong, and healthy” (Heruka 1986, p. 94). Khenpo Pema Sherab (Interview April 5, 2000) recounted that “a long time ago when people would die, an old man who was honest and good would transfer into a young corpse” to avoid the disruption of one’s consciousness which occurs when transfering from one life to the next.
Allegedly, trongjug is no longer practiced today. Ngakpa Karma Londrup (Interview May 4, 2000) noted that the transmission from teacher to student has been disrupted and so the lineage of that teaching did not continue. He was referring specifically to the time of Marpa Lotsawa, a great Tibetan master. Marpa obtained secret oral instructions on the ejection and transference of consciousness (phowa and trongjug) from his master Naropa (Heruka 1996, p. 155). Marpa transmitted these secret doctrines to his son Tarma Dode, who later died suddenly. In Marpa’s biography it is explained that “since the instructions of the ejection and transference of consciousness that bring enlightenment without effort in meditation were not destined to spread in Tibet, they could not find even one male corpse without a wound” (Heruka 1986, p. 171).
In one well known story, the Indian pandit Shankaracharya, was challenged to a debate on sensual love. Being celibate, he was at a disadvantage. The idea then came to him to practice transference, and he assumed the body of a recently deceased king. The king’s body arose and he called all his handmaidens and consorts to his bedroom, where his lessons commenced. Returning to his own body the next day, Shankaracharya was then in a position to argue and win the debate (Evans-Wentz 1958, p. 257).
Abuses of such a highly developed tantric practice are further illustrated by the story of a prince and his servant who both knew the practice of trongjug. One day the prince transferred his consciousness, out of compassion, into a mother bird which he had seen die, so that he could feed its chicks. He asked the servant to watch over his deserted body, but the servant who was attracted to the prince’s wife, took the prince’s body. The prince then had no choice but to take the body of the servant (Khenpo Pema Sherab, Interview May 4, 2000).