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CULTIVATING THE STAGE OF COMPLETION

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Cultivating the Stage of Completion


Preliminary Teachings

1. FURTHER CHARACTERISTICS OF THE VAJRA BODY

As explained previous!y. in order to practice the stage of completion, it is indispendable to understand the way in which the channels, energies and drops arise. Within this presentation, one should, by all means, have a clear understanding of the three major channels: the central channel, uma, and on its right and left, the roma and kyangma, respectively・


In the explanation of the stage of completion there are three bodies: the gross, the subtle and the extremely subtle. Likewise, one can speak of the gross, the subtle and the extremely subtle minds. It is especially important to understand the nature of the very subtle mind because, nowadays, many people say, "There is no afterlife; there is only this one Such an assertion is

founded upon the assumption that there is no subtle mind・ It is true that the gross mind does not carry on after this life. But there is also the very subtle mind. If one really understands the very subtle mind and the very subtle energy, which is a very subtle form of the life-sustaining energy, and their functioning, then one sees that they have been with us since beginningless time and will carry on without end. By understanding them, one sees the logical basis for asserting both former and future lives. If future lives were not to exist, there would not really be any reason to practice Dharma at all. One could simply lead a hedonistic life.


A. The Energy-Centers

There are different presentations of the energy-centers (Skt.chakra; Tib. khor.lo).

When one speaks of the four, they are:


1) the ^center of great bliss' (Skt. mahasukha-cakra; Tib.b-de.chen.'khor. Io) situated at the crown of the head;

2) the 'center of enjoyment (Skt. sambhoga-cakra; Tib. long-s.spyod.kyi.'khor」o) at the throat;

3) the "center of Dharma, (Skt・ dharma*cakra; Tib. chos.kyi. khor」o) at the heart;

4) the *center of emanation' (Skt. nirmana-cakra; Tib.sprul. pa'i/khor.lo) at the navel. When presenting five energy-centers, in addition to the above four, one speaks of:

5) the *bliss-guarding center' (Tib. gsang.gnas.bde.skyong. 'khor.lo) which is located at the genital area. Sometimes, there is also a presentation of the six energy centers.


1) The Center of Great Bliss

The center of great bliss at the crown of the head is situated in the area beneath the top of the skull and just above the brain. The width (of the center) is like a Japanese incense stick, about 1/8 of

an inch or so. It is multi-colored: white, green, red and black. Its center is triangular in shape・ At present, the central channel, uma, is constricted by two side channels, the roma and the kyangma, making a knot. These channels branch off into four and into eight, and so forth, eventually making a total of 32 subsidiary or branch channels branching off the center of great bliss. In appearance, this center resembles an open umbrella held aloft・


2) The Center of Enjoyment

This center is situated at the throat, right at the Adam's apple. Its color is red. The very center of the cakra is round. As above, the central channel is constricted by the two side channels, making a knot. The center of enjoyment has 16 branch channels, which branch out like an inverted umbrella. Clearly keep in mind that the previous center at the crown is like a right-side・up umbrella, whereas this throat-center resembles an inverted umbrella. Visualize them!


3) The Center of Dharma

The center of Dharma is situated at the heart, between the two breasts, in the chest. It is white in color. The center of this cakra is triangular in shape and is constricted three times, namely, there are three knots made by the two parallel side channels. It has only eight branch or subsidiary channels, which branch out like a right-side・up umbrella. Think this over carefully. Get it clearly in mind so you can visualize it just as has been explained・


4) The Center of Emanation

This center is situated at the same height as the navel itself. Like the one on the crown, the emanation center is multicolored・ Its center is round, while its 64 subsidiary channels branch out like an inverted umbrella. So, the umbrella-like center at the navel are facing each other, just as the ones at the crown and the throat are facing each other.


5) The Bliss-Guarding Center

This center is situated at the genital area or, more precisely, at the very base or the very root of the genitals. Its center is triangular in shape and it is red in color. It has 32 subsidiary channels・ The energy-center itself is like a right-side-up umbrella.1 One should understand that all of these centers are pierced through the middle by the central channel, which acts as an axis for all them, as the trunk of a tree is the axis for its branches.


B. The Etymology of the Names of the Energy -Centers It will also be helpful to understand why these five centers are called by their respective names:


1) Because the foundation of bliss, the white bodhicitta, abides principally at the crown, this center is called *the center of great bliss.'

2) The enjoyment center at the throat is so called because this is the place where one tastes the six kinds of tastes: sour, sweet2 bitter, salty, astringent and pungent.

3) The chief means, the chief instrument for the practice of Dharma is the mind, which has its main abode at the heart, specifically at the indestructible drop which comes from one's parents [see p. 107]. It is for this reason that the heart-center is called the 'center of Dharma/

4) The basis of the emanation of great bliss is the fire of the psychic heat (Tib.gtum.mo'i.me), the turn.mo fire, the principal abode of which is situated at the navel. Therefore, this navel center is called the ^emanation center/

5) The bliss-guarding center at the genitals is very closely related to the four types of joy [see p. 12] involving the movement of the bodhicitta in forward and reverse orders・ Specifically, the spontaneous joy (Tib」han.skyes・kyi・ dga-\ba) is experienced when the bodhicitta reaches the very tip of the genital organ.


Because it is so instrumental or critical to these various types of joy, this center is called the 4bliss*guarding center.* It is important to understand well the etymology of the names of the five centers. as well as the previous explanation of the various types of energies or winds and drops, in order to use them in meditation・ Remember especially the five principal energies: the life*sustaining energy, the downwardclearing energy, the fire・accompanying energy, the upward* moving energy, and the pervasive energy.


C・ Location of the Five Principal and Five Secondary Energies One should understand not only the manner of the arising of these energies, but also know their locations.


1) The life-sustaining energy abides at the heart and its function is to form the link between life (the vital force) and the body.

2) The downward-clearing energy is located at the genital area・ Its function is to send downward and dispel, or retain and hold when necessary both the white and red bodhicitta,.as well as urine and excrement. This type of energy can malfunction causing, for example, diarrhea・

3) The fire>accompanying energy abides at the navel. The word 'fire' here refers to the gastric fire. The function of the fire-accompanying energy is to separate the nutriment of one's food and drink from the waste (or the different stages of nutriment from the different stages of waste), sending the nutriment to sustain the various parts of the body and dividing the waste so that it goes into the various waste products・

4) The upwardoving energy abides at the throat・ All of one's vocal activity, as well as swallowing food and drink, occurs by the functioning of this energy. In the death process, when this energy has dissolved, one is no longer able to speak or to swallow・ One puts food or drink in the mouth and it just comes right back up again.


5) The pervasive energy pervades the entire body. Various physical movements of walking, leaning forward, leaning back・ ward and so forth are all due to the functioning of the pervasive energy・ When this energy declines, one loses the power of movement.


One should also consider the five secondary energies:

1) the moving energy resides at the eye and it apprehends form;

2) the fully-moving energy, which abides at the ear. apprehends sound;

3) the perfectly・moving energy, abiding at the nose, experi-ences odors;

4) the very-moving energy, which abides at the tongue, apprehends tastes;

5) the certainly-moving energy, which abides in the tactile faculty, apprehends objects of touch and different kinds of feelings or sensations.


A clear understanding of the different types of energies, channels and so forth is necessary for the meditations on the stage of completion which bring all of these various energies into the central channel and then into the indestructible drop at the heart. Unless the energies are first brought into the

central channel, the realizations of the stage of completion are not attained. Whether one is meditating on the stage of completion or not, at death there occurs this retraction of the energies into the central channel and then into the heart. So, just as this naturally and effortlessly occurs in the death process, one is now duplicating it consciously in meditatio n.

Among the various types of the stage of completion and meditations, there are the *vajra recitation' and *vase-like meditation. * In the practice of these, the purpose is to draw the energies into the central channel and then to the indestructible drop at the heart.


D. The Five Principal and the Five Secondary Energies as Related to the Five Buddha Families

The five principal energies also correspond to the five types of Buddhas: the life-sustaining energy is the energy of Aksobhya; the downward-clearing energy is that of Ratnasambhava; the fireaccompanying energy is the energy of Amoghasiddhi; the upward moving energy is the energy of Amitabha; and,

finally, the pervasive energy is the energy of Vairocana. The five secondary energies are also related to the five types of Buddhas: the moving energy is the energy of Vairocana; the fully-moving energy is the

energy of Ratnasambhava;the perfectly-moving energy is the energy of Amitabha; the very moving energy is the energy of Amoghasiddhi; and the certainly-moving energy is the energy of Aksobhya.


E. The Five Principal and the Five Secondary Energies as Related to the Five Elements

There is also a relationship between these energies and the various elements: the life-sustaining energy is related to the water element; the downward-clearing energy is related to the earth element; the fire-accompanying energy is related to the wind or

the air element; the upward・moving energy is related to the fire element; and the pervasive energy is related to the element of space・ Likewise, there is a relationship for the five secondary energies: the moving energy is related to the earth element; the fully-moving energy to the water element; the perfectly-moving energy to the fire element; the very-moving energy to the wind element; and the certainly-moving energy to the element of space.


F. The Energies and Their Respective Colors

There is also a distinction of colors with regard to these various energies: the life-sustaining energy is white; the downward・ clearing energy, being related to the earth element, is yellow; the fire accompanying energy is dark green; the upward・moving energy, being related to the fire element, is red; and the pervasive energy is blue ・ Likewise, these five colors are connected to the secondary energies: the moving energy is red; the fully-moving energy is blue; the perfectly・moving energy is yellow; the very-moving is white; and the certainly-moving is green.


G. The Ten Energies in the Kalacakra System

There is one vital point that has already been mentioned and which should be remembered. In general tantric presentations, there is the explanation of the five principal and five minor or secondary energies. The distinction in the Kalacakra is that the terminology of the 4five principaf and 'five secondary* energies is not used; nevertheless, the presentation of all ten is there [and the names of the first five energies are identical in both presentations].


1) The life-sustaining energy (Skt. pranavayu; Tib.srog/dzin.g-yi.rlung.);

2) the downward-clearing energy (Skt. apana;Tib.rlung-.thur.sel);

3) the fire-accompanying energy (Skt. samana; Tib.rlung-.me.mnyam);

4) the upward-moving energy (Skt.udana;Tib.rlung.gyen.r-gyu);

5) the pervasive energy (Skt.vyana ;Tib.khyab. byed. gyi. rlung). The names of the next five energies are given in either Sanskrt or English:

6) the naga (Skt.naga;Tib.klu) energy goes through the channel to the northwest;

7) the 'tonoise' (Skt.kurma;Tib.rus.sbal) energy situated at the heart, flows through the southeast subsidiary channel;

8) the ^chameleon* (Skt. krkala; Tib. rtsangs.pa) energy flows through the southwest subsidiary channel and is of the nature of fire;

9) Devadatta (Skt. devadatta; Tib.lhas.byin) flows through the northeast and is of the nature of the water element;

10) Dhananjaya (Skt・ dhananjaya; Tib.nor.las.rgyal) which, like naga energy flows through the northwest, is of the nature of the earth element.


These are the names [as well as locations] of the ten energies in accordance with the exclusive tradition of the Kalacakra. There are some differences. Je Tsongkapa says the tradition of the Kalacakra is somewhat different from the other tantras, and he praises it very highly. It is stated that if one has a thorough understanding of the Kalacakra, then this understanding is easily applicable to understanding all the other tantras. It is a very important tantra

There is an important point made in the context of the sutras: it is stated that the root of the cycle of existence is the ignorance which misconceives of the self. In the context of tantra, it is stated that the energy is the root of both the cycle of existence and of liberation. In the detrimental aspect,

there are the 80 conceptions, each of which is related to a corresponding type of energy. They keep us in the cycle of existence and cast us to lower states of existence. In this sense, the energy is acting as the root of the cycle of existence・ Likewise, the energy is also at the root of enlightenment

because there is an energy intimately related to, for example, the clear light・ For each of the various mind states, as one progresses towards enlightenment, there are corresponding energies.


H. The Four Drops in the Kalacakra System

In accordance with the Kalacakra system, there are four types of drops (Skt.bindu;Tib.thig.le).


1) The drop of the arisal of deep sleep' (Tib.gnyid/thug.skabs-.kyi.thig」c), which is chiefly energy, abides at the heart and at the tip of the genital organ.

When energies in the upper portion of the body, the head, the chest and so forth condense into the heart, and the energies in the lower part of the body condense into the genital region, one goes into deep sleep. The drop of the arisal of deep sleep is also called the 'mind-drop5 (Tib.sems.sam.thugs.kyi.thig.le).


2) The 'drop of the arisal of dreams' (Tib. rmi.lam.skabs. kyi.thig.le) also abides at the genital region・ When energies in the upper portion of the body converge at the throat, and the energies in the lower portion of the body converge at the genital region, one dreams. This is when the dream state occurs.

One often hears the statement that all phenomena are not truly existent and that they are like dreams. Take the case of a young woman who dreams she has' given birth to a child whom she adores・ She is enchanted by the child 一 she loves it so much. The child dies. She is incredibly distressed. She weeps and

wails and goes through torment. Then she wakes up. There has not been any child, there has not been any death of the child, and she is out of that suffering・ Likewise, for conventional truth, although phenomena do not truly exist, nevertheless, the relationship between actions and their results, that

is to say, the law of karma, of suffering and of happiness, conventionally do exist. This drop of the arisal of dreams is also called the ^speech-drop* (Tib.ngag. gam.gsung.gi.thig.le).


3) The *drop of awakening9 (Tib.sad.pa'i.skabs.kyi.thig」e) abides chiefly at the forehead and the navel. When energies in the upper portion of the body converge at the forehead and the energies in the lower portion of the body converge at the navel, one awakens from sleep. This is what happens each morning in Seattle around 7 or 8 o'clock. This drop of awakening is called "the body-drop* (Tib.lus.sam.sku'i.thigJe).


4) The 4drop of the fourth occasion' (Tib. bzhi.pa'i.gnas.skabs)

kyi.thig.le) abides at the crown of the head and at the genitals. The term *thc drop of the fourth occasion/ refers to the occasion of the sexual bliss that is experienced during sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. During that time, the energies in the upper portion of the body converge at the

crown and the energies in the lower portion of the body converge at the genitals・ Bliss is experienced with the descent of the bodhicitta. This drop of the fourth occasion is also called *the drop of transcendental wisdom' (Tib.ye.shes.kyi.thig.le). It is important to know these different drops because they are indicative of the type of practice that one follows in the deep sleep・ the dream and the awakening states. Corresponding to each of these stages there is a practice that is to be followed?


2. THE FOUR PRELIMINARY STEPS WITH SPECIAL EMPHASIS ON THE GURU YOGA

All of this is in preparation for the actual practice of the stage of completion. For this practice, one needs:


a. the proper teaching on refuge, namely, on how to avoid taking refuge in or relying upon false paths or upon extremist teachers (in other words, one must have a pure refuge);

b・ the teaching on bodhicitta, which is superior to the paths of the Listeners (Skt.sravaka; Tib.nyan.thod) and the Solitary Victors (Skt. pratyekabuddha;Tib.rang.sangs.rgyas);

c・ the teaching on Vajrasattva for the purification of unwholesome mental imprints and obscurations;

d・ the teaching on guru yoga for swiftly receiving blessings.


Among these four.subject headings, the one on guru yoga is especially important. The great Sakya Pandita likened the blessing of the Buddhas to the rays of the sun. If one has some firewood, no matter how strongly the sun might be shining, the firewood does not burst into flame. One has to have a magnifying

glass in order to ignite the actual flame. Likewise, even though the Buddhas are very powerful and are able to bestow great blessings, it is impossible to receive them without a guru. The guru and one's relationship to the guru arc indispensable・

To further illustrate this, there is an account of the translator Marpa when he was living with his Guru Naropa. One day Naropa manifested the entire Hevajra Mandala together with the deity. He then called out to his disciple Marpa, saying, "My son, Chokyi Lodro (which was Marpa's personal name), get up,

rise up! Here is a vision of Hevajra!" He rose and was awestruck. Then Naropa asked Marpa, “Which will you prostrate to? Will you prostrate to Hevajra or will you prostrate to me, your Guru?" Marpa thought, "Well, this is a very special event. Here is the yrdam, the meditational deity himselt appearing. This is an extraordinary event. . . .1 can always prostrate to my Guru, he is always here・ I will prostrate to the yidam." And he did so.

Naropa then responded with one verse. the essential meaning of which states that the yidams are an emanation of the guru・ Having recited this stanza, he snapped his fingers and Hevajra, together with the entire mandala, dissolved into his heart. Naropa then told Marpa, "This was not properly done; you made

a mistake! As a result of this, your personal (family) lineage will be short!" And, in fact, this was the case・ Marpa had nine sons, but his hereditary lineage was cut. In contrast, for example, in the Sakya lineage, the hereditary lineage has been preserved right up to the present. Whereas in the Kagyii, although the Dharma lineage is very much preserved and is very much alive and flourishing, the hereditary lineage from Marpa ended long ago.

To continue that same story, Marpa found this very strange. He was very, very unhappy and worried about this because he found it so bizarre 一 "Why did I do that in that situation?" This must have been the ripening of a residue from a karma committed long ago. He had previously had many visions of Hevajra

and he was devoting himself to the practice of the Guru as being superior to the Yidam Hevajra. He had no confusion on that point. Although he had this clarity, nevertheless, he acted in that way. He was very concerned and was wondering, *4What is happening to me?^^ As a result of this inner consternation, he fell ill.


One day, Naropa and Marpa went out to a pond to bathe・ While they were there, a crow took a protection ring from Marpa and flew up in the air. Naropa did a very special 'threatening mudra' and shot down the crow. When the crow came fluttering down, he

took the protection ring and gave it back to Marpa saying, "Now you will be free from this problem, free from the mara/' It was as if a mara had taken over

his mind and influenced him. Then Marpa responded by asking what he should do? And he decided that he would simply like to meditate. This threatening mudra is a very powerful one when it is used by a highly accomplished person on the stage of completion. For example, such a practitioner

could sit here, point this mudra at a far off fruit-tree, and he would be able to draw the fruit of that tree to himself. Then he could reverse the whole process and send the fruits back up to their respective branches・ These supernatural things which one is able to do in the practice of tantra arc a lot of fun. This is simply one of a number of feats that might be done・


The supernormal powers of the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas are beyond the realm of conception of ordinary beings. The manner of the ripening of various actions and the relationships that occur in terms of the law of karma for ordinary beings, are equally astounding. For example, the bizarre physical deformities of some people born without a mouth, or those born with one leg that is enormous and the other one tiny, or one leg that is bent way backwards

一 in each and every case, there is a very profound karmic relationship which comes into play and which ordinary beings cannot comprehend. To draw a practical parallel, take a nomad, for example, who is living way out in the wilds and has no contact with civilization at all, simply living all by himself. If such a nomad were told that there arc things such as airplanes that fly through the air and they do not even flap their wings, or that there

arc trains and so forth, he would say, "That is nonsense, that is impossible! Of course, there are no such things!*' He would never believe it. Likewise, when an ordinary person is told of some of the supernormal powers of the Bodhisattvas and the Buddhas they might seem totally unbelievable to him.

Nevertheless, just as airplanes and other amazing technological feats have been created, likewise・ these powers are facts. Just as one can be shown these inventions, the powers of the Bodhisattvas and Buddhas can also be shown. On another occasion, when Milarepa was leaving his Guru to go off into retreat to meditate, Marpa and his wife Dagmema came out to send him off. Marpa, as a farewell, cast off his ordinary form and appeared in the form of Cakrasamvara.

That dis・ appeared and he took the form of Hevajra. That disappeared and he took the form of Guhyasamaja・ That disappeared and then he took the form of ali and kali [[[Wikipedia:vowels|vowels]] and consonants]. When this was done, he called out to Milarepa, sayings *'My son, have you seen?" Milarepa said, “Yes, I have. Yes, 1 believe. Might I also be able to accomplish such wonders as you!'* Then he went off into retreat and, as is very well known, attained the same

enlightenment as his Guru Marpa and was able to perform many supernormal feats, like flying in the sky and so forth. With the same kind of reverence that Milarepa had for Marpa, so should one practice and look up to one's own guru. There was also a girl, who was a disciple of a lama by the name of Sakya Gyeltscn. She practiced and was also able to perform the miraculous wonders of

flying through the sky and do forth. In verses of praise, she also referred to the great Yogin Milarepa and his powers. The previous Dagchen Rinpoche, Gongma Choglang Rinpoche, came to the province in Eastern Tibet, where there was a Sakya Monastery by the name of Langna

Gompa, which literally means, "the Elephant-trunk Monastery. At that time, Rinpoche knew that there were going to be a lot of violent earthquakes in the area. He told the people around him. "If you want to be with me, then come into this room. If you don't want to, stay outside. and he gave them each a

blessing cord. The earthquakes occurred then up to a point along a certain ridge of a mountain. They flattened a lot of houses, but no damage occurred to the house in which Rinpoche was living・ Afterwards, he did pass away in that house. There were many devotees who wanted to bring his remains back to

Sakya, but the people there told them, "No. this would not be correct, because Rinpoche had a definite reason for passing away here・ So, his remains should be kept here/' Then, they built a golden stupa to hold the remains. This was adorned with a pearl parasol. It was a very precious and holy place

Many Tibetans suffering from various illnesses came there to circumambulate the golden stupa and a great many of them were cured. It was considered a very holy site・ Each year. this stupa grew a little bit


THE FIVE PRINCIPAL AND THE FIVE TATHAGATA LOCATION ELEMENT COLOR SECONDARY ENERGIES (Tib. rlung) FAMILY

1. Life-sustaining srog. *dzin. Aksobhya Heart Water White gyi.rlung

2. Downward-clearing rlung.thur.scl Ratnasumbhava Genital area Earth Yellow

3. Fire-accompanying rlung.me.mnyam Amoghasiddhi Navel Wind Dark Green

4. Upward<moving rlung. gyen.rgyu Amitiibha Throat Fire Red

5. Pervasive kyab.byed Vairocana Entire Body Space Blue kyi.rlung

V Moving rgyu.ba Vairocana Eye Earth Red

2. Fully Moving rnam.par.rgyu.ba Ratnasumbhava Ear Water Blue

3. Perfectly Moving yang.dag.par. Amitabha Nose Fire Yellow rgyu.ba

4. Very Moving rab.tu. rgyu.ba Amoghasiddhi Tongue Wind White

5. Certainly Moving ngcs.par.rgyu.ba Aksobhya Skin Surface Space Green


larger. From that time forward, the inhabitants of the area say that there have never occurred earthquakes in that valley. In other places, when earthquakes do occur, the people naturally call out to Gongma Choglang Rinpoche. praying for his help. Such is the blessing that great lamas have.


Again, to paraphrase a stanza by Sakya Pandita, who was himself an emanation of Manjusri, Merit accrued through service and devotion to the guru for the duration of just a fingersnap, outshines the merit that is accrued during a thousand cons of practicing the six perfect ions." This would include sacrificing one's own body, head. arms and so forth.

Therefore, with great delight and joy, one should engage in devotion and service to the guru. The people who are here at the center have the opportunity to devote themselves to their own guru in that fashion


  • Gyalwa Gendun Drub, the First Dalai Lama. "To Enlicc the Minds of the Wise" (Notes on Kalachakra), in Bridging the Sutras and Tantras, trans, and comp. Glenn H. Mullin (Ithaca: Gabriel Press. 1982), p.13; “In the Kalachakra Tantra^ the six pressure points, or 131 chakras, are as follows. The first is

localed jusi below the crown aperture of the skull and has four petals of energy channel^. The second is at the forehead and has sixteen petals. The third is located at the throat and has thirty-two petals. The fourth, which has eight petals, is at the heart. The fifth has sixty-four and is located at the

navel. The sixth has two branches: the first ut the anus, with thirty-two petals, and the second at the centre of the jewel, with eight petals/'


2The reader is reminded that the word *aif or 'wind' (Skt. vayu; Tib. rlung) is the same word that has been translated, in other instances, as 'energy/


3Gyalwa Gendun Drub, the first Dalai Lama, pp. 135-6: "For ordinary beings the four drops carry the potency of inducing perception of the impure objects of the world, the potency of causing confused appearances and sound to arise, and the potencies giving rise to obscurity of mind, ignorance and perishable

happiness. The aim of the Kalachakra yogas is to take these impure and obscured bases and to transform them into the path of enlightenment. To be specific, these three potencies are to be purified and transformed into the empty body, unconfused sound and unchanging bliss. These arc cultivated to perfection, giving rise lo the body, speech and mind of a Buddha and to ultimately pristine awareness/'

It goes without saying that if we cultivate a very good motivation now, listen with this motivation, and then put the teachings into practice, this is extremely good. Even if we do not practice much, but simply have a good motivation while listening, very beneficial imprints are made upon our own

mindstreams so that, in future existences, we will have propensities for gaining a very profound understanding of the Dharma・ In order to practice the stage of completion, one needs to understand the basis that one is working with・ Prior to this, one should have at least the

basic understanding of the stage of generation. There has already been an explanation of the channels and the various energy-centers, with the 32 branch channels at the crown of the head, the one with 16 at the throat, the one with eight at the heart, 64 at the navel and 32 in the genital regiqn・ One also needs to have the basic understanding of the three channels, the four principal energy-centers, the drops and the illusory body.



MEDITATION PRACTICES ON THE STAGE OF COMPLETION

The Six Branches of the Practice

To go on to the stage of completion in the Kaiacakra, one should know that there are 'six branches of the practice.5 We have set for ourselves the goal of full enlightenment. To accomplish it, we should know what we are attaining: the Body, Speech and Mind of a Buddha. This is like the attainment of anything else・ If wc wish to go to India, we should first know the nature of our destination; if we are going to Tibet, we should know where we are headed.


Since we are headed for Buddhahood, it is the attainment of the Body, Speech and Mind of a Buddha which is required. Frhe way to accomplish this goal is through the following the six branches of the practice.


1. The first of the six branches of the practice [or yoga of the Kalacakra] is called 'individual convergence' (Skt. pratyahara; Tib.sor.sdud). It is designed to draw together the individual energies of the five sensory consciousnesses into the heart. As has already been explained, there is now a very intimate relationship between consciousness and energy・ This can be understood in terms of an analogy.

Imagine a person who has no legs but has clear sharp vision. Off in the distance, he sees a tree with fruit on it. He would like very much to eat that fruit, but having no legs he cannot get there・ However, there is another person who is blind, but has both of his legs intact. He does not know where the fruit is, but he can walk around・ If the two were to get together, the man with no legs riding on the shoulders of the man with legs but no eyes, then the

man with the eyes could direct him, "Now go forward, then- right, now left. directing the man with the legs to the fruit. Having arrived at the tree, he could pluck off the fruit and enjoy it. In like manner, the person with eyes is like consciousness; the person with legs is like energy・ It is the

consciousness that apprehends the object, but it is able to go to the object only by the force of the energy. It is the energy that enables the consciousness to come in contact with the perceived object・ The two work together in that manner.

2. The second branch of the practice is called 'individual stability" (Skt. dhyana; Tib. sor.gtan or bsam.gtan). These two practices, the individual convergence and the individual stability, are the means of accomplishing the 'body of empty form' [see below, p. 131]. If this body has not been accomplished previously, it is accomplished freshly; and if it has already been accomplished, it is increased. These two act as a means for the attainment of the Body of a Buddha, the Nirmanakaya ・


3. The third branch of the practice is called iife-efforf (Skt. pranayama; Tib. srog.rtsol).1 Its function is to draw the energy of the mental consciousness into the central channel. The energies of the five sensory consciousnesses have already been drawn in by the previous practices・


The first syllable of this compound term. (Tib. srog), which literally means 'life' or fclife force', refers to the energy. The second syllabic (Tib・ rtsol) refers to the closing of the two side channels, the roma and the kyangma^ and the drawing of the energies into the central channel. It implies the movement of the energies through the central channel. As long as these energies are flowing through the roma, the right side channel, there occurs hatred; and as long as the energies are flowing through the kyangma, the left side channel, there occurs attachment. To bring about the cessation of these two mental distortions, the active energies are not allowed to go through these side channels, but are drawn into the central channel.


4. The fourth branch of the practice is called *retention, (Skt. dtiarana; Tib. *dzin.pa). Its function is to retain the energy of the mental consciousness called the kactive energies of mental con・ sciousness" (Tib・ las.rlung) in the central channel. Thus, it is through the life-effort practice that the active energies of mental consciousness are drawn into the central channel and. with the retention practice, they are retained there. Having done so, one achieves what is called 'mastery over the energies,' specifically the mastery over energies that arc

the root of speech. Hence, these practices act as a cause for attaining the Buddha's Speech, the Sambhogakaya・ There is a distinction between the sutra and the tantra explanations of the Sambhogakaya. The sutras explain the Sambhogakaya in terms of the five 'certain' or "definite aspects,' whereas in the tantras, the Sambhogakaya refers to the Buddha's Speech.


5. The fifth branch is called ‘recollection’(Skt. anusmrti; Tib.rjes.dran). In this practice, the him.mo, the fire of the psychic heat, flares up and melts the white bodhicitta, which [then] flows down to the tip of the genital organ (called the jewel') where it is retained (i.e., it is not allowed to

come out) and, at this point, one experiences the spontaneous joy (Tib.lhan.skyes.kyi・ dga'.ba). The recollection or the bringing to mind of this joy is what is involved in the fifth of these practices.

6・ The sixth branch practice translates as 'concentration* or 'meditative equipoise" (Skt. samadhi; Tib. ting.nge.'dzin). It refers to the meditative equipoise of the non-dual bliss and emptiness. What is being referred to as *bliss and emptiness" is as foliows: the bodies of the deity and the consort

are bodies of empty form called 'emptiness,' and the bliss is the supreme immutable bliss (Tib. mchog.tu.mi.'gyur. ba'i.bde.ba). ThereforeT the attainment of the sixth practice is the meditative equipoise of the non-dual bliss and emptiness which, in this particular context, refer respectively to the supreme immutable bliss and the two bodies of the deity and the consort.


What is meant by the term, *body of empty form,? In order to accomplish the body of empty form, one has to use up or exhaust the material element of one's body and then generate the form of the deity and the 8nsort・ Rather than being composed of [gross] matter, their bodies are composed simply of energy and

consciousness. More specifically, they arise from the cultivation of the great bliss and the wisdom of emptiness・ From these two aspects, there arise, in the divine embodiment of these two factors, the body, which is the body of empty form, and the mind of that body (colloquially called 4sem, and in polite

speech referred to as thug'), which is the wisdom of the non>dual bliss and emptiness. Thus, it is this mind or this wisdom of the non-dual bliss and emptiness which is to be accomplished by these two final branch practices.


To draw a parallel in the world: a sprout needs to arise from a cause which is similar to itself - the seed・ It cannot arise from a totally dissimilar cause. In like fashion, the result of this practice is the attainment of the body of the deity and the consort. To bring about this result, one needs to nurture or cultivate a similar cause, that is, a cause similar to that result・


[Here follows an explanation of the six branches of the practice in their reverse order:]


6. In order to accomplish the body of the deity and the consort9 first there must be the attainment of the meditative equipoise of the union of the [non>dual] bliss and emptiness. This is what is involved in the concentration branch of the practice・


5. Prior to that, there has to be the attainment of the stage of the recollection practice ・


4・ For the stage of recollection to occur, there must be the previous attainment - the fourth of these branches of practices, •retention/ With this practice, one unwaveringly retains the energies in the central channel, at the heart・ Only when this is done is it possible for tum.mo fire to flame upwards and cause the white bodhicitta to melt and descend ・


3. Before the stage of retention can be attained, there must be the prior accomplishment of the third branch of the practice, the life-effort・ Without preventing the energies from passing through the two side channels and without drawing them into the central channel, it is quite obvious that one cannot retain them there・


2. & 1. In order to eventually draw these energies into the central channel, there have to be the initial two stages of this practice: the individual convergence and the individual stability・ The purpose of these is to regulate the energies in order to make this process possible. Thus, the function of the first two branches of the practice is to make these energies fit for action, usable・ If they are not made serviceable (Tib. las.su.rung.ba) through the training of meditation, it is not possible to bring them into the central channel.


The initial task of the first branch of the practice, the individual convergence, is designed to draw the active energies associated with the five sensory consciousnesses into the central channel. Only when this is accomplished is it possible to draw the energies into the central channel and prevent them from passing through the side ones. All of this must be done in sequence・


There are 11 signs of having brought the energies of the five sensory consciousnesses into the central channel and they will be explained later. Also, in this process (of bringing the energies into the central channel), there are three major stages:


• 'Entering* (Skt. pravesa; Tib. Jug). The sign of the energies entering into the central channel is that the force of the breath through both nostrils is even in strength. Normally, the breath is stronger through the left or the right nostril.


• Abiding' (Skt. alaya; Tib. gnas). The sign of the energies abiding in the central channel is that the flow of the breath through both nostrils ceases entirely and there is no further movement of the abdomen, that is, respiration has stopped・


• •Dissolving* (Skt・ utthana, thim). The signs of dissolving the energies into the central channel include the sequence of signs beginning with the smoke-like apparition through to the clear light. These signs, which have been explained previously appear in their respective order. The following is a very concise explanation of the six branches of the practice [in their original order].


1・ & 2・ The first two, 'the individual convergence and the individual stability, are designed to accomplish the Buddha's Body. They train and regulate the energies in order to draw them into the central channel.


3・ The life-effort practice is designed to prevent the energies [of mental consciousness] from passing through the two side channels and to draw them into the central channel.


4・ The retention practice is designed to retain those energies that have been drawn into the central channel, not allowing them to waver in and out [of that channel].


5. On the basis of an already accomplished retention practice, one engages in the recollection practice, which involves the union with any of the three types of mudras・ This practice is designed to flare up the fire of the psychic heat which melts the bodhicitta. Its descent to the tip of the genitals is the cause for the experience of the spontaneous joy (Tib・ lhan.skyes.kyi.dga'.ba).


6. That which is accomplished through the sixth branch of the practice, concentration, is the great union (Tib. bzung/jugs). This is done through the attainment of the body of empty form of the deity and consort and [the experience of] the supreme immutable bliss (Tib. mchog.tu.mi.*gyur.bafi.bde.ba) followed by the cultiva・ tion of their union. The result of practice is the attainment of the great union (cf. p. 14, 4]. There are two types of yogas known as the night and daytime yogas.


1. THE NIGHT YOGA

a. The Place of the Practice

The place in which one meditates during the practice of the night yoga should be dark. This has many benefits for the generation of the body of empty form. In the past, lamas who followed this practice were very meticulous about this point of sitting in a room which does not have even the tiniest glimmer of light・ There was not even a crack the width of a hair in their Tooms. It was totally dark. We might find such a practice impractical to follow for the time being; nevertheless, it is important to hear about it, as well as to have these mental imprints placed upon the mind.


b. The Posture

During this meditation, one assumes a definite posture: the legs should be in the crossed-vajra position, with the left foot upon the right thigh and the right foot up on the left thigh. The hands should be in the mudra of meditative equipoise: the left hand beneath the right with thumbs touching, palms facing upwards, and four-finger widths beneath the level of the navel.

An alternative mudra is to put the thumb of each hand on [its respective] palms, make a clenched fist out of each and place them on the upper part of the thigh ・ This is particularly used for the practice of the individual convergence because of the emphasis on drawing the energies associated with the sensory consciousness into the central channel.


c The Actual Practice

There are a number of rather varying traditions concerning the actual mediation at this point. For example, one tradition instructs that one should direct the mind to the sky. Whereas, Gyeltsab Je states that this is ridiculous because the point of this practice is to draw the energies into the central channel. To bring the mind out, by directing it to the sky, would obviously not be of any benefit.

One begins the practice of this meditation by visualizing the central channel. Then, one should single-pointedly focus the mind upon the empty central channel, particularly at the point between the eye-brows in the forehead (Tib. smin. mtshams), which is also visualized as empty. As a related point and one that has previously been mentioned, mintsam is the place where the drops are situated at the time of awakening from sleep [see above, p・ 121, 3)]・


THE TEN SIGNS OF PROGRESS

If one engages in this practice properly, there will arise certain signs. There are four night and six daytime signs.


The four night signs, which have already been explained and which occur as one draws the energies into the central channel, are:

1) the smoke-like sign

2) the mirage-like sign

3) the fireflies-like sign

4) the butter>lamp-flame-like sign.


The *six signs that occur during the day are:


1) the sign of fire

2) the moon*like sign

3) the sun>like sign

4) the sign of Rahu, which is like darkness or gloom

5) the sign “of lightning

6) the blue drop.


If one meditates very well, this is how it happens

In the next stage, one visualizes a very, very tiny black drop in the central channel in the space between the eyebrows. Within that very tiny drop, one visualizes or imagines, as clearly as possible, the Sambhogakaya-like form of the Kalacakra embracing the consort and endowed with 'five certainties.1 However, one must clearly understand that the appearance seen in one's field of imagination is not the actual Sambhogakaya because one is not able, at this point, to actually encounter the Sambhogakaya of a Buddha・ Nevertheless, one visualizes or creates the deity with the consort in the Sambhogakaya-like form.


THE FIVE CERTAINTIES OF THE SAMBHOGAKAYA-L1KE FORM

The first the five certainties is the 'certainty of time*: after the appearance of the four signs of the night and the six signs of the daytime, the Sambhogakaya-like forms [of the deity and consort] are visualized and seen. In other words, the time of the Sambhogakaya-like form is the time after all of the ten signs have been experienced.


The second of the five certainties is the 'certainty of abode,* indicating that the deity and the consort appear in the central channel. The third is the 'certainty of nature,'that is, the certainty that the deity and the consort are not composed of an aggregation of particles but are, rather, appearances of one's mind.

The fourth, the 'certainty of the body/ is the certainty of the appearance that occurs: the deity and the consort are Vajrasattva (Vajrasatta being the same as Vajradhara).

The fifth, the 'certainty of aspect/ is the certainty that the deity and the consort appear embraced in union. This is the form of the deities that should be seen within the central channel.


d. The Function of the Six Branches of the Practice

1) It is with the first of the six branches of the practice, the individual convergence, that one experiences the above-mentioned ten signs and then accomplishes the eleventh - the sign of the deity with the consort, as has been just explained. Thus, the function of the first branch is to accomplish [all of] the eleven signs. ・


2) The function of the second branch of the practice, the individual stability, is to stabilize that which has been accomplished by the first of the six branches. By means of the first two, individual convergence and individual stability, one makes these energies somewhat usable, fit for action and serviceable. As a result, the energies naturally begin to enter into the central channel.


3) It is at this point that one begins to practice the next branch, the life-effort. Keep in mind that this term is a very literal translation: 'life' (srog), in this context, refers to the energies, and 'effort' (rtsol) to the blocking of the two side channels (the roma and kyangma), as well as the drawing of the energies into the central channel (uma). It is after these energies have been made serviceable that one enters this stage of practice called the life-effort and engages in the two practices that have already been mentioned, the vajra recitation and the vase-like meditation [see above, p. 118].4


a) The Vajra Recitation

The task of practices of the stage of completion [as already mentioned several times], is to draw all of the ten energies into the central channel and then into the indestructible drop at the heart. To actualize this goal, there is an inner condition which is a type of meditation called the *vajra recitation9

(Skt. vajrajapa; Tib. rdo.rje.zlas.pa). We have not heard about this kind of practice for many lifetimes. By this tantric meditation alone, it is possible to bring into the heart four out of the five major energies: the life-sustaining, the downward-clearing,

the fire・accompanying and the upward-moving energies, as well as the five secondary energies.5 The fifth major energy, the pervasive is very difficult to draw into the heart. In order to do so, it is indispensable for the yogin to meditate in union with an actual consort or a dakini (Skt. karma-mudra). In

other words, the real reason why [at a specific time] it is necessary for the yogin to actually engage in such a practice is to bring that final, pervasive energy into the heart.


For the vajra recitation, one should recognize the importance of the syllables Om, Ah, Hum. There is no mantra that is not included within this one mantra. It is the king of all mantras: the syllable Om is the seed of the vajra-body; the Ah is the seed of the vajra-voice; the Hum is the seed of the vajra-mind

In the actual practice, one visualizes the energy and the mantra as being inseparable indivisible.


As one inhales and the breath or energy comes in, one should imagine it to be the nature of the Om, that is, as if the Om. is being drawn in together with the breath energy or the wind energy. After inhaling, there follows [the phase of] the retention of the breath, which bears the syllable HiXip.


This is a very short presentation of the vajra recitation, especially in accordance with the Kalacakra system,6 and it differs somewhat from the Guhyasamaja presentation. It is very beneficial to hear about this tantric practice and to have such mental imprints, or simply to gain a brief understanding of it.


b. The Vase-Like Meditation

The purpose of the vase-like meditation is to draw together the life-sustaining and the downward-clearing energies into the heartcenter. For an ordinary person, as the life-sustaining energy passes through the nostrils, there is a similar passage for the downwardclearing energy through the 16wer orifices. These two move together. However, in the vase-like meditation, one draws the two energies together (like two bowls joined together, facing each other) into and through the central channel, and then into the heart-center.


(1) Preparatory Practice

Right now, you should visualize the central channel (Skt. avadhuti; Tib. dbu.ma), which goes from the tip of the genitals through the center of the body like an axis. [4tlts color is white on the outside and red within.it is situated inside the body, a little more to the back than to the front. Furthermore,

it goes right through the center, up through the throat, to the crown of the head, comes down and emerges right between the eyes. This is how you should visualize its upper end in meditation. You imagine the lower end going down just slightly below the navel. The right channel (Skt. rasana; Tib. ro.ma) is red in color [cf・ p. 104]. Its upper end emerges from the right nostril and it runs about one finger width

below the bottom tip of the central channel. This is an important point to remember. The left channel (Skt. lalana; Tib. rkyang.ma) is white in color and it emerges (at the upper end) from the left nostril, comes upward and then goes down

next to and about one finger width lower than the bottom tip of the central channel.


Visualize these three as clearly as you can and, for a little while, meditate in this fashion;


Now, with your powers of visualization, take the right channel and insert it into the left channel, like placing one sleeve into another. This insertion of one channel into another is done just below the navel. Then, with the ring finger of your left hand, block the left nostril and inhale through the right

nostril. Imagine, while you are doing so, that you are receiving the blessings of the guru, the Buddhas and all the Bodhisattvas・ Inhaling in this fashion,

imagine the blessings going through the right channel and, as they do so, purifying any faults of that right channel. The energy is then funneled into the left channel, following that little curve down by the navel. Having fully inhaled, retain the breath as long as possible, but exhale before any physical discomfort sets in. Do not really strain yourself by any means・ If you retain the breath for too long to the point of feeling really uncomfortable, rather than helping you, this will simply harm your health. So, again, hold the breath just as long as you comfortably can.


Then with the ring finger of your right hand, block the right nostril. Exhale through the left nostril while imagining that you are dispelling all anger and hatred [see above, p. 129, 3].


To reiterate: one inhales through the right nostril, draws the energy down through the roma and upon its entering the kyangma, one retains the breath or this energy in the kyangma (for as long as it is comfortable) and, finally, exhales through the left nostril. This process should be repeated three times.


Next, visualize the left channel as inserted into the right channel. Then, inhale through the left nostril. The energy passes through the kyangma and enters into the roma ・ Retain the breath in the right channel, the roma, for as long as possible, but only while it is still comfortable. As you inhale,

you should imagine, just as before, receiving the blessings of the guru, the Buddhas and all of the Bodhisattvas. Then, exhale the energy that is coming up the right channel through the right nostril. As you do so, you should imagine all of your attachment and lust is being expelled. Inhaling through the left and exhaling through the right nostril should also be done three times,.


For the third phase of this meditation, visualize that the tips of both the roma and kyangma are inserted into the bottom aperture of the centra] channel.


You inhale through both nostrils; however, breathing should be free of the following three faults:


• the fault of sound 一 you should be breathing so gently that you cannot hear the passage of the air;

• the fault of breathing very forcefully;

• the fault of breathing erratically-this is where the inhak ation is longer than the exhalation or vice versa・ It should be even.


As you are inhaling through both nostrils, you should imagine the breath-energy from the right nostril going through the right channel and, simultaneously, the breath-energy from the left nostril going into the left channel. The energy passes down through channels to the level below the navel, enters into the

central channel and fills it. As was done previously while inhaling you imagine receiving the blessings of the guru and all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas・ Similarly, as before, retain the breath as long as possible・ Then, exhaling through both nostrils, one imagines the energy coming through the central channel and being emitted through the point between the eye-brows, like a spotlight sending a ray of light up into the sky. The inhalation through both nostrils, the retention of the breath and the exhalation through both nostrils are also done three times.


You should know that, in fact, due to the many constrictions of the central channel by the two side channels (the roma and the kyangma), no energy actually passes through the central channel [see above, p. 114, 1)]・ If it were to pass through the central channel, there would be a very great force of virtue there but, for an ordinary person, it does not. It is by means of visualization that one imagines this happening・


(2) The Actual Practice

The first step in the vase-like meditation is to visualize oneself very clearly as Kalacakra. There are two ways of practicing the vase-like meditation zone is to visualize the vase in relationship to the navel-center and the other way is to

visualize the vase in relation to the heart-center. Both are correct; but the best way would be if one could practice with the vase placed at the heart. However, if a beginning practitioner engages in the vasc-likc meditation at the heart, instead of gaining realization, there is a great danger of actually disrupting the energies at the heart with a malfunctioning of the life-sustaining winds, possibly resulting in physical disorders. Therefore, it is more

practical and less dangerous for the beginning practitioner to engage in this meditation by focusing at the navel-center [only]. By doing so, one avoids the above-mentioned dangers ・


The next stage in this practice is to visualize the syllable Ham at the navel-center. The syllable is of the nature of one's own mind; it is the emanation of one's own mind.


The function of the vase-like meditation is to take energies from the upper portion of the body and press them down, and to take the energies from the lower portion of the body and draw them up. It is like two bowls that join together like a vase.


In the actual meditation, one does this by drawing the energies down from the upper portion of the body. This must be done very gently, smoothly and slowly; otherwise, there is a danger of having energy disorders in the upper part of the body, such as the shoulders.

To draw up the lower energies, one closes the lower apertures. Then, very gently, one draws these energies up to the navel. Again, a strong emphasis: this must be done gently. For just as a more forceful drawing down of the energies from the top can lead to problems in the energy-flows in the upper portion of

the body, likewise, a too forceful or violent practice on the lower energies can disrupt the energy-flows in the lower portion of the body in such a way that one is no longer able to urinate or defecate properly. It can mix up that whole system down there. Therefore, it must be done gently・


Having drawn the energies together, the upper energies down and the lower energies up, one then focuses them around the navel-center and retains the breath as long as possible - again, without discomfort ・


Initially, one cannot retain the breath very long; therefore, one engages in this practice for just a short time, then exhales. Gradually, one's power of retaining the breath increases. Eventually, the various energies in the body will first enter into the central channel, then abide there and, finally

dissolve. Those are the three stages of the practice [see above, pp. 132-3]・ When you have attained that level, should you happen to fall ill and experience physical discomfort, you can easily remove yourself from it simply by going through this process [of entering, abiding and dissolving energies in the central channel]. There was a Kadampa geshe, Geshe Gompawa, who was meditating and during this vase-like meditation the various signs


appeared・ So, of course, his respiration completely stopped. Seeing this, his disciples were very, very sad. They thought, **Oh, the lama has died!^^ and they started to weep and lament・ Then, Geshe Gompawa came out of his meditation with a burst of laughter asking, "What's wrong with you?^^ And they said,

"Well, we thought you were dead!” He responded, "No, Fd been fee'ing a little bit of physical discomfort・・・ my body had not felt very good. So, I dissolved it!"


This was a brief explanation of the vase-like meditations, which are aspects of the stage of completion. It would be very good if one could cultivate this practice somewhat・ However, until one has gained the authentic realization of the stage of generation, it is not possible to gain the actual realization

of the stage of completion. Nevertheless, it is good to do it a little bit, because it places very beneficial imprints upon one's mindstream. The purpose and the function of these [two] tantric meditations on the stage of completion is to draw the energies into and through the central channel and

then into the heart-center. Once these energies have been drawn into the central channel, the function of the life-effort branch of the practice has been accomplished [see above, p. 136, 3)].


4) It is not the function of the third branch of the practice to make the energies firmly abide in the central channel. This is, rather, the purpose of the next stage of the practice called retention. After one has reached the stage where the energies are abiding firmly in the central channel, one is ready for the next stage ・


5) The fifth branch of the practice is called recollection. These two stages need to be practiced for a long time. One does not practice one for just one day, going on to the next practice the following day. The nature of this fifth branch of the practice is the yoga of the psychic, heat, the turn.mo yoga, which is designed to cause the flame or the fire of the turn.mo to rise up.

Once, when Gampopa came to Milarepa, Milarepa asked him what meditation practice he had been following and Gampopa described it. To this Milarepa commented, “Well, you don't get butter by squeezing a handful of sand・ So, if you want to understand the nature of the mind, then you should follow my practice, the cone practice of the turn.mo yoga. By such means, you will realize the nature of the mind.^^

The result of this practice of causing the tum.mo fire to rise up is that the white bodhicitta at the crown of the head melts and descends through the central channel all the way to the point of the genitals, where it is retained. When one is highly advanced in the stage of completion, one never allows

the white bodhicitta to be emitted [see p. 27, no. 5] but, as it descends to the very tip of the genitals, without (it) wavering, one retains it wrthout any emission whatsoever. It is at this point that one experiences the initial moment of the immutable bliss (Tib.mi.'gyur.ba'i.bde.ba) and that the material components of the body and the various active energies (Tib.las.rlung) begin to be exhausted. This process has begun and it will continue as one proceeds in the later stages of meditation.

[6) By means of the first five branches of the practice, one accomplishes the sixth, called concentration. A more detailed explanation on the fifth and the sixth branches of the Kalacakra yoga is given on pp. 151-3.J

This presentation is the particular system of the Kalacakra that is different from the general Anuttara Yoga Tantra presentations, such as those found in the Vajrabhairava, Guhyasamaja, Cakra-samvara and Hevajra Tantras. In their practices, this body remains and, apart from this body, there arises the

illusory body as Hevajra or whoever it might be. Then, one attains enlightenment as that particular illusory body, which arises separate and distinct from these present aggregates. In the Kalacakra system, on the other hand, this material body, together with the active energies, is gradually exhausted・


e. The Six Energy-Centers and the Process of Exhausting the Material Components of the Body, Active Energies and the Drops of the White and Red Bodhicitta Resulting in tiie Attainment of tiie Bodhisattva Grounds


As mentioned before, it is the energies which are the root of samsara and by extinguishing them, one extinguishes the root of karma. Also, as stated before, the consciousness itself is not able


to contact an object; rather it is by means of its conjunction with the energies that consciousness is able to apprehend the object and relate to it [sec above, p. 105, c].


To further understand the gradual process of exhausting the material components of one's body, and so forth, let us return to the energy・centers or chakras: the genital-center, the navel-center, the heart-center, the throat-center, the forehead・center and the usnisa or crown-center [sec pp. 114-116].


In the following stages of the meditation, one draws both the red and white bodhicitta through these centers・ Eventually, as one progresses in the practice, one sucessively attains the ten Bodhisattva grounds, in the Kalacakra system, however, there exist two more Bodhisattva grounds. In each of these energy-centers, there are 3600 drops of white element, the white bodhicitta. Corresponding to each of these 3600 drops are the 3600

immutable blisses. With each of these 3600 drops, there are 3600 material components of the body, as well as the 3600 active energies that are exhausted.


1) These drops of the white bodhicitta that lead to the immutable blisses first build up or draw together at the lowest, the genital-center and then, they gradually build up through the successive centers. This 'building up' [process] is like slowly pouring curd into a glass. As a result of retaining the

3600 drops of the white bodhicitta [without any emission whatsoever] in the genital-center, the corresponding 3600 immutable blisses arise and act as the antidotes that bring about the exhaustion of the 3600 material components of the body and the 3600 active energies. Through this achievement, one attains the first and the second Bodhisattva grounds called the Very Joyful and the Stainless [see above, p・ 9].


2) Next, the 3600 drops of the white bodhicitta are drawn together or built up at the navel-center. As a result, there arise again the 3600 immutable blisses. And when this occurs at the navel, one attains the third and the fourth Bodhisattva grounds called the Luminous and the Radiant.


3) Then, one builds up the 3600 drops of the white bodhicitta at the heart-center. Like before , there occur the 3600 immutable blisses that act as the antidotes for the 3600 material components of the body and the 3600 active energies・ It is by means of this that one attains the fifth and the sixth Bodhisattva grounds called Difficult to Conquer and the Manifesting One.


4) The seventh and eighth Bodhisattva grounds [see above, pp. 9-10], called the Far Gone One and the Immovable, are attained when this process occurs at the throat-center.


5) A similar process has to take place at the forehead before one can attain the ninth and tenth Bodhisattva grounds called the Good Intelligence and the Cloud of Dharma.


6) The eleventh and the twelfth Bodhisattva grounds are attained after this process is completed at the crown-center・ In all, there are 21,600 drops of the white bodhicitta, 21,600 of the material components of the body and 21,600 of the active energies (i.e., 6 centers x 3600 = 21,600).


Simultaneous with this process of successively building up the white bodhicitta in the centers, starting from the bottom and ascending upward, is a complementary movement of the red bodhicitta that successively descends from the crown of the head, through these same energy-centers, to the genital-

center. Again, this involves the 3600 sets [of the red drops] going down through the various energy-centers・ Upon the conclusion of this ascending and descending process, again without allowing the red bodhicitta to be emitted, one experiences a supreme immutable bliss (Tib. mchog.tu.mi/gyur.ba'i.bde.ba),

with which all of the 21,60() material components of the body are exhausted・ Because the white and red bodhicittas are also material aspects of the body, these too are extinguished at this time.


It would be a mistake to think that this process is like filling a pot or vessel with milk insofar as, at this point, the material components of the body are completely exhausted and one actualizes Kalacakra with consort, who are composed of just energy and consciousness, and one attains the * rainbow body*.


One can understand and see now that what needs to be done is to extinguish this material body which acts as a basis of suffering. If one exhausts or extinguishes this material body, then, of course, there is no basis for sickness.


It is true that the realizations of the stage of completion do not arise if one has not already gained the realizations of the stage of generation. The above explanation on the various stages of meditation is clearly on the stage of completion. Although we are not really fit to practice them yet, it would


still be beneficial to contemplate the stages and to know the different Bodhisattva grounds. As one advances towards Buddhahood, the grounds will be the stages one will pass through・ They can be thought of as signposts on a journey one is now in the process of making. In Tibet, for example, geshes and

lamas had learned detailed descriptions of various holy places in India, such as the Vulture's Peak, Bodhagaya, Samath and so forth. Only words and imagination were involved・ But then, later on, when they came down to India, they were actually able to visit these various places of pilgrimage, that they were already somewhat familiar with from the explanations they had previously received ・


You are now, similarly, receiving a brief explanation of the stages of the Bodhisattva grounds, like names on a map. You can hear about them now and later on, when you actually attain them, you will remember, "Oh yes! Back there in Seattle, I remember him talking •・・"You are not always going to be in the

Situation in which you are now. If you continue your practice, eventually you will certainly become a Bodhisattva and head right on towards Buddhahood・ It is a mistake to look upon the Buddhas or their images on the altar and to think of them as being 'way up in enlightenment/ whereas we are *way down here' -

as if there were no relationship between the two, or as if there were a great abyss separating us. This is simply not the case. We are related to the Buddhas・ We are following the same path and when we come to the culmination of our own practice, we will be up there on the Dharma-throne giving our own teachings・ So, through our own practice, it is definitely possible to attain Buddhahood


For example, Je Tsongkhapa was once speaking to Manju^n saying, “We used to be on a very equal plane・ Both of us were wandering about in the cycle of existences. You, however, overcame self*cherishing and the false conception of the self and attained enlightenment. But here I am - still in the cycle of

existences.^^ Je Tsongkhapa practiced the above six branches of the Kalacakra yoga and had a vision of Kalacakra, who told him that he would be like Dawa Zangpo and would cause the Kalacakra teachings to flourish greatly・


Lama Drukpa Kiinleg, a great Kagyii master, also made a very similar statement when he addressed Jo wo Sakyamuni, the Buddha in the central cathedral in Lhasa, ^Previously, you had also been in the cycle of existences, but you practiced and gained realization; whereas I am still in samsara. To you I prostrate.M

One could likewise look to the Buddha Sakyamuni. He was previously like ourselves, simply wandering about in the cycle of existences; but he met qualified spiritual mentors, especially the masters of the Mahayana and, having practiced, he attained enlightenment. As this has been true in the past, so is it

still true for ourselves in the present. These individuals simply practiced with perseverence and enthusiasm and, therefore, attained en・ lightenment. We have been lagging behind and are left over・ All of us are here to practice and those among us who do so with the greatest enthusiasm and perseverence will be the first to attain full enlightenment. And there will still be some of us left over・ One should understand that enlightenment is attained through

enthusiastic perseverence・ Contemplating this, one should bolster up one's courage for the practice. If one is engaing in a one-day tantric practice, it would be better to devote most of one's time to the practice of the stage of generation. Then, right at the end, give some time to the stage of completion. In this way, one has a rounded and complete tantric practice that places very important imprints upon the mind

F. D. Lessing and A. Wayman. Introduction to the Buddhist Tantric Systems (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. 1980). p. 175: “The prana-ayama of the three lower Tantra divisions has different occasions, requirements, and methods of contempla-tion from the prana^ayama explained in the Anuttara [[[Tantra]]].**

Gyalwa Gcndun Drub, the First Dalai Lama, P. 144: "The Guhyasamaja Tantra states that the signs first arise ut the eyebrows. The Kalachakra Tantra adds that because there are various types and levels of energies, there are also various places and times for the manifestation of the signs. For example, when

the yogi cuts off the flow of the vital energies passing through the four petals of the four intermediate directions at the heart chakra, or the ru-pel,

isang ・ pa, lhachin, and nor-lay-gyal energies, he experiences the signs of smoke, a mirage, radiant fireflies and a butter lamp. When he halts the flow of the equally abiding, upward flowing, all pervading and lu energies that flow through the four petals of the cardinal directions, he perceives the signs of Kalagni, the moon, the sun and Rahula [sic].

One then cuts off the flow of the life sustaining and downward moving energies which course above and below, thus experiencing the signs of lightning and the primordial drop.”

3Ibid. % p. 146: “The physical position for performing the yoga of meditative stabilization is as previously explained. Through application of this yoga one fills the skies with the various empty bodies and symbols previously generated within the mystic drop・

One then dissolves all these gods into one another and then into the Beatific Form of the Sambhogakaya as explained above, establishing the special divine pride until it effortlessly arises. When this divine pride dominates one's entire being, the yoga of meditative stabilization has been attained. One then

is ready to enter into the third of the six yogas, that of energy concentration?* 4Ibid., p. 147: “One must here apply special techniques in order to bring the life sustaining and downward moving energies to the navel and to unify them accordingly.


The two main techniques used to bring about this union is [sic] the vajra recitation and the vase breathing. The method for applying these two yogic techniques for concentrating, holding and dissolving the vital energies are [sic1 explained in the Commentary to the Praise of VajrapaniX “Keep dearly in mind that the Kalacakra system does not use this particular terminology of the 4five major' and *fivc secondary' energies [see above, pp. ! 19-120].

6Ibid., p. 148: "In our tradition the vajra recitation is as explained in the Commentary io the Praise of Chakrasambhara and also Naropa's Commentary to the Treatise on the Initiations. When one meditates upon the yoga of energy concentration and casts the glance eliminating demons, one watches for the

semblant and actual signs as explained previously in the yoga of sense withdrawal. One observes the empty body unified with the vital energies. The energies enter inside and are then made to arise with the luminosity of om. This is brought to the center of the pressure point at the crown, where rests


the empty body that was previously produced through the first two yogas. This energy is then retained and made to arise with the luminosity of the letter Hum. Together with the empty body it is then brought to the navel. As the energies are released, they are made to arise with the luminosity of the letter Ah. The strength of the flowing energies causes the empty body and so forth to move up the path of the central channel to the upper aperture, where they exit.


Through repeated meditation, the inhalation and exhalation periods gradually decrease and the period of retention increases until one is eventually able to retain the application of the empty body and the vital energies at the navel for long periods of time.

After the vajra recitation technique has been mastered one can take up the practice of vase breathing. Parma C. C. Chang, Teachings on Tibetan Yoga (The Citadel Press, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1977), p. 56.


We should engage in whichever of our practices we are presently capable of following with full diligencc. Those that we are not able to practice at this time should not be simply disregarded but, rather, we should offer prayers that we may be able to follow them either in the latter part of this life or in

future lives. While keeping hold of this aspiration, let us engage in practices designed to further purify the mind and accumulate merit. The Bodhisattva Santideva quotes the Buddha, who is totally free from any fraudulence and teaches very honestly and straightforwardly, 一 stating that even


insects are endowed with Buddha-Nature and, therefore, have the ability to attain full enlightenment・ If this is true for insects, then it goes without saying that human beings, who are likewise endowed with Buddha-Nature and, in addition, have the ability to recognize and avoid that which is harmful and engage in that which is beneficial, certainly have the ability to attain enlightenment. This is within reach if we simply maintain enthusiasm and perseverence in the practice ・


Santideva further states that if people holding very ordinary vocations, such as fishermen, carpenters or loggers, give so much effort and endure great hardships of heat and cold for relatively minor aims of this life alone, then those of us who are striving towards full enlightenment should certainly be able to take on the hardships involved in the practice・ So, Santideva asks a rhetorical question, "Why is it that you, who are seeking full enlightenment for the benefit of all creatures, are not able to bear these hardships?^^


2・ THE DAYTIME YOGA

A brief explanation of the night yoga has already been given. Now, we continue with the explanation of the daytime yoga.


a. The Place of the Practice

First of all, one should meditate in a place surrounded by walls, but with no roof so that it is open at the top. One should be facing in such a way that the sun is behind one, snow mountains or bodies of water are not in one's vision, and the wind is not blowing against one's face.


b. The Posture

The physical posture [that one assumes] during the meditation is that of the vajra posture, with the hands either in meditative equipoise or clenched into a fist, thumbs tucked in. All aspects of the posture are the same as described previously for the night yoga [see above, p. 134, b]


c. The Actual Practice

The meditation is also the same as described for the night yoga. One visualizes the body of empty form of the deity and consort in the central channel, between the eyebrows


There are also the six branches of the meditation. The above visualization is done in the first stage, the stage of individual convergence. During the second stage, the individual stability, one stabilizes what has been accomplished during the first branch of the practice. All of the ensuing five branches of the practice after the first one has been attained, are simply to further develop and increase this first practice.


d. The Function of the Six Branches

Although the following material has already been taught and we have become familiar with it, it is helpful to hear it again [and again], and to have the mental imprints [on our continuum].


1) & 2) Since individual convergence is the practice which initially actualizes the body of empty form in the central channel at the forehead opening, and individual stability creates firmness/ stability, these first two branches of the practice make the various active energies serviceable.


3) The third stage of the practice, the life-effort, blocks the two side channels, the roma and the kyangma, causing the energies to abide in the central channel. Thus, the chief practices of the life-effort branch of the yoga are designed to draw together the downward-clearing energy and the life-sustaining energy・ These practices are the vajra recitation of the Om, Ah, Hum mantra and the vase-like meditation, both of which have been described previously.


4) The next stage of the practice, retention, occurs after one has already drawn the energies into the central channel and is somewhat able to make them abide there ・ The function of the retention branch is to stabilize, the retention of the energies in the very center of the central channel - to make them firmly abide there.


5) In the recollection branch of the practice, one goes into union with one of the three types of consorts, literally called ^mudras*: the Action Mudra (Ski. karma-mudra; Tib. las・ .kyi.phyag.rgya), who is an actual person, a consort brought to one by one's karma; the Wisdom Mudra (Skt・ jnana-mudra; Tib. ye.shes. kyi. phyag. rgya), who is a visualized appearance in the meditator's mind 一 the union with her takes place during the visualization;

the Great Mudra (Skt. maha-mudra; Tib. phyag.r-gya.chen.po), the consort of Kalacakra, Natsog Yum, whose body is the body of empty form. A practitioner of dull faculties enters into union with the Action Mudra; a person with medium faculties goes into union with the Wisdom Mudra; and a practitioner of the sharpest faculties with Great Mudra Natsog Sfum.

While one is in union with any of these three types of consorts on this stage of the practice, the white bodhicitta melts from the crown-center, descends to the tip of the genitals, where it is retained and, in this way, one experiences the immutable bliss.


However, in order to engage in a practice such as entering into union with the Action Mudra, rather than the Wisdom Mudra, several qualifications are indispensable:


a) one ought to have trained one's mind on the common path;

b) one ought to have perfectly received the empowerment;

c) one must be maintaining the precepts and pledges;

d) the male and the female practitioners ought to be at the same level of realization; one's realization should not be higher than that of the other・ For example, if the yogin, the male practitioner, has attained a level in the stage of completion called 4inind-liberation/ then his consort, the yogini, should also have attained that same degree of realization

When both are of equal realization, by engaging in this practice, the male practitioner increases the female's realization, and the female increases the male's realization. Enlightenment for both of them is soon attained.

It is very important to understand the purpose of this type of meditation, that is, the male and female practicing in union. This is a very profound practice coming from Vajradhara. Milarepa, speaking on this critical point, said that in the practice, one meditates using the channels, the energies and

the drops, and that one should, at the proper time, practice with an Action Mudra; however, one must do so in a fully qualified way. If one docs not, practicing prematurely leads to birth in a hell. It is also said that, as a result of such a malpractice, one remains in the hell for as long as space lasts.


There is much to be explained about the recollection branch of the practice・ In fact, one could spend many, many days just explaining this because it is very extensive. One aspect of this practice is that of gazing upon Natsog Yum, the consort of Kalacakra, [through which one experiences] the spontaneous

bliss (Tib. lhan.skyes.kyi.bde.ba) and the rising of the tum.mo flame. This melts the white bodhicitta at the crown, which then descends through the various energy-centers where one experiences the four types of joy: the joy (Skt. ananda; Tib. dga'.ba), the supreme joy (Skt. parama-ananda; Tib. mchog.dga'); the extraordinary joy (Skt. virama-ananda; Tib. khyad.dga') and the spontaneous joy (Skt. sahaja-ananda; Tib. lhan.skyes.kyi.dga'.ba) [see above, p. 11, 3].


The preceding are the first five branches of the practice by means of which one accomplishes concentration, the sixth branch of the yoga of Kalacakra


6) The single-pointed union of the emptiness of all phenomena and the mind that is realizing that emptiness constitutes the sixth branch [of the Kalacakra yoga].


The second way of understanding this branch of the practice is as follows: it is the union of the emptiness of all phenomena appearing in the divine form of the consort Natsog Yum, who is the nature of wisdom, and the supreme immutable bliss (Tib. mchog.tu.mi/gyur.ba'i.bde.ba) that appears in the divine form

of Kalacakra. Thus the union of the wisdom realizing emptiness symbolized by the consort, and the mind of the supreme immutable bliss embodied in the deity Kalacakra is also called the concentration branch of this yoga of the Kalacakra (cf・ above, p. 133, 6]・


One should keep in mind that the union of the deity and consort is not like mundane sexual intercourse; it symbolizes the union of method and wisdom, where the deity Kalacakra embodies the method and the consort Natsog Yum embodies the wisdom aspect of the teachings [cf・ p. 60, 7]. As a result of one's going into union with one of the three types -of consorts, the Action Mudra, the Wisdom Mudra or the Great Mudra, the immutable bliss (Tib. mi.4gyur.ba'i.bde.ba) arises and is then increased more and more.


This brief explanation of the six branches of the yoga of Kalacakra completes the exposition of the various stages of meditation. The next topic to be explained is the attainment of full enlightenment in this practice of Kalacakra


Cultivating the Stage of Completion

Preliminary Teachings

1. FURTHER CHARACTERISTICS OF THE VAJRA BODY

As explained previous!y. in order to practice the stage of completion, it is indispendable to understand the way in which the channels, energies and drops arise. Within this presentation, one should, by all means, have a clear understanding of the three major channels: the central channel, uma, and on its right and left, the roma and kyangma, respectively・


In the explanation of the stage of completion there are three bodies: the gross, the subtle and the extremely subtle. Likewise, one can speak of the gross, the subtle and the extremely subtle minds. It is especially important to understand the nature of the very subtle mind because, nowadays, many people say, "There is no afterlife; there is only this one Such an assertion is

founded upon the assumption that there is no subtle mind・ It is true that the gross mind does not carry on after this life. But there is also the very subtle mind. If one really understands the very subtle mind and the very subtle energy, which is a very subtle form of the life-sustaining energy, and

their functioning, then one sees that they have been with us since beginningless time and will carry on without end. By understanding them, one sees the logical basis for asserting both former and future lives. If future lives were not to exist, there would not really be any reason to practice Dharma at all. One could simply lead a hedonistic life.


A. The Energy-Centers

There are different presentations of the energy-centers (Skt.cakra; Tib. khor.lo). When one speaks of the four, they are:


1) the ^center of great bliss' (Skt. mahasukha-cakra; Tib.b-de.chen.'khor. Io) situated at the crown of the head;

2) the 'center of enjoyment (Skt. sambhoga-cakra; Tib. long-s.spyod.kyi.'khor」o) at the throat;

3) the "center of Dharma, (Skt・ dharma*cakra; Tib. chos.kyi. 4khor」o) at the heart;

4) the *center of emanation' (Skt. nirmana-cakra; Tib.sprul. pa'i/khor.lo) at the navel. When presenting five energy-centers, in addition to the above four, one speaks of:

5) the *bliss-guarding center' (Tib. gsang.gnas.bde.skyong. 'khor.lo) which is located at the genital area. Sometimes, there is also a presentation of the six energy centers.


1) The Center of Great Bliss

The center of great bliss at the crown of the head is situated in the area beneath the top of the skull and just above the brain. The width (of the center) is like a Japanese incense stick, about 1/8 of

an inch or so. It is multi-colored: white, green, red and black. Its center is triangular in shape・ At present, the central channel, uma, is constricted by two side channels, the roma and the kyangma, making a knot. These channels branch off into four and into eight, and so forth, eventually making a total of 32 subsidiary or branch channels branching off the center of great bliss. In appearance, this center resembles an open umbrella held aloft・


2) The Center of Enjoyment

This center is situated at the throat, right at the Adam's apple. Its color is red. The very center of the cakra is round. As above, the central channel is constricted by the two side channels, making a knot. The center of enjoyment has 16 branch channels, which branch out like an inverted umbrella. Clearly keep in mind that the previous center at the crown is like a right-side・up umbrella, whereas this throat-center resembles an inverted umbrella. Visualize them!


3) The Center of Dharma

The center of Dharma is situated at the heart, between the two breasts, in the chest. It is white in color. The center of this cakra is triangular in shape and is constricted three times, namely, there are three knots made by the two parallel side channels. It has only eight branch or subsidiary channels, which branch out like a right-side・up umbrella. Think this over carefully. Get it clearly in mind so you can visualize it just as has been explained・


4) The Center of Emanation

This center is situated at the same height as the navel itself. Like the one on the crown, the emanation center is multicolored・ Its center is round, while its 64 subsidiary channels branch out like an inverted umbrella. So, the umbrella-like center at the navel are facing each other, just as the ones at the crown and the throat are facing each other.


5) The Bliss-Guarding Center

This center is situated at the genital area or, more precisely, at the very base or the very root of the genitals. Its center is triangular in shape and it is red in color. It has 32 subsidiary channels・ The energy-center itself is like a right-side-up umbrella.1 One should understand that all of these centers are pierced through the middle by the central channel, which acts as an axis for all them, as the trunk of a tree is the axis for its branches.


B. The Etymology of the Names of the Energy -Centers It will also be helpful to understand why these five centers are called by their respective names:


1) Because the foundation of bliss, the white bodhicitta, abides principally at the crown, this center is called *the center of great bliss.'

2) The enjoyment center at the throat is so called because this is the place where one tastes the six kinds of tastes: sour, sweet2 bitter, salty, astringent and pungent.

3) The chief means, the chief instrument for the practice of Dharma is the mind, which has its main abode at the heart, specifically at the indestructible drop which comes from one's parents [see p. 107]. It is for this reason that the heart-center is called the 'center of Dharma/

4) The basis of the emanation of great bliss is the fire of the psychic heat (Tib.gtum.mo'i.me), the turn.mo fire, the principal abode of which is situated at the navel. Therefore, this navel center is called the ^emanation center/

5) The bliss-guarding center at the genitals is very closely related to the four types of joy [see p. 12] involving the movement of the bodhicitta in forward and reverse orders・ Specifically, the spontaneous joy (Tib」han.skyes・kyi・ dga-\ba) is experienced when the bodhicitta reaches the very tip of the genital organ.


Because it is so instrumental or critical to these various types of joy, this center is called the 4bliss*guarding center.* It is important to understand well the etymology of the names of the five centers. as well as the previous explanation of the various types of energies or winds and drops, in order to use them in meditation・ Remember especially the five principal energies: the life*sustaining energy, the downwardclearing energy, the fire・accompanying energy, the upward* moving energy, and the pervasive energy.


C・ Location of the Five Principal and Five Secondary Energies One should understand not only the manner of the arising of these energies, but also know their locations.


1) The life-sustaining energy abides at the heart and its function is to form the link between life (the vital force) and the body.

2) The downward-clearing energy is located at the genital area・ Its function is to send downward and dispel, or retain and hold when necessary both the white and red bodhicitta,.as well as urine and excrement. This type of energy can malfunction causing, for example, diarrhea・

3) The fire>accompanying energy abides at the navel. The word 'fire' here refers to the gastric fire. The function of the fire-accompanying energy is to separate the nutriment of one's food and drink from the waste (or the different stages of nutriment from the different stages of waste), sending the nutriment to sustain the various parts of the body and dividing the waste so that it goes into the various waste products・

4) The upwardoving energy abides at the throat・ All of one's vocal activity, as well as swallowing food and drink, occurs by the functioning of this energy. In the death process, when this energy has dissolved, one is no longer able to speak or to swallow・ One puts food or drink in the mouth and it just comes right back up again.

5) The pervasive energy pervades the entire body. Various physical movements of walking, leaning forward, leaning back・ ward and so forth are all due to the functioning of the pervasive energy・ When this energy declines, one loses the power of movement.


One should also consider the five secondary energies:


1) the moving energy resides at the eye and it apprehends form;

2) the fully-moving energy, which abides at the ear. apprehends sound;

3) the perfectly・moving energy, abiding at the nose, experi-ences odors;

4) the very-moving energy, which abides at the tongue, apprehends tastes;

5) the certainly-moving energy, which abides in the tactile faculty, apprehends objects of touch and different kinds of feelings or sensations.


A clear understanding of the different types of energies, channels and so forth is necessary for the meditations on the stage of completion which bring all of these various energies into the central channel and then into the indestructible drop at the heart. Unless the energies are first brought into the

central channel, the realizations of the stage of completion are not attained. Whether one is meditating on the stage of completion or not, at death there occurs this retraction of the energies into the central channel and then into the heart. So, just as this naturally and effortlessly occurs in the death process, one is now duplicating it consciously in meditatio n.

Among the various types of the stage of completion and meditations, there are the *vajra recitation' and *vase-like meditation. * In the practice of these, the purpose is to draw the energies into the central channel and then to the indestructible drop at the heart.


D. The Five Principal and the Five Secondary Energies as Related to the Five Buddha Families

The five principal energies also correspond to the five types of Buddhas: the life-sustaining energy is the energy of Aksobhya; the downward-clearing energy is that of Ratnasambhava; the fireaccompanying energy is the energy of Amoghasiddhi; the upward moving energy is the energy of Amitabha; and, finally, the pervasive energy is the energy of Vairocana.

The five secondary energies are also related to the five types of Buddhas: the moving energy is the energy of Vairocana; the fully-moving energy is the energy of Ratnasambhava;the perfectly-moving energy is the energy of Amitabha; the very moving energy is the energy of Amoghasiddhi; and the certainly-moving energy is the energy of Aksobhya.


E. The Five Principal and the Five Secondary Energies as Related to the Five Elements

There is also a relationship between these energies and the various elements: the life-sustaining energy is related to the water element; the downward-clearing energy is related to the earth element; the fire-accompanying energy is related to the wind or

the air2 element; the upward・moving energy is related to the fire element; and the pervasive energy is related to the element of space・ Likewise, there is a relationship for the five secondary energies: the moving energy is related to the earth element; the fully-moving energy to the water element; the perfectly-moving energy to the fire element; the very-moving energy to the wind element; and the certainly-moving energy to the element of space.


F. The Energies and Their Respective Colors

There is also a distinction of colors with regard to these various energies: the life-sustaining energy is white; the downward・ clearing energy, being related to the earth element, is yellow; the fire accompanying energy is dark green; the upward・moving energy, being related to the fire element, is red; and the pervasive energy is blue ・

Likewise, these five colors are connected to the secondary energies: the moving energy is red; the fully-moving energy is blue; the perfectly・moving energy is yellow; the very-moving is white; and the certainly-moving is green.


G. The Ten Energies in the Kalacakra System

There is one vital point that has already been mentioned and which should be remembered. In general tantric presentations, there is the explanation of the five principal and five minor or secondary energies. The distinction in the Kalacakra is that the terminology of the 4five principaf and 'five secondary* energies is not used; nevertheless, the presentation of all ten is there [and the names of the first five energies are identical in both presentations].


1) The life-sustaining energy (Skt. pranavayu; Tib.srog/dzin.g-yi.rlung.);

2) the downward-clearing energy (Skt. apana;Tib.rlung-.thur.sel);

3) the fire-accompanying energy (Skt. samana; Tib.rlung-.me.mnyam);

4) the upward-moving energy (Skt.udana;Tib.rlung.gyen.r-gyu);

5) the pervasive energy (Skt.vyana ;Tib.khyab. byed. gyi. rlung). The names of the next five energies are given in either Sanskrt or English:

6) the naga (Skt.naga;Tib.klu) energy goes through the channel to the northwest;

7) the 'tonoise' (Skt.kurma;Tib.rus.sbal) energy situated at the heart, flows through the southeast subsidiary channel;

8) the ^chameleon* (Skt. krkala; Tib. rtsangs.pa) energy flows through the southwest subsidiary channel and is of the nature of fire;

9) Devadatta (Skt. devadatta; Tib.lhas.byin) flows through the northeast and is of the nature of the water element;

10) Dhananjaya (Skt・ dhananjaya; Tib.nor.las.rgyal) which, like naga energy flows through the northwest, is of the nature of the earth element.


These are the names [as well as locations] of the ten energies in accordance with the exclusive tradition of the Kalacakra. There are some differences. Je Tsongkapa says the tradition of the Kalacakra is somewhat different from the other tantras, and he praises it very highly. It is stated that if one has a thorough understanding of the Kalacakra, then this understanding is easily applicable to understanding all the other tantras. It is a very important tantra

There is an important point made in the context of the sutras: it is stated that the root of the cycle of existence is the ignorance which misconceives of the self. In the context of tantra, it is stated that the energy is the root of both the cycle of existence and of liberation. In the detrimental aspect,

there are the 80 conceptions, each of which is related to a corresponding type of energy. They keep us in the cycle of existence and cast us to lower states of existence. In this sense, the energy is acting as the root of the cycle of existence・ Likewise, the energy is also at the root of enlightenment

because there is an energy intimately related to, for example, the clear light・ For each of the various mind states, as one progresses towards enlightenment, there are corresponding energies.


H. The Four Drops in the Kalacakra System

In accordance with the Kalacakra system, there are four types of drops (Skt.bindu;Tib.thig.le).

1) The drop of the arisal of deep sleep' (Tib.gnyid/thug.skabs-.kyi.thig」c), which is chiefly energy, abides at the heart and at the tip of the genital organ.

When energies in the upper portion of the body, the head, the chest and so forth condense into the heart, and the energies in the lower part of the body condense into the genital region, one goes into deep sleep. The drop of the arisal of deep sleep is also called the 'mind-drop5 (Tib.sems.sam.thugs.kyi.thig.le).


2) The 'drop of the arisal of dreams' (Tib. rmi.lam.skabs. kyi.thig.le) also abides at the genital region・ When energies in the upper portion of the body converge at the throat, and the energies in the lower portion of the body converge at the genital region, one dreams. This is when the dream state occurs.

One often hears the statement that all phenomena are not truly existent and that they are like dreams. Take the case of a young woman who dreams she has' given birth to a child whom she adores・ She is enchanted by the child 一 she loves it so much. The child dies. She is incredibly distressed. She weeps and

wails and goes through torment. Then she wakes up. There has not been any child, there has not been any death of the child, and she is out of that suffering・ Likewise, for conventional truth, although phenomena do not truly exist, nevertheless, the relationship between actions and their results, that

is to say, the law of karma, of suffering and of happiness, conventionally do exist. This drop of the arisal of dreams is also called the ^speech-drop* (Tib.ngag. gam.gsung.gi.thig.le).

3) The *drop of awakening9 (Tib.sad.pa'i.skabs.kyi.thig」e) abides chiefly at the forehead and the navel. When energies in the upper portion of the body converge at the forehead and the energies in the lower portion of the body converge at the navel, one awakens from sleep. This is what happens each morning in Seattle around 7 or 8 o'clock. This drop of awakening is called "the body-drop* (Tib.lus.sam.sku'i.thigJe).


4) The drop of the fourth occasion' (Tib. bzhi.pa'i.gnas.skabs)

kyi.thig.le) abides at the crown of the head and at the genitals. The term *thc drop of the fourth occasion/ refers to the occasion of the sexual bliss

that is experienced during sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. During that time, the energies in the upper portion of the body converge at the

crown and the energies in the lower portion of the body converge at the genitals・ Bliss is experienced with the descent of the bodhicitta. This drop of

the fourth occasion is also called *the drop of transcendental wisdom' (Tib.ye.shes.kyi.thig.le). It is important to know these different drops because they are indicative of the type of practice that one follows in the deep sleep・ the dream and the awakening states. Corresponding to each of these stages there is a practice that is to be followed?


2. THE FOUR PRELIMINARY STEPS WITH SPECIAL EMPHASIS ON THE GURU YOGA

All of this is in preparation for the actual practice of the stage of completion. For this practice, one needs:

a. the proper teaching on refuge, namely, on how to avoid taking refuge in or relying upon false paths or upon extremist teachers (in other words, one must have a pure refuge);


b・ the teaching on bodhicitta, which is superior to the paths of the Listeners (Skt.sravaka; Tib.nyan.thod) and the Solitary Victors (Skt. pratyekabuddha;Tib.rang.sangs.rgyas);


c・ the teaching on Vajrasattva for the purification of unwholesome mental imprints and obscurations;

d・ the teaching on guru yoga for swiftly receiving blessings. Among these four.subject headings, the one on guru yoga is especially important. The great Sakya Pandita likened the blessing of the Buddhas to the rays of the sun. If one has some firewood, no matter how strongly the sun might be shining, the

firewood does not burst into flame. One has to have a magnifying glass in order to ignite the actual flame. Likewise, even though the Buddhas are very powerful and are able to bestow great blessings, it is impossible to receive them without a guru. The guru and one's relationship to the guru arc indispensable・

To further illustrate this, there is an account of the translator Marpa when he was living with his Guru Naropa. One day Naropa manifested the entire Hevajra Mandala together with the deity. He then called out to his disciple Marpa, saying, "My son, Chokyi Lodro (which was Marpa's personal name), get up,

rise up! Here is a vision of Hevajra!" He rose and was awestruck. Then Naropa asked Marpa, “Which will you prostrate to? Will you prostrate to Hevajra or will you prostrate to me, your Guru?" Marpa thought, "Well, this is a very special event. Here is the yrdam, the meditational deity himselt appearing. This is an extraordinary event. . . .1 can always prostrate to my Guru, he is always here・ I will prostrate to the yidam." And he did so.

Naropa then responded with one verse. the essential meaning of which states that the yidams are an emanation of the guru・ Having recited this stanza, he snapped his fingers and Hevajra, together with the entire mandala, dissolved into his heart. Naropa then told Marpa, "This was not properly done; you made a mistake! As a result of this, your personal (family) lineage will be short!" And, in fact, this was the case・ Marpa had nine sons, but his hereditary

lineage was cut. In contrast, for example, in the Sakya lineage, the hereditary lineage has been preserved right up to the present. Whereas in the Kagyii, although the Dharma lineage is very much preserved and is very much alive and flourishing, the hereditary lineage from Marpa ended long ago.

To continue that same story, Marpa found this very strange. He was very, very unhappy and worried about this because he found it so bizarre 一 "Why did I do that in that situation?" This must have been the ripening of a residue from a karma committed long ago. He had previously had many visions of Hevajra and he was devoting himself to the practice of the Guru as being superior to the Yidam Hevajra. He had no confusion on that point. Although he had this clarity, nevertheless, he acted in that way. He was very concerned and was wondering, *4What is happening to me?^^ As a result of this inner consternation, he fell ill.


One day, Naropa and Marpa went out to a pond to bathe・ While they were there, a crow took a protection ring from Marpa and flew up in the air. Naropa did a very special 'threatening mudra' and shot down the crow. When the crow came fluttering down, he

took the protection ring and gave it back to Marpa saying, "Now you will be free from this problem, free from the mara/' It was as if a mara had taken over his mind and influenced him. Then Marpa responded by asking what he should do? And he decided that he would simply like to meditate.


This threatening mudra is a very powerful one when it is used by a highly accomplished person on the stage of completion. For example, such a practitioner could sit here, point this mudra at a far off fruit-tree, and he would be able to draw the fruit of that tree to himself. Then he could reverse the whole

process and send the fruits back up to their respective branches・ These supernatural things which one is able to do in the practice of tantra arc a lot of fun. This is simply one of a number of feats that might be done・


The supernormal powers of the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas are beyond the realm of conception of ordinary beings. The manner of the ripening of various actions and the relationships that occur in terms of the law of karma for ordinary beings, are equally astounding. For example, the bizarre physical

deformities of some people born without a mouth, or those born with one leg that is enormous and the other one tiny, or one leg that is bent way backwards 一 in each and every case, there is a very profound karmic relationship which comes into play and which ordinary beings cannot comprehend.


To draw a practical parallel, take a nomad, for example, who is living way out in the wilds and has no contact with civilization at all, simply living all by himself. If such a nomad were told that there arc things such as airplanes that fly through the air and they do not even flap their wings, or that there

arc trains and so forth, he would say, "That is nonsense, that is impossible! Of course, there are no such things!*' He would never believe it. Likewise, when an ordinary person is told of some of the supernormal powers of the Bodhisattvas and the Buddhas they might seem totally unbelievable to him.

Nevertheless, just as airplanes and other amazing technological feats have been created, likewise・ these powers are facts. Just as one can be shown these inventions, the powers of the Bodhisattvas and Buddhas can also be shown. On another occasion, when Milarepa was leaving his Guru to go off into retreat to meditate, Marpa and his wife Dagmema came out to send him off. Marpa, as a farewell, cast off his ordinary form and appeared in the form of Cakrasamvara.

That dis・ appeared and he took the form of Hevajra. That disappeared and he took the form of Guhyasamaja・ That disappeared and then he took the form of ali and kali [[[Wikipedia:vowels|vowels]] and consonants]. When this was done, he called out to Milarepa, sayings *'My son, have you seen?" Milarepa said, “Yes, I have. Yes, 1

believe. Might I also be able to accomplish such wonders as you!'* Then he went off into retreat and, as is very well known, attained the same enlightenment as his Guru Marpa and was able to perform many supernormal feats, like flying in the sky and so forth.

With the same kind of reverence that Milarepa had for Marpa, so should one practice and look up to one's own guru. There was also a girl, who was a disciple of a lama by the name of Sakya Gyeltscn. She practiced and was also able to perform the miraculous wonders of

flying through the sky and do forth. In verses of praise, she also referred to the great Yogin Milarepa and his powers. The previous Dagchen Rinpoche, Gongma Choglang Rinpoche, came to the province in Eastern Tibet, where there was a Sakya Monastery by the name of Langna

Gompa, which literally means, "the Elephant-trunk Monastery. At that time, Rinpoche knew that there were going to be a lot of violent earthquakes in the area. He told the people around him. "If you want to be with me, then come into this room. If you don't want to, stay outside. and he gave them each a

blessing cord. The earthquakes occurred then up to a point along a certain ridge of a mountain. They flattened a lot of houses, but no damage occurred to the house in which Rinpoche was living・ Afterwards, he did pass away in that house. There were many devotees who wanted to bring his remains back to

Sakya, but the people there told them, "No. this would not be correct, because Rinpoche had a definite reason for passing away here・ So, his remains should be kept here/' Then, they built a golden stupa to hold the remains. This was adorned with a pearl parasol. It was a very precious and holy place

Many Tibetans suffering from various illnesses came there to circumambulate the golden stupa and a great many of them were cured. It was considered a very holy site・ Each year. this stupa grew a little bit


THE FIVE PRINCIPAL AND THE FIVE TATHAGATA LOCATION ELEMENT COLOR SECONDARY ENERGIES (Tib. rlung) FAMILY

1. Life-sustaining srog. *dzin. Aksobhya Heart Water White gyi.rlung 2 Downward-clearing rlung.thur.scl Ratnasumbhava Genital area Earth Yellow 3. Fire-accompanying rlung.me.mnyam Amoghasiddhi Navel Wind Dark Green 4. Upward<moving rlung. gyen.rgyu Amitiibha Throat Fire Red 5. Pervasive kyab.byed Vairocana Entire Body Space Blue kyi.rlung V Moving rgyu.ba Vairocana Eye Earth Red 2. Fully Moving rnam.par.rgyu.ba Ratnasumbhava Ear Water Blue

3. Perfectly Moving yang.dag.par. Amitabha Nose Fire Yellow rgyu.ba 4. Very Moving rab.tu. rgyu.ba Amoghasiddhi Tongue Wind White 5. Certainly Moving ngcs.par.rgyu.ba Aksobhya Skin Surface Space Green


larger. From that time forward, the inhabitants of the area say that there have never occurred earthquakes in that valley. In other places, when earthquakes do occur, the people naturally call out to Gongma Choglang Rinpoche. praying for his help. Such is the blessing that great lamas have. Again, to paraphrase a stanza by Sakya Pandita, who was himself an emanation of Manjusri, Merit accrued through service and devotion to the guru for the

duration of just a fingersnap, outshines the merit that is accrued during a thousand cons of practicing the six perfect ions." This would include sacrificing one's own body, head. arms and so forth.


Therefore, with great delight and joy, one should engage in devotion and service to the guru. The people who are here at the center have the opportunity to devote themselves to their own guru in that fashion.


  • Gyalwa Gendun Drub, the First Dalai Lama. "To Enlicc the Minds of the Wise" (Notes on Kalachakra), in Bridging the Sutras and Tantras, trans, and comp. Glenn H. Mullin (Ithaca: Gabriel Press. 1982), p.13; “In the Kalachakra Tantra^ the six pressure points, or 131 chakras, are as follows. The first is

localed jusi below the crown aperture of the skull and has four petals of energy channel^. The second is at the forehead and has sixteen petals. The third is located at the throat and has thirty-two petals. The fourth, which has eight petals, is at the heart. The fifth has sixty-four and is located at the

navel. The sixth has two branches: the first ut the anus, with thirty-two petals, and the second at the centre of the jewel, with eight petals/' 2The reader is reminded that the word *aif or 'wind' (Skt. vayu; Tib. rlung) is the same word that has been translated, in other instances, as 'energy/


3Gyalwa Gendun Drub, the first Dalai Lama, pp. 135-6: "For ordinary beings the four drops carry the potency of inducing perception of the impure objects of the world, the potency of causing confused appearances and sound to arise, and the potencies giving rise to obscurity of mind, ignorance and perishable

happiness. The aim of the Kalachakra yogas is to take these impure and obscured bases and to transform them into the path of enlightenment. To be specific, these three potencies are to be purified and transformed into the empty body, unconfused sound and unchanging bliss. These arc cultivated to perfection, giving rise lo the body, speech and mind of a Buddha and to ultimately pristine awareness/'


It goes without saying that if we cultivate a very good motivation now, listen with this motivation, and then put the teachings into practice, this is extremely good. Even if we do not practice much, but simply have a good motivation while listening, very beneficial imprints are made upon our own

mindstreams so that, in future existences, we will have propensities for gaining a very profound understanding of the Dharma・ In order to practice the stage of completion, one needs to understand the basis that one is working with・ Prior to this, one should have at least the basic understanding of the stage of generation. There has already been an explanation of the channels and the various energy-centers, with the 32 branch

channels at the crown of the head, the one with 16 at the throat, the one with eight at the heart, 64 at the navel and 32 in the genital regiqn・ One also needs to have the basic understanding of the three channels, the four principal energy-centers, the drops and the illusory body.


MEDITATION PRACTICES ON THE STAGE OF COMPLETION

The Six Branches of the Practice

To go on to the stage of completion in the Kaiacakra, one should know that there are 'six branches of the practice.5 We have set for ourselves the goal of full enlightenment. To accomplish it, we should know what we are attaining: the Body, Speech and Mind of a Buddha. This is like the attainment of anything else・ If wc wish to go to India, we should first know the nature of our destination; if we are going to Tibet, we should know where we are headed.


Since we are headed for Buddhahood, it is the attainment of the Body, Speech and Mind of a Buddha which is required. Frhe way to accomplish this goal is through the following the six branches of the practice.


1. The first of the six branches of the practice [or yoga of the Kalacakra] is called 'individual convergence' (Skt. pratyahara; Tib.sor.sdud). It is designed to draw together the individual energies of the five sensory consciousnesses into the heart.


As has already been explained, there is now a very intimate relationship between consciousness and energy・ This can be understood in terms of an analogy. Imagine a person who has no legs but has clear sharp vision. Off in the distance, he sees a tree with fruit on it. He would like very much to eat that

fruit, but having no legs he cannot get there・ However, there is another person who is blind, but has both of his legs intact. He does not know where the fruit is, but he can walk around・ If the two were to get together, the man with no legs riding on the shoulders of the man with legs but no eyes, then the man with the eyes could direct him, "Now go forward, then- right, now left. directing the man with the legs to the fruit. Having arrived at the tree, he

could pluck off the fruit and enjoy it. In like manner, the person with eyes is like consciousness; the person with legs is like energy・ It is the consciousness that apprehends the object, but it is able to go to the object only by the force of the energy. It is the energy that enables the consciousness to come in contact with the perceived object・ The two work together in that manner.


2. The second branch of the practice is called 'individual stability" (Skt. dhyana; Tib. sor.gtan or bsam.gtan). These two practices, the individual convergence and the individual stability, are the means of accomplishing the 'body of empty form' [see below, p. 131]. If this body has not been accomplished previously, it is accomplished freshly; and if it has already been accomplished, it is increased. These two act as a means for the attainment of the Body of a Buddha, the Nirmanakaya ・


3. The third branch of the practice is called iife-efforf (Skt. pranayama; Tib. srog.rtsol).1 Its function is to draw the energy of the mental consciousness into the central channel. The energies of the five sensory consciousnesses have already been drawn in by the previous practices・ The first syllable of this compound term. (Tib. srog), which literally means 'life' or fclife force', refers to the energy. The second syllabic (Tib・

rtsol) refers to the closing of the two side channels, the roma and the kyangma^ and the drawing of the energies into the central channel. It implies the movement of the energies through the central channel. As long as these energies are flowing through the roma, the right side channel, there occurs hatred;

and as long as the energies are flowing through the kyangma, the left side channel, there occurs attachment. To bring about the cessation of these two mental distortions, the active energies are not allowed to go through these side channels, but are drawn into the central channel.


4. The fourth branch of the practice is called *retention, (Skt. dtiarana; Tib. *dzin.pa). Its function is to retain the energy of the mental consciousness called the kactive energies of mental con・ sciousness" (Tib・ las.rlung) in the central channel. Thus, it is through the life-effort practice that the active energies of mental consciousness are drawn into the central channel and. with the retention

practice, they are retained there. Having done so, one achieves what is called 'mastery over the energies,' specifically the mastery over energies that arc the root of speech. Hence, these practices act as a cause for attaining the Buddha's Speech, the Sambhogakaya・ There is a distinction between the sutra and the tantra explanations of the Sambhogakaya. The sutras explain the Sambhogakaya in terms of the five 'certain' or "definite aspects,' whereas in the tantras, the Sambhogakaya refers to the Buddha's Speech.


5. The fifth branch is called ‘recollection’(Skt. anusmrti; Tib.rjes.dran). In this practice, the him.mo, the fire of the psychic heat, flares up and melts the white bodhicitta, which [then] flows down to the tip of the genital organ (called the jewel') where it is retained (i.e., it is not allowed to

come out) and, at this point, one experiences the spontaneous joy (Tib.lhan.skyes.kyi・ dga'.ba). The recollection or the bringing to mind of this joy is what is involved in the fifth of these practices.


6・ The sixth branch practice translates as 'concentration* or 'meditative equipoise" (Skt. samadhi; Tib. ting.nge.'dzin). It refers to the meditative equipoise of the non-dual bliss and emptiness. What is being referred to as *bliss and emptiness" is as foliows: the bodies of the deity and the consort

are bodies of empty form called 'emptiness,' and the bliss is the supreme immutable bliss (Tib. mchog.tu.mi.'gyur. ba'i.bde.ba). ThereforeT the attainment of the sixth practice is the meditative equipoise of the non-dual bliss and emptiness which, in this particular context, refer respectively to the supreme immutable bliss and the two bodies of the deity and the consort.


What is meant by the term, *body of empty form,? In order to accomplish the body of empty form, one has to use up or exhaust the material element of one's body and then generate the form of the deity and the 8nsort・ Rather than being composed of [gross] matter, their bodies are composed simply of energy and consciousness. More specifically, they arise from the cultivation of the great bliss and the wisdom of emptiness・ From these two aspects, there arise, in the divine embodiment of these two factors, the body, which is the body of empty form, and the mind of that body (colloquially called 4sem, and in polite speech referred to as thug'), which is the wisdom of the non>dual bliss and emptiness. Thus, it is this mind or this wisdom of the non-dual bliss and emptiness which is to be accomplished by these two final branch practices.


To draw a parallel in the world: a sprout needs to arise from a cause which is similar to itself - the seed・ It cannot arise from a totally dissimilar cause. In like fashion, the result of this practice is the attainment of the body of the deity and the consort. To bring about this result, one needs to nurture or cultivate a similar cause, that is, a cause similar to that result・


Here follows an explanation of the six branches of the practice in their reverse order:

6. In order to accomplish the body of the deity and the consort9 first there must be the attainment of the meditative equipoise of the union of the [non>dual] bliss and emptiness. This is what is involved in the concentration branch of the practice・


5. Prior to that, there has to be the attainment of the stage of the recollection practice ・


4・ For the stage of recollection to occur, there must be the previous attainment - the fourth of these branches of practices, •retention/ With this practice, one unwaveringly retains the energies in the central channel, at the heart・ Only when this is done is it possible for tum.mo fire to flame upwards and cause the white bodhicitta to melt and descend ・


3. Before the stage of retention can be attained, there must be the prior accomplishment of the third branch of the practice, the life-effort・ Without preventing the energies from passing through the two side channels and without drawing them into the central channel, it is quite obvious that one cannot retain them there・


2. & 1. In order to eventually draw these energies into the central channel, there have to be the initial two stages of this practice: the individual convergence and the individual stability・ The purpose of these is to regulate the energies in order to make this process possible. Thus, the function of

the first two branches of the practice is to make these energies fit for action, usable・ If they are not made serviceable (Tib. las.su.rung.ba) through the training of meditation, it is not possible to bring them into the central channel.


The initial task of the first branch of the practice, the individual convergence, is designed to draw the active energies associated with the five sensory consciousnesses into the central channel. Only when this is accomplished is it possible to draw the energies into the central channel and prevent them from passing through the side ones. All of this must be done in sequence・


There are 11 signs of having brought the energies of the five sensory consciousnesses into the central channel and they will be explained later. Also, in this process (of bringing the energies into the central channel), there are three major stages:


• 'Entering* (Skt. pravesa; Tib. Jug). The sign of the energies entering into the central channel is that the force of the breath through both nostrils is even in strength. Normally, the breath is stronger through the left or the right nostril.


• 4Abiding' (Skt. alaya; Tib. gnas). The sign of the energies abiding in the central channel is that the flow of the breath through both nostrils ceases entirely and there is no further movement of the abdomen, that is, respiration has stopped・


• •Dissolving* (Skt・ utthana, thim). The signs of dissolving the energies into the central channel include the sequence of signs beginning with the smoke-like apparition through to the clear light. These signs, which have been explained previously appear in their respective order.


The following is a very concise explanation of the six branches of the practice in their original order

1・ & 2・ The first two, 'the individual convergence and the individual stability, are designed to accomplish the Buddha's Body. They train and regulate the energies in order to draw them into the central channel.

3・ The life-effort practice is designed to prevent the energies [of mental consciousness] from passing through the two side channels and to draw them into the central channel.

4・ The retention practice is designed to retain those energies that have been drawn into the central channel, not allowing them to waver in and out [of that channel].


5. On the basis of an already accomplished retention practice, one engages in the recollection practice, which involves the union with any of the three types of mudras・ This practice is designed to flare up the fire of the psychic heat which melts the bodhicitta. Its descent to the tip of the genitals is the cause for the experience of the spontaneous joy (Tib・ lhan.skyes.kyi.dga'.ba).


6. That which is accomplished through the sixth branch of the practice, concentration, is the great union (Tib. bzung/jugs). This is done through the attainment of the body of empty form of the deity and consort and [the experience of] the supreme immutable bliss (Tib. mchog.tu.mi.*gyur.bafi.bde.ba) followed by the cultiva・ tion of their union. The result of practice is the attainment of the great union (cf. p. 14, 4].


There are two types of yogas known as the night and daytime yogas.


1. THE NIGHT YOGA

a. The Place of the Practice

The place in which one meditates during the practice of the night yoga should be dark. This has many benefits for the generation of the body of empty form. In the past, lamas who followed this practice were very meticulous about this point of sitting in a room which does not have even the tiniest glimmer of light・ There was not even a crack the width of a hair in their Tooms. It was totally dark. We might find such a practice impractical to follow for the time being; nevertheless, it is important to hear about it, as well as to have these mental imprints placed upon the mind.


b. The Posture

During this meditation, one assumes a definite posture: the legs should be in the crossed-vajra position, with the left foot upon the right thigh and the right foot up on the left thigh. The hands should be in the mudra of meditative equipoise: the left hand beneath the right with thumbs touching, palms facing upwards, and four-finger widths beneath the level of the navel.


An alternative mudra is to put the thumb of each hand on [its respective] palms, make a clenched fist out of each and place them on the upper part of the thigh ・ This is particularly used for the practice of the individual convergence because of the emphasis on drawing the energies associated with the sensory consciousness into the central channel.


c・ The Actual Practice

There are a number of rather varying traditions concerning the actual mediation at this point. For example, one tradition instructs that one should direct the mind to the sky. Whereas, Gyeltsab Je states that this is ridiculous because the point of this practice is to draw the energies into the central channel. To bring the mind out, by directing it to the sky, would obviously not be of any benefit.


One begins the practice of this meditation by visualizing the central channel. Then, one should single-pointedly focus the mind upon the empty central channel, particularly at the point between the eye-brows in the forehead (Tib. smin. mtshams), which is also visualized as empty. As a related point and one that has previously been mentioned, mintsam is the place where the drops are situated at the time of awakening from sleep [see above, p・ 121, 3)]・


THE TEN SIGNS OF PROGRESS

If one engages in this practice properly, there will arise certain signs. There are four night and six daytime signs.


The four night signs, which have already been explained and which occur as one draws the energies into the central channel, are:


1) the smoke-like sign

2) the mirage-like sign

3) the fireflies-like sign

4) the butter>lamp-flame-like sign.

The *six signs that occur during the day are:

1) the sign of fire

2) the moon*like sign

3) the sun>like sign

4) the sign of Rahu, which is like darkness or gloom

5) the sign “of lightning

6) the blue drop.


If one meditates very well, this is how it happens.

In the next stage, one visualizes a very, very tiny black drop in the central channel in the space between the eyebrows. Within that very tiny drop, one visualizes or imagines, as clearly as possible, the Sambhogakaya-like form of the Kalacakra embracing the consort and endowed with 'five certainties.1 However, one must clearly understand that the appearance seen in one's field of imagination is not the actual Sambhogakaya because one is not able, at this point, to actually encounter the Sambhogakaya of a Buddha・ Nevertheless, one visualizes or creates the deity with the consort in the Sambhogakaya-like form.


THE FIVE CERTAINTIES OF THE SAMBHOGAKAYA-L1KE FORM

The first the five certainties is the 'certainty of time*: after the appearance of the four signs of the night and the six signs of the daytime, the Sambhogakaya-like forms [of the deity and consort] are visualized and seen. In other words, the time of the Sambhogakaya-like form is the time after all of the ten signs have been experienced.


The second of the five certainties is the 'certainty of abode,* indicating that the deity and the consort appear in the central channel. The third is the 'certainty of nature,'that is, the certainty that the deity and the consort are not composed of an aggregation of particles but are, rather, appearances of one's mind.

The fourth, the 'certainty of the body/ is the certainty of the appearance that occurs: the deity and the consort are Vajrasattva (Vajrasatta being the same as Vajradhara).

The fifth, the 'certainty of aspect/ is the certainty that the deity and the consort appear embraced in union. This is the form of the deities that should be seen within the central channel.


d. The Function of the Six Branches of the Practice

1) It is with the first of the six branches of the practice, the individual convergence, that one experiences the above-mentioned ten signs and then accomplishes the eleventh - the sign of the deity with the consort, as has been just explained. Thus, the function of the first branch is to accomplish [all of] the eleven signs. ・


2) The function of the second branch of the practice, the individual stability, is to stabilize that which has been accomplished by the first of the six branches.3


By means of the first two, individual convergence and individual stability, one makes these energies somewhat usable, fit for action and serviceable. As a result, the energies naturally begin to enter into the central channel.


3) It is at this point that one begins to practice the next branch, the life-effort. Keep in mind that this term is a very literal translation: 'life' (srog), in this context, refers to the energies, and 'effort' (rtsol) to the blocking of the two side channels (the roma and kyangma), as well as the drawing of the energies into the central channel (uma). It is after these energies have been made serviceable that one enters this stage of practice called the life-effort and engages in the two practices that have already been mentioned, the vajra recitation and the vase-like meditation [see above, p. 118].4


a) The Vajra Recitation

The task of practices of the stage of completion [as already mentioned several times], is to draw all of the ten energies into the central channel and then into the indestructible drop at the heart. To actualize this goal, there is an inner condition which is a type of meditation called the *vajra recitation9

(Skt. vajrajapa; Tib. rdo.rje.zlas.pa). We have not heard about this kind of practice for many lifetimes. By this tantric meditation alone, it is possible to bring into the heart four out of the five major energies: the life-sustaining, the downward-clearing,

the fire・accompanying and the upward-moving energies, as well as the five secondary energies.5 The fifth major energy, the pervasive is very difficult to draw into the heart. In order to do so, it is indispensable for the yogin to meditate in union with an actual consort or a dakini (Skt. karma-mudra). In other words, the real reason why [at a specific time] it is necessary for the yogin to actually engage in such a practice is to bring that final, pervasive energy into the heart.


For the vajra recitation, one should recognize the importance of the syllables Om, Ah, Hum. There is no mantra that is not included within this one mantra. It is the king of all mantras: the syllable Om is the seed of the vajra-body; the Ah is the seed of the vajra-voice; the Hum is the seed of the vajra-mind・ In the actual practice, one visualizes the energy and the mantra as being inseparable9 indivisible.


• As one inhales and the breath or energy comes in, one should imagine it to be the nature of the Om, that is, as if the Om. is being drawn in together with the breath energy or the windenergy ・

After inhaling, there follows [the phase of] the retention of the breath, which bears the syllable HiXip.


• The exhalation carries the syllable A»・ This is a very short presentation of the vajra recitation, especially in accordance with the Kalacakra system,6 and it differs somewhat from the Guhyasamaja presentation. It is very beneficial to hear about this tantric practice and to have such mental imprints, or simply to gain a brief understanding of it.


b. The Vase-Like Meditation

The purpose of the vase-like meditation is to draw together the life-sustaining and the downward-clearing energies into the heartcenter. For an ordinary person, as the life-sustaining energy passes through the nostrils, there is a similar passage for the downwardclearing energy through the 16wer orifices.

These two move together. However, in the vase-like meditation, one draws the two energies together (like two bowls joined together, facing each other) into and through the central channel, and then into the heart-center. (1) Preparatory Practice


Right now, you should visualize the central channel (Skt. avadhuti; Tib. dbu.ma), which goes from the tip of the genitals through the center of the body like an axis. [4tlts color is white on the outside and red within.it is situated inside the body, a little more to the back than to the front. Furthermore, it goes right through the center, up through the throat, to the crown of the head, comes down and emerges right between the eyes. This is how you should visualize its upper end in meditation. You imagine the lower end going down just slightly below the navel.


The right channel (Skt. rasana; Tib. ro.ma) is red in color [cf・ p. 104]. Its upper end emerges from the right nostril and it runs about one finger width below the bottom tip of the central channel. This is an important point to remember.


The left channel (Skt. lalana; Tib. rkyang.ma) is white in color and it emerges (at the upper end) from the left nostril, comes upward and then goes down next to and about one finger width lower than the bottom tip of the central channel.

Visualize these three as clearly as you can and, for a little while, meditate in this fashion;

Now, with your powers of visualization, take the right channel and insert it into the left channel, like placing one sleeve into another. This insertion of one channel into another is done just below the navel. Then, with the ring finger of your left hand, block the left nostril and inhale through the right

nostril. Imagine, while you are doing so, that you are receiving the blessings of the guru, the Buddhas and all the Bodhisattvas・ Inhaling in this fashion, imagine the blessings going through the right channel and, as they do so, purifying any faults of that right channel. The energy is then funneled into the left channel, following that little curve down by the navel. Having fully inhaled, retain the breath as long as possible, but exhale before any physical discomfort sets in. Do not really strain yourself by any means・ If you retain the breath for too long to the point of feeling really

uncomfortable, rather than helping you, this will simply harm your health. So, again, hold the breath just as long as you comfortably can. Then with the ring finger of your right hand, block the right nostril. Exhale through the left nostril while imagining that you are dispelling all anger and hatred [see above, p. 129, 3].


To reiterate: one inhales through the right nostril, draws the energy down through the roma and upon its entering the kyangma, one retains the breath or this energy in the kyangma (for as long as it is comfortable) and, finally, exhales through the left nostril. This process should be repeated three times.


Next, visualize the left channel as inserted into the right channel. Then, inhale through the left nostril. The energy passes through the kyangma and enters into the roma ・ Retain the breath in the right channel, the roma, for as long as possible, but only while it is still comfortable. As you inhale,

you should imagine, just as before, receiving the blessings of the guru, the Buddhas and all of the Bodhisattvas. Then, exhale the energy that is coming up the right channel through the right nostril. As you do so, you should imagine all of your attachment and lust is being expelled. Inhaling through the left

and exhaling through the right nostril should also be done three times,.

For the third phase of this meditation, visualize that the tips of both the roma and kyangma are inserted into the bottom aperture of the centra] channel.


You inhale through both nostrils; however, breathing should be free of the following three faults:


• the fault of sound 一 you should be breathing so gently that you cannot hear the passage of the air;

• the fault of breathing very forcefully;

• the fault of breathing erratically-this is where the inhak ation is longer than the exhalation or vice versa・ It should be even.


As you are inhaling through both nostrils, you should imagine the breath-energy from the right nostril going through the right channel and, simultaneously, the breath-energy from the left nostril going into the left channel. The energy passes down through channels to the level below the navel, enters into the

central channel and fills it. As was done previously while inhaling you imagine receiving the blessings of the guru and all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas・ Similarly, as before, retain the breath as long as possible・ Then, exhaling through both nostrils, one imagines the energy coming through the central channel and being emitted through the point between the eye-brows, like a spotlight sending a ray of light up into the sky. The inhalation through both nostrils, the retention of the breath and the exhalation through both nostrils are also done three times.


You should know that, in fact, due to the many constrictions of the central channel by the two side channels (the roma and the kyangma), no energy actually passes through the central channel [see above, p. 114, 1)]・ If it were to pass through the central channel, there would be a very great force of virtue there but, for an ordinary person, it does not. It is by means of visualization that one imagines this happening・


(2) The Actual Practice

The first step in the vase-like meditation is to visualize oneself very clearly as Kalacakra. There are two ways of practicing the vase-like meditation zone is to visualize the vase in relationship to the navel-center and the other way is to visualize the vase in relation to the heart-center. Both are correct; but the best way would be if one could practice with the vase placed at the heart.

However, if a beginning practitioner engages in the vasc-likc meditation at the heart, instead of gaining realization, there is a great danger of actually disrupting the energies at the heart with a malfunctioning of the life-sustaining winds, possibly resulting in physical disorders. Therefore, it is more practical and less dangerous for the beginning practitioner to engage in this meditation by focusing at the navel-center [only]. By doing so, one avoids the above-mentioned dangers ・


The next stage in this practice is to visualize the syllable Ham at the navel-center. The syllable is of the nature of one's own mind; it is the emanation of one's own mind.

The function of the vase-like meditation is to take energies from the upper portion of the body and press them down, and to take the energies from the lower portion of the body and draw them up. It is like two bowls that join together like a vase.

In the actual meditation, one does this by drawing the energies down from the upper portion of the body. This must be done very gently, smoothly and slowly; otherwise, there is a danger of having energy disorders in the upper part of the body, such as the shoulders.


To draw up the lower energies, one closes the lower apertures. Then, very gently, one draws these energies up to the navel. Again, a strong emphasis: this must be done gently. For just as a more forceful drawing down of the energies from the top can lead to problems in the energy-flows in the upper portion of

the body, likewise, a too forceful or violent practice on the lower energies can disrupt the energy-flows in the lower portion of the body in such a way that one is no longer able to urinate or defecate properly. It can mix up that whole system down there. Therefore, it must be done gently・ Having drawn the energies together, the upper energies down and the lower energies up, one then focuses them around the navel-center and retains the breath as long as possible - again, without discomfort ・


Initially, one cannot retain the breath very long; therefore, one engages in this practice for just a short time, then exhales. Gradually, one's power of retaining the breath increases. Eventually, the various energies in the body will first enter into the central channel, then abide there and, finally

dissolve. Those are the three stages of the practice [see above, pp. 132-3]・ When you have attained that level, should you happen to fall ill and experience physical discomfort, you can easily remove yourself from it simply by going through this process [of entering, abiding and dissolving energies in the central channel]. There was a Kadampa geshe, Geshe Gompawa, who was meditating and during this vase-like meditation the various signs


appeared・ So, of course, his respiration completely stopped. Seeing this, his disciples were very, very sad. They thought, **Oh, the lama has died!^^ and they started to weep and lament・ Then, Geshe Gompawa came out of his meditation with a burst of laughter asking, "What's wrong with you?^^ And they said, "Well, we thought you were dead!” He responded, "No, Fd been fee'ing a little bit of physical discomfort・・・ my body had not felt very good. So, I dissolved it!"


This was a brief explanation of the vase-like meditations, which are aspects of the stage of completion. It would be very good if one could cultivate this practice somewhat・ However, until one has gained the authentic realization of the stage of generation, it is not possible to gain the actual realization of the stage of completion. Nevertheless, it is good to do it a little bit, because it places very beneficial imprints upon one's mindstream.


The purpose and the function of these [two] tantric meditations on the stage of completion is to draw the energies into and through the central channel and then into the heart-center. Once these energies have been drawn into the central channel, the function of the life-effort branch of the practice has been accomplished [see above, p. 136, 3)].


4) It is not the function of the third branch of the practice to make the energies firmly abide in the central channel. This is, rather, the purpose of the next stage of the practice called retention. After one has reached the stage where the energies are abiding firmly in the central channel, one is ready for the next stage ・


5) The fifth branch of the practice is called recollection. These two stages need to be practiced for a long time. One does not practice one for just one day, going on to the next practice the following day. The nature of this fifth branch of the practice is the yoga of the psychic, heat, the turn.mo yoga, which is designed to cause the flame or the fire of the turn.mo to rise up. Once, when Gampopa came to Milarepa, Milarepa asked him what meditation practice he had been following and Gampopa described it. To this Milarepa commented, “Well, you don't get butter by squeezing a handful of sand・ So, if you want to understand the nature of the mind, then you should follow my


practice, the cone practice of the turn.mo yoga. By such means, you will realize the nature of the mind.^^ The result of this practice of causing the tum.mo fire to rise up is that the white bodhicitta at the crown of the head melts and descends through the

central channel all the way to the point of the genitals, where it is retained. When one is highly advanced in the stage of completion, one never allows the white bodhicitta to be emitted [see p. 27, no. 5] but, as it descends to the very tip of the genitals, without (it) wavering, one retains it wrthout

any emission whatsoever. It is at this point that one experiences the initial moment of the immutable bliss (Tib.mi.'gyur.ba'i.bde.ba) and that the material components of the body and the various active energies (Tib.las.rlung) begin to be exhausted. This process has begun and it will continue as one proceeds in the later stages of meditation.


[6) By means of the first five branches of the practice, one accomplishes the sixth, called concentration. A more detailed explanation on the fifth and the sixth branches of the Kalacakra yoga is given on pp. 151-3.J

This presentation is the particular system of the Kalacakra that is different from the general Anuttara Yoga Tantra presentations, such as those found in the Vajrabhairava, Guhyasamaja, Cakra-samvara and Hevajra Tantras. In their practices, this body remains and, apart from this body, there arises the

illusory body as Hevajra or whoever it might be. Then, one attains enlightenment as that particular illusory body, which arises separate and distinct from these present aggregates. In the Kalacakra system, on the other hand, this material body, together with the active energies, is gradually exhausted・

e. The Six Energy-Centers and the Process of Exhausting the Material Components of the Body, Active Energies and the Drops of the White and Red Bodhicitta Resulting in tiie Attainment of tiie Bodhisattva Grounds As mentinoned before, it is the energies which are the root of samsara and by extinguishing them, one extinguishes the root of karma. Also, as stated before, the consciousness itself is not able


to contact an object; rather it is by means of its conjunction with the energies that consciousness is able to apprehend the object and relate to it [sec above, p. 105, c].


To further understand the gradual process of exhausting the material components of one's body, and so forth, let us return to the energy・ccnters or cakras: the genital-center, the navel-center, the heart-center, the throat-center, the forehead・center and the usnisa or crown-center [sec pp. 114-116]. In the following stages of the meditation, one draws both the red and white bodhicitta through these centers・ Eventually, as one progresses in the


practice, one sucessively attains the ten Bodhisattva grounds, in the Kalacakra system, however, there exist two more Bodhisattva grounds. In each of these energy-centers, there are 3600 drops of white element, the white bodhicitta. Corresponding to each of these 3600 drops are the 3600 immutable blisses. With each of these 3600 drops, there are 3600 material components of the body, as well as the 3600 active energies that are exhausted.


1) These drops of the white bodhicitta that lead to the immutable blisses first build up or draw together at the lowest, the genital-center and then, they gradually build up through the successive centers. This 'building up' [process] is like slowly pouring curd into a glass. As a result of retaining the 3600 drops of the white bodhicitta [without any emission whatsoever] in the genital-center, the corresponding 3600 immutable blisses arise and act as the antidotes that bring about the exhaustion of the 3600 material components of the body and the 3600 active e

nergies. Through this achievement, one attains the first and the second Bodhisattva grounds called the Very Joyful and the Stainless [see above, p・ 9].


2) Next, the 3600 drops of the white bodhicitta are drawn together or built up at the navel-center. As a result, there arise again the 3600 immutable blisses. And when this occurs at the navel, one attains the third and the fourth Bodhisattva grounds called the Luminous and the Radiant.


3) Then, one builds up the 3600 drops of the white bodhicitta at the heart-center. Like before , there occur the 3600 immutable blisses that act as the antidotes for the 3600 material components of the body and the 3600 active energies・ It is by means of this that

one attains the fifth and the sixth Bodhisattva grounds called Difficult to Conquer and the Manifesting One.


4) The seventh and eighth Bodhisattva grounds [see above, pp. 9-10], called the Far Gone One and the Immovable, are attained when this process occurs at the throat-center.


5) A similar process has to take place at the forehead before one can attain the ninth and tenth Bodhisattva grounds called the Good Intelligence and the Cloud of Dharma.


6) The eleventh and the twelfth Bodhisattva grounds are attained after this process is completed at the crown-center・ In all, there are 21,600 drops of the white bodhicitta, 21,600 of the material components of the body and 21,600 of the active energies (i.e., 6 centers x 3600 = 21,600).


Simultaneous with this process of successively building up the white bodhicitta in the centers, starting from the bottom and ascending upward, is a complementary movement of the red bodhicitta that successively descends from the crown of the head, through these same energy-centers, to the genital-

center. Again, this involves the 3600 sets [of the red drops] going down through the various energy-centers・ Upon the conclusion of this ascending and descending process, again without allowing the red bodhicitta to be emitted, one experiences a supreme immutable bliss (Tib. mchog.tu.mi/gyur.ba'i.bde.ba),

with which all of the 21,60() material components of the body are exhausted・ Because the white and red bodhicittas are also material aspects of the body, these too are extinguished at this time.


It would be a mistake to think that this process is like filling a pot or vessel with milk insofar as, at this point, the material components of the body are completely exhausted and one actualizes Kalacakra with consort, who are composed of just energy and consciousness, and one attains the * rainbow body*.

One can understand and see now that what needs to be done is to extinguish this material body which acts as a basis of suffering. If one exhausts or extinguishes this material body, then, of course, there is no basis for sickness. It is true that the realizations of the stage of completion do not arise if one has not already gained the realizations of the stage of generation. The

above explanation on the various stages of meditation is clearly on the stage of completion. Although we are not really fit to practice them yet, it would still be beneficial to contemplate the stages and to know the different Bodhisattva grounds. As one advances towards Buddhahood, the grounds will be the

stages one will pass through・ They can be thought of as signposts on a journey one is now in the process of making. In Tibet, for example, geshes and lamas had learned detailed descriptions of various holy places in India, such as the Vulture's Peak, Bodhagaya, Samath and so forth. Only words and


imagination were involved・ But then, later on, when they came down to India, they were actually able to visit these various places of pilgrimage, that they were already somewhat familiar with from the explanations they had previously received ・


You are now, similarly, receiving a brief explanation of the stages of the Bodhisattva grounds, like names on a map. You can hear about them now and later on, when you actually attain them, you will remember, "Oh yes! Back there in Seattle, I remember him talking •・・"You are not always going to be in the

Situation in which you are now. If you continue your practice, eventually you will certainly become a Bodhisattva and head right on towards Buddhahood・ It is a mistake to look upon the Buddhas or their images on the altar and to think of them as being 'way up in enlightenment/ whereas we are *way down here' -

as if there were no relationship between the two, or as if there were a great abyss separating us. This is simply not the case. We are related to the Buddhas・ We are following the same path and when we come to the culmination of our own practice, we will be up there on the Dharma-throne giving our own

teachings・ So, through our own practice, it is definitely possible to attain Buddhahood・ For example, Je Tsongkhapa was once speaking to Manju^n saying, “We used to be on a very equal plane・ Both of us were wandering about in the cycle of


existences. You, however, overcame self*cherishing and the false conception of the self and attained enlightenment. But here I am - still in the cycle of existences.^^ Je Tsongkhapa practiced the above six branches of the Kalacakra yoga and had a vision of Kalacakra, who told him that he would be like Dawa Zangpo and would cause the Kalacakra teachings to flourish greatly・

Lama Drukpa Kiinleg, a great Kagyii master, also made a very similar statement when he addressed Jo wo Sakyamuni, the Buddha in the central cathedral in Lhasa, ^Previously, you had also been in the cycle of existences, but you practiced and gained realization; whereas I am still in samsara. To you I prostrate.M

One could likewise look to the Buddha Sakyamuni. He was previously like ourselves, simply wandering about in the cycle of existences; but he met qualified spiritual mentors, especially the masters of the Mahayana and, having practiced, he attained enlightenment. As this has been true in the past, so is it

still true for ourselves in the present. These individuals simply practiced with perseverence and enthusiasm and, therefore, attained en・ lightenment. We have been lagging behind and are left over・ All of us are here to practice and those among us who do so with the greatest enthusiasm and perseverence will

be the first to attain full enlightenment. And there will still be some of us left over・ One should understand that enlightenment is attained through enthusiastic perseverence・ Contemplating this, one should bolster up one's courage for the practice.


If one is engaing in a one-day tantric practice, it would be better to devote most of one's time to the practice of the stage of generation. Then, right at the end, give some time to the stage of completion. In this way, one has a rounded and complete tantric practice that places very important imprints upon the mind



Gyalwa Gcndun Drub, the First Dalai Lama, P. 144: "The Guhyasamaja Tantra states that the signs first arise ut the eyebrows. The Kalachakra Tantra adds that because there are various types and levels of energies, there are also various places and times for the manifestation of the signs. For example, when

the yogi cuts off the flow of the vital energies passing through the four petals of the four intermediate directions at the heart chakra, or the ru-pel, isang ・ pa, lhachin, and nor-lay-gyal energies, he experiences the signs of smoke, a mirage, radiant fireflies and a butter lamp. When he halts the flow of the equally abiding, upward flowing, all pervading and lu energies that flow through the four petals of the cardinal directions, he perceives the signs of Kalagni, the moon, the sun and Rahula [sic].


One then cuts off the flow of the life sustaining and downward moving energies which course above and below, thus experiencing the signs of lightning and the primordial drop.”

3Ibid. % p. 146: “The physical position for performing the yoga of meditative stabilization is as previously explained.


Through application of this yoga one fills the skies with the various empty bodies and symbols previously generated within the mystic drop・


One then dissolves all these gods into one another and then into the Beatific Form of the Sambhogakaya as explained above, establishing the special divine pride until it effortlessly arises. When this divine pride dominates one's entire being, the yoga of meditative stabilization has been attained. One then is ready to enter into the third of the six yogas, that of energy concentration?* 4Ibid., p. 147: “One must here apply special techniques in order to bring the life sustaining and downward moving energies to the navel and to unify them accordingly.


The two main techniques used to bring about this union is [sic] the vajra recitation and the vase breathing. The method for applying these two yogic techniques for concentrating, holding and dissolving the vital energies are [sic1 explained in the Commentary to the Praise of VajrapaniX “Keep dearly in mind that the Kalacakra system does not use this particular terminology of the 4five major' and *fivc secondary' energies [see above, pp. !


6Ibid., p. 148: "In our tradition the vajra recitation is as explained in the Commentary io the Praise of Chakrasambhara and also Naropa's Commentary to the Treatise on the Initiations. When one meditates upon the yoga of energy concentration and casts the glance eliminating demons, one watches for the

semblant and actual signs as explained previously in the yoga of sense withdrawal. One observes the empty body unified with the vital energies. The energies enter inside and are then made to arise with the luminosity of om. This is brought to the center of the pressure point at the crown, where rests

the empty body that was previously produced through the first two yogas. This energy is then retained and made to arise with the luminosity of the letter Hum. Together with the empty body it is then brought to the navel. As the energies are released, they are made to arise with the luminosity of the letter Ah. The strength of the flowing energies causes the empty body and so forth to move up the path of the central channel to the upper aperture, where they exit.


Through repeated meditation, the inhalation and exhalation periods gradually decrease and the period of retention increases until one is eventually able to retain the application of the empty body and the vital energies at the navel for long periods of time.

After the vajra recitation technique has been mastered one can take up the practice of vase breathing.

Parma C. C. Chang, Teachings on Tibetan Yoga (The Citadel Press, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1977), p. 56.


We should engage in whichever of our practices we are presently capable of following with full diligencc. Those that we are not able to practice at this time should not be simply disregarded but, rather, we should offer prayers that we may be able to follow them either in the latter part of this life or in

future lives. While keeping hold of this aspiration, let us engage in practices designed to further purify the mind and accumulate merit. The Bodhisattva Santideva quotes the Buddha, who is totally free from any fraudulence and teaches very honestly and straightforwardly, 一 stating that even

insects are endowed with Buddha-Nature and, therefore, have the ability to attain full enlightenment・ If this is true for insects, then it goes without saying that human beings, who are likewise endowed with Buddha-Nature and, in addition, have the ability to recognize and avoid that which is harmful and

engage in that which is beneficial, certainly have the ability to attain enlightenment. This is within reach if we simply maintain enthusiasm and perseverence in the practice ・ “


Santideva further states that if people holding very ordinary vocations, such as fishermen, carpenters or loggers, give so much effort and endure great hardships of heat and cold for relatively minor aims of this life alone, then those of us who are striving towards full enlightenment should certainly be able to take on the hardships involved in the practice・ So, Santideva asks a rhetorical question, "Why is it that you, who are seeking full enlightenment for the benefit of all creatures, are not able to bear these hardships?^^


2・ THE DAYTIME YOGA

A brief explanation of the night yoga has already been given. Now, we continue with the explanation of the daytime yoga.


a. The Place of the Practice

First of all, one should meditate in a place surrounded by walls, but with no roof so that it is open at the top. One should be facing in such a way that the sun is behind one, snow mountains or bodies of water are not in one's vision, and the wind is not blowing against one's face.


b. The Posture

The physical posture [that one assumes] during the meditation is that of the vajra posture, with the hands either in meditative equipoise or clenched into a fist, thumbs tucked in. All aspects of the posture are the same as described previously for the night yoga [see above, p. 134, b]・


c. The Actual Practice

The meditation is also the same as described for the night yoga. One visualizes the body of empty form of the deity and consort in the central channel, between the eyebrows


There are also the six branches of the meditation. The above visualization is done in the first stage, the stage of individual convergence. During the second stage, the individual stability, one stabilizes what has been accomplished during the first branch of the practice. All of the ensuing five branches of the practice after the first one has been attained, are simply to further develop and increase this first practice.


d. The Function of the Six Branches

Although the following material has already been taught and we have become familiar with it, it is helpful to hear it again [and again], and to have the mental imprints [on our continuum].


1) & 2) Since individual convergence is the practice which initially actualizes the body of empty form in the central channel at the forehead opening, and individual stability creates firmness/ stability, these first two branches of the practice make the various active energies serviceable.


3) The third stage of the practice, the life-effort, blocks the two side channels, the roma and the kyangma, causing the energies to abide in the central channel. Thus, the chief practices of the life-effort branch of the yoga are designed to draw together the downward-clearing energy and the life-sustaining energy・ These practices are the vajra recitation of the Om, Ah, Hum mantra and the vase-like meditation, both of which have been described previously.


4) The next stage of the practice, retention, occurs after one has already drawn the energies into the central channel and is somewhat able to make them abide there ・ The function of the retention branch is to stabilize, the retention of the energies in the very center of the central channel - to make them firmly abide there.


5) In the recollection branch of the practice, one goes into union with one of the three types of consorts, literally called ^mudras*: the Action Mudra (Ski. karma-mudra; Tib. las・ .kyi.phyag.rgya), who is an actual person, a consort brought to one by one's karma; the Wisdom Mudra (Skt・ jnana-mudra; Tib. ye.shes. kyi. phyag. rgya), who is a visualized appearance in the meditator's mind 一 the union with her takes place during the visualization; the Great Mudra (Skt. maha-mudra; Tib. phyag.r-gya.chen.po), the consort of Kalacakra, Natsog Yum, whose body is the body of empty form. A practitioner of dull faculties enters into union with the Action Mudra; a person with medium faculties goes into union with the Wisdom Mudra; and a practitioner of the sharpest faculties with Great Mudra Natsog Sfum.

While one is in union with any of these three types of consorts on this stage of the practice, the white bodhicitta melts from the crown-center, descends to the tip of the genitals, where it is retained and, in this way, one experiences the immutable bliss.


However, in order to engage in a practice such as entering into union with the Action Mudra, rather than the Wisdom Mudra, several qualifications are indispensable:


a) one ought to have trained one's mind on the common path;

b) one ought to have perfectly received the empowerment;

c) one must be maintaining the precepts and pledges;

d) the male and the female practitioners ought to be at the same level of realization; one's realization should not be higher than that of the other・ For example, if the yogin, the male practitioner, has attained a level in the stage of completion called 4inind-liberation/ then his consort, the yogini,

should also have attained that same degree of realization・ When both are of equal realization, by engaging in this practice, the male practitioner increases the female's realization, and the female increases the male's realization. Enlightenment for both of them is soon attained. It is very important to understand the purpose of this type of meditation, that is, the male and female practicing in union. This is a very profound

practice coming from Vajradhara. Milarepa, speaking on this critical point, said that in the practice, one meditates using the channels, the energies and the drops, and that one should, at the proper time, practice with an Action Mudra; however, one must do so in a fully qualified way. If one docs not, practicing prematurely leads to birth in a hell. It is also said that, as a result of such a malpractice, one remains in the hell for as long as space lasts.


There is much to be explained about the recollection branch of the practice・ In fact, one could spend many, many days just explaining this because it is very extensive. One aspect of this practice is that of gazing upon Natsog Yum, the consort of Kalacakra, [through which one experiences] the spontaneous bliss (Tib. lhan.skyes.kyi.bde.ba) and the rising of the tum.mo flame. This melts the white bodhicitta at the crown, which then descends through the

various energy-centers where one experiences the four types of joy: the joy (Skt. ananda; Tib. dga'.ba), the supreme joy (Skt. parama-ananda; Tib. mchog.dga'); the extraordinary joy (Skt. virama-ananda; Tib. khyad.dga') and the spontaneous joy (Skt. sahaja-ananda; Tib. lhan.skyes.kyi.dga'.ba) [see above, p. 11, 3].


The preceding are the first five branches of the practice by means of which one accomplishes concentration, the sixth branch of the yoga of Kalacakra

6) The single-pointed union of the emptiness of all phenomena and the mind that is realizing that emptiness constitutes the sixth branch [of the Kalacakra yoga].


The second way of understanding this branch of the practice is as follows: it is the union of the emptiness of all phenomena appearing in the divine form of the consort Natsog Yum, who is the nature of wisdom, and the supreme immutable bliss (Tib. mchog.tu.mi/gyur.ba'i.bde.ba) that appears in the divine form

of Kalacakra. Thus the union of the wisdom realizing emptiness symbolized by the consort, and the mind of the supreme immutable bliss embodied in the deity Kalacakra is also called the concentration branch of this yoga of the Kalacakra (cf・ above, p. 133, 6]・

One should keep in mind that the union of the deity and consort is not like mundane sexual intercourse; it symbolizes the union of method and wisdom, where the deity Kalacakra embodies the method and the consort Natsog Yum embodies the wisdom aspect of the teachings [cf・ p. 60, 7]. As a result of one's going into union with one of the three types -of consorts, the Action Mudra, the Wisdom Mudra or the Great Mudra, the immutable bliss (Tib. mi.4gyur.ba'i.bde.ba) arises and is then increased more and more.

This brief explanation of the six branches of the yoga of Kalacakra completes the exposition of the various stages of meditation. The next topic to be explained is the attainment of full enlightenment in this practice of Kalacakra・Preliminary Teachings


1. FURTHER CHARACTERISTICS OF THE VAJRA BODY

As explained previous!y. in order to practice the stage of completion, it is indispendable to understand the way in which the channels, energies and drops arise. Within this presentation, one should, by all means, have a clear understanding of the three major channels: the central channel, uma, and on its right and left, the roma and kyangma, respectively・


In the explanation of the stage of completion there are three bodies: the gross, the subtle and the extremely subtle. Likewise, one can speak of the gross, the subtle and the extremely subtle minds. It is especially important to understand the nature of the very subtle mind because, nowadays, many people say, "There is no afterlife; there is only this one Such an assertion is

founded upon the assumption that there is no subtle mind・ It is true that the gross mind does not carry on after this life. But there is also the very subtle mind. If one really understands the very subtle mind and the very subtle energy, which is a very subtle form of the life-sustaining energy, and

their functioning, then one sees that they have been with us since beginningless time and will carry on without end. By understanding them, one sees the logical basis for asserting both former and future lives. If future lives were not to exist, there would not really be any reason to practice Dharma at all. One could simply lead a hedonistic life.


A. The Energy-Centers

There are different presentations of the energy-centers (Skt.cakra; Tib. 4khor.lo). When one speaks of the four, they are:


1) the ^center of great bliss' (Skt. mahasukha-cakra; Tib.b-de.chen.'khor. Io) situated at the crown of the head;

2) the 'center of enjoymenf (Skt. sambhoga-cakra; Tib. long-s.spyod.kyi.'khor」o) at the throat;

3) the "center of Dharma, (Skt・ dharma*cakra; Tib. chos.kyi. 4khor」o) at the heart;

4) the *ccnter of emanation' (Skt. nirmana-cakra; Tib.sprul. pa'i/khor.lo) at the navel.

When presenting five energy-centers, in addition to the above four, one speaks of:

5) the *bliss-guarding center' (Tib. gsang.gnas.bde.skyong. 'khor.lo) which is located at the genital area.

Sometimes, there is also a presentation of the six energy centers.


1) The Center of Great Bliss

The center of great bliss at the crown of the head is situated in the area beneath the top of the skull and just above the brain. The width (of the center) is like a Japanese incense stick, about 1/8 of

an inch or so. It is multi-colored: white, green, red and black. Its center is triangular in shape・ At present, the central channel, uma, is constricted by two side channels, the roma and the kyangma, making a knot. These channels branch off into four and into eight, and so forth, eventually making a total of 32 subsidiary or branch channels branching off the center of great bliss. In appearance, this center resembles an open umbrella held aloft・


2) The Center of Enjoyment

This center is situated at the throat, right at the Adam's apple. Its color is red. The very center of the cakra is round. As above, the central channel is constricted by the two side channels, making a knot. The center of enjoyment has 16 branch channels, which branch out like an inverted umbrella. Clearly keep in mind that the previous center at the crown is like a right-side・up umbrella, whereas this throat-center resembles an inverted umbrella. Visualize them!


3) The Center of Dharma

The center of Dharma is situated at the heart, between the two breasts, in the chest. It is white in color. The center of this cakra is triangular in shape and is constricted three times, namely, there are three knots made by the two parallel side channels. It has only eight branch or subsidiary channels, which branch out like a right-side・up umbrella. Think this over carefully. Get it clearly in mind so you can visualize it just as has been explained・


4) The Center of Emanation

This center is situated at the same height as the navel itself. Like the one on the crown, the emanation center is multicolored・ Its center is round, while its 64 subsidiary channels branch out like an inverted umbrella. So, the umbrella-like center at the navel are facing each other, just as the ones at the crown and the throat are facing each other.


5) The Bliss-Guarding Center

This center is situated at the genital area or, more precisely, at the very base or the very root of the genitals. Its center is triangular in shape and it is red in color. It has 32 subsidiary channels・ The energy-center itself is like a right-side-up umbrella.1 One should understand that all of these centers are pierced through the middle by the central channel, which acts as an axis for all them, as the trunk of a tree is the axis for its branches.


B. The Etymology of the Names of the Energy -Centers It will also be helpful to understand why these five centers are called by their respective names:


1) Because the foundation of bliss, the white bodhicitta, abides principally at the crown, this center is called *the center of great bliss.'


2) The enjoyment center at the throat is so called because this is the place where one tastes the six kinds of tastes: sour, sweet2 bitter, salty, astringent and pungent.

3) The chief means, the chief instrument for the practice of Dharma is the mind, which has its main abode at the heart, specifically at the indestructible drop which comes from one's parents [see p. 107]. It is for this reason that the heart-center is called the 'center of Dharma/

4) The basis of the emanation of great bliss is the fire of the psychic heat (Tib.gtum.mo'i.me), the turn.mo fire, the principal abode of which is situated at the navel. Therefore, this navel center is called the ^emanation center/

5) The bliss-guarding center at the genitals is very closely related to the four types of joy [see p. 12] involving the movement of the bodhicitta in forward and reverse orders・ Specifically, the spontaneous joy (Tib」han.skyes・kyi・ dga-\ba) is experienced when the bodhicitta reaches the very tip of the genital organ.


Because it is so instrumental or critical to these various types of joy, this center is called the 4bliss*guarding center.*


It is important to understand well the etymology of the names of the five centers. as well as the previous explanation of the various types of energies or winds and drops, in order to use them in meditation・ Remember especially the five principal energies: the life*sustaining energy, the downwardclearing energy, the fire・accompanying energy, the upward* moving energy, and the pervasive energy.


C・ Location of the Five Principal and Five Secondary Energies One should understand not only the manner of the arising of these energies, but also know their locations.


1) The life-sustaining energy abides at the heart and its function is to form the link between life (the vital force) and the body.

2) The downward-clearing energy is located at the genital area・ Its function is to send downward and dispel, or retain and hold when necessary both the white and red bodhicitta,.as well as urine and excrement. This type of energy can malfunction causing, for example, diarrhea・

3) The fire>accompanying energy abides at the navel. The word 'fire' here refers to the gastric fire. The function of the fire-accompanying energy is to separate the nutriment of one's food and drink from the waste (or the different stages of nutriment from the different stages of waste), sending the nutriment to sustain the various parts of the body and dividing the waste so that it goes into the various waste products・

4) The upwardoving energy abides at the throat・ All of one's vocal activity, as well as swallowing food and drink, occurs by the functioning of this energy. In the death process, when this energy has dissolved, one is no longer able to speak or to swallow・ One puts food or drink in the mouth and it just comes right back up again.

5) The pervasive energy pervades the entire body. Various physical movements of walking, leaning forward, leaning back・ ward and so forth are all due to the functioning of the pervasive energy・ When this energy declines, one loses the power of movement.


One should also consider the five secondary energies:


1) the moving energy resides at the eye and it apprehends form;

2) the fully-moving energy, which abides at the ear. apprehends sound;

3) the perfectly・moving energy, abiding at the nose, experi-ences odors;

4) the very-moving energy, which abides at the tongue, apprehends tastes;

5) the certainly-moving energy, which abides in the tactile faculty, apprehends objects of touch and different kinds of feelings or sensations.


A clear understanding of the different types of energies, channels and so forth is necessary for the meditations on the stage of completion which bring all of these various energies into the central channel and then into the indestructible drop at the heart. Unless the energies are first brought into the

central channel, the realizations of the stage of completion are not attained. Whether one is meditating on the stage of completion or not, at death there occurs this retraction of the energies into the central channel and then into the heart. So, just as this naturally and effortlessly occurs in the death process, one is now duplicating it consciously in meditatio n.

Among the various types of the stage of completion and meditations, there are the *vajra recitation' and *vase-like meditation. * In the practice of these, the purpose is to draw the energies into the central channel and then to the indestructible drop at the heart.


D. The Five Principal and the Five Secondary Energies as Related to the Five Buddha Families

The five principal energies also correspond to the five types of Buddhas: the life-sustaining energy is the energy of Aksobhya; the downward-clearing energy is that of Ratnasambhava; the fireaccompanying energy is the energy of Amoghasiddhi; the upward moving energy is the energy of Amitabha; and, finally, the pervasive energy is the energy of Vairocana.

The five secondary energies are also related to the five types of Buddhas: the moving energy is the energy of Vairocana; the fully-moving energy is the energy of Ratnasambhava;the perfectly-moving energy is the energy of Amitabha; the very moving energy is the energy of Amoghasiddhi; and the certainly-moving energy is the energy of Aksobhya.


E. The Five Principal and the Five Secondary Energies as Related to the Five Elements

There is also a relationship between these energies and the various elements: the life-sustaining energy is related to the water element; the downward-clearing energy is related to the earth element; the fire-accompanying energy is related to the wind or

the air2 element; the upward・moving energy is related to the fire element; and the pervasive energy is related to the element of space・ Likewise, there is a relationship for the five secondary energies: the moving energy is related to the earth element; the fully-moving energy to the water element; the perfectly-moving energy to the fire element; the very-moving energy to the wind element; and the certainly-moving energy to the element of space.


F. The Energies and Their Respective Colors

There is also a distinction of colors with regard to these various energies: the life-sustaining energy is white; the downward・ clearing energy, being related to the earth element, is yellow; the fire accompanying energy is dark green; the upward・moving energy, being related to the fire element, is red; and the pervasive energy is blue ・ Likewise, these five colors are connected to the secondary energies: the moving energy is red; the fully-moving energy is blue; the perfectly・moving energy is yellow; the very-moving is white; and the certainly-moving is green.


G. The Ten Energies in the Kalacakra System

There is one vital point that has already been mentioned and which should be remembered. In general tantric presentations, there is the explanation of the five principal and five minor or secondary energies. The distinction in the Kalacakra is that the terminology of the 4five principaf and 'five secondary* energies is not used; nevertheless, the presentation of all ten is there [and the names of the first five energies are identical in both presentations].


1) The life-sustaining energy (Skt. pranavayu; Tib.srog/dzin.g-yi.rlung.);

2) the downward-clearing energy (Skt. apana;Tib.rlung-.thur.sel);

3) the fire-accompanying energy (Skt. samana; Tib.rlung-.me.mnyam);

4) the upward-moving energy (Skt.udana;Tib.rlung.gyen.r-gyu);


5) the pervasive energy (Skt.vyana ;Tib.khyab. byed. gyi. rlung). The names of the next five energies are given in either Sanskrt or English:

6) the naga (Skt.naga;Tib.klu) energy goes through the channel to the northwest;

7) the 'tonoise' (Skt.kurma;Tib.rus.sbal) energy situated at the heart, flows through the southeast subsidiary channel;

8) the ^chameleon* (Skt. krkala; Tib. rtsangs.pa) energy flows through the southwest subsidiary channel and is of the nature of fire;

9) Devadatta (Skt. devadatta; Tib.lhas.byin) flows through the northeast and is of the nature of the water element;

10) Dhananjaya (Skt・ dhananjaya; Tib.nor.las.rgyal) which, like naga energy flows through the northwest, is of the nature of the earth element.


These are the names [as well as locations] of the ten energies in accordance with the exclusive tradition of the Kalacakra. There are some differences. Je Tsongkapa says the tradition of the Kalacakra is somewhat different from the other tantras, and he praises it very highly. It is stated that if one has a thorough understanding of the Kalacakra, then this understanding is easily applicable to understanding all the other tantras. It is a very important tantra

There is an important point made in the context of the sutras: it is stated that the root of the cycle of existence is the ignorance which misconceives of the self. In the context of tantra, it is stated that the energy is the root of both the cycle of existence and of liberation. In the detrimental aspect,

there are the 80 conceptions, each of which is related to a corresponding type of energy. They keep us in the cycle of existence and cast us to lower states of existence. In this sense, the energy is acting as the root of the cycle of existence・ Likewise, the energy is also at the root of enlightenment because there is an energy intimately related to, for example, the clear light・ For each of the various mind states, as one progresses towards enlightenment, there are corresponding energies.


H. The Four Drops in the Kalacakra System

In accordance with the Kalacakra system, there are four types of drops (Skt.bindu;Tib.thig.le).

1) The drop of the arisal of deep sleep' (Tib.gnyid/thug.skabs-.kyi.thig」c), which is chiefly energy, abides at the heart and at the tip of the genital organ.

When energies in the upper portion of the body, the head, the chest and so forth condense into the heart, and the energies in the lower part of the body condense into the genital region, one goes into deep sleep. The drop of the arisal of deep sleep is also called the 'mind-drop5 (Tib.sems.sam.thugs.kyi.thig.le).


2) The 'drop of the arisal of dreams' (Tib. rmi.lam.skabs. kyi.thig.le) also abides at the genital region・ When energies in the upper portion of the body converge at the throat, and the energies in the lower portion of the body converge at the genital region, one dreams. This is when the dream state occurs.

One often hears the statement that all phenomena are not truly existent and that they are like dreams. Take the case of a young woman who dreams she has' given birth to a child whom she adores・ She is enchanted by the child 一 she loves it so much. The child dies. She is incredibly distressed. She weeps and

wails and goes through torment. Then she wakes up. There has not been any child, there has not been any death of the child, and she is out of that suffering・ Likewise, for conventional truth, although phenomena do not truly exist, nevertheless, the relationship between actions and their results, that is to say, the law of karma, of suffering and of happiness, conventionally do exist. This drop of the arisal of dreams is also called the ^speech-drop* (Tib.ngag. gam.gsung.gi.thig.le).

3) The *drop of awakening9 (Tib.sad.pa'i.skabs.kyi.thig」e) abides chiefly at the forehead and the navel. When energies in the upper portion of the body converge at the forehead and the energies in the lower portion of the body converge at the navel, one awakens from sleep. This is what happens each morning in Seattle around 7 or 8 o'clock. This drop of awakening is called "the body-drop* (Tib.lus.sam.sku'i.thigJe).

4) The drop of the fourth occasion' (Tib. bzhi.pa'i.gnas.skabs)

kyi.thig.le) abides at the crown of the head and at the genitals. The term *thc drop of the fourth occasion/ refers to the occasion of the sexual bliss that is experienced during sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. During that time, the energies in the upper portion of the body converge at the

crown and the energies in the lower portion of the body converge at the genitals・ Bliss is experienced with the descent of the bodhicitta. This drop of the fourth occasion is also called *the drop of transcendental wisdom' (Tib.ye.shes.kyi.thig.le). It is important to know these different drops because they are indicative of the type of practice that one follows in the deep sleep・ the dream and the awakening states. Corresponding to each of these stages there is a practice that is to be followed?


2. THE FOUR PRELIMINARY STEPS WITH SPECIAL EMPHASIS ON THE GURU YOGA

All of this is in preparation for the actual practice of the stage of completion. For this practice, one needs:


a. the proper teaching on refuge, namely, on how to avoid taking refuge in or relying upon false paths or upon extremist teachers (in other words, one must have a pure refuge);

b・ the teaching on bodhicitta, which is superior to the paths of the Listeners (Skt.sravaka; Tib.nyan.thod) and the Solitary Victors (Skt. pratyekabuddha;Tib.rang.sangs.rgyas);

c・ the teaching on Vajrasattva for the purification of unwholesome mental imprints and obscurations;

d・ the teaching on guru yoga for swiftly receiving blessings. Among these four.subject headings, the one on guru yoga is especially important. The great Sakya Pandita likened the blessing of the Buddhas to the rays of the sun. If one has some firewood, no matter how strongly the sun might be shining, the

firewood does not burst into flame. One has to have a magnifying glass in order to ignite the actual flame. Likewise, even though the Buddhas are very powerful and are able to bestow great blessings, it is impossible to receive them without a guru. The guru and one's relationship to the guru arc indispensable・

To further illustrate this, there is an account of the translator Marpa when he was living with his Guru Naropa. One day Naropa manifested the entire Hevajra Mandala together with the deity. He then called out to his disciple Marpa, saying, "My son, Chokyi Lodro (which was Marpa's personal name), get up, rise up! Here is a vision of Hevajra!" He rose and was awestruck. Then Naropa asked Marpa, “Which will you prostrate to? Will you prostrate to Hevajra or will you prostrate to me, your Guru?" Marpa thought, "Well, this is a very special event. Here is the yrdam, the meditational deity himselt appearing. This is an extraordinary event. . . .1 can always prostrate to my Guru, he is always here・ I will prostrate to the yidam." And he did so.

Naropa then responded with one verse. the essential meaning of which states that the yidams are an emanation of the guru・ Having recited this stanza, he

snapped his fingers and Hevajra, together with the entire mandala, dissolved into his heart. Naropa then told Marpa, "This was not properly done; you made a mistake! As a result of this, your personal (family) lineage will be short!" And, in fact, this was the case・ Marpa had nine sons, but his hereditary

lineage was cut. In contrast, for example, in the Sakya lineage, the hereditary lineage has been preserved right up to the present. Whereas in the Kagyii, although the Dharma lineage is very much preserved and is very much alive and flourishing, the hereditary lineage from Marpa ended long ago.

To continue that same story, Marpa found this very strange. He was very, very unhappy and worried about this because he found it so bizarre 一 "Why did I do that in that situation?" This must have been the ripening of a residue from a karma committed long ago. He had previously had many visions of Hevajra

and he was devoting himself to the practice of the Guru as being superior to the Yidam Hevajra. He had no confusion on that point. Although he had this clarity, nevertheless, he acted in that way. He was very concerned and was wondering, *4What is happening to me?^^ As a result of this inner consternation, he fell ill.


One day, Naropa and Marpa went out to a pond to bathe・ While they were there, a crow took a protection ring from Marpa and flew up in the air. Naropa did a very special 'threatening mudra' and shot down the crow. When the crow came fluttering down, he

took the protection ring and gave it back to Marpa saying, "Now you will be free from this problem, free from the mara/' It was as if a mara had taken over his mind and influenced him. Then Marpa responded by asking what he should do? And he decided that he would simply like to meditate.


This threatening mudra is a very powerful one when it is used by a highly accomplished person on the stage of completion. For example, such a practitioner could sit here, point this mudra at a far off fruit-tree, and he would be able to draw the fruit of that tree to himself. Then he could reverse the whole

process and send the fruits back up to their respective branches・ These supernatural things which one is able to do in the practice of tantra arc a lot of fun. This is simply one of a number of feats that might be done・


The supernormal powers of the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas are beyond the realm of conception of ordinary beings. The manner of the ripening of various actions and the relationships that occur in terms of the law of karma for ordinary beings, are equally astounding. For example, the bizarre physical

deformities of some people born without a mouth, or those born with one leg that is enormous and the other one tiny, or one leg that is bent way backwards 一 in each and every case, there is a very profound karmic relationship which comes into play and which ordinary beings cannot comprehend.


To draw a practical parallel, take a nomad, for example, who is living way out in the wilds and has no contact with civilization at all, simply living all by himself. If such a nomad were told that there arc things such as airplanes that fly through the air and they do not even flap their wings, or that there arc trains and so forth, he would say, "That is nonsense, that is impossible! Of course, there are no such things!*' He would never believe it. Likewise, when an ordinary person is told of some of the supernormal powers of the Bodhisattvas and the Buddhas they might seem totally unbelievable to him.

Nevertheless, just as airplanes and other amazing technological feats have been created, likewise・ these powers are facts. Just as one can be shown these inventions, the powers of the Bodhisattvas and Buddhas can also be shown. On another occasion, when Milarepa was leaving his Guru to go off into retreat to

meditate, Marpa and his wife Dagmema came out to send him off. Marpa, as a farewell, cast off his ordinary form and appeared in the form of Cakrasamvara. That dis・ appeared and he took the form of Hevajra. That disappeared and he took the form of Guhyasamaja・ That disappeared and then he took the form of

ali and kali [[[Wikipedia:vowels|vowels]] and consonants]. When this was done, he called out to Milarepa, sayings *'My son, have you seen?" Milarepa said, “Yes, I have. Yes, 1 believe. Might I also be able to accomplish such wonders as you!'* Then he went off into retreat and, as is very well known, attained the same

enlightenment as his Guru Marpa and was able to perform many supernormal feats, like flying in the sky and so forth. With the same kind of reverence that Milarepa had for Marpa, so should one practice and look up to one's own guru.


There was also a girl, who was a disciple of a lama by the name of Sakya Gyeltscn. She practiced and was also able to perform the miraculous wonders of flying through the sky and do forth. In verses of praise, she also referred to the great Yogin Milarepa and his powers.


The previous Dagchen Rinpoche, Gongma Choglang Rinpoche, came to the province in Eastern Tibet, where there was a Sakya Monastery by the name of Langna Gompa, which literally means, "the Elephant-trunk Monastery. At that time, Rinpoche knew that there were going to be a lot of violent earthquakes in the area. He told the people around him. "If you want to be with me, then come into this room. If you don't want to, stay outside. and he gave them each a blessing cord. The earthquakes occurred then up to a point along a certain ridge of a mountain. They flattened a lot of houses, but no damage occurred to

the house in which Rinpoche was living・ Afterwards, he did pass away in that house. There were many devotees who wanted to bring his remains back to Sakya, but the people there told them, "No. this would not be correct, because Rinpoche had a definite reason for passing away here・ So, his remains

should be kept here/' Then, they built a golden stupa to hold the remains. This was adorned with a pearl parasol. It was a very precious and holy place・ Many Tibetans suffering from various illnesses came there to circumambulate the golden stupa and a great many of them were cured. It was considered a very holy site・ Each year. this stupa grew a little bit


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