Systematic and Practical
A Talk by the Buddhist Yogi
C. M. CHEN
Written Down by
REVEREND B. KANTIPALO
First Published in 1967
TRANSFORM A HUMAN BODY INTO A BUDDHA-BODY
"human body" and "Buddha-body" occur frequently in Buddhist
texts dealing with various stages of mental development and different methods
of bodily sublimation. The Theravada teaches disciples to purify the human
body, in which there are thirty-six impurities. The Mahayanists and the
Vajrayanists stress the sublimation of voidness and the function of wisdom-energy.
All three have their merits and correspond in a certain order with definite
aspects of truth.
In order to
transform the human body into a Buddha-body, the former must be purified. For
this reason, most disciples who rebuke the doctrine of the Theravada have
difficulty attaining satisfactory results in the Mahayana or Vajrayana
philosophy behind the sublimation of voidness in the tathata and the function
of wisdom-energy in the position of Buddhahood requires voluminous writing which
cannot be presented in detail here.
Dynasty Tantra and the Japanese Tantra have a system of concentrated cultivation
called "The Five Forms of the Accomplishment of the Buddha-Body."
Many disciples often neglect the philosophy governing this system, which will
be touched upon briefly in this appendix.
and some simple visualizations have been well arranged in the ritual. If one
lacks the practical and philosophical connections and meditates haphazardly on
those fragments it will be like grabbing a handful of antique Chinese coins
without stringing them, that is, the transformation from human body to Buddha-body
will not be accomplished. I will present here, according to my own experience,
the philosophy governing this system of the "five forms" and the
connections will link the five forms into one.
First of all,
one should thoroughly recognize the "original mind," as the first
form is named. It means to the disciples that besides truth, there exists
neither mind (which the Idealist school asserts), nor matter (which the Indian
and modern materialists suggest). The truth is that the Dharmakaya is formless,
timeless, and eternal. Before this yoga is practiced, the truth of the stable
tathata samadhi or the meditation of the mantra-seed (AH) must be mastered and
accomplished as a concrete realization.
recognition of the four-dimensional yet dimensionless truth is not a common
visualization seen through the physical eyes. Ordinary vision is accompanied by
a self-centered desire for attainment deriving from the sixth consciousness,
along with the egoism of the seventh consciousness of avidya. Truth may be seen
only through the Dharma-eye of vidya. The general vision of the Dharmakaya is
like an edgeless sphere full of pure, holy, serene, and victorious
significance. It has a luminous light in which neither the idea of self nor the
idea of the existence of one's own physical body exists. Nevertheless, it
embraces everyone, good or bad, in heaven or in hell, during all periods of
time. Thus everyone always shares it, though they are not all aware of it. This
is the "head" of the connection between the first and the second
stresses the presence of a Buddha who sees the disciple absorbed in a stable
samadhi of the original mind, unaware of the Buddha, who loudly calls him to
awaken. However, a disciple who is not thoroughly absorbed in samadhi will be
unable to detect the merciful calling. Nevertheless, as it is a method leading
one towards attainment of consequence, and hence one should practice it with
diligence. One who has developed bodhicitta in this or in past lives may
recollect the original mind in samadhi. One will also visualize bodhicitta—the second
form—as a full moon about eight inches in diameter. This completes the
connection between the first and the second forms.
consists of two great elements. One is the wisdom derived from the truth of
Dharmakaya (contained in the first form). The other is the great compassion
which one should develop during the time of the second form in meditation.
insightful realization of original mind form appears, one comes to know that it
is present equally in everyone. However, one may think, "Why have I seen
it in such a quiet, happy meditation, while others are suffering from severe
pains in endless samsara?" As soon as such a question arises, one may
directs the holy light radiating from the wisdom moon toward the heavens. With
tears, one generates bodhicitta, and meditates on the five signs of decay of
heavenly beings: uncontrolled discharges, withering flower-crowns, unpleasant
odor, perspiration, and uneasiness. One concentrates the holy light then upon
the asuras: their sorrows of anger, pride, and quarrelsomeness. Then the
meditator throws the holy light upon human beings, troubled by the five
sorrows, eight pains, eighty-eight diseases; then upon the animals, bothered by
nets, traps, poison, guns, arrows, knives. Further, one directs the holy light
on the hungry ghosts, with their small throats, big bellies, and food of blood
and pus. Finally, one throws the holy light into the hells, where there are
hills of knives and forests of horse-faced demon-messengers. Thus the meditator
weeps and earnestly prays for the unfortunate fellow beings with the hope of
After the six
worldly realms have been meditated upon and prayed for, the moon's light should
be offered to the four enlightened realms: those of the arhats,
pratyeka-buddhas, bodhisattvas, and Buddhas. Prayers for saving the sentient
beings should be made devotedly. When the light is withdrawn, the meditator should
feel blessed by the wisdom, compassion, and supernatural powers of all four
kinds of enlightened beings. Thus, development of the bodhicitta has been
asuras, and higher spirits, who can read others' minds, can know of the
benevolent bodhicitta of the meditator. Other sentient beings are clouded by
the five obstacles, the five impurities, the five poisons, the four demons,
etc.; they cannot accept the holy moon's light, which is subtle, imponderable,
and intangible. In fact, a meditator practicing such a form is not capable of
This is the
"head" of the connection between the second and the third forms.
To subdue all
demons, to increase a meditator's power to control the elements, and to purify
desires, there is a Tantric instrument consisting of the five wisdoms of the
Buddhas in its upper part, the five holy elements in its lower part, and the
essence of the five bodhicittas in its middle part. All together they form a
vajra which is at once material and spiritual. It is comparable to the diamond
in hardness, essence, indestructibility, power, strength, and rigidity. The
meditator should recognize such a vajra-mind to be the third form. Here the
mind should perceive the essence of truth, not in the manner of the sixth
consciousness (as the Idealist school asserts).
this process was never imparted by the ancients. However, when one corner of a
subject is shown, the other three corners may be inferred. In the samadhi of
the second form, the Buddha might call to the meditator: "Without the
attainment of vajra-mind, you are incapable of saving sentient beings."
This is the
end of the connection between the second and the third forms.
After the samapatti
in which the vajra-form has been clearly visualized in the heart in its
original size, that of one's own fist with the thumb pointing upward, one
should practice enlarging it to the size of one's body, hermitage, the sky, and
the Dharmadhatu. This sequence has been established through the writer's experience
with the following reasons:
Chinese term "Xin" (as we saw earlier) has many meanings: physically,
it denotes the heart; psychologically, the mind or will; geometrically, the
center; spiritually, the soul or consciousness; philosophically, essence or
truth. Its meaning depends on context and should be carefully discriminated. To
integrate one's thought with the whole truth, one should take the word as a
whole with all its implications. However, for other occasions, it should devote
its appropriate meaning in each specific instance.
of "Xin" in connection with the size of the vajra implies
"harmonization," and thus embraces all meanings.
why that vajra is visualized in the physical heart are: to give an origin to
all its enlarged sizes, to impart its wisdom to the heart's life-energy, to
transform the eighth consciousness into the knowledge of Buddhahood, to present
an embodiment of good will, and to strengthen the bodhicitta of the second
2. Of the
five forms in this yoga, the first three have in their names the word "Xin"
(translated as "mind") and the last two have the word
"body" in their names. The body is second in importance to the mind,
but the main subject of this yoga is the body. Hence the enlargement of the
vajra should be the size of one's own body. The five elements in the organs and
the five wisdoms in the mind, symbolized together by the vajra, transform the
organs and sublimate the human body.
3. It is said
that all sentient beings of the six realms are under the sky. Thus the
visualization of the vajra should fill all space between heaven and earth, so
that all sentient beings of the six realms are blessed by this vajra.
Visualizing the vajra the size of the Dharmadhatu relates the four enlightened
realms, causing arhats and pratyeka-buddhas to feel their samadhis are
insufficient to attain samyak-sambodhi, and the bodhisattvas and Buddhas to
bless the meditator as their true inheritor.
all these four different sizes of vajras are in a permutable connection with
one another. When heart vajra is extended to body vajra, mentality and
materiality are identified. When the vajra is extended to the hermitage,
subjectivity and objectivity are identified. When it is extended to Dharmadhatu
vajra, the garbhadhatu and the vajradhatu are identified.
one of the vajras, all the others encircle it and they are interwoven.
the unconditional compassion of the Dharmakaya; the unlimited merits of all
gods, gurus, yidams, dakinis, and protectors in the hermitage; the thirty-two
forms of the incarnations of the Buddha-body—all function with the heart vajra.
When one considers
the body vajra, the other three are integrated with it. The more one emphasizes
the negation of one's human body, the better is the Buddha-body and the
interrelations of all the vajras. Thus, the bodies of all the beings mentioned
above are permuted and identified, and there is neither any Buddhahood to be
achieved nor any sentient being to be saved.
hermitage-vajra is visualized as the head, the other three may be taken as the
limbs. The fourth size (Dharmadhatu), the bodhicitta, and the sambhogakaya
(from the human body size) all co-exist and function simultaneously.
the ultimate size of the Dharmadhatu is the main source, the other three being
subordinate to it, the net of Indra is visualized, forming a vast macrocosm of
the Buddha-world. The functions are: one as many, many as one; unity and
separation; functions beyond all three yet in them all; extensive and
intensive; beneath yet manifested; abstract and concrete; present yet within
past and future. One minute includes all three periods of time. Thus the powers
of the Buddha working for salvation are uninhibited by time or space. The
highest theories of exoteric philosophy and the highest Tantric practices (six-element
yoga) here are achieved, and all four sizes of vajra-mind—the third form—function
together, interpenetrating and, finally, harmonized.
No matter how
powerful the vajra may be and how excellently a meditator may practice, it does
not function as a voice for preaching. That is why the vajra is always accompanied
by the vajra-bell. The meditator may ask, "Who will hold this powerful
couple of vajra and bell?" The practice of personification of the
Buddha-body should be performed next. Then, the Buddha again calls the
attention of the meditator. This is the "head" of the connection
between the third and the fourth forms.
form—vajra-body—should accumulate all the merits of the three kayas of
Buddhahood, but the three secrets of body, speech, and mind cannot be
symbolized; they must be formed. Hence, personification is needed, and that is
the end of the connection between the third and the fourth forms.
vajra's extension has been drawn back to the size of the meditator's human
body, that embodies it into a personified vajra-body. The upper part of the
vajra becomes the hair-tuft, and the lower part of the vajra becomes the upper
part of the male organ. The trunk of the vajra becomes the median channel, the
main source of all parts of the Buddha-body: the brain, nervous system, and all
the organs. All these systems and organs appear outwardly like those of a human
body, but inwardly they are full of the compassion and wisdom of Buddhahood, so
they are quite different from those of an ordinary human body, which contains
Some of the rituals
call for personification of Vairocana, others Samantabhadra. In the opinion of
the author, the former is better for practice of the basic samadhi; the latter
for the practice of saving others, for the position of a bodhisattva is closer
to the sentient beings than that of a Buddha. The yoga dealt with in this
appendix stresses the Buddha transformation, which should be like Vairocana.
When the Buddha-body has been achieved and if the meditator wants to be a
savior, Samantabhadra will do.
"body" has many meanings: the Entity of the Dharmakaya; the yidam
itself (Sambhogakaya); or the body of the practitioner (Nirmanakaya), whose
heart is bodhicitta. The entity-body pursues the truth of voidness; while the
yidam-body offers characteristics of great pleasure and supernatural power: all
gurus, yidams, dakinis, and protectors are under his control. Thus the practice
of the fourth form accumulates all the merits of the previous four forms. (Of
course, the word "body" should never be mistaken in this yoga for the
personification of the vajra-body channels arise from the wisdom vajra, the
thirty-six impurities are not in it. Because the vajra resides in the mandala
(hermitage), there are no objects of attachment to lure it; because it
manifests the Dharmakaya, there is no view of the physical body as real or any
ego-infatuation; as it teaches gods and men, there is no demon that could harm
when such a personification is achieved by anyone who is in an entity of tathata,
he is always in the Dharmakaya, and has the characteristics of a guru, yidam,
and so forth. He is in a joyful and perfect sambhogakaya, worshipped by every
god, surrounded by sentient beings, and appears in the merciful Nirmanakaya.
the complete development of the five forms, we may say that from the first form
(original mind, the basis of Enlightenment) results the position of
Buddhahood; from the second form (bodhicitta, the great compassion) results
the fountain of salvation; from the third form (vajra-mind, the fountain of
salvation), (See Part Two of this appendix), the karma of a Buddha is carried
out; from the fourth form (vajra-body, the embodiment of a Buddha-body) arises
the perfect evolution of a Buddha-body; from the fifth form (the perfection of
a Buddha-body which possesses all the merits of a Buddha), one vividly achieves
the transformation of the Buddha-body, which will be described later.
vajra has induced everything into its body when it personifies and identifies
objectivity and subjectivity, the macrocosm is in the body—the microcosm. The
spinal column is Sumeru, the four limbs are the four continents, the two eyes
are the sun and the moon, the bladder is the ocean, and so on. In the upper
part of the body are sentient beings of the higher realms; in the lower part
are those of the lower realms. Outwardly, around the body, are all deities of
every religion, standing as protectors. Inwardly, twenty-four mandalas of Mahadeva
Heruka arise from the twenty-four channels stemming from the left and right
major channels. Secretly, there are five Buddhas' palaces in the five wheels;
most secretly, there is the permanent and quiet holy light realm of the Dharmakaya,
arising from the median channel. Hence very powerful gods and Buddhas are in
"Where there is the meritorious quality within, it manifests itself
without." The embodiment of a real Buddha in a person constitutes all the
inward qualities of a Buddha, as well as all the signs of a Buddha. Hence every
merit of one's savior-nature manifests itself as vividly as the nose on one's
face. The position of consequence of Buddhahood is achieved when one has
attained the thorough realization of Buddha-personification both within and
without. One then is undoubtedly a real Buddha with all the inward qualities
and outward signs. The last four forms achieve the great conditions of a
Buddha-body, and only the details of its adornment are left. This is the last
connection, as all adornments are perfectly visualized, and is thus called
"Buddha-body Perfection." Then there is nothing left; this is the end
of the connection between the fourth and fifth forms.
savior-Buddha is called "the King of the Revolving Wheel of Dharma."
All great merits and virtues accumulated appear as the thirty-two remarkable
physical characteristics. These are the adornments of the Buddha-body. They
soles, indicating an attitude of equality toward anyone, anywhere.
sign on the soles, indicating the countless means of performing good karmas.
slender fingers, indicating a good character of non-killing and non-stealing.
hands and feet, indicating service of washing and massaging his parents and
webbed toes and fingers, indicating excellent guidance to Buddhahood.
heels, indicating concentration on the right Dharma.
insteps, indicating kindness toward servants.
like those of a stag, indicating thorough knowledge of all subjects.
reaching below the knees, indicating generous almsgiving.
Well-retracted male organ, indicating chastity.
equal to the arm-span, indicating faithful duty to others, more than to oneself.
Dark-colored hair-roots, indicating the power of dhyana and lack of old age and
and curly bodily hair, indicating honesty.
golden-hued body, indicating noble virtue.
ten-foot halo, indicating the holy light of samadhi.
smooth skin, indicating great compassion.
places (the two soles, two palms, two shoulders and crown) well-rounded,
indicating unprejudiced good karma.
Well-filled armpits, indicating amiability.
lion-shaped body, indicating fearlessness in saving others and in subduing
body, indicating straightforwardness.
shoulders, indicating dutifulness.
teeth, indicating faithful speech and truthfulness.
even, and close teeth, indicating truthful, credible, and immutable teachings.
white canine teeth, indicating practice of the four infinite powers of
jaws, indicating the ability to subdue non-Buddhists.
that improves the taste of all foods, indicating accomplishment of dhyana.
27. A long
and broad tongue, indicating the excellence of praising all Buddhas.
28. A deep
and resonant voice, indicating realization of the truth of voidness.
29. Deep blue
eyes, indicating right view in tathata.
like those of a royal bull, indicating forbearance and perseverance in keeping
31. A white
curl fifteen feet long between the eyebrows, emitting holy light, indicating
the source of the pure and bright Dharma.
protuberance on the crown of his head, the top of which cannot be seen by any
god, indicating the highest position of consequence of Buddhahood.
these thirty-two characteristics, there are eighty symbols on the Buddha-body,
indicating in detail his virtues. Besides these two sets, there are some
important marks of the Sambhogakaya, such as the crown with the images of five
Buddhas, symbolizing the five wisdoms, and the holy light of silence
surrounding him infinitely. There are also realization-signs of his Dharmakaya,
such as the vajra and the vajra-bell held in the hands, the sign of Vajradhara,
the guru of the five Buddhas. Thus the complete Buddha's virtues are manifested
on the Buddha-body and this yoga is the highest transformation of the human
body into the Buddha-body, resulting successfully. Whenever the meditator is in
the samadhi of this yoga, he is in fact a Buddha; if any human nature appears,
it is immediately changed until the static samadhi and the dynamic daily yoga
the five forms of this yoga with similes, the first form (original mind) is
like the seed under the soil; the second form (bodhicitta) signifies the root;
the third form (vajra-mind) is like the trunk of the Bodhi tree; the fourth
form (vajra-body) is like the leaves and flowers; and the fifth the fruits of
this yoga is in the yogatantra. There is yet the anuttaratantra, with many
lofty methods of transformation of the Buddha body. Since the yoga tantra only
involves the practice of the six-element yoga, it is not a practice of
wisdom-energy. The elaborate practice of visualization is not included in the
yoga tantra. Readers who are interested are advised to learn them from
Tibetan Lamas. For a complete, systematic study of the transformation of a Buddha
body, I have written a brief essay based on the doctrine of anuttarayoga from
gives more important details for the transformation into a Buddha-body through
unique technical psycho-physical practices, enabling the practitioner to
achieve success in trikaya in one lifetime. I shall systematically deal with
these techniques here, avoiding trifling matters and too many Sanskrit terms
which are unfamiliar or puzzling to Western readers.
the anuttarayoga contains the six secret methods of Naropa, which were
introduced to Western readers many years ago. In particular, each yidam has his
own anuttarayoga and different stages thereof, such as the five or six stages
of the Guhyasamaja Tantra, the four stages of the Mahamaya Tantra, or the six
stages of the Kalacakra Tantra. They are similar in most respects. All are under
the classification of four initiations or six secret methods. In the Hevajra
Tantra, which has been translated into English and published by Oxford University, all the practices are classified under the four initiations. (See my
booklet No. 78, "A Safe Guide for the Practitioner of Hevajra
Tantra." It describes the exact practical sequence, which in the text was
purposely mixed up in order to keep it secret.) Nowadays, people have deep
interest in discussing truth, but little faith in practice. Hence I will
introduce these subjects frankly, accurately, and clearly.
adumbration should be inserted here before setting forth the statement of
anuttarayoga to complete the whole system of the Tantric doctrines concerning
A. Kriya Yoga
When one is
practicing the Kriya Yoga, one frequently associates with male and female
Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and gods who are bodhisattvas. Just as a child always
copies the actions of his parents, the practitioner imitates the manner and
appearances of Buddhas. The meditator should not consider himself or herself as
a sinner lacking the entity of Buddhahood. To greatly deepen one's
irreversibility from Buddhahood, one is taught to practice these eighteen
1. To purify
sin, enabling the meditator to be close to Buddhas.
2. To ask the
Buddha of Buddha-department to purify misdeeds of body.
3. To ask the
Lotus-Buddha to purify scandals caused by speech.
4. To ask the
Vajra-Buddha to purify wickedness conceived in the mind
5. To wear
the Vajra-armor to protect the pure body.
6. To build
the diamond net around the location of one's hermitage.
7. To build a
diamond wall around one's room.
visualize the mandala of the Buddha as being within one's hermitage.
visualize Mahasattva Akasagarbha adorning this mandala.
visualize a carriage to welcome Buddhas.
11. To guide
the carriage correctly into the mandala.
welcome the Buddhas when they enter the mandala.
13. To cover
the mandala with "gnostic fire."
14. To spread
the vajra-net over the mandala.
15. To cover
the interior of the mandala with "gnostic fire."
16. To offer
holy water to the Buddha for bathing.
17. To offer
a lotus for sitting.
18. To offer
every kind of good thing.
every action done by the practitioner is like that of a Buddha and not of a
B. Carya Yoga
When one is
practicing the Carya Yoga, not only is the body interwoven with the
Buddha-body, but also the mind, which is the master of the body. In this
practice there are four holy conditions: First, the meditator should visualize
himself or herself as a Buddha-body in the position of cause; second, in front
of the meditator, in the sky, a Buddha in the position of consequence is
visualized; third, in the meditator's heart a moon is visualized, representing
the Buddha's gnostic mind; fourth, the moon should be seen in the Buddha's body
in front of the practitioner. Hence through the movement of the moon from the
meditator's heart to that of the Buddha, one's wisdom is identified with that
of the Buddha. The movement of the mantra is the life-energy, chief among the
five energies upon which the foundation of forming the Buddha-body is based.
C. Yogic Yoga
Yoga" is practiced both the five forms of the Buddha-body and the five
elements of the pagoda are identified. The philosophy of the six-element yoga,
which contains the right mental view (the ninth holy consciousness) is
stressed, along with the five material elements. The Buddha-body and its palace
have been well founded. Starting from this stage, there is no differentiation
between mentality and materiality, spirit and flesh, mind and body, or
metaphysics and material science. All practices beyond this stage are free of
duality. This is real yoga, in which all opposites are united and harmonized.
This point should be clearly kept in the mind of the practitioner of this yoga
and those following it.
Now we turn
to the main practices of the anuttarayoga.
"evolutional yoga" itself is another title for the first stage of the
transformation of the Buddha-body. Here by "body" is meant the
psycho-physical, anthropomorphic body inseparable from the mind of sunyata-samadhi.
For example, shame is mental, but the blood-flow which reddens the face and the
standing-up of the hair are both physical. Although visualization is a mental
practice, the vision of the form appears to be seen vividly in a physical
is divided into three conditions: clarity, firmness, and the Holy Pride of
Buddhahood. In this evolutional yoga, the mantras, yantras, and mudras
contained in the final stages of visualization of the Buddha-body are not
stressed, and instead realization of the three conditions is considered more
All the hair
on the entire body, including the eyebrows, eyelashes, and so on, should be
clearly visualized in the nature of sunyata. Outwardly, the hair becomes like a
reflection in the mirror, but inside it is seen as quite empty, like a bubble.
All parts of the body should be visualized in the same manner.
is accomplished, the clear appearance must be made to endure throughout one's
lifetime without a single second of disappearing. This is firmness, the second
condition. The firmness should be maintained in all parts of the mandala, and
in all activities (not only in meditation). It may be compared to a wooden
image engraved with a knife: the deeper it is engraved, the more prominent are
3. The Holy
Pride of Buddhahood
When one has
a human body, formed by past evil karma, one considers oneself to be just a
common person. In Christianity, as a Catholic priest told me, even Jesus had
human nature, but in Tantric Buddhism, human nature is forbidden to appear. It
is for this reason that one keeps the Buddha's Pride instead of human nature.
Human nature is a seed in the field of the eighth consciousness, supported and
nourished by one's own egotism. However, if sunyata meditations are practiced
diligently and the Buddha-body visualizations gradually increased, the Holy
Pride of Buddhahood will eventually be accomplished. One should think of
oneself as initiated and dignified by the wisdom of the yidam. All actions of
one's body, speech, and mind are actions like those of the Buddha who is one's
yidam. One should offer peace where there is war; food where there is hunger;
drink where there is thirst. When meeting anger, pacify it; grant requests;
answer inquiries; cure patients; convert non-Buddhists; advise sinners; and so
on. If a lustful thought arises, one should think, "Would a Buddha still
have lustful thoughts?" If a selfish thought arises, think, "Would a
Buddha still have selfish thoughts?" When evil thought is cut off, evil
action cannot take place. In this way one not only accomplishes bodily
transformation, but also achieves a Buddha-mind. How practical is the
We may pursue
the distinction between human pride and the Holy Pride of Buddhahood. Human
pride is a sorrow. If a good person is proud of the numerous merits he has
accumulated, he or she could be born in the asura realm, but not in the
heavens. It is human pride when the false guru demands, "You are a great
sinner and I am the only Buddha in this world. You must offer me your wife,
daughters, and maidservants as my dakinis; and your land, houses, fields, and
gardens as my property." Human pride always accompanies lust, anger,
ignorance, and egotism, while Buddha-Pride accompanies selflessness, sunyata,
compassion, and precept-keeping. The two must be clearly distinguished.
As I have
said, the yogi's surroundings—the mandala of the Buddha-body—should also be
visualized in accord with the above three conditions. In addition, the
symbolism of each part of the mandala should be understood. Just as one's body
has been personified in Buddhahood, one's hermitage should be sublimated into
the Buddha's mandala. The diamond of wisdom is its foundation; the eight
divisions of the Path are its pillars; the Four Noble Truths are the four
precious gates; lotuses, vajras, and skulls are the materials forming the
walls. Outside the walls are the eight graveyards, manifesting impermanence.
Inside the mandala, flowers represent wisdom; lakes stand for mercy; light
indicates wisdom; sounds utter preachings; and fires symbolize the powers.
Outwardly, all these are objects, but inwardly, they are all Dharmas—the
profound samadhi of sunyata.
based on the philosophy of non-duality, inside the Buddha-body one may have the
mandala, and outside the mandala one may have the Buddha-body. Every part of
the Buddha-body and every part of the mandala represents a dharma. Body and mandala
both contain mentality and materiality. Both contain the nature of sunyata
within them and the conditions of sunyata outside them. The reflection in the
mirror and the mirror with the reflection: both are two yet one, and one yet
two. All discrete existences mutually interpenetrate. Mandala yet Buddha-body;
Buddha-body yet mandala. Subjectivity becomes objectivity; they are equal.
may contain any number of Buddha-bodies. Chief and retinue are different yet
harmonious, harmonious yet different. One in all, and all in one.
was invited to appear by many of his students, he appeared to every student
simultaneously. The Wisdom-Buddha's body in the Pure Land may be invited into
the samaya Buddha-body of the meditator, while the visualized incarnate
Buddha-body may be sent to the Pure Land. The wisdom-mandala may be invited
into the visualized mandala. These feats have been performed by many
accomplished gurus on the occasions of initiations. All events and acts—whether
broad or narrow, hidden or manifested, present or future, involving subject or
object, form or voice, merit or demerit—take place simultaneously with all the
others at all times. This "Evolutional Yoga" evolves mystically from
the nature of sunyata and is shown with the conditions of sunyata. It is not
like common things, some of which grow in arithmetic progression and some in
geometric progression; it evolves in a philosophical and mystical progression.
Whether or not one is able to practice it, one has to try in this way when
following this stage of the path.
evolutionary practice described above stresses visualization, for which the
philosophical motive is the six-element yoga, yet right view is also important.
The other five elements are only thought of, not worked on by the meditator. In
order to have many "irons in the fire" of visualization meditation,
the five material elements should balance right view (or the ninth
consciousness) and be included in all the steps and practices of anuttarayoga.
qualities of the five energies, their manner of movement, and the essence with
which they move are all "breathed" through the mystic channels. The
semen-like drops should be understood in a mystic sense of Buddhahood. Solely
under these conditions will the Buddha-body be not only visualized, but also
existing in fact, integrating Buddha-qualities into a real Buddha-body. This is
the main purpose of the second initiation of the anuttarayoga.
or Holy Energies. From coarse to fine, vulgar to psychic, gross to subtle, and
from violence to quietness, breathing practice is taught and practiced in both
Hinayana and Mahayana, forming a good foundation for breathing in the Vajrayana.
different energies have specific functions in the different positions of the
Buddha-body. Vajrayana points this out in detail to the practitioner. When one
practices tummo yoga in the second initiation, it should be done in the
following sequence: first, light bottle-like deep breathing; and second, heavy,
bottle-like, deepest breathing. This should be done until a certain degree of
realization is attained and the functions of the five energies are utilized.
Hinayana believers claim they also have breathing practices. This is like
primary school pupils saying that their science of mathematics is the same as
that of high school and college, while they have never even dreamed of the
names of differential and integral calculus. How can one thus comprehend
Einstein's Theory of Relativity (which was inspired by the non-absoluteness of
Buddhism)? Good readers, if you are still a Hinayana believer, please open your
mind to learn more Tantric doctrines. It will not harm you, though it may be
very difficult for you to glean benefits from it.
b. The Holy Channels.
The way the wisdom-energies pass through the body is by way of the psychic channels,
which are appropriate vessels (just as lioness's milk should be kept in a
precious bottle, not in one of inferior quality). All the holy channels belong
to Buddhahood. The most important among them, the median channel, represents
the Dharmakaya. The two major channels on the left and right sides, along with
the seven main wheels along the median channel, pertain to the Sambhogakaya;
and the small channels pervading the whole body partake of Sambhogakaya yet
produce Nirmanakaya. There are twelve wheels in the four limbs, thirty in the
fingers, thirty in the toes, and 72,000 fine channels under the skin.
five energies, which pass through the various channels, there are four groups
of dharmas contained in the channels. Outwardly, the channels contain the ten
Dharmadhatus, the great universe; inwardly, all the gods, angels, and asuras of
the heavens; secretly, all the protectors, dakinis, and bodhisattvas; most
secretly, all the herukas and Buddhas. All reside in the channels, within their
own mandalas. The three conditions given above—clarity, firmness, and
Buddha-Pride—should be practiced with all these channels.
authors, both Eastern and Western, mistake the human body for the Buddha-body.
They assert that the median channel is the spinal column, that the left and
right major channels are the sympathetic nervous system (or the arteries and
veins), that the five main great wheels are five organs, and that the wisdom
drops within the five wheels are hormones. These ideas are quite wrong. The
human body is meditated away when one practices. At the beginning, the Hinayana
impermanence meditation and the nine meditations on a dead body concern the human
body, but after one has gone through the eight voidness meditations of non-ego
in the Mahayana, the body of flesh and blood has been cast aside, and a body of
meditation developed. When one performs practices of the Buddha-body, which is
made only of wisdom, compassion, meditation, and light, nothing made of flesh
should be thought of, much less the spinal column and the other human parts.
There may be some correspondence, but not identity. However, before one has
really transformed one's body into the Buddha-body, these correspondences are
important, and these human parts must be cared for. This does not apply to the
Buddha-body, which has its own complete system totally unrelated to any
physical, fleshly entity.
our description, each of the main wheels along the median channel has its own
special function when breath and wisdom-drops appear and are well controlled.
At that time certain supernatural powers may manifest themselves, as follows:
The wheel of
the crown of the head may open a holy gate to the Pure Land, and enables one to
practice the yoga of phowa so that the practitioner can transmit his own
consciousness to the land of Buddha Amitabha or that of any other Buddha. The
head-wheel can develop the heavenly eye, so that one can see everything under
the heavens; in addition, the heavenly ear, with which one hears every sound or
voice; and it also enables the meditator to see the light of the Dharmakaya.
For this reason, it is also referred to as the Dharmakaya-wheel.
When five kayas
are dealt with, the throat-wheel may cause the meditator to acquire the four
kinds of holy skill in debate, and empowers one to attain the Sambhogakaya.
The wheel of
the heart can cause the practitioner to gain the supernatural power to read
others' minds, and enables one to attain the sahajakaya or svabhavikakaya.
navel-wheel may help one to acquire the supernatural power of the knowledge of
past lives of oneself and others, and also to attain Nirmanakaya.
located in the abdomen can give rise to the supernatural power of a magic body,
as well as enabling the meditator to practice vajra-love, leading to possession
of the mahasukhaprajnakaya.
Wisdom-drops. The ancients classified "drops" into four kinds:
material-drops, breath-drops, incantation-drops, and wisdom-drops. Material-drops are
the sperm or ova of the human body; breath-drops are energies;
incantation-drops are bijas and true words. These latter two pertain to the lower
three Tantras. It is important not to mistake the wisdom-drops, which belong to
the anuttarayoga, for the sperm. Certain ancient authors did this.
Tibetan works state that all the organs (such as the heart, liver, stomach,
etc.) are formed for the material-drops; however, the drops and the organs differ
in their degree of purity. In my opinion, all the organs belong only to the
physical body and should be treated as impure, as the Hinayana teachings
Of the four kinds,
the Buddha-body has only the wisdom-drops, included in practice of the
anuttarayoga in the second and third initiations. At the bottom of the median channel
are situated the red wisdom-drops, which are the tummo and the wisdom essence.
On top of the median channel are the white wisdom-drops, or the great
compassion gained through wisdom. The red drops contain the five elements,
particularly that of fire; while the white ones are mostly water. Through the
combination of these two, the other three elements will be produced, and the
five wisdoms will appear in order to be worked upon.
contains a Buddha and his pure land. It may be a great one, such as the Dharmakaya
(which used to be called the "Only-One-Drop"), or else the drop may
contain many different herukas and Buddhas in Sambhogakaya or Nirmanakaya.
What is the
form and color of the wisdom-drops, and who has seen them? The numerous Tibetan
books contain only a few words on this subject. A wisdom-drop is round, about
the size of a pea, and has these four characteristics: first, it is round and
perfect; second, clear and transparent; third, bright and clean; and fourth,
merciful and moist.
the mother of prajnaparamita, describes the wisdom-drop thus: "It is
egg-shaped, the size of the tip of the little finger, and smooth like oil; it
has the color of a particular blue gem which comes from a holy place named
'Bu Da Li'. In the cave of Bu Da Li there is a hermitage called 'Sang Bu Bai', a
triangular palace of the holy Dharma surrounded with rainbows. It was extremely
beautiful in every way, and inhabited by many holy dakinis, bodhisattvas,
Buddhas, and herukas. The wisdom-drop has all these merits."
"I lived in a forest of sandalwood trees, the habitat of a special bird
called 'Jue Xun'. That bird has a blue plume with a tinge of dark green. Its wings
are marked with white crescents. Its tail is bright and five colors adorn it.
Under its feet are white conches. It has a white beak, white toes, and red
eyes. Its neck and head resemble those of a peacock. On its crest are three
long red feathers, which emit shining rays of light."
cannot approach this bird. It does not kill any insects, and stands on flowers
rather than walking on the ground. It repeats the mantra of Tara, our holy
mother, in pleasant tones but only when its mind feels happy. The sound gives
bliss to the person who encounters it."
bird feeds on the buds of fragrant flowers and certain medicinal herbs.
Sometimes it enjoys perching on a branch of the camphor tree, and it sleeps on
a large, pleasantly scented flower such as a lotus. In general, it possesses
good characteristics and beauty."
eggs are rare. A female Jue Xun lays only two eggs: one will hatch a male, and
the other a female. The eggs are usually laid on the camphor tree. The chicks
grow up with the blessing of our holy mother Tara. For this reason, the bird is
called 'an incarnation of Mother Tara'."
stool is a strong medicine, which can ward off all four-hundred-and-four
diseases. When its stool is made into a holy pill and kept on one's body, the
one myriad eight thousand calamities will never befall the bearer. When it is
mixed with oil, the stool will cure any kind of sore."
who eats the meat of a Jue Xun after its death will gain worldly things, while
one who offers one of its feathers may attain the excellent achievement of
Buddhahood. One who sees it or hears it will not fall from practice. All the
people who live in the forest of sandalwood trees where the bird lives will never
be reborn in the three lower realms."
kind of holy bird is very rare. If one's merits are not great enough, one
cannot encounter it. It preaches to bees and other insects, thus helping them
to attain a good rebirth in the heavens."
the chicks grow up, they fly far away and never return—a kind of renunciation.
They build their own 'hermitage' and when the female lays her two eggs, they
then fly away, and they don't build hermitage again. This is their traditional habit. Even the young chicks are rare to see, even by those persons free of sins."
holy bird resembles an oriole, but its neck is a little longer. The eggshells
are reddish-white, and are transparent and smooth. The eggs emit light-rays
twelve feet long, in five colors symbolizing the five wisdoms. Inside the egg
are five different lights: the outermost circle is white, the second red, the
third yellow, the fourth green, and the fifth one blue. Inside the blue light there is sky-blue light, like the cloudless sky, and its size is only that of a grain of rice.
Inside this sky-blue light there is a drop the size of a mustard seed with light
of variegated colors; this is the entity of sunyata. It is like the moon
reflected in water, or the reflection in a mirror. The colors, six of them,
represent Dorje Chang and his five Buddha-disciples. The egg thus possesses
many superior virtues. The wisdom-drop of the Buddha-body should be visualized
I have never
seen such a detailed description in any Tibetan Tantric work, and I present it
to the reader for help in practice of the wisdom-drop. We should know that the
quintessence of the Buddha-body is the wisdom-drop, which is the
crystallization of the Dharmakaya, the gathering of bliss of the Sambhogakaya,
and the seeds of compassion of the numberless Nirmanakayas. It is the holy
life. When it is transmitted into Amitabha's mind, one becomes Amitabha; when
transferred to Cakrasamvara Buddha's mind, the meditator becomes Cakrasamvara;
thus may one become any Buddha. It is the perfect wisdom, from which the great
bliss arises to its maximum, bestowing success in attainment of the mahasukha-prajnakaya—the
highest aim of Vajrayana, never even dreamed of by the followers of Mahayana
our study of the distinction discussed above, I must state that though sperm
may have some correspondence with the wisdom-drop, they are utterly different.
The former is a product of the sorrow of lust and belongs to ignorance, while
the latter is produced by the wisdom of sunyata and is marked by knowledge.
When one is initiated into Vajrayana, one is born from Dorje Chang and the
guru in oneness. The original Buddha-nature of the meditator's sunyata-nature is drawn
out, brought into the guru's body, and passes through his median channel to the
vajra during the guru's practice of vajra-love. It is sent to the dakini's
womb, and through her double bliss, a wisdom-child is born. This is an infant
Buddha-body. After the initiation, the real Buddha-body is united with the newborn
Buddha-body. The wisdom-drop is a crystallization of the Buddha's wisdom and
great compassion. No egoism or lustful sorrow remains.
All the above
factors—energy (inner air), breath, channels, and drops—form the Buddha-body, which is not
only materialized, but also harmonized with the truth of non-ego, or sunyata.
They are three in one and one in three. When the sunyata nature covers all the sunyata
conditions, they are in the Buddha-body of the Dharmakaya. When it functions
and manifests the conditions of sunyata, this is the Sambhogakaya or Nirmanakaya,
which effect mystical transformations for the sake of saving others. The three
holy wisdom dharmas in the Buddha-body have certain orders and rules. All these
practices are the means to attain the position of consequence of Buddhahood.
The practitioner is taught by the Buddha himself and may reach the goal in this
Why does a
meditator need the third initiation? We now turn to the reasons for it.
practices we have so far described have already materialized a Buddha-body, a
practitioner still needs to integrate the Buddha-body much more thoroughly
through the help of a dakini. Just as a human body is formed from the main
conditions of the father's sperm, the mother's ovum, and the consciousness of
the being, so the Buddha-body requires the Buddha's wisdom drops, the dakini's
wisdom drop, and the meditator's ninth consciousness.
meditator has more wisdom-drops of shakta and fewer of shakti; and vice-versa
for the female meditator. The entire male body partakes of shakta, while only
the reproductive organ has shakti nature. The female is the reverse. During the
act of vajra-love, the lotus and the vajra both draw in their complementary
other reasons for the necessity of practicing vajra-love. The physical
appearance of a male signifies skillful means and compassion, but the female's
appearance represents wisdom. The attractive lines of the female's breasts and
hips show wisdom, while the strong muscles and rough appearance of the male
indicate skill. Both need the help of the other.
median channel is the palace of wisdom, or of the Dharmakaya, the breath, channel,
and drops which pass through this median channel are sublimated into
Buddha-wisdom. The two ends, or gates, of this psychic channel should be
utilized by the meditator. The upper gate is used to practice Tantric
breathing, while the lower gate (the reproductive organ) should also be used to
practice vajra-love. Thus the wisdom energy comes from the male Buddhas and
female dakinis, and this may shorten the time to achieve Full Enlightenment.
the sorrow of lust by escaping from it is a Hinayana method. Treating it as voidness
of dharma is the method of the Mahayana. Penetrating, subduing, and using it as
a means to save others is the Vajrayana method. The higher the wisdom, the
deeper the sorrow it can subdue. It is like seeing a robber—we must go after
him; like catching a tiger cub—we must go to the tigers' den; like applying a
poison—which acts as an antidote for another poison; or like falling down on
the land and using the same land to support ourselves as we get up. (Readers
are advised to read Chenian Booklets Nos. 17, 19 and 72, which give many good
reasons for the practice of vajra-love.)
theoretical reasons, one should learn the secret practice from the guru
personally. Such instruction is not printed, but given only orally. One should
locate a guru who himself has had actual experiences; in addition, a guru may,
from his own diligent practices, discover some new methods suitable for this
By seeing the
beautiful appearance of the dakini, one practices non-duality of form and sunyata.
By listening to the articulate speech of the dakini, one practices the
non-duality of sound and sunyata. By smelling the musky perfume of the dakini's
lotus, one practices the non-duality of scent and sunyata. By taking nectar
through kissing the dakini one practices the non-duality of tastes and sunyata.
By embracing, kissing, rubbing, and squeezing every part of the dakini's body,
one practices the non-duality of touch and sunyata. If non-duality of sunyata
samadhi is lost in some degree, sexual intercourse should be shunned—pleasure
and sunyata must balance each other.
pleasure wisdom-channel of a dakini is called the "wisdom conch channel," and it is located in the
lotus. This is the ending of her median channel. Its tip is very small and
short, but there are various medicines to extend it until it is capable of
being inserted into the urethra of the vajra. When the two median channels
touch, the shakta and shakti energies pass through the organs, the wisdom-drops
are exchanged, and the four sunyatas and four blisses are harmonized in a great
samadhi of non-duality. Full Enlightenment may result. The perfect yoga
perfectly integrates the Buddha-bodies.
Why is the
fourth initiation needed? According to the ancients, the third initiation and
the fourth are related to each other as cause to consequence. When vajra-love
has been practiced correctly and skillfully, the holy light of the Dharmakaya
will appear. This light is not easily recognized by the meditator without the
help of the qualified guru who has the experience necessary to recognize it.
many kinds of holy lights; it is for this reason that the Dharmakaya light can
scarcely be recognized by the meditator. For instance, the light of Jesus may
blind St. Paul, and God forbade Moses to touch his light. Lord Buddha emitted
lights many times, though never with harm to those who witnessed it.
The light of
Sambhogakaya is of greater illumination than that of the Nirmanakaya, but the
Dharmakaya light is the most excellent and transcendent, different from any
other kind of light. It should be identified with the truth of non-egoism.
has many special characteristics which are dealt with in Mahayana and Vajrayana
doctrines; however, not even an arhat of the Hinayana can describe it clearly
and accurately. It can only be certified by the personal guru who has himself
experienced it. After that, there is no other experience to teach. If a false
holy light appears, the guru will simply point it out as such and ask the
disciple to practice again according to the methods and rules of the third
initiation until realization of the Dharmakaya is actually attained.
F. The Great
The new sect
(Gelugpa) does not believe in the Great Perfection Yoga, but it is followed by
the Nyingmapas. Sages found the doctrines in caves, beneath the ocean or the
earth, and in other hidden places. These doctrines were imparted by the great
guru Padmasambhava in Tibet, and did not come from India. It is possible that
some of these doctrines may be false, but others are quite worthwhile to
Dharmakaya light is difficult to achieve, particularly the achievement of the
rainbow body, which results in one's having the holy light without death. In
addition, the rainbow body is a transformation of the physical body into a body
of holy light, achieved only by the great guru Padmasambhava.
volumes of discovered manuscripts have been edited by Nyingmapa sages. However,
in most Mahamudra and some Mahayana meditations, something about this yoga is
included, though the quintessence of the Great Perfection teachings is given
these teachings are divided into two major sections: tregchod, which is a
practice similar in philosophy and view to Chan; and thodgal, which contains
many wonderful methods of practice using the sun and moon in a special
position. It is practiced at certain times, toward certain directions, and in a
specially built hermitage.
the time for accomplishment, there is a very powerful and fruitful method
taught in the Nyingmapa school, called "Attaining the Buddha-body in Only
One Week." It has been introduced in the main part of this book.
Concerning the Human Body
essential positive methods of achieving a Buddha-body have been set forth in
Parts One and Two of this appendix. Now we will discuss negative methods to
destroy the physical body of flesh.
At the very
beginning, when one takes refuge in the Three Gems, one is aware of the human
body, which is threatened by other people, by demons, and by desires. One seeks
the Buddha-body, which is quite free.
When one is
taught the Hinayana doctrines, one develops a fear of the impermanence of the
body, which will die at an unknown time and in an uncertain manner. The time
may be today or tomorrow; the manner may be by disease or murder. Thus one
seeks only the Buddha-body, which has neither birth nor death.
corpse meditations, described in Chapter VIII above, should be practiced with
tears in one's eyes. One who has practiced them thoroughly will not love the
human body any more, but will seek only a Buddha-body.
also meditate on the thirty-six impurities of the body, and love neither one's
own body nor that of a member of the opposite sex, despite its beauty. Instead,
one seeks the pure body of a Buddha.
5. The Dhutas
dislikes one's own body, one does not seek beautiful, melodious, fragrant,
sweet, or soft things; and for the sake of Dharma practice, one endures bodily
suffering. Thus the twelve dhuta disciplines are taught and should be observed:
only garments of cast-off rags.
only three garments or robes.
only food acquired by begging.
only breakfast and lunch.
e. Not eating
between breakfast and lunch.
only a limited amount of food.
like a hermit.
under a tree.
under the open sky.
but never lying down.
In such a way
one seeks only the Buddha-body, which is apart from worldly things. Ordinary
people shamelessly pursue delicious dishes, beautiful clothing, expensive
dwellings, good concubines, and huge farms. A practitioner should only have
pity on them.
practices the Mahayana meditations, one should offer as alms one's body,
partially or fully. Many bodhisattvas have set good examples by sacrificing
themselves. Some have offered their ears, blood, arms, or even their heads.
body one learns to bear striking, beating, kicking, and being stepped on by
others, as Lord Buddha taught us in the "Diamond Sutra" through his personal
practitioner meditates on his or her own body as void both inside and out; also
on the body of a member of the opposite sex as empty.
master of the body, should be treated as fundamentally emptiness.
practices Vajrayana yoga, one visualizes the body's surroundings and interior
There is a
mantra of sunyata to be repeated before visualizing the voidness.
create in one's meditation a wisdom-fire which burns the body completely, with
visualized yidam's body should be meditated upon as empty.
forbidden by the Vajrayana, and instead the practice of self-sacrifice through
visualization is stressed by every school, including the Gelugpa. In
visualization, the head is cut off and the skull used as a great boiler. The
four limbs and the internal organs are cut into pieces and put into the boiler,
to be offered as a meal. Thus one's own body is treated as an offering to the
Buddhas, dakinis, gods, and protectors; and as alms for the demons, spirits,
ghosts, creditors, and enemies from this life or past lives.
15. In Sleep
one should treat one's body as a corpse, keeping one's mind united with the
16. In Dreams
dreaming, one should maintain the Buddha-body meditation, and every action in
the dream should be that of a Buddha. In this way, every thing, person, and
place is transformed into those of Buddhahood.
17. At Death
one should practice the holy light of the Dharmakaya.
Preventing Low Rebirth
four methods to prevent birth in the four kinds of ordinary states of living
a. To prevent
birth in moisture, like a fish or worm, one should visualize the word Bang
arising from sunyata.
b. To prevent
birth in a viviparous body, like that of a mammal, one should practice
visualizing a lotus in the heart.
c. To prevent
birth in a metamorphic body, such as that of a moth, a deva, or a hell-dweller,
one should visualize a moon on the lotus in the heart.
d. To prevent
birth in a body such as that of a bird. One visualizes a bija A on the moon,
In this way,
there is no chance of being reborn in a physical body.
Just as a
needle should be sharp only on one end, with a hole in the other end, so one
who cherishes his physical body must forsake the Buddha-body. One who seeks the
Buddha-body naturally remains in one's own ninth consciousness. A good
opportunity to learn and practice may come to anybody, but time waits for no
one. The later you practice, the later you succeed. Just reading the doctrine
without practice of it is like looking at a delicious Chinese dish without
eating it. Therefore, please be determined to practice the meditations given
here as soon as possible.
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[Related works: How to Transform a Human Body into a Buddha Body Part I Part II