“All highest yoga tantras, with different degrees of emphasis, teach that reliance on the method of union with a qualified consort is an indispensable step in the path to realization.”
The Treasury of Knowledge
Book Six, Part Four:
Systems of Buddhist Tantra
Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Taye
Trans. Elio Guarisco and Ingrid McLeod
What does union mean? Can a realized yogi – ordained or not – call the mind of his or her consort (human or non-human), through mantra and visualization, and enter into union? Does the human consort have to be there in physical form? I think ordained pratitioners do enter into and practice union with human consorts, but I don’t think that the human being is physically present, and the experience of union arises according to his or her realization – maybe they see the Lama as the Deity, or maybe they develop the same attachment that would arise in a purely physical relationship. I think that is what is meant by “qualified consort” – someone who isn’t lost in ordinary attachment. I think mind-consorts are both human and non-human and most of the Mahasiddha activity was mind activity. In Tibetan and Indian cultures, I think they see and experience each others mind. I mean their visualizations are a shared experience.
I don’t know if I wrote that very well, but I think we get stuck on one view of union practice, and it may not always be experienced that way by all cultures.
It is said that you can tell whether someone has just eaten by how red his face is. Similarly, you can tell whether people know and practice the Dharma by whether it works as a remedy for their negative emotions and ego-clinging. --Jetsun Mila
The hungry are not satisfied by hearing about food; what they need is to eat. In the same way, just to know about Dharma is useless; it has to be practiced. --Jetsun Mila