The tongue

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

The tongue

Postby nirmal » Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:43 pm

I've read with great interest the topics in this forum.Some very good advice has been given to newcomers to help them in their problems.It could have missed my eyes but I did not see any advice given on the position of the tongue which is also very important in meditation.It should be curled backwards to touch the roof of the mouth so that there is a complete connection.The upper set of teeth should also not touch the lower set of teeth.I practice in this way. Thoughts, views and comments please.
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Re: The tongue

Postby Inge » Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:19 pm

nirmal wrote:I've read with great interest the topics in this forum.Some very good advice has been given to newcomers to help them in their problems.It could have missed my eyes but I did not see any advice given on the position of the tongue which is also very important in meditation.It should be curled backwards to touch the roof of the mouth so that there is a complete connection.The upper set of teeth should also not touch the lower set of teeth.I practice in this way. Thoughts, views and comments please.


How far back in the mouth do you keep your tongue? I see different teachers give different instructions; from the back of the front teeths and all the way back so it is upside down.
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Re: The tongue

Postby nirmal » Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:05 pm

Hi Inge,
I always place it at the back of the front teeth. Sometimes it moves naturally all the way back.I think what is important that it has at least to touch the roof of the mouth.
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Re: The tongue

Postby Inge » Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:13 pm

nirmal wrote:Hi Inge,
I always place it at the back of the front teeth. Sometimes it moves naturally all the way back.I think what is important that it has at least to touch the roof of the mouth.


That is also how i have been instructed to keep it, but I have also read that for chan one keeps it way back, almost upside down, this is supposed to allow saliva to flow straight to the stomach without the need to swallow. Also the saliva produced when done like this in chan meditation I have read is very nutritious and healing. I have tried this a little bit, but find it to uncomfortable.
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Re: The tongue

Postby spiritnoname » Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:08 am

(nods) This instruction is to deal with saliva,...

Many people do not need to even know this instruction because their tongue naturally touches the top of their mouth. It is people who have more room in their mouth that might make use of this.. Myself I don't need this instruction. When I was at the very beginning of practice I tried curling my tongue to touch the roof of my mouth, it was painful after a while and doing so was a mistake.

Buddhist meditation is not Kechari mudra.
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Re: The tongue

Postby Huifeng » Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:26 am

nirmal wrote:I've read with great interest the topics in this forum.Some very good advice has been given to newcomers to help them in their problems.It could have missed my eyes but I did not see any advice given on the position of the tongue which is also very important in meditation.It should be curled backwards to touch the roof of the mouth so that there is a complete connection.The upper set of teeth should also not touch the lower set of teeth.I practice in this way. Thoughts, views and comments please.


I was taught, and all sources I know of, do not refer to "curled backwards", but that the tongue is up against the upper palate (roof of the mouth), with the tongue-tip just behind the top front teeth. Part of the reason is that the energy channel it connects runs down through the nose to the top jaw at the front. (Which is in front of the middle of the palate, which would be where the tongue touches if it is "curled back".)
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Re: The tongue

Postby nirmal » Sat Nov 27, 2010 7:49 am

Part of the reason is that the energy channel it connects runs down through the nose to the top jaw at the front. (Which is in front of the middle of the palate, which would be where the tongue touches if it is "curled back" :applause:

This is true Huifeng and curling the tongue could be uncomfortable in the beginning but with a little more practice, it automatically becomes part of the routine and takes its position naturally when we meditate.It also helps to keep the upper and lower set of teeth apart.If we let the upper and lower set of teeth touch, the vibrating teeth can be very distracting and annoying and the flow of energy is dispersed making it difficult for us to progress as the energy is not correctly channelled.Then again, the head has to be slightly bent forward, like making it rest on the throat. Then the upper connection is complete. It's paying attention to small details like these that makes the whole Buddhist meditation very meaningful.
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Re: The tongue

Postby Blue Garuda » Sat Nov 27, 2010 9:47 am

Inge wrote:
nirmal wrote:I've read with great interest the topics in this forum.Some very good advice has been given to newcomers to help them in their problems.It could have missed my eyes but I did not see any advice given on the position of the tongue which is also very important in meditation.It should be curled backwards to touch the roof of the mouth so that there is a complete connection.The upper set of teeth should also not touch the lower set of teeth.I practice in this way. Thoughts, views and comments please.


How far back in the mouth do you keep your tongue? I see different teachers give different instructions; from the back of the front teeths and all the way back so it is upside down.


I've been taught by a number of teachers and read quite a few sources and all agreed - tongue on top palate behind upper front teeth.

The curling right back may be a yoga exercise of some sort, the opposite of poking the tongue out as far as it will go (lion roar pose?). I've even heard of cutting the connective tissue beneath the tongue to enable extreme protrusion. For mere mortals it sound to me like curling the tongue right back risks 'swallowing' it and choking - not conducive to meditation methinks. :)
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Re: The tongue

Postby nirmal » Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:51 pm

Inge wrote:
nirmal wrote:Hi Inge,
I always place it at the back of the front teeth. Sometimes it moves naturally all the way back.I think what is important that it has at least to touch the roof of the mouth.


That is also how i have been instructed to keep it, but I have also read that for chan one keeps it way back, almost upside down, this is supposed to allow saliva to flow straight to the stomach without the need to swallow. Also the saliva produced when done like this in chan meditation I have read is very nutritious and healing. I have tried this a little bit, but find it to uncomfortable.


If only I could manage my saliva which can be a real distraction in meditation once in a while.Eating something sweet or having a cup of tea before meditation is the cause of the problem in my case.I did speak to my Vajraguru about this problem and he advised me to let it flow naturally into the stomach running along both the bottom sides of the tongue and down the throat.This method has never worked for me.Just can't stand the saliva accumulating in the mouth.Luckily this problem is only present in the early part of my meditation and stops after fifteen minutes or so. I somehow must swallow.Really fed up. :consoling: I don't know if there is any other solution to this problem.
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