Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

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Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Indrajala » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:01 pm

Vesna A. Wallace in her work The Inner Kālacakratantra A Buddhist Tantric View of the Individual states, "The generation of sexual bliss without emission of regenerative fluids is regarded in this tantra as the most direct method of generating the mental bliss that refines the mind by diminishing conceptualizations and thus makes it fit for realization of the empty nature of phenomena."

Nāgārjuna in his Letter to a Friend states the following.

"There can be no dhyāna without wisdom;
There can be no wisdom without dhyāna.
He who has both reduces the ocean of existence,
To the size of an ox's hoofprint."

In my estimation the principle is the same in both systems: the mental stamina generated through meditation allows one to realize wisdom of emptiness.

But why in Vajrayāna would tantric bliss be considered superior to the bliss of dhyāna?
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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:49 pm

Huseng wrote:
But why in Vajrayāna would tantric bliss be considered superior to the bliss of dhyāna?


The former is non-conceptual and the latter is conceptual.

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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:18 am

Namdrol wrote:
Huseng wrote:
But why in Vajrayāna would tantric bliss be considered superior to the bliss of dhyāna?


The former is non-conceptual and the latter is conceptual.

N


What is the Sanskrit term for non-conceptual in this context? Asaṃjñā? Asaṃskṛta?
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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:55 am

Huseng wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Huseng wrote:
But why in Vajrayāna would tantric bliss be considered superior to the bliss of dhyāna?


The former is non-conceptual and the latter is conceptual.

N


What is the Sanskrit term for non-conceptual in this context? Asaṃjñā? Asaṃskṛta?


Nirvikalpana
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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:20 am

Namdrol wrote:Nirvikalpana



In what way is the realization of emptiness made superior through nirvikalpana as opposed to dhyāna? Is it faster, deeper, more likely?

As Nāgārjuna explained the realization of ultimate truth is based on the foundation of conventional truth. I'm trying to understand why a non-conceptual samadhi would be better suited to realizing emptiness than conventional dhyāna.
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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:57 am

Huseng wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Nirvikalpana



In what way is the realization of emptiness made superior through nirvikalpana as opposed to dhyāna? Is it faster, deeper, more likely?

As Nāgārjuna explained the realization of ultimate truth is based on the foundation of conventional truth. I'm trying to understand why a non-conceptual samadhi would be better suited to realizing emptiness than conventional dhyāna.


Because the experience of non-conceptuality more closely resembles the experience of emptiness. In other words, in sutra there are no methods for approximating the experience of realizing emptiness. In tantra there are many.

Plus, you have to understand, that this experience is what is introduced during empowerment, and further, since the channels have been purified, the movements of winds are more subtle; and hence the mind is more subtle; hence the emptiness realization is more profound and more rapid.

We are not asserting that the ordinary bliss of an average couple's intercourse could ever lead to the realization of emptiness more rapidly than dhyana. However, when connected with the method, it does.

This does not contradict Nāgārjunas intent, since the experience of non-conceptuality is relative, and that relative experience is being used to point towards the ultimate.

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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:46 am

Thank you for taking the time to answer my many questions, Namdrol.

Namdrol wrote:Plus, you have to understand, that this experience is what is introduced during empowerment, and further, since the channels have been purified, the movements of winds are more subtle; and hence the mind is more subtle; hence the emptiness realization is more profound and more rapid.


Is this why Buddhahood is said to be immediately possible in a lifetime in tantra? By virtue of the emptiness realization being more profound and rapid than in sūtra? How does the accumulation of merit factor into this? Tantric methods produce more merit?

We are not asserting that the ordinary bliss of an average couple's intercourse could ever lead to the realization of emptiness more rapidly than dhyana. However, when connected with the method, it does.


Monastics are prohibited from sexual intercourse, but is the visualization of the activity equally as efficacious as the physical act? I understand Je Tsong Khapa decided to forego the act of coupling out of concern for disciples and achieved his liberation in bardo.


This does not contradict Nāgārjunas intent, since the experience of non-conceptuality is relative, and that relative experience is being used to point towards the ultimate.


Is the amount of merit a practitioner has from past lives taken into account when it is said that Buddhahood is possible in one life using tantric methods? For example, a practitioner who has been exposed to and has practised the Buddhadharma for three kalpas in their present life would be in a position to achieve Buddhahood, skipping over the ten Bodhisattva bhumis, as opposed to an individual who has only had exposure to Buddhadharma for a few lifetimes?
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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:54 am

Hmmm

Feel free to advise me this is off topic and I will delete content. It appears related to me, but I am biased, and uneducated.

A self stimulation can occur through the useage of conceptual formation. A average sex act involves the same.
I would assume the use of a consort would embody the conceptual formation of reference enableing the use of the act without the concept formation.
Essentially the consort serves as the concept in action. The object of a sort which is as such concept the aware thing.
Whereas the aware thing established then thusly assumes its identity the perceiver as the empty thing.

So....we then have the unity of awareness in act with us the perceiver as the empty aspect realized.

SEx without concept is what it would amount to.
The feeling of consequence then being solely percived as empty aspect, a result of the union of empty and aware which is as things really are as opposed to thought of....

so it seems that is what it would approximate. As a matter of speculation..I have never engaged this thing nor intend to.
Bliss it would seem in this eventuality a understanding of things as they really are in this particular aspect. Emptiness realized so to speak..

I would speculate it would require a highly evolved spiritual practice for one to engage such a thing with only exterior concept considered as such..if that is what this thing is, with consort. Concort representing concept which represents or becomes aware aspect, joined with empty concept which becomes empty aspect producing in such union.....directly perceived bliss of emptiness.

Or is this wrong? Leaving aside the necessary adjunts to this, prepratory practices and work with the channels to enable the direct seeing.
I have never considered this, so I ask.

If my thinking on this was correct...a consort a physical concort would be a absolute requirement for completion of the tantric act.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Tenzin1 » Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:29 am

ronnewmexico wrote:If my thinking on this was correct...a consort a physical concort would be a absolute requirement for completion of the tantric act.

HHDL says a physical consort is required for reaching enlightenment. But there are other ways of raising the Kundalini/Inner Fire. Gopi Krishna (unintentionally) brought up the Kundalini, eventually achieving enlightenment, simply via dedicated meditation practice.
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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:36 am

I don't know tenzin..but I'd suspect a physical consort is absolutely necessary for the realization of that tantric practice which performed correctly would bring a great spiritual advancement I suppose, but would personally fall short of saying that is the only or one way,

Just a personal opinion so feel free to take it with a grain of salt. A effective utilization of the tools that lie before us as I see it but other tools may be found.

Sometimes what HHDL says is not what he writes, so I often check to see what is specifically officiallly written to determine his specific intent.
He is quite complex and seemingly is his way of communication benefiting a complex person. The most complex perhaps.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Jnana » Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:52 pm

Huseng wrote:Is this why Buddhahood is said to be immediately possible in a lifetime in tantra?

The notion of the bodhisattvayāna was developed based on the hagiographies of the Buddha, including the many past-life narratives of the bodhisattva. Therefore, the authors of the majority of the Mahāyāna sūtras never even considered the possibility of completing the entire bodhisattvayāna in one lifetime. This idea of completing the entire path in one lifetime is a much later development.

Huseng wrote:I'm trying to understand why a non-conceptual samadhi would be better suited to realizing emptiness than conventional dhyāna.

Nirvikalpa samādhi is central to the Mahāyāna path as well.

Huseng wrote:But why in Vajrayāna would tantric bliss be considered superior to the bliss of dhyāna?

Just another boring example of self-confirming supersessionist dogma.

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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Astus » Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:43 pm

Vitarka and vicāra don't exist in the 2nd dhyāna already, how could then it be called conceptual? Nirvikalpa-jñāna also exists in common Mahayana.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Enochian » Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:44 pm

Which is higher?

Clear Light of Sleep OR the fourth Jhana where the divya caksus is accessed?
There is an ever-present freedom from grasping the mind.

Mind being defined as the thing always on the Three Times.
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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:52 pm

Jnana wrote:
Huseng wrote:Is this why Buddhahood is said to be immediately possible in a lifetime in tantra?

The notion of the bodhisattvayāna was developed based on the hagiographies of the Buddha, including the many past-life narratives of the bodhisattva. Therefore, the authors of the majority of the Mahāyāna sūtras never even considered the possibility of completing the entire bodhisattvayāna in one lifetime. This idea of completing the entire path in one lifetime is a much later development.


Indeed, I'm aware of this.

What I'm interested in is the mechanics behind such a soteriological leap from saṃsāra, over the bodhisattva stages and into buddhahood.

It intrigues me especially because I personally know trustworthy people who swear by the efficacy of tantra and the rapid results it promises. This isn't to say that they're advanced themselves. It is their testimonies about advanced living masters they know which is intriguing.

I'm starting to seriously examine the literature of tantra after spending several years grounding myself in sūtra, abhidharma and Mahāyāna śāstras. I've had exposure to it before, but found I could not wrap my mind around it or appreciate it. Now I'm re-examining the material and thinking that it might very well be an advanced form of practice as it claims.




Huseng wrote:I'm trying to understand why a non-conceptual samadhi would be better suited to realizing emptiness than conventional dhyāna.

Nirvikalpa samādhi is central to the Mahāyāna path as well.


The claim, though, that I'm trying to understand is that the nirvikalpa samādhi achieved in tantra is superior to the one achieved through conventional dhyāna.


Just another boring example of self-confirming supersessionist dogma.


The Kālacakra literature attacks both externalist and other Buddhist ideas. If their arguments are sound, then they're sound. I'm not taking a position one way or another, but if it is possible that some methods are superior to others in attaining liberation and buddhahood, then I feel I should consider this.
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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Jul 12, 2011 5:34 pm

To engage in this particular practice one must as I have actually seen in writing by HHDL have already accomplished one flavor.
So one is already fairly well accomplished in things of the spiritual. The particular claims on this issue by my take...nonsense in these corrupted times. Particularly in regards to the unusual perspective on sex found in modern culture such a practice to my opinion is doomed to failure. And no...this cannot normally be performed without consort so a monk in the tradition this is found cannot commonly perform it. WE cannot seperate the tantra from the context of its performance. Tantric accomplishment through sex...mostly a pipedream to my opinion. Another corruption that is pervasive everywhere in every manner shape and form.

On the other hand I can very well see the application of tantra that may use means before us as opportunity such as death and tantra related to death as efficient expedious means for purpose. Death is never very far away at all, and I expect in other traditions it may be utilzed but not directly.So if I had my druthers I would advocate for tantra of death as means. And to what negative effect to direct one study in one way and another in another as preparation for death as addition..I see no negative eventuality. That would be simply entering a thing prepared which is always a good thing to do.

That is but one example but others may have other preference. If I were to combine two traditions I would advocate it in that manner.
But I am a layperson with little understanding so feel free to disregard.

For me...there is a great problem. There is determination and forebearence which we must have to attempt enlightenment within this lifetime, which we must certainly have. On the other hand there is identificaton with this lifetime and the subtle influcence of self which persists and may incline me to think...enlightenment must occur in this lifetime..which is a egoism.....so it is a fine line to be drawn between the two.

In that light...death as means makes most sense, for me. And what progress I can make in these corrupted times. And why should I not study and utilize what is out there....why not, I have no fear. As life is as death....suchly I advocate.... :smile:
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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Astus » Tue Jul 12, 2011 5:50 pm

Huseng wrote:The claim, though, that I'm trying to understand is that the nirvikalpa samādhi achieved in tantra is superior to the one achieved through conventional dhyāna.


If it is non-conceptual (nirvikalpa), how could it be in any form higher or lower? They agree in Vajrayana that the emptiness of Madhyamaka and Tantra are not different, the paths/methods are distinct however.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Jnana » Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:46 pm

Huseng wrote:What I'm interested in is the mechanics behind such a soteriological leap from saṃsāra, over the bodhisattva stages and into buddhahood.

Well, this was a controversial issue at various times both in India and Tibet. Conservatives and moderates also played a significant role in the history of Tibetan Buddhism. This shouldn't be overlooked or marginalized.

Huseng wrote:I personally know trustworthy people who swear by the efficacy of tantra and the rapid results it promises. This isn't to say that they're advanced themselves. It is their testimonies about advanced living masters they know which is intriguing.

Sure. As do I.

Huseng wrote:I'm starting to seriously examine the literature of tantra after spending several years grounding myself in sūtra, abhidharma and Mahāyāna śāstras. I've had exposure to it before, but found I could not wrap my mind around it or appreciate it. Now I'm re-examining the material and thinking that it might very well be an advanced form of practice as it claims.

Vajrayāna is indeed quite exceptional. But Vajrayāna encompasses much more than sexual union yoga, even within the path of method. For example, Thrangu Rinpoche's commentary on Tilopa's Ganges Mahamudra:

    The next stanza describes another method that can be used to enhance the practice of mahamudra. And this is for someone who has a stable practice but is not able to achieve the intense wisdom of mahamudra. The text says, If you rely upon karmamudra, the wisdom of bliss and emptiness will arise. Enter into union having consecrated the upaya or method and the prajna or knowledge. Slowly let it fall or send it down, coil it, turn it back, and lead it to its proper place. Finally spread it or cause it to pervade your whole body. If there is no attachment or craving, the wisdom of bliss and emptiness will appear. [Lines 109-113]

    This is a supplementary technique that is used in order to enhance or intensify the wisdom of mahamudra. This technique, which is called karmamudra or the action seal, has two styles or varieties of practice. And they are called the upper door or upper gate and the lower door or lower gate. The lower door or lower gate is very dangerous, so very few people actually practice this. There are a few great yogis and yoginis who do it, but most do not. [Editor’s note: Karmamudra using the lower gate refers to the actual use of sexual union as a path to enlightenment.]

    What is more commonly practiced in this connection is the upper gate or upper door style of karmamudra practice, which is the practice of chandali [Sanskrit] or tummo [Tibetan] as found for example in the Six Dharmas of Naropa. Essentially, what this technique involves is using the preexisting channels, winds, and drops within your physical body to produce or to allow to arise the wisdom of bliss and emptiness. The special benefit of this is that in the fundamental or central mahamudra practice, the wisdom of mahamudra is the unity of cognitive lucidity and emptiness. Here that same wisdom arises, because of the difference in technique, in a slightly different way. Instead of being primarily lucidity and emptiness, it is primarily bliss and emptiness, because of the physical technique. Essentially what occurs is that physical bliss arises in your body, and then, looking at the nature of that, which is emptiness, you experience or realize the unity of bliss and emptiness. In more detail, through the correct application of the preexisting channels, winds, and drops within your physical body, you generate a special type of warmth or heat. And that warmth or heat produces a sensation and an affect of bliss. This bliss becomes the environment or basis for the realization or experience of emptiness. The technique involves visualizations such as of bodhicitta dripping down from the HAM syllable visualized in the top of the head and the chandali blazing up from the AH stroke visualized below the navel. That is what is described in the text when it says bring it down, coil it, stop it, send it back up, and so on. The details of all of this, how to actually do it, are normally taught in long retreat sessions like the three-year retreat, and so on.

    What is of utmost importance in either form of karmamudra—either the upper gate, or the lower gate version of this practice—is that there be no craving for the bliss, that there be no attachment to it. The purpose, of course, is to use the bliss as a basis for the realization of emptiness. So if there is no attachment to the bliss, then you will see the emptiness of it, and as the text says, the wisdom of bliss and emptiness will arise.

Huseng wrote:The Kālacakra literature attacks both externalist and other Buddhist ideas. If their arguments are sound, then they're sound. I'm not taking a position one way or another, but if it is possible that some methods are superior to others in attaining liberation and buddhahood, then I feel I should consider this.

I agree. This is prudent.

All the best,

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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Jnana » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:38 pm

Astus wrote:Vitarka and vicāra don't exist in the 2nd dhyāna already, how could then it be called conceptual?

According to the Gelug lamrim system the attainment of an actual śamatha is the only meditative stabilization necessary prior to realizing a non-conceptual direct perception of emptiness. For them, this actual śamatha can be the the sufficient proximate meditation (anāgamya sāmantaka) below the first dhyāna.

Other non-Gelugpa authors such as Pawo Tsugla Trengwa and Dagpo Tashi Namgyal have maintained that the ninth mental abiding -- setting in equipoise (samādhāna) -- is a sufficient śamatha for engaging in actual vipaśyanā.

Astus wrote:Nirvikalpa-jñāna also exists in common Mahayana.

Indeed.

All the best,

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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:18 pm

Huseng wrote:Thank you for taking the time to answer my many questions, Namdrol.

Namdrol wrote:Plus, you have to understand, that this experience is what is introduced during empowerment, and further, since the channels have been purified, the movements of winds are more subtle; and hence the mind is more subtle; hence the emptiness realization is more profound and more rapid.


Is this why Buddhahood is said to be immediately possible in a lifetime in tantra? By virtue of the emptiness realization being more profound and rapid than in sūtra? How does the accumulation of merit factor into this? Tantric methods produce more merit?


Tantric methods produce more merit, more rapidly using special methods such as mandala offerings. Typically, the merit and wisdom accumulation sections of any anuttarayoga tantra sadhana are theoretically capable of producing the equivalent of three incalculable eons worth of the two accumulations in a single session. Your individual milage may vary.

Monastics are prohibited from sexual intercourse, but is the visualization of the activity equally as efficacious as the physical act? I understand Je Tsong Khapa decided to forego the act of coupling out of concern for disciples and achieved his liberation in bardo.


There is very little agreement on this issue among Tibetan lineages. There is also considerable disagreement about this issue in Indian sources. So this is a difficult point. Some masters assert that a monastic may use a consort having achieved the path of seeing. Other masters assert that it is fine for them to use a consort upon attaining patience on the path of application.

However, auto-erotic techniques may also be applied in absence of a consort. This is the usual mode of practice for single practitioners and monastics. For example, Vajraghantapada (a bhikṣu) asserts, in connection with the practice of Cakrasamvara, that while sexual misconduct is not a practice recommended in the tantras (because you must protect the bodies of others, etc.), non-celibate conduct (abrahmacarya) is.

Jeff's (Jnana) posts on this subject exhibit a specifically Gampopa/Kagyu POV on this issue.

In general, the Sakya school and Nyingma schools place much more importance on erotic practices than do the Kagyus. However, in the Nyingma school they are not generally considered indispensable for awakening in this lifetime. In most of the Tantric lineages within Sakya, they are considered indispensable for awakening in this lifetime. The exception to this would be the oral instructions of Naropa's Khechari -- where a type of pranāyāma practice is said to result in a state of bliss equivalent to the bliss of sexual congress and therefore obviates the need for a consort (also partially accounting, I feel, for the reason the Naropa Khechari instructions have attained the popularity they have). Thus, there can be differences between specific oral instruction lineages as well. This is why the instruction of a properly qualified guru is key on this point -- since there are so many lineages, and differences in practices even of the same deity in different instruction lineages.

The Kagyus and Gelugs have skeptical attitudes towards erotic practice grounded in Kadampa opinions. However, of the latter two, the Gelugs also generally maintain that erotic practices are indispensable for awakening in this lifetime.


Is the amount of merit a practitioner has from past lives taken into account when it is said that Buddhahood is possible in one life using tantric methods?


No. The statement that someone could achieve complete buddhahood in one lifetime through Vajrayāna methods refers to a beginner on the Mahāyāna path.
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Re: Tantric sexual bliss vs. dhyanic bliss

Postby Malcolm » Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:19 pm

Astus wrote:Vitarka and vicāra don't exist in the 2nd dhyāna already, how could then it be called conceptual? Nirvikalpa-jñāna also exists in common Mahayana.



Because it's one pointedness is a mental concept.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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