Urgyen Chodron wrote: Namdrol wrote:
Urgyen Chodron wrote:The person who wrote the book above has no insight in Vajrayāna. He is coming from the Zen tradition. This is fine, but there it is not appropriate to apply his point of view to Vajrayāna.
The persons who wrote the book were students of the Dalai Lama and published his texts and then began reading them. Did they misinterpret them? Another person who followed the Dalai Lama, said, yes, they are sexual. But I don't believe now that all teachers follow the same form of practice that is engaged in by some lineages.
I also do not believe that you have to practice the sex in order to become enlightened as some have said here.
There are many people who are students of the Dalai Lama who are not Vajrayāna practitioners. That person is a Zen practitioner.
What tamdrin was saying is that there is a Vajrayāna tradition i.e. that our Buddha, in a past life, took a goddess named Tilottama has his partner and achieved awakening together with her through advanced completion stage practices.
You have to understand the theory. The theory is basically that ordinary, sūtrayāna meditation does not still the wind in the body sufficiently so that one can experience the most subtle level of mind which is necessary to recognize emptiness at the most subtle level. One way of accessing a more subtle mind is through the experience of bliss with a partner. The point is not the bliss itself, the point is to go beyond the bliss in a very direct, visceral way, using bliss to go beyond bliss into the union of great bliss and emptiness. This is what deities in yabyum mean i.e. using sensation of bliss to realize emptiness.
When ever you take a major anuttara yogatantra empowerment, you are symbolically introduced to this practice in the higher three empowerments. Also this kind of empowerment is very much connected with the stages of gestation of human beings and that dependent origination. So it is really not about sex per se. Even the use of sexuality in these practices has more to do with reversing dependent origination of one's conception, gestation in the womb, and so on, than anything else.
Whether or not one uses a partner depends a) whether there is a qualified partner (you cannot have just any partner) b) whether one is a lay person or not (this is an area of controversy where some, for example in the Gelug school, claim is it ok for a monk to have a partner solely for this kind of practice, there are differing opinions about this) c) and you ideally should be between 16 and 26 years old for this kind of practice anyway. I have heard it said by Lamas -- when we are this age, no one will teach us this sort of practice and by the time we learn, we are too old to practice it.
There is also another path in Vajrayana, very wide-spread in the Sakya and Gelug school, in the Vajrayogini tradition i.e. the path for those "who do not enjoy desire", equally effective for realizing mahāmudra based solely on meditation and pranāyama (breathing) exercises.
Then there is Kagyu style mahāmudra -- no need for consort practice in general, though it is present in the six yogas of Naropa.
Then there is Dzogchen. In Mahāmudra and Dzogchen use of partners is not considered essential on any level. It is mainly in Sakya and Gelug that use of partners is considered essential. Tsongkhapa himself wrote that without using a partner, complete liberation was impossible.
The great Nyingmapa master, Longchenpa, on the other hand, wrote that such practices were for people who had a lot of lust who needed something to until they got over it and that that such practices where just a diversion in reality -- not invalid, just a diversion and a possible distraction to the direct path of Dzogchen.