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A Comparison of the Kalachakra and Guhyasamaja Stages of Completion

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1 Systems of Highest Yoga Tantra

The Tantric College of Lower Hla-sa teaches eight great tantric systems of instruction for the stage of completion: Nagarjuna^ system of Guhyasamaja^ JnanapadaJs system of Guhyasamaja^ Luhipada^ system of Chakrasamvara^ Ghantapada5s system of Chakrasamvara^ the system of Kalachakra, the system of the three Yamaris^ the system of Mahachakra, and the Six Yogas of Naropa.203

With the exception of Kdlachakra^ all of these systems explain similarly the process of achieving complete enlightenment.204 They say that first one

practices the stage of generation and makes it stable (as in the Guhyasamaja subtle stage of generation, wherein at the perfection of visualization the entire mandala can be vividly seen in a subtle drop). Then one gains serviceability of the winds and drops through various techniques (such as wind yoga or

heat yoga);205 as a result, winds enter the central channel, bringing about the manifestation of the four empties — the minds of white appearance, red increase, black nearattainment, and clear light. Completing the process of wind-gathering, one rises in an illusory body, subsequently experiences the mind

of actual clear light, and finally attains a simultaneous union of the clear light and 118 Guhyasamdja and Kalachakra illusory body. In all of these systems, the actual clear light is the substantial cause of the Buddha's Truth Body, and the illusory body is the substantial cause of his Form Body

The exception to this scheme is the system of the Kalachakra Tantra^ which sets forth unique methods for the creation of similitudes of a Buddha's mind and body・ Whereas other tantras merely teach methods to separate the very subtle body and mind from the coarse and subtle body and mind, the practice of

Kalachakra results in the total de-materialization of the coarse body of the elements and their evolutes and the subtle body of drops and winds ・ The following sections will describe the physiology of the subtle body according to Kalachakra and delineate the differences between the Kalachakra and Guhyasamaja systems with regard to the structure of the tantric paths and the fruits of practice.207

2 Channels, Winds, and Drops

The Kalachakra system shares with the Guyhasamaja system the basic scheme of the channels and winds, with minor differences.208

1 In the Guhyasamaja system, the right and left channels run parallel to the central channel from top to bottom, but in the Kalachakra system, they cross over the central channel at the navel.209

2 In the Guhyasamaja system, in ordinary waking life the right and left channels contain wind whereas the central channel is absolutely empty. However, according to the Kalachakra system, all three channels contain various substances. In the upper part of the body, the right channel contains

blood, the left channel contains semen, and the central channel contains wind. In the lower part of the body, the right channel (now on the left due to having crossed-over at the navel) contains feces, the left channel (now on the right) contains urine, and the central channel contains semen.

3 Some of the channel-wheels have a different number of petals, or spokes: in the Guhyasamaja system, the crown has thirty-two, the forehead has none, and the throat has sixteen, whereas in the Kalachakra system the crown hasfour, the forehead has sixteen, and the throat has thirty-two.

4 In Kalachakra there are said tobe ten winds instead of the five presented in Guhyasamaja

When compared to the other great tantric systems, the most remarkable aspect of the Kalachakra scheme is that winds are already moving in the central channel prior to the beginning of tantric practice and before death. It is also remarkable that the lower portion of the central channel is said to contain

semen. (In the Guhyasamaja system, where the central channel is empty from top to bottom, the pleasure of orgasm is explained by the fact that semen passes near the central channel; that is why the presence of the red and white drops in the central channel causes a bliss a hundred times greater than that of orgasm.)

The Kalachakra system also differs greatly from the Guhyasamaja system with regard to the types of drops (see chart 12). As in the Guhyasamaja system, there are material red and white drops, but the Kalachakra system adds four other types of drops (made from the red and white drops) that normally abide in seven separate locations in the body ・ The four drops are:

(1) body drops, located at the crown and navel, which bear the karmic predispositions involved in wakefulness;

(2) speech drops, located at the throat and secret place, which bear the karmic predispositions involved in dreaming;

(3) mind drops, located at the heart and center of the sexual organ, which bear the karmic predispositions involved in deep sleep; and

(4) exalted wisdom drops, located at the navel and tip of the sexual organ, which bear the karmic predispositions involved in absorption (sexual pleasure).

All four types of drops are the size of mustard seeds and are a mixture of red and white drops ・ The very subtle wind and mind abides in all of them (rather than in an indestructible drop, which is never mentioned), and hence, these drops are the basis for the infusion of karmic predispositions.211 That being the case, the four drops contain all the obstructions that are to be removed,

The collection of winds at the locations of these drops activates the predispositions infused in them. In wakefulness, many winds gather at the crown of the head and at the navel; in dreaming, many winds gather at the throat and secret place; in deep sleep, many winds gather at the heart and center of the sexual organ; and in sexual union, many winds gather at at the navel and tip of the sexual organ. Due to the activation of karmic predispositions that are

located at those places, various pure and impure objects are produced. When one is awake, either pure appearances (such as the body of a deity) or impure appearances are produced; when one is dreaming, either pure "mere sound (such as mantra) or impure 仏mistaken speech*5 are produced; when one is in a

dreamless sleep, either pure non-conceptuality (the direct realization of emptiness) or impure unclarity are produced; and when one is in sexual union, either pure bliss (a great bliss consciousness that realizes emptiness) or impure emission of semen are produced. Ordinary persons experience only impure

objects, for they are as yet unable to activate the karmic predispositions for the production of pure objects. The goal of the path is to purify the drops such that only the pure objectspure appearances, mere sound, non-conceptuality, and bliss — remain, whereas the impure objects — impure appearances, mistaken speech, unclarity, and emission of semen — are precluded・ On the path, potencies with the body drops are

purified into the "empty forms55 (deity bodies devoid of materiality) that will ripen as the Buddha's body, potencies with the speech drops are purified into the mantra sounds that will ripen as the Buddha's speech, and potencies with the mind drops and exalted wisdom drops are purified respectively into

the non-conceptual realization of emptiness and the great bliss realizing emptiness that will ripen as the Buddha's mind. In terms of the three bodies of the Buddha, potencies with the body drops become the Emanation Body, potencies with

the speech drops become the Complete Enjoyment Body, and potencies with the mind and exalted wisdom drops together become the Truth Body. In contrast, the Guhyasamaja system does not posit body, speech, mind, and exalted wisdom drops, does not say that drops are bases for the infusion of karmic predispositions, and does not have practices aimed at the purification of drops.

12. Drops in the Kalachakra System

Type of Drop Basic Location Predispositions Ordinary Product Purified Product Buddha Body

Body Crown & Waking Impure Pure Emanation Drop Navel Appear- Appear- Body ances ances (Empty Forms) Speech Throat & Dream- Mistaken Mere Sound Complete Drop Secret ing Speech (Mantra Enjoyment Place Sounds) Body Mind Heart & Deep Unclarity Non-con- Truth Body Drop Center of Sleep ceptuality Sexual (Direct Organ Realization of Emptiness) Exalted Navel & Sexual Emission Bliss (Great Truth Body Wisdom Tip of Union of Semen Bliss Drop Sexual Realizing Organ Emptiness)

3 Levels of the Kalachakra Stage of Completion

As in the Guhyasamaja system, the Kalachakra system213 seeks to establish the causes for Buddhahood by the generation of a consciousness in which bliss and emptiness are undifferentiably united・ In Kalachakra^, the undifferenti-able union of bliss and emptiness refers to supreme immutable bliss and empty

form bodies, that is, bodies of the male and female deities which, though they appear as bodies, are devoid of materiality. Still, because both the appearance of empty form bodies in Kalachakra and the appearance of oneself as a deity in Guhyasamaja are appearances in form of the wisdom that realizes

emptiness, and because the "iii・ nate,J bliss of Guhyasamaja is not inferior to the fi'immutable5 J bliss Kalachakra^14 the two systems are not essentially different in their presentation of the union of bliss and realization of emptiness.

The six levels of the Kalachakra stage of completion have the same names as the Guhyasamaja system's six types of practice according to technique, namely: individual withdrawal, concentration, vitality-stopping, retention, subsequent mindfulness, and meditative stabilization. Despite this, there is little resemblance between the two tantric systems with regard to the actual activities of similarly-named levels.

13. Yogas of Levels of Kalachakra

Level Yoga Result

Meditative Retention with Great Dematerialization of Stabilization Seal of Empty Form Old Body and Production of Empty Form Bodies Subsequent Retention with Great Drops Melt and Flow Mindfulness Seal of Empty Form Retention Holding Winds by Vajra Fierce Woman Repetition and Generated Pot-Shaped Yoga Vitality-Stopping Vajra Repetition and Winds from Right and Pot-Shaped Yoga Left Channels Enter Central Channel Concentration Concentration on Drop Eleven Day and Night at Upper Opening of Signs Become Stable Central Channel Individual Concentration on Drop Winds Withdraw from Withdrawal at Upper Opening of Outside and Eleven Central Channel Day and Night Signs Dawn (read from bottom up)

Individual Withdrawal

Individual withdrawal, the initial level of the Kalachakra stage of completion, is used to collect the winds back from the "doors" of the senses by means of meditative focusing on a drop. This meditation is to be done in complete darkness (it being difficult to restrain the flow of winds through the eye

sense-power when there is bright light ); thus, in preparation, one has to construct a light-proof cabin in which to conduct one's meditation. The meditation itself is begun at night. Before beginning the meditation session. Levels of the Stage of Completion 125

one binds one's limbs with cloth or rope・ Then one rolls one's eyes upwards (closing them halfway), and holds one5s observation on the upper opening of the central channel (between the eyebrows), where there is an empty space・ What one begins to see there is a tiny blue drop; it contains the predispositions that produce the waking state,216

As one gains facility in this meditation, a series of eleven objects appear to the mind, called "night signs" and "day signs55.217 The four night signs are

(1) an appearance like smoke,

(2) a shimmering appearance like that of a mirage,

(3) an appearance like the specks of light given off by fireflies, and

(4) an appearance like the sputtering light of a nearly-depleted butter lamp.

These four signs are the same mental images that appear to the mind at the time of death during the dissolution of the four elementsearth, water, fire, and wind — of the body, except that the first two signs are reversed in the

After the night signs dawn, the six day signs arise. They are: the planet kalagni (which is like the sun, or destructive fire, at the end of a great aeon), the sun, the moon, the planet rahu (an eclipse), lightning, and the blue drop itself. The eleventh sign is neither a night or day sign; it is the

appearance, in the center of the blue drop, of the outline of Kalachakra and his consort, Vishvamata, in sexual union. This last sign is a precursor of empty forms (forms devoid of materiality) that, on the fifth level — the level of subsequent mindfulness — will appear in reality

The eleven signs that dawn in the yoga of individual withdrawal are not those that precede the dawning of the four empties, although they are very similar to the signs accompanying the dissolutions of the elements and winds preceding death or on the stage of completion of Guhyasa-nidja. They are not signs of the four empties because they are not generated due to the dissolution of winds in the central channel; rather, at the time of individual withdrawal when these signs arise, the winds are merely stopped from going outside from the doors of the senses and have not yet been drawn inside.


Concentration is the continuation of the yoga of individual withdrawal (the penetrative focusing on the upper opening of the central channel). It is performed in order to stabilize the eleven night and day signs that arose earlier. When the signs become clear and steady, it indicates that the central channel has been purified, and winds from the right and left channels naturally begin to enter it.220

The first two levels of the Kalachakra stage of completion merely prepare the central channel for the entry of winds, whereas the two like-named levels in the Guhyasamaja system actually cause winds to enter the central channel ・ Vitality~S topping

Vitality-stopping (pranayama) has two phases, (1) vajra repetition, the observation of the 翼tones” of the breath, and (2) a yoga called upot-possessingn which puts together the vitalizing and pervasive winds in the central channel. The pot-possessing yoga is the vivid visualization that the winds from the lower part of the body are held in a pot-like configuration below the navel.222 These practices cause the winds from the right and left channels to flow into the central channel.


Retention is the holding of the winds inside the central channel. One does this by holding the breath, without exhalation or inhalation, after the winds have been gathered in the central channel by means of vitality-stopping・ This causes the Fierce Woman to be generated.

Subsequent Mindfulness

Subsequent Mindfulness involves the use of either an imagined or actual seal (consort) to make the Fierce Woman blaze up, melting the white drop at the top of the head. Also, one performs deeds of any of the three types — elaborative, non-elaborative, or very non-elaborative —

Levels of the Stage of Completion 127 with this seal in order to increase the constituent and keep it from spreading out at the channel wheels.223 The white drop flows down to the tip of the sexual organ, generating 6'innate immutable bliss;55 it is not emitted, for one has gained control over the winds

that ordinarily would cause emission. This drop is the first of 21,600 white drops that descend and pile up in the central channel, forming a white column while 21,600 red drops rise one at a time to the top of the head and pile downwards, forming a parallel red column.225

As this process unfolds, one begins to experience the appearances of actual empty form deities; that is, one oneself appears as a deity devoid of materiality. (These appearances, however, are not fully qualified until the end of the next level, meditative stabilization; they gradually become manifest as the drops pile up.226) That is because, as each drop piles up or down without any emission, one portion of the material (form) aggregate and karmic winds are consumed and one c'immutable bliss" is experienced. The materiality of the entire body gradually diminishes because each of the 21,600 portions

of the form aggregate pervades the whole body.227 The ordinary body does not actually become an empty form body; rather, it is explained that just as in alchemy, where iron is not transmuted into gold but rather disappears in the presence of the alchemical substance, allowing gold to appear^, the ordinary body is dematerialized so that an empty form body can appear.228

Meditative Stabilization

Meditative stabilization is the continuation of subsequent mindfulness, with perhaps one difference. During subsequent mindfulness, it is said to be sufficient to use any of the three seals (the imaginary Wisdom Seal, actual Action Seal, or Great Seal of Empty Form). Meditative stabilization specifically involves the use of a Great Seal of Empty Form, which is needed to accomplish the complete consumption of the material aggregates.

The perfection of this practice is sufficient to bring about Buddhahood. Gradually, the white and red drops are built up and down, the material aggregates are consumed, the karmic winds are consumed, and one is suffused with supreme immutable bliss・(The drops, it should be noted, also lose their materiality

as they pile up and down.) This bliss serves to vastly empower the wisdom consciousness that realizes emptiness, making it possible to quickly overcome the obstructions to liberation and the obstructions to omniscience. At the end of this level, one has completely abandoned all obstructions to Buddhahood and is endowed with both a Buddha's mirror-like wisdom and his body of empty form, which is said to be Tike a rainbow

Achievement of a Buddha's Body, Speech, and Mind

Levels of Stage of Completion Function Aspect of Buddhahood Achieved Meditative Entity of Immutable Bliss Vajra Mind Stabilization Subsequent Proximate Cause of Immutable Vajra Mind Mindfulness Bliss Retention Making Winds Remain in Vajra Speech

Central Channel, Igniting

Fierce Woman Vitality- Control of Winds that are Root Vajra Speech Stopping of Speech (causing winds of

right and left channels to enter

central channel) Concentration Make Empty Forms Vajra Body

Stable/Purify Central Channel Individual Achieve Empty Forms/Purify Vajra Body Withdrawal Central Channel (read from bottom to top)

3 Summary of Differences with Respect to Practice

It is now evident that in several respects there are considerable differences between the Guhyasamaja and Kalachakra systems of the stage of completion.

(1) With respect to the stages of the path, the first level of the Guhyasamaja stage of completion — physical isolation —would not occur in the Kalachakra system until the level of vitality-stopping, because it is not until then that winds actually enter the central channel ・ The first two levels of Kalachakra practice would not even be included in the Guhyasamaja stage of completion, but would be consigned to the stage of generation. Also, heat yoga (the generation of the Fierce Woman) does not begin in the Kalachakra system until the fourth level — retention — whereas in the Guhyasamaja system, the

Fierce Woman is generated at the first level — physical isolation — and at every subsequent level of the path・ Furthermore, in the Guhyasamaja system, it is necessary to cause all of the winds to dissolve in the indestructible drop at the heart in the central channel, and for that, it is necessary to generate the Fierce Woman, inner heat, by way of sexual union with an Action Seal. However, in the Kalachakra system, the winds are not said to dissolve into the indestructible drop.

The absence of the Fierce Woman until the fourth level of the Kalachakra stage of completion presumably means that there is no experience of the four joys of ascent and descent of the white and red drops until the fifth stage (although, in fact, the four joys are never mentioned; only “supreme immutable bliss is mentioned as the aspect of bliss).

(2) There are ten signs of the dissolution of the coarse into the subtle instead of the eight posited by the Guhyasamaja system, and the order of the first two signs, the appearance of smoke and mirage, is reversed.

(3) The Kalachakra system requires the use of a different type of seal — the Great Seal of Empty Form — because it is said that otherwise the drops would not be able to pile up without spreading out at the channel-wheels.

(4) The effect of the piling up of drops is to de-materialize the body, which means that there is no way that the old body could be used as an emanation body as in the Guhyasamaja system・(However, if one wished, one could emanate a body like the old one.)

(5) From the point of view of the Guhyasamaja system, there would be no way to achieve enlightenment in place of the intermediate state in the Kalachakra system because there is no metaphoric clear light or illusory body. According to Guhyasamaja^ the attainment of the metaphoric clear light is a

necessary precondition for attaining enlightenment in the intermediate state; also, if one were to be enlightened in the intermediate state, it would be in an illusory body which takes the place of an intermediate state body. However, the Kalachakra system speaks of dematerialization of the form aggregate

rather than the manifestation of an illusory body・ Since Kalachakra practice aims at the dematerialization of the coarse and subtle body in order to destroy the karmic seeds and predispositions preventing liberation and omniscience, it must occur in a coarse body, not in a subtle body such as an intermediate state body.229

This means that one could not attempt to become enlightened in the intermediate state as one was dying, contrary to other systems both of tantra and sutra.230

(6) In the Kalachakra system, unlike the Guhyasamaja system, one can generate an empty form — an appearance of the fundamental mind — without actualizing the fundamental mind itself.

(7) Finally, whereas in Guhyasamaja the fundamental wind is the substantial cause of the pure illusory body, in Kalachakra there is no mention of any substantial cause of the empty form body.231

4 The Five Paths and Ten Grounds

The paths leading to enlightenment in the sutra system are five: accumulation, preparation, seeing, meditation, and no more learning. A practitioner of the Great Vehicle reaches the path of accumulation upon making a firm determination to attain highest enlightenment with the altruistic motivation of being the

greatest source of help to others. The path of preparation is attained through conceptual realization of emptiness by a consciousness that is a union of special insight and calm abiding. The path of seeing and the first bodhisattva ground is reached by the direct realization of emptiness. Subsequently, the

realization of emptiness is deepened and enhanced by meditation and the practice of the perfections on the path of meditation (which is composed of the remaining nine bodhisattva grounds), culminating in Buddhahood, the path of no more learning.

When the Guhyasamaja and Kalachakra stages of completion are correlated to the five paths and ten grounds, it is clear that the breakdown of Kalachakra levels is weighted more to the paths of accumulation and preparation than is the system of Guhyasamaja. Five of the six Kalachakra levels are correlated to the paths of accumulation and preparation, whereas only the first three Guhyasamaja levels —

The Five Paths and Ten Grounds 133 physical, verbal, and mental isolation — are equivalent to those sutra paths

In the Guhyasamaja stage of completion, one passes from the path of accumulation (which begins with the generation of the altruistic aspiration to enlightenment by way of the Guhyasamaja system) to the path of preparation when winds begin to enter and dissolve in the central channel; this occurs at

the very beginning of the stage of completion when the subtle stage of generation becomes the level of physical isolation of the stage of completion ・ One remains on the path of preparation through the level of impure illusory body, passing to the path of seeing at the first moment of manifesting the mind of

actual clear light. The path of meditation is coextensive with the level of learner's union. It can be divided into nine bodhisattva grounds according to the enhancement of the bliss consciousness that realizes emptiness, the increase in the number of one*s exalted qualities, and so forth. The path of no more learning, the path of a Buddha, is the non-learners imiori. In the Kalachakra system, on the other hand, the path of preparation does not begin until the first white drop reaches the tip of the sexual organ on the

fifth level, the level of subsequent mindfulness. The path of seeing (the first direct realization of emptiness) occurs when the white drops have piled up to a point halfway to the secret place, that is, at the 1,800th drop, at the beginning of the level of meditative stabilization.233 There are twelve

bodhisattva grounds in the Kalachakra system as opposed to the ten grounds in the sutra and Guhyasamaja layouts,234 and the other eleven grounds are attained in the same way: one passes from one ground to the next with the completion of each series of 1800 drops. This reflects the fact that with the

descent of each successive drop, the ignition of bliss becomes more intense, enhancing the realization of emptiness. The level of meditative stabilization develops right into Buddhahood, the path of no more learning.



Notes Index


objects (June 95 1981).

186. Scent-eaters (dri za, gandharva) are beings with very subtle bodies who can live even inside of rocks and are able to subsist by using scents for food. They inhabit cities that seem to spring up out of nowhere and disappear suddenly・ The Illumination of the Texts of Tantra compares the relationship

of the scent-eaters and their city to the relationship between the illusory body's mandalas of the support and the supported. The mandala of the support is the mandala itself, whereas the mandala of the supported is the deities arrayed within the mandala. Like a city of scent-eaters, the mandala the yogi meditates on — of which, as a deity, he is a part — seems to arise and disappear suddenly (Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Clear Light of Bliss, p. 200).

187. According to the Dalai Lama, a dream body can separate from the coarse body and go anywhere, even into deep space ("Tibetan Views on Dying” in Kindness, Clarity, and Insight, pp. 179-80)・

188. The following identifications are from Tri-Rin-bo-chay, June 113 1981.

189. In the following examples, the system of Kalachakra must be excepted, as it does not purify the intermediate state or have illusory bodies made of wind and mind (Geshe Lhundup Sopa5 uAn Excursus on the Subtle Body in Tantric Buddhism”,JIABS 6, #2? p. 56).

190. The latter correlations are from Tenzin Gyatso, Dalai Lama XIV, Kindness, Clarity, and Insight, p. 97.
191. The Illumination of the Texts of Tantra, 58.4. Clear light is discussed on 58.4-62.3.
192. Tenzin Gyatso, Dalai Lama XIV, Kindness, Clarity, and Insight, p. 17&
193. Sarat Chandra Das, A Tibetan-English Dictionary (Calcutta: Bengal Secretariat Book Depot, 1902), p. 576.
194. Tri-Rin-bo-chay5 April 3, 1981.
195. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Clear Light of Bliss, pp. 215-16.
196. Tri-Rin-bo-chay? June 12, 1981.

197. The Illumination of the Texts of Tantra, 62.3-.4. Learnes union is discussed on 62.3-64.6・

198. There is some controversy over the relationship of the mind of black near-attainment of the reverse process and the mind of clear light that precedes it. Kay-drup thinks that since

the afflictive obstructions are destroyed in the first moment of actual clear light, it would seem that the mind of clear light is an uninterrupted path of meditative equipoise and that the mind of black near-attainment that follows it is a path of release of meditative equipoise. (In meditative equipoise on

emptiness, the uninterrupted path is the portion of meditative equipoise that actually destroys obstructions — either the afflictive obstructions or the obstructions to omniscience — and the path of release is the portion of meditative equipoise that follows the destruction of those obstructions.) He thinks

that the verbal conventions of (Uninterrupted path” and “path of release5 * are applicable because both consciousnesses directly realize emptiness, though the mode of apprehension of the mind of black near-attainment is looser than that of clear light. Those who disagree with him reply that the mind of black

near-attainment, being dualistic, cannot possibly be a path of release; moreover, it is a coarser mind than the very subtle mind of clear light and thus is even a different type than it. Nga-wang-bel-den reserves his judgement, but Tri-Rin-bo-chay went along with Kay-drup, even going so far as to say that although a path of release is an exalted wisdom of meditative equipoise, it is not necessarily non-conceptual (June 18, 1981).

199. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Clear Light of Bliss, p. 211.

200. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Clear Light of Bliss, pp. 211-212.

201. Yang-jen-ga-way-lo-dro, Presentation of the Grounds and Paths of Mantra, . 16b.l-,2.

202・ In this paragraph and the two subsequent to it, information on the stage of generation is from Lati Rinbochay and Jeffrey Hopkins, Death, Intermediate State, and Rebirth in Tibetan Buddhism, pp. 69-70.

203. There are many other tantric systems in addition to these eight; for instance, there are six systems of Chakrasamvara alone. Bu-don classifies some twenty-four tantric systems; see David Riegle" of Kiu-te, p. 20. One famous system not mentioned in Nga-wang-bel-den list is that of the Hevajra

Tantra traditionally considered to be the original source for the practice of heat yoga (the Fierce Woman) found in many other tantras (Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Clear Light of Bliss, pp. 34-5).

204. Although, with the exception of Kalachakra^ the great tantric systems are quite similar, they have divergent emphases, generalized in the distinction between “father" and “mother”

tantras. The terms “father” and “mother” derive from the father mother (yab yum) tantric iconography that depicts male and female deities in sexual union. The embracing figures symbolize the union of method and wisdom, the male deity representing method (great innate bliss) and the female deity representing

wisdom (the mind of actual clear light realizing emptiness). Accordingly, Father tantras are those that emphasize method, and Mother tantras are those that emphasize wisdom, based on whether or not the tantra extensively teaches the illusory body (Father tantras) or clear light (Mother tantras). Tantras such

as the Guhyasamadja Tantra and the Yamantaka Tantra are considered Father tantras, whereas tantras such as the Chakrasamvara Tantra and Kalachakra Tantra

are considered Mother tantras (Geshe Lhundup Sopa, "An Excursus on the Subtle Body in Tantric Buddhism JIABS 6, #2, p. 54 and Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Clear Light of Bliss, pp. 189-90). The classification of Kalachakra as a Mother tantra seems questionable because of the emphasis in Kalachakra on generating empty form bodies. Bu-ddn3 in fact, sets it apart in a third category, shared by no other tantra, called non-dual (advaya) tantras (David Reigle, Books of Kui-te9 p. 20). The Dalai Lama discusses both views in The Kalachakra Tantra: Rite of Initiation, pp. 159-60.

205. Dzong-ka-ba says that verbal isolation and mental isolation can be replaced by the Fierce Woman, and that this substitution occurs only in mother tantras (Lamp Illuminating the Five Stages, cited in the Illumination of the Texts of Tantra, 33.1-.2).

206. In mother tantras, it is called a “rainbow body of light" (Tenzin Gyatso, Dalai Lama XIV, in The Kalachakra Tantra: Rite of Initiation, p. 164).

207. For a description of the Kalachakra stage of generation, see the Dalai Lama and Jeffrey Hopkins, The Kalachakra Tantra: Rite of Initiation (London: Wisdom, 1985).

208. These differences are discussed in the Illumination of the Texts of Tantra, 79.1-81.4・

209. The Dalai Lama explains that the difference in channels, and so forth, between the Guhyasamaja and Kalachakra system steins from the fact that yogis have different types of bodies (“Union of the Old and New Translation Schools** in Kindness, Clarity, and Insight, p. 222). This would suggest that

there are wide variances in the physical makeup of the subtle body, and hence one needs to find a tantric practice for which one is physiologically suitable.

210. Apparently, five of the ten winds mentioned in Kalachakra are secondary winds, just as there are five secondary winds mentioned in verbal isolation in the Guhyasamdja stage of completion. Gendun Drub (Dalai Lama I) says that all ten winds can be subsumed under the five basic winds (Selected Works of

the Dalai Lama I: Bridging the Sutras and Tantras, p・ 165). He adds that there is a further difference — that the pervasive wind, in the Kalachakra system, mainly flows through the nostrils (p. 165). Ordinarily it is described as being responsible for the movement of the limbs and the vitalizing wind

is involved with inhalation and exhalation. Some of the names are different; the ten winds mentioned in Kalachakra are: vitalizing, fire-accompanying, up-ward-moving, pervasive, serpent, turtle, chameleon, devadatta, dhanamjaya, and downward-voiding.

211・ In the Middle Way Consequence School (prasangika-madhyamika)^ the philosophical basis for tantra as explained by the Ge-luk-ba school (though the Mind-Only School [[[cittamatra]]] is also said to be acceptable), the basis for the infusing of karmic predispositions is the tcmere I", the which is merely

imputed in dependence on the aggregates and which goes from life to life. In Highest Yoga Tantra, since the final basis of imputation of the mere I is the very subtle wind and mind, it is the very subtle wind and mind in the drops that is the basis for the deposition of the karmic predispositions.

212. The last two sentences are based on Geshe Lhundup Sopa, "An Excursus on the Subtle Body in Tantric Buddhism", JIABS 6, #2, p. 57.
213. Levels of the stage of completion are discussed in the Illumination of the Texts of Tantra, 81.4-90.2.

214. Nga-wang-bel-Uen quotes Dalai Lama I, Gendun Drub (dge "dun grub), on the difference between the supreme immutable bliss of Kalachakra and the innate bliss of Guhyasamaja; the first Dalai Lama argues that there could be no difference between the two because otherwise at the end of the paths of

other tantras one would be required to enter the path of Kalachakra. Rather, the supreme immutable bliss of Kalachakra is given a different name than the bliss mentioned in Guhyasamaja to denote its unique mode of production, namely, a different method for increasing

the drops. In the Kalachakra system it is necessary to rely on a Great Empty Form Seal in order to bring about empty form bodies. The Great Seal of Empty Form is a special type of consort who in some way (not specified in the text) surpasses an Action Seal. According to the Kalachakra system, if one did not

use a Great Seal of Empty Form, the drops piling up and down in the central channel at the level of subsequent mindfulness and meditative stabilization would spread out at the channel-wheels instead of staying in the central channel.

215. Gendun Drub, Dalai Lama I5 Selected Works of the Dalai Lama I: Bridging the Sutras and Tantras y pp. 177・ For a more detailed description of the meditation, see pp. 172-175.

216. In general, the predispositions that produce wakefulness are located at the crown or forehead and navel.
217. According to the First Dalai Lama, Gendun Drub, the four night signs dawn as the result of stopping the coursing of four of the ten winds in four of the ten channel-branches coming from the heart, namely, those of the intermediate directions. The first four day signs are produced as a result of

stopping four more winds from coursing through the four channels branching out in the cardinal directions. The final two day signs are generated by stopping the final two winds, which course through the channel branches going up from and down from the heart, respectively (Selected Works of the Dalai Lama I: Bridging the Sutras and Tantras y p. 175-176).

218・ According to the Dalai Lama, the signs dawn differently according to Guhyasamaja and Kalachakra systems because of the differences in the number of spokes or petals in the channel wheels at the crown of the head and at the heart ("Tibetan Views on Dying” in Kindness, Clarity, and Insight, p. 174).

219. The day signs occur even at night “for superior persons (the Illumination of the Texts of Tantra, 85.1). The explanations of kalagni and rdhu are from Geshe Lhundup Sopa, “An Excursus on the Subtle Body in Tantric Buddhism", JIABS 6, #2, n. 50 (p.65). Serkang Rinpoche, in a talk in Madison, Wisconsin, in August, 1980, described the light of kalagni as like starlight.

220. Gendun Drub, Dalai Lama I, adds that one visualizes that the sky is filled with the various signs and then that they dissolve into the empty form body Kalachakra and his consort. When one's divine pride is fully developed, this level is complete
Notes 183

(Selected Works of the Dalai Lama I: Bridging the Sutras and Tantras, p. 177).
Also, although previously it was said that the right and left channels contained blood, semen, and so forth, they also contain winds in order for those substances to move about.

221. Pan-chen Sd-nam-drak-ba (pan chen bsod nams grags pa, 1478-1554), who wrote the textbooks for Lo-sel-ling (bio gsal gling) College of Dre-bung (bras spung) Monastic University, explains that although the meaning Qf pranayama in Guhyasamaja is vitality-lengthening — a life-lengthening wind

pranayama in Kalachakra means stopping the winds of the right and left channels and causing them to enter the central channel (from General Presentation of the Tantra Sets, Captivating the Minds of the Fortun-ate/rgud sde spyiJi mam par bzhag pa skal bzang gi yid "phrog, Dharmsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1975, cited in Jeffrey Hopkins, supplement to Tsong-kha-pa, Yoga of Tibet, p. 265, n. 105).

222. The Illumination of the Texts of Tantra says nothing more about this practice; Geshe Kelsang Gyatso adds that the potpossessing yoga, the vivid imagining of holding the winds of the lower part of the body in a pot-like configuration below the navel, is done to ignite the Fierce Woman (Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Clear Light of Bliss, pp・ 54-5)・ See Gendun Drub, Dalai Lama I, Selected Works of the Dalai Lama I: Bridging the Sutras and Tantras, pp. 179-80, for a more extensive explanation.

223. See the Illumination of the Texts of Tantra, 88.2・.4.
224. Tri Rin-bo-chay, July 2, 1981.

225. The text (87.1-.2) seems to indicate that the red drops may not begin to pile down until the white drops are piled up, but is somewhat ambiguous.

226. Nga-wang-bel-den says that at subsequent mindfulness one achieves a non-imaginary empty form body (ma brtags pa'i stong g^ugs, 82.4-.5), but he is not certain that such has been ^achieved in fact" (dngos gnas la 'grub pa, 89.6-.7). It appears that Kay-drup and others hold the position that the empty form body is achieved in fact whereas Dzong-ka-ba indicates that it is not achieved until all material aggregates are consumed. Also, Sopa (p. 58) indicates that the empty form achieved on this level is the cause of the empty form body of a Buddha on the next level.
227. Tri Rin-bo-chay, July 3,1981. Dzong-ka-ba himself com-

pares the process to alchemy, the transformation of iron into gold (the Great Exposition of Secret Mantra, cited in the Illumination of the Texts of Tantra, 89.3-.6).
228. Tri Rin-bo-chay, July 2, 1981.

229. Geshe Lhundup Sopa, £<An Excursus on the Subtle Body in Tantric Buddhism", JIABS 6, #2, p. 59.

230. The exclusion of enlightenment in the intermediate state is contrary not only to other tantric systems such as Guhyasamaja but is contrary to the tenets of the Low Vehicle and Great Vehicle as set forth, respectively, in Vasubandhu's Treasury of Manifest Phenomena chos mngon pa'i mdzod, abhidharmakosa karika) and Maitreya's Ornament for Clear Realization (mngon rtogs rgyan, abhisamayalamkara) (Geshe Lhundup Sopa, uAn Excursus on the Subtle Body in Tantric Buddhism", JIABS 6, #2, p. 55).

231. However, Nga-wang-bel-den (the Illumination of the Texts of Tantra, 89.6-90.1) points out that perhaps the fundamental wind acts as the substantial cause of the empty form body, since the very subtle mind of clear light, mounted on the fundamental wind, is generated in the entity of supreme immutable bliss. Therefore, the fundamental wind would be present at the time of an empty form body ・ He notes that there is no clear source saying that the fundamental wind acts as the substantial cause of an empty form body, and takes no position himself.

232. See the Illumination of the Texts of Tantra 66.2.

233. Geshe Lhundup Sopa "An Excursus on the Subtle Body in Tantric Buddhism", JIABS 6, #2, n. 52, p. 65.

234. The Illumination of the Texts of Tantra 86.5-.7, indicates that the path of preparation lasts through the 1799th drop, when the path of seeing occurs; 1800 drops later, the second ground, the Stainless, is generated. There is nothing particularly unusual in positing more than ten grounds, for there are systems in which eleven, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen grounds are posited (Yang-jen-ga-way-lo-dro, Presentation of the Grounds and Paths of Mantra 17a.4-.5).


A-gya Yong-dzin, 14, 157, 173;

See also Yang-jen-ga-way-lo-dro abhidharmakosa, see Treasury of Manifest Phenomena, Vasubandhu's abhisamayalamkara, see Ornament for Clear Realization, Maitreya's Absorption, 120

See also sexual union

Accumulation, path of, 42, 132, 133
Action Seal, 98, 88, 89, 91, 92, 94,
127, 129, 177

Action Tantra, 48, 156, 158, 168 See also tantras, three lower sets of Afflictive obstructions, 95, 108 See also obstructions to liberation
Aggregate, material (form), 127,
128, 130

Aggregates, five, 70

akanistha, see Highest Pure Land

Akshobhya, 50, 80, 81

Alchemy, 127
Altruistic aspiration to enlightenment, 29, 33, 80, 132, 133, 161 Amitabha, 80
Amoghasiddhi, 80

Analysis, 55, 56, 80

Analysis, practice of, 70 anuttarayoga tantra, see Highest
Yoga Tantra

Appearance, mind of radiant white, 73, 74, 75, 86, 95, 96, 100, 107, 117
Appearances, impure, 121, 122

Appearances, pure, 121, 122 arhan, see Foe Destroyer Arts of love, sixty-four, 91 Atisha, 29
Avalokiteshvara, 177

Bad migrations, 38, 92, 169, 172 bar do, see intermediate state Beginners, 52, 53
Beings of three capacities, 22

See also great capacity, middling capacity, small capacity
Bel-dray-dor-jay (dpal "bras rdo 悶,51

Beyer, Stephan, 158

Bharati, Agehananda, 158 bhumi, see grounds and paths Birth, 114
Blackness, appearance like thick, 74

Bliss, 33, 35, 36, 42, 46, 60, 61, 69, 71, 76, 77, 79, 80, 82, 83, 90, 91, 106, 107, 110, 112, 120,
Highest Yoga Tantra

An Introduction to the Esoteric Buddhism of Tibet
Daniel Cozort

Snow Lion Publications Ithaca, New York USA
Snow Lion Publications

P.O. Box 6483
Ithaca, New York 14851

Copyright © 1986 Daniel Cozort
First Edition U.S.A. 1986

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means without prior written permission from the publisher.
Printed in USA.

Library of Congress Catalogue Number 86-3800
ISBN 0-937938-32-7

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Cozort, Daniel G., 1953-
Highest yoga tantra.

Includes bibliographies and index.
1. Yoga (Tantric Buddhism) I. Title.

BQ8938.C69 1986 294.3'925 86-3800

ISBN 0-937938-32-7


List of Charts 8
Technical Note 9

Acknowledgements 11

Preface 12
Part One Highest Yoga Tantra

in the Context of Great-Vehicle Buddhism 19

1 The Superiority of Secret Mantra 21

2 Paths Common to Sutra and Tantra 29

The Need for Renunciation 30

The Need for Compassion 30

The Need for Wisdom 31

3 Initiation 34
4 Pledges and Vows 37

Part Two The Stage of Generation of Highest Yoga Tantra 39

1 Features of the Stage of Generation 41 Yogas 42
Winds 42

Channels 43 Dissolution of Winds 45 The Power of Meditation 46
Death, Intermediate State, and Rebirth 46