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By Da Shi Yin Zhao

Never confuse movement with action.

- Ernest Hemingway

Ideas, thoughts, and sensations are trapped in time, but the adept attempts to free them with the words of his experience. However impossible it is to describe states of bliss that are rightfully considered ineffable, words are all he has.

Even when a master and student are face to face, and well known to each other, instructions in advanced states of Buddhist Tantra of the Right-Hand Path are as difficult to give as they are to understand. Prerequisite is the mutual respect each must have for the other's accomplishments. And when the instructions are further constrained by the limitations of internet mail service - and no demonstration or on-the-spot advice is possible, it becomes an absolute necessity that the student be ready, that he be proficient in all the beginning and intermediate skills of the regimen. He must also have a mature attitude towards the work. Much of the discipline will involve sexual terminology and activity that the layman rarely associates with a spiritual program. Frankly, if a student can't get past feeling embarrassed by the various techniques that must be practiced, he should reconsider even making the attempt. There is no shame in returning to the cushion to contemplate the required revision of long-held sexual mores. Advanced techniques attempted too soon will hinder rather than help a student's progress.

Much of this section of the book will seem to be illogical. We know, for example, that reversing the flow of semen is an anatomical impossibility; yet, the Tantra's instructions use such imagery to guide the path-climber through the steps of his journey. No one has been able to find a better way to awaken the dormant energy that rests in the base of the spine, that serpentine energy that is usually called, "Kundalini."

Buddhist Tantra affords a seamless transition from meditation to the various stages of samadhi. When properly practiced, these esoteric instructions will convey the keys to all those previously encoded formulas for transcendence.

Every individual's journey is unique. Each of us brings to the task different aptitudes and different problems. There is no way to predict the time and place of a breakthrough. Epiphanies, those huge leaps of intuitive knowledge which leave their imprints on the soul, are the stepping stones of spiritual practice.

Using the descriptions of a linear progression to portray the essence of a practice that depends so much on flashes of intuitive experience is bound to be confusing. What is clear and unequivocal is the need to practice regularly and to maintain a receptive attitude. A student must follow instructions without expecting results.

Tantric practices are for those who seek ultimate liberation - a state that first requires freedom from existing bonds. Not only does the path require that the student turn his back on old familiar pursuits, a process called "reverse socialization," but he must also reverse the old familiar sequence of sexual experience. Breath, thought, and semen are immobilized. Sexual gratification is regulated, but it is not denied. In fact, success will intensify sexual experience to an unimaginable degree.

By properly immobilizing breath and thought, the ejaculation response is bypassed and the spiritual substance of worldly orgasm rises through the vacuum within the Sushumna Nadi.

The worldly lusts and carnal pleasures of the lower "lunar" centers are transformed into the purity and bliss of divine union, Tattva #4..


Daoism uses different metaphors to describe the ascendance of seminal power. This is a rubbing of a famous lithograph from the White Cloud Monastery in Beijing.

The final goals of tantric ritual are the withdrawal and integration of worldly projections, the nullification of all external sensory allurements, and the indescribable surge of sexual pleasure, achieved with or without ejaculation. This sexual energy is a pure intoxication of the senses that many have labeled "the bliss of Buddha Nature."

Questions will arise: where does the sensual experience end and the spiritual experience begin?; at what point do sexual and spiritual ecstasies become separate experiences?; or is it mere illusion that these are two separate forms of bliss? Answers will come when he realizes that the sexual function is a divine function, a person's essence, central to his being. Virility is the energetic force that allows a man to project human nature upon the spiritual experience. The Buddha taught that Samsara and Nirvana are one, and Tantra teaches that the human body contains the entire cosmos. Nirvana is the transmutation of worldly desires and cosmological elements into one's own Buddha Nature.

Old age, sickness and death await us all. Yet through the practice of Buddhist Tantra, the decay of the ego-self provides the nutrients from which unexpected flowers Reversing the process of creation to become nothing is the final experience of the sacred.

Here is some personal advice:

I know that many of you have read advanced instructions, here or elsewhere; and that for one reason or another you could not fulfill the instructions and attain the spiritual state you sought. My advice to you is to start over, but this time forget every instruction you have ever been given. Don't talk about your program or your failures or even about those people who have succeeded using one method or another. Just clean the slate. A little humility goes a long way, so just tell yourself that you know nothing whatsoever about the subject and relax. You are in the same boat as many of us are or have been.

There are a few rules that should be followed:

Take one step at a time. Don't go on to the second step thinking that you'll pick up what you missed as you go along. It doesn't work that way. When you've been given Step #1, accept it as the entirety of your program, as if there is nothing more beyond it; and that you need to accomplish this step and no other. Each step has its own way of letting you know that you've attained it. From my own experience I can tell you that expectation is the greatest obstacle to progress. If you follow the first step as if there is no second, you won't fall into the trap of anticipating future events before you've experienced the present ones.

Cultivate optimism and avoid being your own judge, jury, and witness. Many people perform a step and then mark their performance as a teacher marks a test or as a prosecutor pursues a case. You are not in a competition, and you are not on trial. If you allow your mind to think about the exercise, you are letting your ego into the process.

Have faith that you are on a good Path and that if your destiny is to attain only the first step, that will be fine. This is the attitude that is necessary to succeed in the spiritual work. Faith, Patience and no Great Expectations.

If you start a routine and then find, for any reason, that you can't continue with it, try to regard the disruption as a temporary situation. Keep in your mind an intention to resume it as soon as you're able. Don't speak of your practice as if it is something that you used to do. When you can get back into your practice, do so without feeling guilty. A pause is only a pause. Try to remain disciplined even if you have to shorten your meditation session. Momentum is important. Do all that you can to keep it.

Always try to focus on cultivating good habits and getting good results even if they are only small advances. Think of the case of a person who quits smoking. At first it seems painful. He is irritated by his own commitment to quit. But little by little he begins to feel better physically, and with this steady increase in his wellbeing, he begins to acquire self-confidence. He now has power over his old enslaving habit. He is free.

Staring a new practice requires the attainment of habit. This means that you have to break the habits you had before you started. So be patient with yourself. Once the practice begins to grow, you'll go from looking for available time to perform your practice to looking for available time to do your outside obligations.

Since ordinary cliches can function like mantras, it is beneficial to use them. In its first stage, a cliche is a powerful expression. In a few words, it reveals and explains an often complicated truth. Sometimes the expression's power comes from an original way of stating a truth, a metaphor or simile that surprises us and makes us want to repeat it. The cliche owes its power to an intuitive connection. For example, if you listen intently to a song's lyrics, a line may suddenly become extremely meaningful. This usually indicates that you have entered the meditative state. The inherent truth of a line will suddenly seem revelatory. It will then stay in your mind and enter a reservoir of expressions that advise, stabilize, or encourage you whenever you need the help.

Fix the time for meditation. Start by setting aside fifteen minutes a day. Gradually you will increase the time until you approach an hour. But do not begin by planning to sit for longer than you can. At first, you will be distracted by the novelty. You will squirm for fifteen minutes because you are not accustomed to sitting quietly with your eyes closed. You will find yourself thinking about a thousand things you need to do that day. A troublesome voice inside your head may tell you that you are wasting your time sitting there when you have so many other "important" things to do. You have to convince yourself that this is just an ego's trick. You have been discontented with yourself , and you're looking for a better way to live. This fifteen minutes is a small price to pay. Tell the trouble-making voice to shut up.

Perform the Healing Breath Really fill your lungs and slowly exhale. Don't cough or sputter. Try to keep the rhythm as best you can. If you don't smoke and do swim, it will be easy for you. But if your lungs are impaired by smoking or breathing in too much polluted air or if you have acquired too much weight around your waist, you will have to be gentle with yourself and accept a slower progress. Remember, you are not in a competition. Incidentally, when body fat tends to pile up around the waist it is usually an indication of chronic stress. The Healing Breath will alleviate this stress better than any medication.

When you can do the Healing Breath for fifteen minutes, add a mantra to the process. As you breathe in, say as a drawn-in breath, "Sooooooo." Then hold your breath gently until you feel like exhaling. Then as if you are sighing, say "Hummmm" as you exhale. Repeat this throughout the exercise. Vary it by reversal: breathe in saying "Hummm" and exhale saying "Sooooo."

Fight fire with fire. Pick one of the Seven Deadly Sins that is your particular weak-spot. Laziness; lust; anger; jealousy; greed; gluttony; pride. Give as many days or weeks as you require to negate the bad behavior. Overcome one problem at a time - and you will find that the others seem to weaken on their own.

This negation is done by resolving to do the exact opposite of the sin. If you tend to be lazy, you'll find that you now have more energy than you ever had (thanks to the Healing Breath.) So undertake more responsibility at work or at home. And do it without calling attention to yourself for having done it. Walk or climb stairs whenever possible.

If your problem is lust, cease to tell or listen to dirty jokes or to look at pornography. Refine your speech so that you speak in the same way to your boss or to your file clerk, to a stranger or a friend. Discontinue any memberships you have in X rated anything. If you can block the sites on your computer, do that.

If your problem is anger, try to understand that it is frustration with yourself that causes most of the anger. You are projecting it onto someone else. Try to remember the times you did the things that now make you so angry when you see someone else doing them. Order yourself to, "Get over it!" "Lighten up!" Resolve to be especially kind to anyone to whom you have been short-tempered or angry. You are not an animal... a rutting moose or a hungry bear. You have no excuse for being harmful.

If you are jealous, cultivate graciousness. Instead of being a petty person who resents the good fortune of others, be glad when someone you know acquires a new car or a better job. Be smart enough to know that true happiness has nothing to do with material possessions or titles.

If you are greedy, see this behavior as self-destructive, an obstacle to contentment. Think about the things you once coveted. What happiness have they brought you? Unless it's your job, stop watching the stock market. The richest men in the world suffer and die. It is the end that awaits us all. A bank balance does not increase happiness - it only makes other people strive to reduce your balance and increase their own.

If you are overweight or have a drinking problem, this is gluttony. Diet and abstinence are the antidotes. You have to value your own life.

If you are proud or vain, sign up to work for one evening a week in a hospice or a soup kitchen. When you see homeless people, try to think of the misfortunes - the bad luck that showed itself in bad parents, illness or injury, or in terrible war experiences. Nobody knows what fate has in store for him. Count your own blessings and don't be judgmental. When you're in the presence of misery, it's difficult to be vain.

As you perform, one-by-one, the spiritual corrections as given above, you can begin the Chakra program (if that is your intention) by focussing your attention on the space between your eyes in your forehead. This is the Ajna Chakra. This is often called The Command Center of the Chakras. All of the Seven Deadly Sins listed above are covered by the Eightfold Path of Buddhism and by all of the Commandments and Precepts of most other religions. These bad behaviors are often considered our bad Karma - a pit of debt we have to work our way out of. The Ajna Chakra has the Power to help us to climb out of that pit.

Don't worry about symbols, colors, syllables, letters of the alphabet, or mantras associated with this energy center. Just imagine that there is a light bulb inside your forehead and that you must supply the energy it requires to shine. You can do this by willpower. Focus on the light bulb and send energy to it. At first you will succeed in getting it to glow faintly. Then it will get brighter. Keep you focus only on the light and on the task of getting it to shine brighter and brighter. It will go from totally dark, to grey, to a faint glow, then brighter, and it will continue to get brighter until it is dazzling - so incandescent that it seems as though it can illuminate a city all by itself.

After you have created this light, move your concentration to the base of your spine. Imagine there is a dying ember there and that you can bring it back to life by supplying it with oxygen. Breathe in and send oxygen down to the ember. Send it as if is were a blast of air rushing into a vacuum. As you exhale, let the exhaust be exhaled with your breath. When you have the ember bright and burning, a fire that can consume anything, you will be ready to awaken the kundalini. The heat you generate will rouse the Serpent in the spine.

Move your concentration up to the Svadhisthana Chakra - the bladder Chakra. You may become sexually aroused but that is normal. Keep your attention focussed on the Svadhisthana Chakra.

At this point you are well into an intermediate stage. There are different instructions for the remaining energy centers.

Good luck.

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