Yoginitantra: The Secret Chakra Teachings of Buddhism
Written by Lama D, faculty at NewEarth University’s School of Consciousness & Spirituality
Many people ask me for Buddhist Tantric Sex practices.
“Tantra” is widely believed to be sexual rituals and practices. But this could not be further from the truth. Tantric practices are for one purpose, to achieve enlightenment. I wish to clarify this point and dispel misunderstanding, to empower you clearly in your own ascension.
Why Are There No Chakras in Buddhism?
This is another common misunderstanding I would like to resolve. Modern Buddhist monastic training does not include chakra teachings. The Great Sakyamuni Buddha did not teach the rank-and-file monks about chakras. Chakra teachings are not even part of the vast “Pali Canon” library of over 10,000 texts given by the Buddha during his life in the 5th century BCE.
However, these secret Chakra teachings do exist. They are called the Yoginitantras. They were transcribed from the words of the great Buddha himself. These consist of a practice of secret visualizations and physical body cultivation for enlightenment. For some reason a decision was taken, and they were hidden from common knowledge. They are still available, but an adept must learn them in person from a qualified high Lama. This is why Westerners, lay people, and even trained monks do not find chakras in Buddhism.
What is Enlightenment?
“Enlightenment” is a very great achievement for a soul. Enlightenment means your individual soul moves out of the realm of physical life and the cycle of death and rebirth forever. This is the single goal of all the Buddhist Tantric teachings. Specific visualization practices remove karma and obstacles to Enlightenment. When the purpose in your life is dedicated to moving into a higher realm of existence, Tantric practices can help cleanse your body and clear the mind. It’s a huge quantum step to alter your destiny and leave the earth plane forever. In Buddhism, the highest practices are taught after a certain level of mental and physical purity is achieved.
When Did Tantric and Chakra Concepts Arrive in the West?
The Hindu 7-Chakra system known in the West came primarily through a British author, Arthur Avalon (Sir John George Woodroffe) in his 1919 book “The Serpent Power”. It also comes from the Sat-Cakra-Nirupana by Swami Purnananda in 1577 CE, and the Padaka-Pancaka from the 10th century, together with a 10th century text Gorakshashatakam. These texts have all been the foundation of Western study of chakras. But these sources are relatively recent and may be unreliable. In the Buddhist Yoginitantras, we are going to the most direct source, Sakyamuni Buddha himself, in the 5th Century BCE.
Please keep in mind that Buddhism and Hinduism come from completely different sources. Sanskrit and Hindu teachings of the Vedas emanated from Kashmir some 12,000 years ago. At that time, Buddhism had already been practiced for thousands, perhaps millions of years earlier, centered in Tibet. The earliest known Buddha, Thonpa Shenrab Miwoche is said to be founder of the Bonpo tradition some 18,000 years ago in the Zhang Zhung Kingdom of Tibet near Mount Kailash. And before him, the ancient Amitabha Buddha lived perhaps millions of years ago, no one knows. These two traditions Hinduism and Buddhism have enjoyed a great deal of cross-pollination and mutual exchange, so they may seem similar, but they are very different.
Where Can We Study Ancient Tantric Chakra Practices?
Western interest in Tibetan Tantric Buddhism has grown in recent years with the release of several sources. These include the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project, the Nepalese and East-Indian manuscripts, the collection by the French Institute of Pondicherry of Śaiva South-Indian palm-leaf manuscripts, and Devanāgarī transcripts. Scholars now strive to understand the texts in English, German, and French. However, the purpose of Buddhism is personal refinement and enlightenment, not intellectual or historical study. Without a primary interest in spiritual freedom, any intellectual approach can bring about no positive effects for anyone now or in the future.
Kuenzang Yabyum is a symbol for enlightenment already achieved. It is a visualization of pure eternal joy and bliss. The union of all duality of Male-Female is akin to Yin-Yang, the perfect balance of Positive-Negative frequency. When our mind becomes rooted in pure light, then nothing and no-one can disturb that. In the Union of Thap and Sherab. Thap is Method. Sherab is Wisdom. This is the highest visualization of the Vajrayana lineage, and has nothing to do with sexual union.
In the visualizations, Athiyoga yogi is the highest level of Vajrayana lineage. Mahayana is the seeds. Vajrayana is the fruits. Misunderstanding or mis-use of this extraordinary image brings great risk.
The Yoginitantra, A Reliable Source for Chakra Enlightenment Practices
This most exciting new information has just been released by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee under the patronage of 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha directed by the illustrious Bhutanese Lama and filmmaker, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche. This group is now translating the entire Tibetan Degé Kangyur and Tengyur into English. These are the most important texts in all of Buddhism and are said to be the words of Sakyamuni Buddha himself. The Kangyur translation project is immense. It intends to translate all 1,169 texts or 70,000 pages of the Kangyur into English, as well as the Tengyur which is about twice that size.
The Yoginitantra: Direct words of Sakyamuni Buddha from the Tibetan Kangyur
The Yoginitantra outlines a living practice designed to propel a human being to higher levels of consciousness. These techniques teach one how to become ageless and ascend beyond the physical. They have been used by high practitioners to exit the physical realm and achieve Enlightenment. Instructions are quite detailed so must be given by a qualified master and perfected over time by the student.
In this article I will give you a taste of the contents of the Yoginitantra, so that you have a general picture of the chakra practices of Buddhism. Beware: These are very different from Hindu practices. The goal of the Yoginitantra is one-pointed to gain Enlightenment. If you wish to make this commitment yourself, you can contact me, so that I can try to connect you with an appropriate master.
Caution: This is a secret teaching. Readers are reminded that according to Vajrayāna Buddhist tradition there are restrictions and commitments concerning Tantra. Practitioners who are not sure if they should read this translation are advised to consult the authorities of their lineage. The responsibility for reading this text or sharing it with others who may or may not fulfill the requirements lies in the hands of reader.
5 kings of the directions in the universe and the body. The 5 positions of the letter “Ah” in these colors indicate living beings of the East, West, North, and South. These are related to the metals silver, gold, brass, and gemstones. This mandala shows higher knowledge related to specific letters and sounds. These are called the Rinchin treasures. All people have their “luck”, which determines their inborn understanding of the concepts. The concepts are non-verbal and untranslatable, because they do not exist in the physical plane.
Summary of “The Glorious King of Tantras That Resolves All Secrets”
The text of the Kangyur Toh 384 describes esoteric or “secret” image visualization practices of deity yoga in the Yoginītantra tantras. It is a dialogue between the Buddha and Vajragarbha as lead questioner. The Buddha’s responses describe the specific chakras or subtle body centers. This is a completion-stage yoga practice for manipulating the subtle energy channels, winds, and seminal fluids of the body with either a real or imagined consort. Yoginī or “female practitioner” tantras emphasize special gifts of female deities, principles, and symbols. These tantras describe yogic techniques in the completion phase practices to refine the subtle energy centers of a physical body.
This Yoginitantra is based on seven Tibetan texts translated from Sanskrit by the eleventh century translators Gayādhara and Drokmi Śākya Yeshé. The original Sanskrit manuscript has since vanished. The tantra describes the four initiations for this class of tantras, to resolve the secrets of each level of initiation and meanings of the meditative practices.
Yogini being a female practitioner, the Yoginītantras denote an overtly sexual nature of the practices prescribed. They also integrate the power and efficacy of feminine contact in all its human and divine forms. This is believed by Tibetan experts to be the ultimate revelation of the great Sakyamuni Buddha of our eon. Tibetans call the Yoginītantras the “Mother tantras.” The “Mother tantra” primarily teaches advanced completion stage practices.
The Yoginītantras include imagery related to Indian charnel (burial) grounds and the profusion of fierce male (heruka) and female (yoginīs and ḍākinīs) divinities believed to cavort there; the ritual preparation, exchange and consumption of “polluting” substances such as bodily fluids and fleshes; an emphasis on the intimate connection and correlation between language, cosmos and subtle physiology, and visualizations shared with Hindu Śaiva tantric traditions.
There are Four Sections of the Yogini Tantra
- What is “Secret”?
Introductory questions about “ambrosia”, the mandala, and the practice.
- The Second Secret
Subtle physiology of the secret initiation.
The Chakras, their locations, and natures.
Subtle energy channels and the “Camphor” or subtle seminal fluid in those channels.
Practices based on the subtle physiology.
- The Third Secret
Sexual yoga related to the wisdom-gnosis initiation
What is a cluster of stars like? What is coalescence like? What is non-duality like?
What is the actual practice of sexual yoga and the status of its practitioners?
What is a three initiation fully ordained monk like? What are his activities?
- The Fourth Secret. The Fourth Initiation
What is the meaning of Tantra? What is its “resolution” like? And what is its king like?
Selected Lines from the Yoginitantra of Sakyamuni Buddha:
THE FIRST SECRET
“Secret” is four-fold.
First is the practice of the development stage related to the vase initiation.
I taught meditation on the support and the supported so that practitioners might relinquish
Dualistic concepts of a universe and its inhabitants.
The mandala image is the outer meaning.
Inwardly, concerning the characteristics of the maṇḍala,
The aggregates, elements, and sense media
Are each transformed into a deity, either five, six, or thirty-seven;
Left, right, above, below, the gates, and so forth—
These should be understood from a master’s oral instructions.
The effect does not come from a mistaken cause—
Barley does not sprout from a grain of wheat.
Nor does it come from an incomplete cause—
There is no sprout from damaged grain.
The stage of subjugating Rudra
In the great charnel ground of Śītavana
Is that conceptuality is destroyed with ambrosia.
Desire is cyclic existence;
Its purification is taught to be nirvana.
5 Points for visualization with their corresponding sounds, letters, and colors
- THE SECOND SECRET
Next is the second secret.
It is the profound meaning of dependent origination in connection with the secret initiation.
First, give rise to the divine pride.
Know that the dakinis are the channels.
Know that the dakas are the spirit of enlightenment.
Know the locations of the chakras, the chakras themselves, And their related practices.
The distance from the chakra of great bliss to the confluence of Brahma is forty-eight finger-widths.
Each chakra is three finger-widths,
And thus the nature of enlightened body, speech, and mind.
The locations of the initiations and the chakras
Should be learned from a master’s oral instructions.
An adept must determine whether the wind of the anus
Is three or four finger-widths from the fire of the Brahma confluence.
Three spaces is the secret location.
Likewise, three spaces marks the chakra of awareness.
Four finger-widths is the location of Hayagrīva.
Eight finger-widths is the location of Secret Guardian of Bliss.
Based on the particularities of the bodily supports of male and female practitioners.
If you turn away from the master in a gathering,
Spread his oral instructions or bandy them about, Receive the concealed stage in order to indulge in desire, Turn away from, or disparage the hidden points, Obstruct the secret mantra, or insult other practices, You will be reborn in the great hell of Endless Torment, Until the thousand and one Buddhas are all gone.
I have not said to keep concealed anything that is concealed in these chakras.
Thus, what in other tantras has been hidden, in this tantra I explain in detail.
This modern painting shows the 5-energy center system.
The crown chakra is concealed at the crown.
The Secret Guardian of Bliss is concealed at the navel.
In the dharma chakra at the heart all phenomena are known.
Therefore, awareness is concealed there.
Sixty-four, paired, is concealed in the amount of thirty-two.
Sixty-four, grouped in fours, is concealed in the amount of sixteen.
Sixty-four, grouped in eights, is concealed in the amount of eight.
The wind of the anus is concealed within wind. The secret inner heat is concealed in the inner heat. On each chakra there are four chakras
That externally clasp in the form of the life-force.
Even though waters, streams, and rivers Are caused to flow in numerous ways, in the ocean they become one flavor.
Playing at the navel is the enlightened body of great bliss Endowed with the liberations and emptinesses.
Next, concerning the characteristics of the channels,
Seventy-two thousand external channels Are located in the flesh and give rise to fat.
One hundred and twenty internal channels Are located in the fat and give rise to marrow.
Thirty-two secret channels are located in the bones and give rise to camphor.
The three suchness channels are located in the secret place and give rise to bliss.
Furthermore, all the particulars of the dakinis that dwell in the channels and elsewhere should be understood in the proper order.
Enlightened body is the action dakini.
Enlightened speech is the flesh-eating dakini.
Enlightened mind is the gnosis dakini.
Great bliss is the vajra dakini.
The great bliss chakra is absorbed within the enjoyment chakra.
The enjoyment chakra is absorbed within the dharma chakra.
As for the sequence of absorption above,
Everything fuses into a seminal drop.
Dhechok / Yidam Khorlo Dongpo of High Athi Yoga, the Father of Yoga in Enlightenment union. Dakini: Jitchen Dorji Nel Jorma Visualization, not sexual. Each of the 12 hands each has a very high meaning difficult to explain in words, and is known only by a few high lamas.
This is like how a single sun
Shines throughout the ten directions,
Yet its profusion of rays is fused with it.
It is also like the parasol of a universal monarch, which is an assembly of wooden machinery.
Moreover, the way in which the dharma chakra and the emanation chakra
Drip and blaze should be learned from a master’s oral instructions.
THE THIRD SECRET
Next is the third secret.
It is explained as the basic character of joy
In connection with the wisdom-gnosis initiation.
The anus quivers and the body hairs rise.
Twelve non-observations of the basic character of joy is taught to be its nature.
With the circulation of the spirit of enlightenment, one reflects on non-conceptuality.
Twenty-five non-observations of supreme joy completely fills the secret gem.
All phenomena are the essence of mind. Mind is of an empty nature.
All is of one taste in being empty.
This is the expanse devoid of accepting and rejecting.
“Ah” is the sacred sound and symbol of our real soul and mind together. It is shown within 4 colors Blue, Green, Red, Yellow, and White. Explanation is beyond words. High secret teaching must be received by a true practitioner and given by a great lama. If we see this, and have a link to this knowledge from a previous life we will feel a special connection. Then we can find our real path, and reach true paradise
In order to fully purify desire,
Desire rooted in the five seals of enlightened body—
The pair of the great seal and the gnosis seal,
Along with the samaya seal, the dharma seal and the action seal— Becomes exceedingly profound.
This is great bliss, which is three-fold—
The natures of development and completion,
And the chakra of great bliss.
The first abides as the letter e at the secret nose-tip.
The second, which fills the emanation chakra, the awareness chakra and the rest, abides in the Secret Guardian of Bliss.
The natural chakra of great bliss
Is replete with the flavor of great bliss, Just as a sesame seed is with sesame butter.
Like sap dripping from a cut tree branch,
From that great bliss itself comes the
Form of hundreds, thousands,
Tens of thousands, and hundreds of thousands of tips of hair.
THE FOURTH SECRET
Next, is the fourth secret, Related to the fourth initiation.
Here one should meditate, having overcome this perpetually shifting mind itself,
As well as its attendant objects of meditation— The forms and so forth that it latches onto
Having fully relinquished all reference points
Of apprehended objects and apprehending subjects, Since the nature of mind is inconceivable,
One should not think of anything whatsoever.
When the nature of mind is submerged within the empty, And the empty is well-submerged within the mind, Concepts of empty, not empty, and so forth, are destroyed, leaving the mind like the sky.
There does not exist a support, there is nothing supported. Even the matchless state does not exist.
The perfected presence of precisely that is innate non-dual awareness.
THE FINAL TEACHING
Next, the Blessed One spoke on resolving:
Having meditated authentically on the great seal, Without understanding that the wrathful dances and the seals are merely an illusory display,
One will be born as a haughty spirit—One of the kings of the eight charnel grounds— Devoid of compassion, an eater of flesh and blood.
Disparaging any spiritual practice,
Ridiculing vajra siblings, disciples with shared tantric commitments, Breaking the root and branch samaya vows,
Cursing the lama—by the fruition of these, one will be born as a hell-being in Endless Torment.
If one does not understand the hidden secret, through the three-fold non-observation of the concealed One will be born below as a hell being.
As the wheel of a cart revolves, so will one revolve due to the maturation of karma.
The meaning of tantra is threefold.
The chakra of great bliss is the causal tantra;
The secret nose-tip is the means tantra;
The Secret Guardian of Bliss is the fruitional tantra.
“Tantra” means continuum;
Its king, which teaches secrets, has taught secrets as four-fold.
The vase initiation is secret for beginners.
At the time of the vase initiation, the secret initiation is secret. Wisdom-gnosis is secret in the secret initiation. Self-awareness is secret in the wisdom-gnosis initiation.
The secret chakra is the fourth secret.
Then, bodhisattva Vajragarbha and an assembly of dakinis equal in number to the atoms in Mount Meru circumambulated the Blessed One three times and disappeared.
This concludes “The Glorious King of Tantras That Resolves All Secrets.”
- 84000 is a global nonprofit initiative to translate the Buddha’s words from the Tibetan Buddhist Canon into modern languages, and to make them available to everyone, https://84000.co
- The 84000 Reading Room is a browsable catalogue of all the texts in the Kangyur and Tengyur, https://read.84000.co
- The Glorious King of Tantras That Resolves All Secrets, Direct English translation from Tibetan https://read.84000.co/translation/toh384.html?id=&part=introduction
- The Glorious King of Tantras That Resolves All Secrets, English translation from Tibetan is available here:
- The Glorious King of Tantras That Resolves All Secrets, https://www.scribd.com/document/373384160/
- The Glorious King of Tantras That Resolves All Secrets, https://www.scribd.com/document/398268970/