Real Kundalini Yoga and Chakra Meditation

Kundalini cultivation is found in nearly every cultivation school, and here's a quote on the basic technique from Tsong Khapa's Six Yogas of Naropa Commentary, by Glenn Mullin, which has just been republished.

It's not the best technique or a high technique; it's just a convenient technique for a initial clearing of your chi channels and possible entry into samadhi. You'll see that it's basically the same method found in the Atalanta Fugiens although the technique is found in countless spiritual streams since it details common cultivation phenomena.

For instance, Sufism uses these four chakras in its cultivation techniques and refers to them as the Teacher (crown chakra), Mysterious (throat chakra), Secret (heart chakra) and Self (navel chakra) respectively. The Hopi Indians of American also speak of these chakras, and describes them as being located on the crown of the head and in the regions of the throat, heart and near the navel. Naturally they are discussed in Taoism, yoga, Hinduism, Buddhism, tantra and so forth, but if even Islam, the Hopi Indians and medieval alchemy (not to mention Christianity) describes them, well what does that tell you? Anyway, for a small lesson on kundalini cultivation, watch this Camtasia video:

Here's the quote from great Tibetan Master Tsong Khapa which goes into a deeper explanation of this technique you can try:

In this tradition the expression "the inner heat, the foundation," is well known. This is because in the completion stage yogas one uses the inner heat technology from the very beginning in order to collect the subtle life-sustaining energies into the central channel, and thereby arouse the innate great ecstasy. This is the actual basis upon which all practices rely, and upon which all later completion stage yogas are founded. The inner heat doctrine establishes this basis. [One cultivates the wind element of the body to ignite the warmth element of the body which is only activated during the state of hsi, or respiratory cessation. All the transformations that come about are due to this state of hsi.]

The practice of the inner heat doctrine entails directing the life-sustaining energies into the central channel. Here the energies enter, abide, and are dissolved. When one trains well in this technique, the strength of the experience has the power to give control over loss of the bodhimind substance [jing]. Then, based on this power, one can rely upon a karmamudra as a conducive condition to arouse the four blisses. On this foundation, innate ecstasy is aroused.

Arousing this innate ecstasy is the purpose of the practices of the inner heat yoga [kundalini yoga practices] and karmamudra yoga [sexual cultivation practices]. …

One reflects, "For the benefit of living beings as vast in number as the measure of the sky I will achieve the state of a Buddha Vajradhara. For this purpose I now take up the practice of chandali, the inner heat yoga." Meditate like this until your stream of being is infused with the bodhimind [the compassionate objective to achieve enlightenment for the welfare of all beings], the bodhisattva aspiration.

Visualizing yourself as the mandala deity, sit on your meditation seat, put on your meditation belt, cross the legs, and set the backbone erect. The neck is bent slightly forward, and the eyes cast downward at the angle of the nose. The tongue is held gently against the upper palate, and the teeth and lips set in their natural [closed] position. The body and mind are postured alertly, with the chest somewhat extended, and the hands in the meditation posture, placed just under the navel.

One now visualizes the three energy channels. Firstly the central channel, avadhuti, is envisioned. It begins at a point four fingerwidths below the navel at the center of the body just in front of the spinal column. To its right is the channel known as rasana, and to its left is lalana. These channels proceed up the body to the head, like pillars supporting the four chakras.

One imagines that the lower tips of the side channels curve up into the base of the central channel. This is done in order to draw the vital energies into the central channel. Not understanding this purpose, some teachers have said that the three channels just come to an end and stop at a distance four fingerwidths below the navel. Others have said that the two side channels just stop there (at the navel).

(One visualizes the channels in this way for the purpose of meditation. But in fact) the channels continue on down, eventually coming to the tip of the jewel [sexual organs]. Above the central channel comes to the point between the eyebrows [which is why this is a common focus point for meditation], and the two side channels [ida and pingala] come to the inner passages of the two nostrils. At the sites of the four chakras, the two side channels, rasana and lalana, wrap around the central channel, forming knots. Otherwise they (all three) run straight (up and down the body).

As for the size of the channels, this varies at times of meditating and not meditating. There is no certain, fixed size.

Moreover, as for the colors of the channels, a Harvest of Oral Tradition Teachings (Skt. Amnaya manjari) quotes The Mystic Kiss Tantra (Skt. Chaturyogini samputa tantra) as stating that during the meditation for arousing the inner heat, the central channel should be seen as having the color of the flame produced by burning sesame oil. Prior to that point in the training, however, the right channel should be seen as being red, the left white, and the central channel bluish.

Now one visualizes the four chakras. Firstly at the navel is the chakra called "the wheel of emanation." Its shape is somewhat triangular, like the (Sanskrit) syllable EH, and it has sixty-four petals. They are red in color, and stretch upward. Meditate upon it in this way. Here the arrangement of the petals is only roughly described. Details are not mentioned; but this is enough.

At the heart is the chakra known as "the wheel of truth." Its shape is somewhat circular, like the (Sanskrit syllable) BAM, and it has eight petals, white in color, extending downward.

At the throat is the chakra known as "the wheel of enjoyment," also somewhat circular in shape, like the syllable BAM. It has sixteen petals, red in color, reaching upward.

At the crown is the chakra "the wheel of great ecstasy." It also is somewhat triangular, like the syllable EH, and has thirty-two petals, is multi-colored, and its petals extend downward.

The meditation should hold each of the (two) pairs of chakras within an according embrace of method and wisdom.

When one begins the training of visualizing the three energy channels there are two aspects of the practice to which one should attend, namely, the radiance of the image and the meditative placement. That is to say, one must produce a collection of two factors: the radiant appearance of the envisioned channels; and the firmness of the meditation.

The most important site for the placement of one's awareness at the beginning of practice is the point in the region of the central channel where the three channels join. Based on this, one proceeds to visualize the four chakras, with their according number of petals, and to fix the mind on them. With persistence in the meditation the chakra petals become increasingly clear (in one's mind), and the mind more firmly placed upon them.

If after considerable effort no clarity is achieved with the chakras, place the mind solely on the image on the three channels. Concentrate especially on the portion above the heart chakra. If still no progress is forthcoming, prolonged application can incur dangerous obstacles. One therefore should relax the application, and place the mind instead on the point where the three channels join (at the lower part of the body).

In this tradition there are two approaches to the practice: first to establish stable clarity in the radiant appearance of the channels and chakras for a prolonged period of time; and not to do so. The former is the most effective approach. The (Indian) mahasiddha Lawapa also gave the advice that we should cultivate the radiant appearance of the channels. Here if one wishes to conjoin the practice with that of retaining the breath, one should do as explained earlier (with the breath technique instruction). It, the physical exercises, and the meditation on the body as an empty shell, can be engaged in rotation. This should also be applied to what comes later. … -- Tsong Khapa's Six Yogas of Naropa, Glenn Mullen, (Snow Lion, 1996, p. 139-164)




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