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Consort Practice

[from ]

Subject: Consort Practice

By Grand Master Sheng-yen Lu
Translated by Janny Chow

[This is an excerpt of a series of lectures titled "An Overview of the
Buddhadharma" given by Grand Master Lu during May 3-10, 1993 at the Rainbow
Villa in Western Washington. The first part of the article is excerpted
from day four of the discourse. The second part of the article comes from the
question and answer period on day eight.]

Many Tantrayana students engage in Consort Practice, and I dare not say
that none of our students engages in this practice. A person may feel that
he is capable of doing the Consort Practice, but at the end, as a result of
the Consort Practice, a child is born. [audience laughter] My God!
[audience laughter] What kind of Consort Practice is this? This is just
the ordinary conjugal practice between a couple, how could it be called
the Consort Practice? It is an error to mistake the "married life" for
the Consort Practice. An authentic Consort Practice will not give rise to
any conception of a child. The birth of a child is an indication that he
still has leakage of his light drops or vital essence. Such false claims
of Consort Practice is an infraction of the precepts and can cause one to
descend to the Vajra Hell.

Consort Practice does exist in Vajrayana Buddhism. We cannot deny its
existence in the past in the Highest Tantra Section of Tibetan Vajrayana.
However, the practice was so greatly abused that almost everyone was
engaging in the Consort Practice. No wonder there are so many lamas.
[audience laughter] Here in the state of Washington, there was also a
great Tibetan lama who engaged in the Consort Practice with an American
woman, and she gave birth to a little lama! Now the child is training to
become a little lama in Nepal! Such a happening did occur, but it was not
Consort Practice. Such a Consort Practice is a grave infraction of the
Vajrayana Precepts.

The minimum requirement for Consort Practice is to first develop the
conscious chi, your transport vehicle. You then elevate the light drops
and place them in the truck and send them to be accumulated at the heart
chakra. This way, all the light drops from the five chakras are centralized
at the heart chakra. When there is no longer any light drop at the root
chakra, you can practice the Consort Practice and enter into a Great
Stabilization of Ecstasy and Emptiness.

Padmasambhava himself had five female consorts. During the Consort Practice,
he would enter completely into the Condition of Emptiness and abide in the
Great Stabilization of Ecstasy and Emptiness. It is a kind of stabilization
that can transform Ecstasy into the Condition of Emptiness: "Ecstasy is
Emptiness; Emptiness is Ecstasy." [audience applause] This is a practice
that benefits both participating parties. During the process of such a
practice, there is no longer any movement of light drops, just the movement
of chi. Through the movement of conscious chi, Ecstasy is generated and
transformed into the Condition of Emptiness. When the point of complete
Emptiness is reached, it will gradually transform back into Ecstasy. At
the apex of Ecstasy, the condition transforms and reverts to that of
Emptiness. The stability resulted from the cyclic movements between
Ecstasy and Emptiness is known as the Great Stabilization of Ecstasy
and Emptiness.

Not many people have knowledge of the techniques of the Consort Practice;
there are also very few who are qualified to engage in this practice. Yet
many people are still using Consort Practice as a pretext. Do not trust
such pretexts as it can lead to conception of babies. We who can "see"
the energy can see right away whether someone is qualified to do the
Consort Practice -- whether there is sufficient chi in him, whether he
can manuever the chi, and whether the central channel is open. When a
person does not have a truck, and his light drops are leaking, how is
he then qualified to engage in the Consort Practice?

I have given you a clear explanation of what are the prerequisites for
entering into the Great Stabilization of Ecstasy and Emptiness. The first
requirement is the possession of a full and sufficient chi. One has to be
an adept in the practice of Chi Kung and is able to manuever the chi to
ascend or descend. With a truck in the body, one can elevate the light
drops. There are techniques that involve movements of the head, body, as
well as the legs. There is a certain posture the body has to get into for
the elevation of the light drops. The instruction are taught to one by one's
guru. If one does not have the knowledge or ability to do such a practice,
one is actually doing what the Chinese proverb says: "Build a cart behind
closed doors." Or, in this case, build a truck behind closed doors,
[audience laughter] except that in this case, a baby, rather than a truck,
is produced.

This is the difference between the Buddhadharma and conventional practices.
If you do not know how to release the egotistical self and enter into the
Condition of Emptiness, you will only experience "pleasure" and not
Emptiness. Herein lies the problem! Therefore, the practitioner has to
first realize the Nature of Emptiness and then co-ordinate it with the
other element, Ecstasy, during the practice. Padmasambhava has likened
this process to that of "taking the pearl from the tongue of a poisonous

There are now some people who claim that if you would pay a certain sum
of money, they can open the central channel for you. With the freeway open,
you can drive your truck around. Did the Buddha ever say anything to that
effect? Can someone open your central channel for you? As your central
channel is in your own body, you have to open it yourself. How can someone
else open it for you? "How can you be so naive as to believe that it can
be done by someone else?" [in Taiwanese to audience laughter] It is
possible for me to give you a little boost of energy, but you yourself
still have to manuever the chi to transform it into the conscious chi.
This is a key point. You still have to do your own cultivation. [audience

Part 2 (See footnote 1)

[Q-65] My first question pertains to attaining the state of "non-leakage."
How can the "stopping of menstrual flow" be achieved? How does one achieve
the state described by the Taoist term of "conquering the dragon and tiger"?
Where are the "three hun and seven pa" [a term that describes the different
constituents of a person's soul] located? What are the Four Deva Kings'
mantra seed syllables and their colors?

[A] Writings on the "three hun and seven pa" may be found on page 83 of
my 98th book, Transpersonal Experiences in the Ocean of Beings. The
mantras of the Four Deva Kings may be found in my 49th book, The Method
of Vajrayana.

I shall address now the questions pertaining to "non-leakage" and "stopping
of menstrual flow." It is known in Taoism or Tantric Buddhism that when one
exhausts the vital essences in one's body, one dies. It is therefore best
if one can achieve a state wherein there is no leakage of any of the vital
essences of one's body. Simply put, males have to be able to keep light
drops from leaking. Light drops include both the non-physical "wisdom light
drops" and the physical "semen." For females, it would be non-physical
"wisdom light drops" and the physical "menstrual blood." How does one
stop these light drops from leaking? These are "internal level" practices.
First, one must learn to do the Treasure Vase Breathing to fill the whole
body with a vigorous chi. Sometimes the hand can be used as a tactile guide
for the movement of chi. When the finger moves upward, visualize chi also
moving upward along with the finger. Eventually, the chi will move upward
without any tactile guidance. By practicing the Treasure Vase Breathing,
one's whole body becomes like a treasure vase filled with vigorous chi that
filters down to the capillary level.

Next, chi is gathered and transformed into an inner fire that is used to
burn up all those physical light drops [which would normally lead to a
cascade of events resulting in end products] that are discharged from the
body. The physical light drops, which are fluids, will turn into vapors
when this inner combustion takes place. As vapors, they arise. When they
ascend to the five chakras, they condense and turn into sariras. Internal
Practices are thus methods employing chi in one's body to transport these
fluids - which emerge as a result of the "inner fire" combustion process -
to the five chakras.

Light drops that are about to leak can be elevated by assuming a certain
body position or posture. In the tempering process, the inner fire is used
to burn these light drops and transform them into vapor. The vapor will
rise inside the central channel and, upon reaching the five chakras,
transform into sariras.

In Taoism, this process is known as "conquering the dragon and subjugating
the tiger," "non-leakage of light drops," and "cessation of the menstrual
flow." It is easy to speak about this process but, in reality, in order to
achieve the "non-leakage of light drops," one has to lower one's desires.
The six senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and thought have to
be shut off. When one is desire-free, an inner peace is sustained. Then one
may practice the four steps of "lowering, elevating, sustaining, and
dispersing," and use the "elevating" method to raise light drops, temper
them with the inner fire, and transform them into vapor. This is also what
is termed in Taoism the practice of "ching, chi, and shen." Ching
transforms into chi, which transforms into shen, which then returns to the
void. This is the Taoist method of cultivation to return to the Original

In Tantric Buddhism, "non-leakage of light drops" is also the goal. In
Vajrayana Buddhism, engaging in consort practice, while one still has
leakage of light drops, constitutes a breaking of the vajrayana precepts
and can cause one to descend to the vajra hell. Consort practice is engaged
in vajrayana because it is an effective way to induce the lowering of the
fluid known as "white bindu." While still engaging in consort practice,
chi is transferred and instilled into the other party's central channel
to open it up. In this process, chi is transformed through skillful means
into "wisdom chi," which is used to open up the central channel. This is
tantamount to helping the other party to experience the state of liberation.
The circulation of chi enables the other party to enter into the same realm
as one is in oneself. This is the reason why this very secret yoga is
practiced in Tantric schools. However, if the female party is not able to
consciously achieve cessation of menstrual flow and the male party is not
able to prevent the lightdrops from leaking, then engaging in such practices
can cause one to descend to the vajra hell. The successful practice of
"non-leakage of lightdrops" is a minimum prerequisite before one should
attempt the consort practice. Padmasambhava had five female consorts with
whom he entered into sexual union practice for the above reasons.


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