Excerpt from "The Bliss of Inner Fire"

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Excerpted from "The Bliss of Inner Fire: Heart Practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa" by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Wisdom Publications. pp 148-9

Found this interesting:

"Because Kundalini is the main resource that we use in inner fire meditation, it is important for both males and females not to lose their sexual energy. Naturally, as beginners, we will find it difficult to control the energy when we experience it strongly; we have limited concentration and have not yet learned how to bring the airs into the central channel.

As Lama Tsongkhapa explains, it is not good to lose too much kundalini energy during meditation, but it is natural to lose a little occasionally. Don't panic and think, 'Oh, I have lost some kundalini energy. Now I have broken my vows.' When you are a beginnner, you sometimes lose kundalini drops. Don't worry about it. I lose it sometimes, and I don't worry about it.

Losing a small drop of liquid during your meditation causes no real damage or loss of strength. It does not make you unable to facilitate the kundalini. However, experiencingin orgasm through sexual contact or during sleep will cause loss of this facility and damage your strength. You can discover this through your own experience. When you lose kundalini energy strongly in meditation, the significant point is not that your are breaking your vow but that you are losing the strength of your kundalini. The physical exercises and concentraion will help you to develop control.

Control of kundalini energy is important even in ordinary orgasm. You cannot have a perfect orgasm if you cannot control your energy. It is the same in tantra. You cannot experience perfect bliss if you cannot control your energy. The fact is that if we lose our energy, we have no energy to utilize. In order to use energy, we need energy. If we don't have it, we cannot use it. This is logical, and you can see it clearly from your own experience. When you concentrate well and control your energy, you can experience more bliss, which you then unify with the wisdom of nonduality.

If kundalini starts to flow uncontrollably during your meditation and you begin to experience orgasm, try as much as possible to hold it and have it expand inside the secret chakra. Try to hold the energy there as long as possible. The longer you can hold it, the more pleasure you will experience and the more possibility you will have of utilizing that pleasure by unifying it with the universal reality of nonduality. In this way, you learn to control your body as well as your mind.

By the way, the semen that comes from the male sex organ during ordinary orgasm does not come from the central channel. For both males and females, the energy and bliss of ordinary sexual experience does not come from the central channel. you should be clear about this. The bliss of ordinary orgasm is produced by the kundalini touching the outside of the central channel.

In the logic of tantra, if the kundalini energy generates such bliss when it touches the outside of the central channel, there is no question that it will generate incredible bliss when it flows inside the central channel. Bringing all the winds into the ventral channel gives rise to an experience of incomparable super-bliss.

Drawing the airs into the central channel and activating this bliss is mainly accomplished through the power of concentration. Therefore, someone who loses kundalini energy because thery are living the normal life of a layperson can still be successful in the practice of inner heat yoga as long as they can maintain strong concentration during inner fire meditation. This is logical. Naturally, those who have weak concentration and also lose physical energy in this way will find it difficult to generate strong blissful energy. "

Very interesting

I'm always fascinated by information on kundalini, but I find it a bit frustrating because I feel I have consistently been lead AWAY from conscious efforts to raise it using kundalini-raising techniques.

For a long time I couldn't imagine why, as I'm sure that ultimately, if sacred sex IS a path to enlightenment, the kundalini energy movement SEEMS like it should be part of it. However, every time I ask within, I get, "just keep going on building a stable energy between partners." So I don't know. It's possible that the path of union is quite different...a quiet "melting in" or "merging" beyond the body, without forcing the energy anywhere.

Maybe I have been discouraged because raising the kundalini can be very unstable and create uncomfortable symptoms (headache, dizziness, disorientation). Apparently the more you fire up your sexual energy, the more power you create...and the more chaos you manifest for yourself when there is a casual indulgence, or a use of sex without full integrity. In other words, it may speed up what comes back to you, both good and bad. Maybe it intensifies the highs and lows of the neurochemical shifts...?

When I wrote my article about the channel, Edgar Cayce, I was intrigued to see that he, too, warned about raising the kundalini, and spoke of it as a practice only for the celibate. Hmmmm....

One can find Taoist, Hindu, and Tibetan techniques that force the conserved sexual energy upward, away from the sexual center. However, the Cayce readings caution that raising the kundalini energy is dangerous unless one has "crucified desire in oneself." Without this preparation, the results are unstable and the kundalini may inflame desires, rather than enhancing true spirituality. Cayce also points out that kundalini techniques are a means of attaining celibacy, rather than spiritual union.

Interesting points, all. I'm

Interesting points, all.

I'm not very farmilliar with Edgar Cayce's work, but his statement is a generalized statement about three traditions with many similarities but also many different schools of thought even within each tradition. I have studied a number of traditions, the Tibetan and Taoist traditions more thoroughly. There probably are schools of thought within each of them that encourage celibacy. The tradition from which my quote was taken, the Gelugpa tradition, believes that the quickest path to enlightenment is through actual union of the divine masculine and feminine - on an individual spiritual level within oneself, and through actual physical union with another. So, I can't say that a tradition that believes that the sexual act is essential to enlightenment to fit within the category of the celibate schools of thought you speak of.

There is no doubt that raising the kundalini can be dangerous. That is why it is reccomended that people who attempt this do it with a teacher or guru. Even though this culture has had a spiritual renaissance of sorts, still, the concept of having a guru is subconciously seen as questionable. We are individualists here. Bowing down to someone else recognized as having wisdom power goes against our grain. Those who follow a guru are seen somehow as gullible and naive. I believe this is because our culture is so distorted that it associates power with agression, manipulation, and hidden agendas. This is really a pity, because a culture of people who do not have elders to look to or people of power to be inspired from is very poor indeed. I have been lucky enough to have coincidentally come upon a teacher of this tradition.

To continue on the vein of the danger of kundalini: yes, the experience of raising kundalini takes skill, and many odd things can happen when it is raised. Maybe I will include some excerpts from other parts of that book which are very interesting - they describe the process of experiencing both the bliss and hell associated with each chakra as the kundalini first makes its way through them. To purify the negative energies built there, they must be witnessed and released. This can be terrifying. Lama Zopa also mentions many cases of telepathy that can result in this process, along with a lot of other odd phenomenon.

Clearly, this path is not for everyone. In many cases, it is not even for those who think it sounds like a worthy idea - because they cannot seem to make the time to actually do the solo meditations. This is a technical system. So, it draws people who like technical systems. Many find it controlling. However, for those who have caught even a single glimpse of what Lama Zopa calls "the Real Chocoloate", it is immeditaly clear that this is a way to tap into energies that are very real indeed, and not merely manipulations of the imagination.

You say, "It's possible that the path of union is quite different...a quiet "melting in" or "merging" beyond the body, without forcing the energy anywhere."

If people find they can naturally and easily melt and merge into eachother without these techniques, then great! I certainly, without question, think that your approach is more accesable to more people. But I would like to address the idea that kundalini meditation is "forcing" energy anywhere.

About three years ago, when i was doing the Microcosmic Orbit meditation two hours a day, I came upon this same issue of force. I was coming to the meditation with the idea that my system was not energized and I needed to energize it. So, when I came with the attitude of force, the meditation did not work. The only reason one would need to force energy is if one really believed that none was there in the first place. Actually, kundalini or microcosmic orbit meditation "works" when you have broken through your dissociation with yourself as being essentially powerful. When you have broken through this malnourished view of yourself as someone needing outside energy, you are then able to witness and cultivate the power and energy inherent in who you are. This energy is there. It may not be flowing very strongly. It may be congested in places. So, raising the kundalini is a practice where two seemingly opposed qualities of attention - cultivation and receptivity - are merged into one. However, this is not the same thing as force. Force simply does not work on this realm of subtle (and then later, sometimes not-so-subtle) energies.

Thanks for the thorough answer

I look forward to hearing more about your path.

I confess that I have a problem with gurus, in general, but not for the reasons you name. I love wisdom, whatever its source, and true humility is indispensable if one wishes to learn. My biggest problem with gurus is that there are so many instances of lack of integrity, particularly in the sexual area. That doesn't mean one can't learn anything from them, but it disqualifies them in the area in which I am most interested.

My other problem is that I believe it is time for people to be working on getting their own antennas up spiritually. A solid teacher of course believes this, too. But many gurus seem to "feed" off of their followers at an energy level, in part by emphasizing their superiority, in part by "hooking" the devotee on contact with the guru's "charisma." In those cases, they aren't helping their students, and they are earning rotten karma for themselves.

None of this is to suggest that your teacher is guilty of any of these things, and I sincerely hope you will share anything you find valid or helpful.

I'm very farmiliar with all

I'm very farmiliar with all of these issues surrounding gurus, having lived in Santa Fe, NM for awhile - a place full of charlatans and willing followers.

My teacher (see, even I'm shy calling him my guru) does not have any of the characteristics described. There's no hanky panky going on in our johkang.