Introduction to Tibetan Secret Schools
1.1.1 Tibetan Secret Schools
What mentioned in this book about the teachings of Tibetan Secret Schools are those propagating in the world nowadays, those teachings do not mean the true secret gist in the Buddha dharma that can really make the practitioner realize the true secret meaning and see the true reality of the universe. At the very beginning, the main purpose of Tibetan Secret Schools was to help people attain peaceful and joyful conditions in both mind and body through the help and empowerment from all buddhas, bodhisattvas, dharma-protecting dragons and heavenly beings, so that people can free themselves from hindrances during the practice. Therefore, at that time Tibetan Secret Schools only provided the practice methods and ceremonies that were used to ask for dharma-protectors’ help via mantra chanting, rather than the firm structures of present Tibetan Secret Schools. Nowadays the sophisticated doctrines and firm structures of Tibetan Secret Schools are in fact gradually formed by the ancient tantric (esoteric and heretical) founders who added many heretical teachings into the doctrines throughout the long history. Those Tibetan tantric gurus (teachers) mixed up many heterodox views and the theory of Couple-Practice Tantra into Buddhism, but in Buddhist terms. They linked up all the tantric theories about sexuality with the couple practice as the gist of main teachings, and finally generated the current scope of Tibetan Secret Schools. Those are not like what Buddha Sakyamuni has said during the three rounds of dharma transmission on the right practices, which are perfect for all three-vehicles (sound-hearer, solitary-realizer and bodhisattva). Their teachings are diametrically different from the true Buddha dharma in the exoteric Buddhism and the earlier teachings in the sutras of four Agamas, which already have many hints to cover the gist of all three-vehicle dharma. Therefore, it is evident that all the teachings in Tibetan Secret Schools come from the fantasies made and amended by later successors with ordinary people’s mind scopes. Those teachings do not belong to the real Buddhism taught by Buddha Sakyamuni.
The doctrines of Tibetan Secret Schools are actually absurd, weird and beyond common sense. They are the kinds of religions filled with ambiguous sermons and weird practices, and essentially have nothing to do with the real Buddhism. The tantric versions of Liberation-way and Buddhahood-way also completely depart from the authentic doctrines in the Buddhist scriptures. Those wrong theories and teachings seriously misguide people and let many practitioners go astray and attain nothing even through long-time practice. In addition, their followers always indulge in the flawed conditioned dharma of the worldly desires; the more they practice, the worse they become. They cannot salvage themselves from getting endless cyclic rebirths, or even worse, may fall into the three evil paths and get endless suffering. Therefore, the teachings of Tibetan Secret Schools have caused severe harm to their followers.
However, very few people realize such a serious matter. Some practitioners in Tibetan Secret Schools may know it, but they dare not to uncover those secrets in fear of being insulted, attacked, or even killed by other fellow practitioners (as that often happened in Tibetan history). They cannot but keep silent, never daring to speak it to the public, not to say writing on documents. That is why the real face beneath Tibetan Secret Schools is still unknown to the general Buddhist learners. Even some senior intellectuals in modern era, like Chen Lu-an (a famous Taiwanese official) and others, are deceived by their beautiful surface, without any vigilance to discover the fact.
Nowadays, it is an era full of overwhelming and well- organized information. Most of the practitioners are highly educated and without problems to understand the basic Buddha dharma. If someone is willing to uncover the absurd fact of Tibetan Secret Schools regardless of their influential force, and make those dharma-kings, living-buddhas and rinpoches (learned persons) in Tibetan Secret Schools do not have any legitimate reason to refute, that will significantly benefit all Buddhist practitioners since the secret aspects of the tantric doctrines are clarified and well-known. Then, the exoteric Buddhist learners will have the ability to distinguish the heterodox views in Tibetan Secret Schools, and, on the other hand, will have the correct knowledge and right view of the true Buddha dharma. Hence, this disclosure will prevent them from going astray. Furthermore, the tantric practitioners, including dharma-kings and rinpoches, will be willing to convert their minds back to the true Buddha dharma. Then, the situations of falling into the wrong way, being unable to get enlightenment after long-time practicing, or wrongly regarding the conscious mind as the enlightenment and committing the severe deception, will be eliminated. Eventually, the history of the ancient Indian authentic Buddhism being ruined by the secret schools will never repeat in current days. The Buddhist doctrines will be gradually purified. It will be the blessing for Buddhist learners in the coming millennium, since the real Buddhism can be securely delivered without pollution from those tantric devious views.
Henceforth, it is a meaningful and significant task to uncover those heterodox views of Tibetan Secret Schools. All the venerable Buddhists should not just wait and see without taking this matter seriously. That is my genuine purpose to write this book. I hope that all the elders, the venerable, the esoteric or exoteric practitioners, and the dharma-kings of Tibetan Secret Schools will understand my sincerity to salvage all beings. Let us carefully examine the essentials of Tibetan Secret Schools and their heretical views, abandon prejudices, and collaborate with each other to contribute to the everlasting dwelling of the real Buddhism in this world, thus we will benefit the present and the future practitioners.
Moreover, all the tantric learners must deliberately think about the following: “What is the main purpose of my learning the tantric dharma?” If it is for strengthening the body and enjoying the mundane sexual pleasure, you do not have to care my words and just do it. But if your purpose is to learn Liberation and Buddhahood ways, you must give up the tantric dharma, and transfer your mind back to the exoteric immediately. Do not stay in Tibetan Secret Schools any more, since what you have learned are only heretical methods. If you insist on staying there, you must wait until Tibetan Secret Schools are converted back to the righteous and orthodox ones. Otherwise, you must be on the wrong way and attain nothing from your practice; or even worse, you may break bodhisattva’s severe precept since you practice Couple-Practice Tantra, a sexual misconduct. And, from the retribution, it implies that to practice the tantric dharma is to take one’s future in the risk of sufferings in hell for limitless eons, since the proclamation of attaining Buddhahood in a lifetime leads to the karma of committing a severe deception. That is why I should pervasively persuade all practitioners in Tibetan Secret Schools to investigate thoroughly their purposes to learn the tantric dharma. After deliberately and calmly thinking about the purpose, they can make a decision and select the right way to go. That is certainly what a wise man should do. If the tantric practitioners recklessly slander me or the true Buddha dharma without reading through this book, they are unwisely tied up with emotional impulses, since they make criticism prior to thorough understanding the contents.
Plenty of devious views and heretical teachings exist in Tibetan Secret Schools. To sum up, there are two major views: the Theory of No-cause (Ahetukaditthi) in Advanced Middle-Way School (Prasangika Madhyamika), and the theory of attaining Buddhahood in a lifetime via Couple-Practice Tantra in Highest-yoga. In addition, a variety of peculiar or weird practices exist in their dharma. Tibetan Secret Schools traditionally collect all sorts of strange practices originated from heretical or secular schools and put those weird and devious methods together to fabricate their version of practices (such as nectar, the yoga of consciousness transference, etc.), and regard those as some measures for the realization in the Buddha dharma. In fact, those practices have nothing to do with the real Buddhist practices. Since those weird conducts are against the theories and practices of the Buddha dharma, Tibetan Secret Schools are entitled the weird religion.
Moreover, the views, practices, conducts, and fruitions of Tibetan Secret Schools are all fictitious. These empowerments are practically meaningless. The yoga of consciousness transference advocates that the dakini (female sky-walker) will carry the practitioner’s original consciousness to sky-walker’s pure land or the ultimate-bliss pure land. Such a thought is illusory too. The saying in The Great Sun Sutra or Sarva-tathagata-tattva-samgraha Sutra is even more fictitious: “The accomplishment of visualization from the deity to the buddha is equivalent to the attainment of Buddhahood.” The practice of pleading for nectar is related to the conditioned method of the desire-realm and has nothing to do with the real Buddha dharma. Furthermore, the methods like the five kinds of nectar, etc. are very absurd and obscene. They are far away from the real Buddhism.
It is a groundless talk to say that the physical body is the dharma-body (dharmakaya) upon becoming a buddha through this physical body. The cultivations of the Chi-practice and inner heat are not the Buddha dharma. The followings are some other illusory thoughts from heretical schools: visualizing the central-channel and the bright-drop as the bodhi mind, identifying the bright-drop as the Alaya consciousness (the eighth consciousness) which keeps the sentient being alive and maintain a life form, and trying to attain four-dhyanas (four-meditations) and eight-samadhis (eight-concentrations) through cultivating Vase-chi yoga. Those completely depart from the Buddha dharma.
As for Tsongkhapa’s teachings, he reverses the sequence of the practice for Buddhahood-way. He advocates that Buddha Sakyamuni’s sutras of consciousness-only during the third round of dharma transmission are the non-ultimate dharma. On the other hand, he takes the sutras of General-phenomenon-wisdom of middle-way (madhyamika) during the second round of dharma transmission as the ultimate dharma. Fellow practitioners of Gelug School all accept Tsongkhapa’s teachings with faith. In Presentation on the Illustration of Secret Meaning for Entering the Middle-Way, Tsongkhapa adopts exoteric Buddhist scriptures to verify his point that ‘there is no the seventh (Manas) or the eighth (Alaya) consciousness.’ But he quotes the sentence out of context and misunderstands the real meanings taught by Buddha during the third round. Tsongkhapa is entirely unaware of ‘what taught by Buddha in those sutras of consciousness-only during the third round is exactly All-seed-wisdom that a practitioner must learn after realizing the middle-way prajna and General-phenomenon-wisdom.’ Nevertheless, he brings a false charge against All-seed-wisdom in true consciousness-only, which has definitive meanings, as the non-ultimate dharma. Based on this heresy, he negates the existence of the seventh and the eighth consciousnesses in order to avoid people’s accusing him of un-enlightenment. However, he does not know what taught in the middle-way prajna is exactly the nature of middle-way of the eighth consciousness – Thus-come-store. He wrongly proclaims the gist of prajna, saying ‘all dharma is empty’ but leaving out Thus-come-store. Tsongkhapa totally misunderstands the true view of prajna that ‘all dharma being empty is based on the eighth consciousness – Thus-come-store.’ He is only an ordinary person who does not know and never realizes prajna.
Moreover, Tsongkhapa sets up the qualification of guru for Gelug School – whether a person’s feces and urine are fragrant or not. Such a teaching is totally absurd. In the secret empowerment mentioned by Tsongkhapa, the four kinds of secretions gushing out from four different channels in the bodies (i.e., the fragrant feces, the fragrant urine, the semen and the obscene liquid generated from the sexual activity performed by the male guru with his wife or another female consort inside the altar) are put on those disciples’ tongues. They call ‘those kinds of tastes can bring forth the wonderful-bliss samadhi.’ How absurd those are! In his teachings, the final stage of Highest-yoga is to attain and hold the lustful pleasure during the dual operations of the couple practice. He proclaims that if the practitioner can keep this situation, experience the dual operations of bliss and emptiness, and realize the union of bliss and emptiness, this practitioner has attained Buddhahood. Those tantric followers believe and receive his teachings without any doubt. We cannot but question if those tantric practitioners are really wise in common sense? Even a worldly wise person can tell those absurdity, how come the Buddhist learners with their main purpose to learn wisdom cannot? Although the practitioners of Two-vehicles (Sound-hearer and Solitary-realizer) have less prajna wisdom, they are very clear that they should cut off the greed of the desire-realm. How come Tibetan Secret Schools with their unsurpassed tantras beyond three-vehicles are greedily clinging to the desire-realm cravings? Those tantric practitioners advocate that they are ‘using desires as the antidote against desires,’ but actually going far away from the three-vehicle Buddha dharma. They are certainly not the wise people.
As for ‘Bodhisattva’ Candrakirti of the ancient India and Tsongkhapa of Tibet, they both negate the existence of the seventh and the eighth consciousnesses with their personal intents, causing the three-vehicle Buddha dharma to fall into the theory of nihilism and no-cause. It is not only a problem of absurdity, but most seriously that they ruin the root of the Buddha dharma and defame the bodhisattvas. By the definition in The Lankavatara Sutra, as said by Buddha, such a person is ineligible for Buddhahood. But the tantric practitioners have received those teachings with faith and negate both the seventh and the eighth consciousnesses. Those followers are in fact fulfilling their sins after the steps of their unenlightened patriarchs.
Such Tibetan Secret Schools, beginning at the ancient India, expanding to Tibet in the middle centuries, and spreading to the whole world nowadays, continuously promulgate various wrong and perverse views to damage the true Buddha dharma. However, only very few people understand such a serious matter; and nobody dares to uncover those secrets or makes any speech to the public. Through long-term destructions in various manners by Tibetan Secret Schools, the real Buddhism had suffered hugely and had to roll over places by places to finally dwell on this land. However, the essentials of the dharma are almost extinguished; and only very few people understand the true meanings in the three-vehicle dharma expounded by Buddha Sakyamuni. On the verge of no living space available to deliver the orthodox teachings nowadays, how can the true Buddha dharma be further destroyed by Tibetan Secret Schools? How can we stand the doctrines of the true Buddha dharma being substituted for various heterodox views of non-Buddhist paths by Tibetan Secret Schools?
If nobody comes to wipe out the force of evil, distinguishes the right from the wrong, and proclaims the ultimate meanings of the dharma, then, the old story in the ancient India that Buddhism was ruined by the secret schools will happen again in current days. The terrible result will mislead billions of Buddha’s followers. Eventually, there will be a day the essentials of the Buddha dharma are extinguished forever in this world when all Buddha’s followers pervasively receive and accept those heterodox methods with faith.
However, very few people understand such a serious fact. For those people who know the fact, but under the threat of Tibetan Secret Schools, they do not dare to uncover the secrets. Being aware of the terrible influence, I publish the book – Behind the Facade of Tibetan Buddhism, Vol. I – IV with the hope that the fact of Tibetan Secret Schools can be revealed to the public and all the Buddhist practitioners can follow Buddha Sakyamuni’s true teachings. Therefore, I will not feel ashamed to see Buddha after my death, be reborn at wherever assigned by Him at that time, and spread His true teachings again.
1.1.2 The sources for citation
The framework of this book is mainly based on The Way and Its Fruit (Lamdre) – Original Verses (Gatha), Vajra Stanzas, and the Gatha’s Remarks, which was translated into Chinese by Dharmaraksa; its original version, Diamond Verses of the Path and Fruits, was prepared by Virupa (a patriarch of Sakya School in the ancient India) and elaborated by Sakya Pandita. There are other auxiliary references, such as Tsongkhapa’s Extended Treatise on the Progression of the Esoteric Path (or called Great Exposition of Tantra) and many tantras, treatises or writings (refer to Bibliography in Appendix of this book). I choose The Way and Its Fruit (Lamdre) of Sakya School is due to its plenitude of the tantric doctrines, as well as its good structure. And it covers most of the teachings of current Tibetan Secret Schools. However, since the description of the tantric secret meanings in it is usually brief and obscure, lots of additional elaborations are supplemented by other books of other schools. As for those oral pithy instructions on the secret methods in each school, those are already well exposed in scattering tantras or books prepared by their gurus. What necessary is only to link them up according to the required order. Basically, The Way and Its Fruit (Lamdre) acts as the framework of my review – this is the first thing I would like to mention.
Next, there are some supplementary materials from the following references: Extended Treatise on the Progression of the Esoteric Path (by Tsongkhapa), Six Yogas of Naropa (by Nomzi khenpo – Blo-bzan-grags-pa Zam Lam), Yogi Chen's Literary Work Collections (Bending-Forearm School) (by Yogi C.M. Chen), etc. In addition, I also refer to the doctrines of all Tibetan Secret Schools while preparing my work. Each book mentioned above has its respective features. The Way and Its Fruit (Lamdre) is specialized by its orderliness and completeness. Six Yogas of Naropa covers the completion stage and the oral pithy instructions to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime. Extended Treatise on the Progression of the Esoteric Path is one of the authoritative works. And Yogi Chen's Literary Work Collections contains more clear and detailed explanations. In fact, all doctrines of Tibetan Secret Schools mix together and make very few differences. (Notes: (1) Dharmaraksa, the Chinese translator of The Way and Its Fruit (Lamdre), is originally named Tseng Ching-chung. (2) Sakya-Pandita is the fourth-generation patriarch of Sakya School. (3) Originally, the contents of The Way and Its Fruit (Lamdre) were assembled into eight big volumes. Later on, Jamyang Khyentse, the first-generation patriarch, called an assembly council for further supplements and general summaries. He had learned the tantric dharma from over 300 gurus, and had been honored as the top fruition from rebirth. (4) Jamyang Khyentse had assembled The Way and Its Fruit (Lamdre); and Dharmaraksa had translated it into Chinese. Their efforts give me a great help to convert Tantric Buddhism back to the right way. They both are really worthy of getting merits and virtues.)
Although there are over 200 volumes of books about Tibetan Secret Schools on hand, I merely cited some representative ones as my supporting documents. For instance, Six Yogas of Naropa is a representative one due to many oral pithy instructions in it. Yogi C.M. Chen has promoted the way of secret schools and wrote the literary work collections to elaborate Highest-yoga. He totally disclosed the mystery of the tantric dharma, allowing the Buddhist practitioners to easily understand the real face and identify the wrong views of the tantras. Because of their great contributions, now I can have the opportunity to correct the evil thoughts of Tibetan Secret Schools. For these reasons I select them as my major cited sources. On the other hand, some other literal works are for reference only, since those are just plagiarized from the works done by previous patriarchs or gurus, making no big difference with each other.
As for ‘Master’ Khedrupje, he just follows Tsongkhapa’s conventions and always argues irrationally. His works distort and accuse the view of the emptiness of other from Jonang School, so as to suppress the thoughts of Thus-come-store of Jonang School. The contents in his books, such as in Broad Illustration on the General Structure of Tantra Families, are almost the same as those of Tsongkhapa’s. Therefore, his books are not cited here. For those works by current gurus of Tibetan Secret Schools, most of them are just plagiarized from the works done by ancient patriarchs, so I do not cite them. All the references are listed as ‘Bibliography’ in Appendix. In order to support my criticisms, I cite many passages from those books, together with the respective cited location specified at the end of each passage.
The tantras in Tibetan Secret Schools can be divided into two categories – the ‘sutras’ and the ‘tantras.’ The sutras pertain to their so-called ‘buddhas.’ They include those listed in the esoteric section of Taisho Tripitaka, such as The Great Sun Sutra, The Diamond Peak Sutra, etc. However, those sutras were collectively created by many tantric patriarchs during the late period of ancient ‘Buddhism’ in India, and then compiled and amended through quite a long time. They fabricated the story that Bodhisattva Nagajuri found those sutras, which are Buddha Vairocana’s teachings, from an old iron tower. However, all sutras of three-vehicles never have such a prophecy. All the doctrines mentioned in the tantric sutras conflict with the doctrines in all sutras of Liberation-way and Buddhahood-way. Those contradictions will be described in detail afterward. Those tantric sutras are also the important sources cited in this book.
The ‘tantra’ family was created by the patriarchs of Tibetan Secret Schools, including Maha Vairocana’s Manifestation of True Enlightenment Tantra, Four Vajra Throne Tantra, Extensive Explanation on the Bodhi Mind Shastras, Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, etc. Those tantras, listed in the secret schools of Taisho Tripitaka, also include the mantra chanting methods and rituals. In summary, all writings about the tantric theories or practices by the tantric patriarchs belong to tantras, no matter declared to be the sutras from ‘buddhas’ or not. Those tantras are also parts of my references in this book, except those rituals for practice due to nothing to do with the doctrines.
However, the tantras family can be further categorized into four divisions or seven divisions. The traditional four-division tantras in Tibetan Buddhism include Action, Performance, Yoga, and Highest-yoga. As for the seven-division tantras, there are three more tantras: Discrimination Tantra (derived from Performance Tantra), Second-toga Tantra (from Yoga Tantra), and Great-yoga Tantra (from Expediency Father Tantra or Wisdom Mother Tantra of Highest-yoga Tantra). There is another category as the six-division tantras. This category further divides Highest-yoga Tantra in the four-division tantras into Father, Mother and Non-dual Tantras; together with other three tantras – Action, Performance and Yoga, there are totally six divisions.
Action Tantra primarily focuses on taking refuge, purifying the body, and setting up the altar. Performance Tantra emphasizes the offerings to one’s guru to accumulate one’s merits and virtues in order to be qualified for the further learning – the cultivation of one’s external behaviors such as one’s body and speech, and mantra chanting. Yoga Tantra aims mainly at the practices of the expedient yoga and ‘Samadhi’ (Father Tantra), while also covers the wisdom yoga (Mother Tantra). For instance, The Auspices of Tantra Kings and Extensive Explanation of the Secrets is the representative work of Father Tantra; The Supreme Bliss Exercise Tantra, describing the exercise of women’s bliss, represents the major teachings of Mother Tantra. Highest-yoga Tantra focuses on the practices of both expediency and wisdom (joint exercise of Father and Mother Tantras), and the non-duality of them. Highest-yoga Tantra means that it is the best, beyond all other tantric practices. It is exactly the joint sexual practice performed by a couple of male and female practitioners. They enjoy the so-called dual operations of bliss and emptiness, and the union of bliss and emptiness during the sexual practice. All of those methods in Highest-yoga Tantra, including Father and Mother Tantras, belong to Couple-Practice Tantra, and must be practiced by the male and female couple.
Tsongkhapa further divided Father Tantra of Couple-Practice Tantra into four tantras: embracing, holding hands, talking and smiling, and gazing. He stated in Extended Treatise on the Progression of the Esoteric Path:
Discussant Vajra also agrees the point of the four tantras in Explanation on the Secrets of Union. In Chapter 11 of Vajra’s Awesome and Splendor Tantra, it first illustrates the differences among Greed Tantras of Expediency Tantra, and then concludes: “This clarifies the embracing with each other, and the differences among those tantras. Hence, holding hands, smiling, and gazing should be known in the similar way.” This saying can explain the teachings, and tell the differences among the four tantras. At that time, those tantras are also named as Smiling, Gazing, Holding-hands, and Embracing or Couple-union (the union of the male and the female sexual organs). … Since the pleasure produced by smiling, gazing, holding hands or embracing is taken as the way, it is also usual to think of the craving for desire as the way of practice. For example, The Twenty-fifth Ear of Grain states: “The four tantras of Action, Performance, Yoga, and Highest-yoga are represented by smiling, gazing, embracing and holding hands. Thus in Action Tantra and others, sometimes the deities in gazing manifest both the wisdom and expediency methods with greedy desire; sometimes by smiling, holding hands, embracing, or even by couple-union.” Also as described in Chapter 3 of Later Discrimination, “with smiling, gazing, embracing, and couple-union, there are four kinds of tantras.” Discussant Stillness states: “It is called the four just because the tantras of Action, Performance, Yoga, and Highest-yoga mean smiling, gazing, embracing, and couple-union. Thus in Action Tantra and others, there are the deities of ‘expediency and wisdom’ revealing the smile, gaze, embrace, or couple-union, depending on their greedy desires.”
As mentioned in Explanation on the Secrets of Union by Discussant Vajra: “The smiling, gazing, holding hands, etc., indicate that the greatest sexual tactile bliss of non-discriminating mental state is induced via listening to the laughing, gazing at the desired one, holding hands, or performing copulation. (Their minds abide in a mental state of greatest sexual bliss without conscious discrimination.) The worm is used as a simile describing the state of reaching such subtlest great bliss to realize the nature of emptiness, with no more outflows of emotional defilements. (This will be further illustrated in Chapter 9.) Just like a worm eating the tree since born there, the subtlest Samadhi generated from the great bliss is conducive to cultivating the nature of emptiness. (In the Samadhi state of a unified mind produced by the lustful sexual bliss, one should cultivate the nature of emptiness from ‘the nature of dependent arising in all phenomena being empty.’) … By means of the craving for desire that embraces the female consort (a female sex-mate in Couple-Practice Tantra) as a way to bring forth bodhi, the male practitioner in Highest-yoga Tantra practices through touching a female consort’s real body, or only by visualizing a female consort in his own mind if without a real one, will generate the bliss from those greedy desires like smiling, etc. Those are all regarded as the right way. (They take the greedy desires in Couple-Practice Tantra as the right way to attain Buddhahood.) In the lower three tantras, a practitioner can conditionally practice with a wisdom concubine. (The female practitioner’s sex organ will bring forth the wisdom for the male practitioner during practicing Couple-Practice Tantra.) Thus, in a broad sense, the joy generated via desire touching is regarded as the way. The practitioner in Yoga Tantra is not allowed to practice the union of the male and the female sexual organs. Except for the touch of sexual organs, the practitioner still can have the bliss generated from touching hands and embracing as the way of Yoga Tantra. In both Action and Performance Tantras, the practitioner can only enjoy the bliss generated from smiling and gazing as the way, without any touch. The meanings of ‘building up the four tantras in Highest-yoga Tantra’ are illustrated as above.” [21: 44-46]
In Tsongkhapa’s writings, there is another method to define the four-division tantras – using the expediency method of desire as the way to practice the view of emptiness-nature and Heaven-yoga:
To observe and handle lots of external affairs is the key point of Action Tantra. To keep the external affairs and the internal concentration in balance, not handling too many external affairs, is the key point of Performance Tantra. To abide primarily in the internal concentration, and let go most of the external affairs is the key point of Yoga Tantra. Not to handle the external affairs at all and to be able to generate Highest-yoga is the key point of Highest-yoga Tantra. In summary, to make progress of cultivation through external affairs is Action Tantra; to keep balance between the external affair and the internal concentration is Performance Tantra; to emphasize on the internal concentration is Yoga Tantra; and to dwell in the yoga that no other can surpass is Highest-yoga Tantra. [21: 47]
1.1.3 Mostly about Tibetan Secret Schools
Nowadays, the so-called esoteric Buddhism mostly refers to Tibetan Secret Schools. They consist mainly of the four schools – Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug. Hence, the tantras prepared by the patriarchs of these four schools are the major sources of this book. Due to their differences of the doctrines in detail, I could not describe them one by one. By reserving the gist of their teachings, I summarized their tantras with given examples, but left aside the minor differences among those schools. As for Japanese Esoteric Buddhism (the esoteric Buddhism of Japan transmitted from China in Tang Dynasty), since it is deeply rooted in Japanese community as a common social faith, neither trying to spread outside Japan nor negatively influencing the true dharma of Buddhism, it is not a matter of my concern. In addition, Japanese Esoteric Buddhism does not deliver Couple-Practice Tantra. By these reasons I left them out of my book. On the other hand, Tibetan Secret Schools, due to their heretical views, obscene practice methods, spreading worldwide, and seriously destroying the true Buddhism, have become my main concern in order to illustrate and protect Buddha Sakyamuni’s true dharma. Those are the reasons why I criticized Tibetan Secret Schools rather than Japanese Esoteric Buddhism in this book.
Furthermore, sometimes I put notes in some clause of the cited passage by parentheses so that the hints of tantras could be more understandable. Actually I had never practiced Tibetan tantras in this life. But during my younger age, I loved to pursue all kinds of practice methods, including sitting meditation, fist fight, Chi-practice, and Taoist technique. In addition, after reading Headstream of Schisms and Sectarians by Thuhu in recent years, I had gradually experienced something of my past lives during my samadhi state or in the dreams. With these experiences, I knew that I had twice been the dharma-king of Jonang School. During those lifetimes, I could not but transmit the dharma of Kalachakra Vajra in order to cover my actual transmission of the true dharma of Thus-come-store. By the retrospective knowledge about the Kalachakra Vajra from my past lives, more or less, I could recover my perception of those secret meanings in the tantric dharma, and put some notes.
The theory and practice methods of Tibetan Secret Schools mentioned in this book, especially on the topics of secret empowerment and Highest-yoga, are somewhat obscene and lustful. I could not but describe the fact because they are the real face of Tibetan Secret Schools. Moreover, if not illustrating them in a clear manner based on the fact, but instead, by some implicit or veiled statements, I am afraid that some tantric gurus or superstitious followers will still grasp their personal fames and mundane benefits, purposely use sophisticated arguments for self-defense, and say that there is no such dharma in Tibetan Secret Schools. Then, Buddha’s followers may be wondering about the truth, and may misplace their confidence to believe what is unreliable. Henceforth, the heretical dharma of Tibetan Secret Schools will latently exist, and will be secretly and extensively promulgated within the Buddhist world. At that time, we will have no chance to expel them from the true Buddhism. In order for the general public to understand the real face of Tibetan Secret Schools behind their beautiful covers, I must make my statements clear and detailed according to the facts, regardless of the dilemma of describing the obscene teachings in those tantras. I sincerely hope the reader can understand it.
If someone wants to blame those obscene descriptions, one should blame the tantric founders who have ever fabricated their tantras in such a nature. Actually, it is not me who created those kinds of dharma, nor have I added any other dharma upon their teachings. The tantric practices are originally illusory and obscene in their nature. I never bring a false charge against them or put additional material on their dharma. What I am doing now is just telling the truth. Furthermore, in view that there are some Buddhist learners who are not well-educated, they may be more easily deluded by Tibetan Secret Schools. And if I describe those practice scenarios in an obscure manner, statements in this book will be unintelligible for them. Therefore, for those tantric keywords or terms with latent meanings, I clearly noted them by parentheses. Hence the connotative meaning in Couple-Practice Tantra inevitably becomes more obvious for all of us. That is the way I cannot help going in order to protect The World-honored One’s true teachings during the period of the degenerate dharma. I hope all intelligent people can witness it!
1.2 Bright-drop, energy-flow and Highest-yoga as the roots of practices in Tibetan Secret Schools
1.2.1 Bright-drop, energy-flow and Highest-yoga
In Tibetan Secret Schools, the practices of bright-drop and energy-flow (chi) are the bases to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime – to accomplish Highest-yoga through Couple-Practice Tantra. After completing the bright-drop and the energy-flow practices, the practitioner can then learn Highest-yoga. Moreover, through the cultivation of Couple-Practice Tantra in Highest-yoga, he may attain the ‘fruition of Buddhahood.’ Hence, bright-drop, energy-flow and Highest-yoga are the roots of the tantric practices. And the method to attain Buddhahood in a lifetime in Highest-yoga is taken as the gist of Tibetan Secret Schools. If readers are interested in the practice of energy-flow, they may refer to The Chi-Practice of Tibetan Tantric Schools.
Based on false thoughts, the tantric patriarchs believe that after learning bright-drop and energy-flow, it is possible to accomplish four-dhyanas and eight-samadhis, and to obtain the mundane fruition such as ascending to the desire-realm, or even to the form-realm or formless-realm heavens. As stated in The Way and Its Fruit (Lamdre) – Vajra Stanzas, and the Gatha’s Remarks:
The practitioner can validate four-dhyanas and eight-samadhis through practicing the guiding way of energy-flow, realm-nectar and channel-syllable. He can also ‘merge himself into the great buddha-mother and the wisdom-paramita mother’s palace, perceive the dharma-body and cut off the double attachments.’ That means he will get enlightened, verify the dharma-body, and relieve himself from the attachments to self and others as well as the attachments to self and dharma. [61: 371, 487, 492, 493]
They also falsely believe that through the accomplishment of practicing bright-drop, energy-flow and visualizing channel-syllable, a practitioner can get away from three evil paths, attain the supra-mundane fruition and become an ‘un-deluded bodhisattva’ (detailed in [61: 478-491]). They misunderstand that the accomplishment of bright-drop and energy-flow can attain the wisdom from realizing prajna and leave both the object being eliminated and the eliminating mind (detailed in [61: 494-495]). They also wrongly regard that it is possible to attain four pure lands through the energy-center (chakra) in the body (detailed in [61: 552-553]).
Furthermore, they mistake the visualized bright-drop for the bodhi mind. For instance, as stated by Tsongkhapa in Teaching King’s Victorious Extensive Explanation of the Fifth Orderly Progress of Caus-and-Effect on Illustrating the Virtue Torch Treatise: “After reaching the ultimate-ness of the rough and subtle generation stage, a practitioner can use the wisdom seal (mudra) to descend the bodhi mind from the top to the secret lower end (the glans of penis or clitoris; for female, the secret end sometimes indicate the orifice of uterus, or called ‘conch-like nerve’). …” In fact, the bodhi mind is the eighth consciousness (Thus-come-store) inherently existing in all sentient beings. With neither form nor appearance, how come this bodhi mind can be visualized as the bright-drop? The true bodhi mind always exists together with a sentient being’s eighteen-divisions of sense (six sense-objects, six sense-organs and six sense-consciousnesses), concurrently and pervasively. How come it can become the bright-drop to be accumulated in the physical heart by the practitioner’s visualization, or even to be descended to the secret lower root charka? Nevertheless, all Tibetan Secret Schools, including Kadam School at the beginning and the later four major schools, mistake the bright-drop for the true bodhi mind. That entirely violates the sage teachings in the three-vehicle scriptures.
All the ancient and present tantric gurus believe that they can accomplish the three-bodies (trikayas) and the four-wisdoms of the Buddha ground through the main practice of bright-drop and the supplementary practices of the cause empowerment, way empowerment, wisdom empowerment, unsurpassed secret empowerment and the visualization of channel-syllable (detailed in [61: 559-561]). In fact, those never belong to the Buddha dharma and have nothing to do with the way to Buddhahood.
About the oral pithy instructions, Milarepa said:
When accepting the oral pithy instructions, I feel like the salt dissolving in water. When the wisdom appears in my mind, I can free from the uncertainty of right or wrong and wake up from the deluded dream. When attaining the bliss from my deep visualization, I feel everything is free itself, just like the vapor disappears in the space. …When the wisdom of the original luminous-body appears, I find it is so clear like a mirror. …When conducting myself without gain or loss, I become more relaxed. …The environment and my consciousness are separated like the separation of the horses from the cows. The rope between my mind and the aggregate is cut. Thus, I have completely attained the yoga practice through the utilization of my body. [4(3): 480]
From the above instructions, what Milarepa discloses is to regard the consciously visualized luminous-body that stays in the union of bliss and emptiness as the attainment of Buddhahood. In this way, Milarepa has not yet realized the true bodhi mind, but takes the bright-drop as the eighth consciousness – Thus-come-store. He has not seen the way of Great-vehicle (Mahayana), let alone to attain Buddhahood. How come he can talk about the cultivation of fruition ground regarding to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime?
Since those ancient and present tantric gurus practice dhyana (meditation) or samadhi (concentration) via the methods of Great-seal of clear-light, bright-drop, energy-flow, and Couple-Practice Tantra, they certainly cannot realize four-dhyanas and eight-samadhis. Therefore, their levels of dhyanas must be very low because their conditions are never apart from the lustful desire of desire-realm. Whatever dhyana or samadhi they acquire is certainly not beyond the boundary of the desire-realm dhyana or samadhi. For instance, even the validation of the first-level dhyana must keep away from the lustful desire. Such practice methods in the ‘tantric dhyana or samadhi’ are all with illusory perception and belong to false thinking about dhyana or samadhi. They are far away from the real dhyana. Regarding the practice methods of bright-drop and energy-flow, I will illustrate them in Chapter 2. As for Highest-yoga, the bliss non-conceptual state, the dual operations of bliss and emptiness, the union of bliss and emptiness, etc., they will be detailed in Chapter 9.
1.2.2 The double secrets of Tibetan Secret Schools
The double secrets of Tibetan Secret Schools are: the dharma-nature secret and the dependent arising secret. The dharma-nature secret refers to Liberation-way through the dual operations of clarity and emptiness – Great-seal of self-liberation via experiencing the emptiness nature of the luminous-body. The dependent arising secret refers that, depending on the lustful touch through Couple-Practice Tantra, the practitioner visualizes the union of bliss and emptiness and validates the liberation. That is to say, he uses the method of lustful desire as the way.
As stated by Yogi C.M. Chen, a very famous Chinese tantric teacher in recent years:
Originally there were double secrets in Tibetan Secret Schools: first, the dharma-nature secret; and second, the dependent arising secret. The dharma-nature secret is pretty subtle, but its nature is very plain. When the practitioner does not get enlightened, he cannot find it at all; but once getting enlightened, he will find the dharma-nature becomes very common. Although this method has very few side effects, it is difficult to attain. By contrast with the dharma-nature secret, the depending arising secret is more rough and dangerous. When performing the copulation (sexual intercourse), the practitioners may get special effects. But if misusing it, they may fall down. … While the former means Great-seal (Mahamudra), the latter is Action Seal (Karmamudra). The former is also called Liberation-way; the latter is also called Expediency-way, or the way of desire, which is opposite to the meaning of liberation. Both ways have their respective secrecy. … The dharma-nature secret means that the nature of dharma is absolutely apart from languages and words and nobody can make the nature. When teaching Great-seal, the tantric masters try to elaborate on it; but its essence, the luminous-body, has never been revealed. In another way, Zen School is more realistic. Zen, a separate transmission beyond the doctrines, does not use any language or words. Its secrecy is more obvious. The practitioner cannot grasp it until really verifying it. … For instance, a venerable monk, called Monk Beating-ground, tried to explain his particular realization. But his talks were all about the dharma-nature, which nobody could understand. He had to beat the ground with his stick to express it. Then one day, someone hid his stick, he could not answer anything but only opened his mouth. The monk just touched the full dharma-nature for the first time, and still stayed at the initial stage of enlightenment. Therefore, he could not understand it entirely. Only after attaining the third stage of enlightenment, could he explain it fluently. … The situation that Monk Beating-ground could not say a word at that moment is just like what the ancient Chinese poet Su Tung-po said, “In the normal view, the mountain shows as ridges; but from the side view, it shows as peaks. The same mountain looks different, depending on viewing far away or near by, or from a higher or lower position. I do not know the true face of Lu Mountain, but I am sure that I am here.” Following the style of Su Tung-po’s poem, I would like to write a poem for Monk Beating-ground: “Emptiness fills to the edge of all peaks. It is so abundant, allowing none to tell the difference. Although it is difficult to explain the true face of Lu Mountain, I am sure that I am breathing here.” [34: 8-9]
However, Yogi C. M. Chen is still ignorant of Monk Beating- ground’s secret gist. The sayings mentioned above are just from his speculation. Yogi C. M. Chen also said:
Even the buddha himself cannot describe the analogy like it. Most ancient Tibetan and Chinese masters described it as the space. (In fact, only ancient Tibetan masters described it as such, rather than the really enlightened masters in ancient China.) However, if one imagines the space over one’s head is the dharma-nature, is the lower ground under him not the dharma-nature? How about the one in the middle who makes such imagination? Is he not the dharma-nature? ... After understanding it thoroughly, I am really aware that: “Not only the upper direction is like the clear sky without a piece of cloud, but the downward direction, all four directions, and even the inside of my body are the same. There is nothing but clear space in all directions – outside or inside, up or down, or left or right, without any surface or interior. It is just like a boundless sphere. Inside it, there is no practitioner who can see it, and nor the dharma-nature that is seen. Since none can see it and no nature is seen, the truth shows naturally. The secrecy is due to the secret of the dharma-nature itself. No one can keep that secret from revealing. When it reveals naturally, it shows without any effort. It is a secret for the people who have no experience with it. But it is very common for the people who have once experienced it.”
The dharma-nature secret is just like a big transparent crystal ball. People in the east can see through to the west side; and those in the west can see through to the east side too. We cannot indicate that the east side is the crystal ball, nor can we say that the west side is. Suppose the dharma-nature as a whole is the crystal ball to be uplifted, who can make it? If there is a person who can really uplift it, then can one be outside the dharma-nature? That person himself is also part of the dharma-nature, and then can anyone else uplift him together with the dharma-nature? However, both the tantric and the exoteric Buddhism all advocate using it as a whole. How to use that whole? Nobody can understand, illustrate or realize it, unless one has gone through all those experiences and gotten enlightened. That is why it is the inconceivable secret.
The dharma-nature is available everywhere. The master cannot transmit the teachings orally, nor can the student comprehend it mentally. … Nevertheless, with wishful thinking, Tibetan Secret Schools set up the expedient methods through the great perfection and Great-seal to guide the practitioner to the fourth empowerment (the union of bliss and emptiness via Couple-Practice Tantra). Zen School has a special method through observing the student’s spiritual capacity and directly pointing to his enlightenment. They can obtain the sharp roots, but eventually cannot break through the secret of dharma-nature. The only way is to allow the person who has had the experience in the past life to validate it personally. Upon validating, the dharma-nature secret is ordinary to the practitioner. But there is no special recipe for revealing it. [34: 10-13]
Those are exactly what the ancient and current tantric patriarchs realized. Some of them view the mental state of thoughtless pristine awareness, the union of clarity and emptiness (nothing), as getting enlightenment. Some other persons, such as Yogi C. M. Chen, consider the visualized space in all directions, like a boundless empty sphere, as the dharma-nature. Although they proclaim the first secrets of Tibetan Secret Schools, those are actually the illusory states of the conscious mind. What the very secret of dharma-nature realized by Zen School is the eighth consciousness, which is used by each sentient being everyday. This consciousness can be realized and operated. It always exists regardless of the practitioner’s visualization. It appears not during visualization only, and is visible to the practitioner even without visualization. It is absolutely not achievable through such tantric visualization. Hence, the dharma-nature mentioned by Yogi C. M. Chen is by no means the real dharma-nature of the true Buddhism. His dharma-nature is just the illusory perception. But this perception of visualization is still within the scope of the real dharma-nature, since the perception is manifested by the real dharma-nature – the eighth consciousness. Yogi C. M. Chen made such a speculative assertion because he never knew where the eighth consciousness was.
As mentioned by Tibetan Secret Schools, the dependent arising secret means ‘the dependent arising secret of the experience from the wisdom and virtues of Buddhahood.’ In other words, it is Couple-Practice Tantra of copulation. Due to this method, Tibetan Secret Schools proclaim their practice to be the ‘fruition ground,’ and assert that it allows the practitioner to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime. Hence, they debase the exoteric Buddhism as the practice of ‘cause ground,’ being unable to attain Buddhahood in a lifetime. Now let us look how the ‘dependent arising secret’ was stated by Yogi C.M. Chen:
The following describes the dependent arising secret of the experience from the wisdom and virtues of Buddhahood. In the later-acquired samadhi, the buddha gets the wisdom of wonderful observations and accomplishing deeds, and brings forth wisdom and compassion. Since his dharma-body of Buddhahood is the same as all sentient beings’ dharma bodies, this dharma-body has eighteen distinctive characteristics that can fully understand everything done by each sentient being in the past, at present or in the future. In the fundamental samadhi, the buddha does not have any self attachment and the defilement of ignorance, so that he can know all sentient beings’ buddha-natures and karmas, just like he knows the fruit held in his palm. Together with the experiences obtained, the buddha sets up all kinds of expedient practices to shorten the time required to attain Buddahood. It will take three measureless eons in the exoteric Buddhism usually. Hence Vajra-vehicle is established.
Based on the experiences with attaining Buddhahood, the dependent arising secret is created as the expedient methods to attain Buddhahood in a lifetime. In Small-vehicle and Great-vehicle of the exoteric Buddhism, the buddha lets sentient beings know how to use the mental practice to attain arhat’s or bodhisattva’s fruition. But only in the secret schools, the buddha use the dependent arising secret from his own experiences to set up the methods to attain the buddha's body. These kinds of methods, such as practicing a deity’s karma of body, speech and mind, visualizing his body, and chanting the mantra, are systematically collected to become the methods for the fruition of Buddhahood. Henceforth, we have all kinds of methods, such as accomplishing the buddha’s body through the five aspects in Highest-yoga, practicing the deity’s generation stage (kyerim) and completion stage (dzogrim), etc. The dependent arising secret is the same as the dharma-nature of Liberation-way in the exoteric Buddhism, and is indescribable with any simile. For all the verifiable experiences of Buddhahood, the buddha takes himself as the simile to make the practitioners follow his conduct, speech and mind. That is how the buddha creates the dependent arising secrets of the triple-secret correspondences. The buddha knows, in the fundamental samadhi, it is hard to describe the dharma-nature. Only the buddha can understand buddhas, and the buddha can attain Buddhahood; all buddhas share the same way. All sentient beings have their own buddha-nature and can become buddhas. The buddha collects all those precious experiences into the secret methods. In addition, he teaches the method of empowerment to inspire the practitioners. In summary, to teach the future buddhas, using real experiences of Buddhahood as the expedient secret is the wonderful dependent arising secret.
The following describes the dependent arising secret from the form (appearance). In the dharma-nature secret, there is the secret about the non-sentient beings to preach the dharma (phenomena). Similarly, in the dependent arising secret, there is the secret about the dependence on the forms. Those non-sentient objects have some forms after union or combination. For common objects, such as the pestle (male sexual organ) with the form of vajra and the bell (female sexual organ) with the form of lotus, the union of the two brings forth a set of the highest secret of Tibetan Secret Schools. Other objects in the world, like the convex vs. the concave, the pestle vs. the mortar, the lock vs. the key, the positive electricity vs. the negative electricity, the sky vs. the ground, the mountain vs. the river, the sun vs. the moon, etc., are all non-sentient beings. But they tell something about the sentient. Tibetan Secret Schools practice the symbolic hand seals (or hand gestures, mudras) in various forms, such as a deity, a dharma-vessel, an indicator, or an action. Each hand seal has its particular wondrous usage. Practicing the seal is very responsive. And those efforts would never be in vain.
The following describes the dependent arising secret of the unconditional dharma-body. The dharma-body is free from any condition. It is originally the secret of dharma-nature. However, based on the experiences of Buddhahood, the buddha finds there are various dependent arising conditions that can make the luminosity of dharma-nature and emptiness-nature appear. Those include the conditions like being drunk, during sexual intercourse, in a coma, during empowerment, in meditation, dying, in the sleep, etc. They are well stated in The Hevajra Perfect Stage. Also The Orally Taught Treatise mentions, “The bliss of dharma-body pervades emptiness, death, coma, and sleep. It can be perceived in an instant of yawn or sneeze.” However, the bliss happens too fast to be found by all sentient beings. The buddha can perceive the instant luminosity of the dharma-body from all beings. With great compassion, the buddha prescribes the recipe for perceiving the luminosity of dharma-body in one’s sleep without any dream. The entire canon of desire way aims to use the expediency of sexual intercourse (the expediency by sexual technique) and the practices of Chi and bright-drop to generate four kinds of joy and four classes of emptiness. This sequence conforms to the dependent arising secret. [34: 15-19]
Such two secrets both rely on practicing the conscious mind as the practice of ‘fruition level’ to attain Buddhahood in a lifetime. In this method, the tantric practitioners use the lustful desire as the way, and try to keep the sexual climax lasting longer by suppressing ejaculation through the practice of Chi and bright-drop. While staying at the sexual climax, they realize the ‘formless’ of sexual pleasure and regard it as the ‘emptiness-nature.’ In such a way, they proclaim their realization of emptiness-nature and achievement of the union of bliss and emptiness. Moreover, during the long lasting period of the sexual climax, they raise another notion – one should never have greedy desire for sexual bliss. In this way, they keep the sexual climax lasting longer and enjoy the lustful pleasure all over the body. That is entitled the supreme bliss of the Buddha ground, or the complete omniscience. That is the tantric recipe for attaining Buddhahood in a lifetime. They regard it as the most valuable one and keep it secret. Tibetan Secret Schools are very proud of it, since they assume it to be the supreme dharma for the practice of ‘fruition level.’
Therefore, Yogi C.M. Chen said:
For worshiping the self-natures of the five buddhas, there are five kinds of corresponding wisdom: Wisdom of Essential Nature of Dharma-Realm from form-aggregate vs. Buddha Vairochana; Wisdom of Great Mirror from consciousness- aggregate vs. Buddha Immovable Vajra; Wisdom of Equality from reception-aggregate vs. Buddha Ratnasambhava; Wisdom of Wonderful Observations from perception- aggregate vs. Buddha Amitabha; and Wisdom of Accomplishing Deeds from formation-aggregate vs. Buddha Amoghasiddhi. Those five buddhas, five kinds of wisdom, and five aggregates are all diverged from the essence of great bliss.
The essence of great bliss here means the perceptive mind staying long in the state of sexual pleasure. That is to say, Tibetan Secret Schools regard the perceptive mind with such great bliss as the essence of life for all sentient beings. Hence, the so-called ‘five buddhas and five kinds of wisdom’ realized by the tantric practitioners are the practice through the lustful touch. They believe it is the authentic realization of the Buddha dharma. But in fact, the state they obtain is still within the scope of the ordinary awareness mind. They never know where the seventh consciousness is, let alone the eighth consciousness taught by Buddha Sakyamuni. Such a wrong practice does not stand a chance for even the slightest touch to prajna. They are incapable of seeing the way, and should not call their method as the supreme dharma for the practice of ‘fruition level.’ With such a kind of wrong method, it is absolutely impossible to get enlightened in spite of practicing for eons.
In summary, Tibetan Secret Schools regard the visualization of central-channel and bright-drop, together with the Vase-chi yoga, as the formal practices. But all these kinds of practices have nothing to do with the Buddha dharma. We should not believe their practices can achieve the level of fruition. And the dharma-nature secret they focus on is by no means the real dharma-nature. Their dependent arising secret about practicing the union of bliss and emptiness according to Couple-Practice Tantra never has any connection to the true Buddha dharma. Those are all illusory obscene practices and not Buddha Sakyamuni’s true teachings at all.
1.3 Tibetan Secret Schools – the so-called better latecomers?
The practitioners of Tibetan Secret Schools always exaggerate their religion as a surpassing latecomer, and regard their teachings as the ultimate ones in Buddhism. Yogi C.M. Chen said in his book:
Relying upon the buddha, the practitioner can hear the correct dharma, think by himself and make the right choices. He can then follow the theory and rules to practice sequentially; following the paths of the merit accumulation, preparatory practice, seeing-the-way, cultivating-the-truth, and nothing-more-to-learn, he accomplishes the five paths, then ten grounds, the equal-enlightenment, and finally the wonderful-enlightenment. To speed up the process, Tibetan Secret Schools thus have the last and uppermost teachings to let the practitioner fulfill his great vow of attaining Buddhahood in a lifetime to benefit others. … In our universe, the value of life is to pursue virtue while getting rid of vice, to follow precepts while getting rid of desires, to repent sins while accumulating merits, to change the individual’s karma into good one for entering the heavenly world. Or, one can follow the teachings of Small-vehicle: taking refuge in Buddhism, learning the four noble-truths of selflessness, practicing on concentration and contemplation, and finally gaining the fourth fruition of being an arhat – the highest achievement. Regarding Great-vehicle, for those who accept the teachings of Small-vehicle, eliminate their selflessness, and get rid of all the evil views, ignorance and desires, they have the base of Great-vehicle. Regarding the Tantra-vehicle, for those who have the base of selflessness, are not polluted by worldly cravings and desires, further approach the two kinds of selflessness in Great-vehicle, and bring forth the foregoing three bodhi minds, they have the base of Tantra-vehicle. [34: 22-23]
However, if the tantric practitioners have the base of practice in three-vehicles and the correct understanding of the Buddha dharma, they will never agree with all the methods of visualization and the theory of attaining Buddhahood in a lifetime, because those completely conflict with the true meaning of the Buddha dharma in three-vehicles. The more they practice, the farther they deviate from the true doctrines. The tantric dharma actually has never been the true Buddha dharma at all, let alone the expedient one of surpassing latecomer. Their teachings are ridiculous and wrong. We will give examples to illustrate them later.
Yogi C.M. Chen further stated:
Tantra-vehicle is the better latecomer. After getting the education from Great-vehicle, the tantric Buddhists understand the dependent arising of true-suchness. They do not reject the material as those of Small-vehicle, nor do they attach to the mind-only theory as those of Great-vehicle. Therefore they advocate the yoga of six elements. The six elements include the first five form elements – earth, water, fire, wind, and emptiness, together with the mental (formless) element – consciousness. Both of these form and mental elements show a perfect union in the fundamental substance of true-suchness. By the practice of Tibetan Secret Schools, the six elements may influence each other, unite perfectly, and finally form a tendency to return to the fundamental substance of true-suchness. Hence the true-suchness and buddha-nature may also gradually return to its original state. Based on it, we can further promote the correct view of Tibetan Secret Schools, in order to guide and speed up the cultivation of consciousness and the other five elements. The boundless seed-natures of the six elements of earth, water, fire, wind, emptiness, and consciousness are merged into the essential nature of true-suchness. The earth element is supporting and firming; the water element is nourishing and developing; the fire element is ripening and lightening; the wind element is moving and spreading; the emptiness element contains consciousness and is perfect; and the consciousness element is permeating and discriminating. When its conditions are met, the seed-nature of any element will arise and then the element of view could exert its guiding function.
Based on the dependent arising of the seven elements and the tantric practices such as the union of mind and chi, the red and the white bodhis, the connection of two energy-channels (the connection between the end of male central-channel and that of the female central-channel in Couple-Practice Tantra – detailed later in Section 9.6), and the union of two drops (the union of male semen and female obscene fluid, together with the union of the visualized bright-drops of both practitioners), the practitioners can finally attain the supreme fruition of Buddhahood in a lifetime and accomplish the business of benefiting others. In such a way, the universe and the life of Buddhism are successfully fulfilled. That not only allows the universe to be purified as an altar of Buddha’s land, but also makes people manifest their buddha-nature and attain the unsurpassed fruition of Buddhahood. It is actually the highest value of life and worthy to pursue and follow. The wondrous use of Tibetan Secret Schools is demonstrated because of its superior philosophy and the empowerments of all buddhas’ ten forces and millions of deeds since the beginningless time. [34: 22-25]
Not only Yogi C. M. Chen but also all other ancient and present tantric gurus have the same point of view. They assert concordantly: “Regarding the appearance of the Buddha dharma in the world, the later is the better, and the last one is the best. Hence, the teachings of Tibetan Secret Schools are the ultimate and the best one because they appear last.” Such an argument, to praise Tibetan Secret Schools and debase the orthodox Buddhism, is frequently shown in the words or books from the tantric gurus. But Yogi C. M. Chen and all other tantric gurus actually misunderstand the real meaning of dependent arising of true-suchness and the true permanency of mind-only in the Buddha ground. Therefore, they have such statements to devalue them. (For the right meaning of dependent arising of true-suchness and the true permanency of mind-only, please refer to Section 6.2 of my other book The Right Dharma-Eye Store – For Protecting the Dharma.)
All the ancient and present tantric gurus and practitioners do not know that what they say conflict with the true Buddha dharma, nor do they know their practice methods are not the Buddha dharma at all. Nevertheless, they boast that, as a surpassing latecomer, their teachings are the ultimate Buddha dharma towards the fruition ground, and they debase the orthodox Buddhism as the teachings towards the cause ground only, hard to attain the fruition of Buddhahood. How pitiful they are for the tremendous misconception!
1.4 The gist of tantras in Tibetan Secret Schools
Although classified into four, six or seven divisions, all the tantras in Tibetan Secret Schools provide mainly the same practice method – through Couple-Practice Tantra to attain the dual operations of bliss and emptiness. They exaggerate it is the practice towards the fruition ground of attaining Buddhahood in a lifetime. All Tibetan Secret Schools do not develop beyond this theory.
All the tantric practices of attaining Buddhahood in a lifetime are based on the couple practice of copulation, practicing through sexual intercourse of a couple. Thus the reward bodies of the Tibetan buddhas are all embracing their female mates in union. The phrase ‘reward body’ here, or sometimes ‘enjoyment body,’ is named for the cheerful retribution in the fourth level from the highest and greatest pleasure of sexual intercourse. To name a few, the practices of Highest-yoga, Bliss Non-conceptual State, Hevajra, Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara, Mahamaya, Vajrabhairava, Heruka, Vajrasattva, Kalachakra Vajra, Vajradhara (sometimes referred to as Vajrasattva), and so on, all apply the same method. They differ only in some minor details. That is why the tantric buddhas’ reward bodies manifested in Tibetan Secret Schools always embrace their ‘buddha-mothers’ and enjoy the sexual pleasure. Tibetan Secret Schools wrongly regard the experience of bliss and emptiness from the highest sexual pleasure of intercourse as the ultimate pleasure of Buddhahood. Therefore, as stated in The Tibetan Book of the Dead, when the five buddhas welcome the deceased right after his death, they all appear in the posture of embracing a female consort in union. In summary, the gist of ultimate practice of the Buddha dharma in Tibetan Secret Schools lies in the greatest pleasure of sexual intercourse:
The tip of pestle is the glans of penis. The petals of lotus surround it tightly just like hooks. Moving up and down can induce the pleasure. Then the luminosity and the emptiness are unified perfectly like the refreshing autumn. My concentration is good enough to keep the pestle firm like Mount Sumeru. The raising of the pestle lasts from the past to the future lives. And practicing the emptiness is the most cheerful. The following is about turning the wonderful dharma-wheel: “Both private parts combine to generate the lustful enjoyment on the axis. Lying like a dead body is not allowable. With lip kissing, neck holding and feet hooking, the interaction looks just like the turning of dharma-wheel (Note from Yogi C. M. Chen: ‘During the practice, moving up and down of both bodies forms the axis of the dharma-wheel. Rotating around the center of both private parts, they interact up and down and swing left and right. It is just like turning the wonderful dharma-wheel.’)” [34: 305-306]
Even the theory of building the stupa towers in Tibetan Secret Schools is related to Couple-Practice Tantra:
There are many practices in the womb world, but the visualization of the five-wheel tower is the main one to fulfill it. Why? It is because the five wheels, i.e., earth, water, fire, wind and emptiness, naturally exist in the dharma realm (the area where the Buddha dharma exists). Since these five elements are the physical foundations, the practitioner must practice to visualize them first. He must visualize his own body as a tower with the five wheels. … The five-wheel tower is composed of earth, water, fire, wind and emptiness from bottom to top respectively. … A five-wheel tower is stacked by stones (according to this theory). … There are other descriptions on the five elements as follows: “On firmness, it is the earth. On compassion, it is the water. On passion and bravery, they are the fire. On turning the dharma-wheel, it is the wind. On the essence of emptiness-nature, it is the emptiness – hence the emptiness is the body, and the body is the emptiness.”
Therefore, what you see, such as earth, water, fire, wind and emptiness, actually have their individual functions. It is very important to clarify the origins of these five elements. Once you understand all of them, you can understand all of dharma realm too. In fact, Couple-Practice Tantra covers these five elements. A man without the earth cannot erect. The erection is the earth. The fluid flowing out from his penis is the water. The penis, usually being cold, becomes very hot at that time – it is the fire. The withdrawing and thrusting during the intercourse are the wind; each sophisticated movement is the wind. The emptiness means his delight. For a woman during the sexual intercourse, the swelling out of her conch channel (detailed in Section 6, Chapter 9) is the earth. The fluid in her private place is the water. The itching and glowing inside her private place are the fire. Her movement is the wind. The emptiness means her delight. Some women, usually called the ‘stone women’, who have made too much love may find it is difficult to let the penis enter. It is due to an over activation of the earth. [32: 216-219]
Like that, all the practices in Tibetan Secret Schools are based on the theory of Couple-Practice Tantra. Those who practice in Tibetan Secret Schools will face this fact sooner or later; that is, they must practice the union of bliss and emptiness someday. As a result, they will fall into the sexual method of the desire-realm, violate the precepts and be unable to get enlightened. Since the practices in Tibetan Secret Schools have never been the right Buddha dharma, a wise person should think it over as soon as possible.
However, mastery of this practice is not always achievable in this life. Why? It is because the practitioners must complete the Heaven-yoga, bright-drop and Chi practices prior to starting the main practice. For further details, refer to Extended Treatise on the Progression of the Esoteric Path by Tzongkhapa, pages 29-33 and page 80. And we will explore it later in Chapter 2. The same description appears in Six Yogas of Naropa and other tantras – after completing these preliminary practices, the practitioners can start the secret empowerment and Couple-Practice Tantra. In fact, the Heaven-yoga, bright-drop and Chi practices are difficult to achieve. Even though the practitioner takes very long time to achieve them, gets the dual operations and the union of bliss and emptiness through Highest-yoga, and finally attains the so-called ‘fruition of Buddhahood,’ those are completely irrelevant to the Buddha path. He just wastes time and gets nothing on Liberation-way or Buddhahood-way because of the worldly desire achievement. Moreover, what he has done violate the precepts, due to the wrong view. Based on this fact, the declarations from those past and present tantric gurus, like ‘the later being the more real’, ‘the later being the more marvelous’, and even ‘being superior to the orthodox Buddhism,’ are totally nonsense.
1.5 The samaya precepts of Tibetan Secret Schools
Besides taking four refuges in buddha, dharma, sangha, and personal guru, a practitioner of Tibetan Secret Schools has to take particular conduct precepts and to chant the Hundred-syllable Mantra for at least one hundred thousand times to repent one’s sins. Then, one is permitted to take the samaya precepts. Regarding the samaya precepts and the accompanied code to purify conduct, Tsongkhapa said:
What code of conduct must be taken during empowerment? What are the root sins? Those are already stated in Explanations of Root Sins. Now I would teach the remaining samaya precepts. In ‘Chapter of Mantras and Precepts’ (also named as ‘Chapter of Turning Mantras’) of The Susiddhikara Sutra, it states: “What is the code of conduct for a mantra chanter to keep so that one can achieve quickly? The following describes the code. A wise practitioner should not be angry at mantras or with heavenly beings and great mantra chanters. One never makes up mantras or mantra rituals, and should not defame those evil persons either. Even with a violent and vicious altar guru, a wise practitioner should not defame him in words or thoughts. A wiser, even in great anger, should not repress, subdue or impair other mantras. Without the guru’s permission, one should not hold the secret mantra. And even knowing the mantra, one should not tell the person who does not serve the guru. A wiser knows all of the mantras, sutras, seals and rituals, and one also knows how to interpret the sutras and set up an altar. But one never teaches the person who has not yet entered the altar. One should not eat or stride across the markings, the flags, the sentient shapes, and the seals in the altar. A wise practitioner never spoils medicines, nor does one touch the filth or even step on it. A wiser should not argue with other Mahayana practitioners. When hearing bodhisattva’s magical deeds, one should not disrupt them. … A practitioner does not wander his mind, nor does one raise the distracting thoughts; one chants the mantra so as to eliminate his greed and purify his mind. One does not use the supernatual power to expel devils, protect someone or block something. One does not hold and chant the mantras to avoid viciousness. One should chant mantras only for cultivation rather than competition or test. A wiser takes a bath and chants at the three times of a day.” [21: 63]
Regarding the samaya precepts, Tsongkhapa stated:
Do not deliver the mantras to those who have never entered the altar. As mentioned in Main Tantra: “If a person has not seen an altar but holds the mantras, one is unable to achieve and will fall down to the evil world after death. For the one who teaches that person the mantras, seals and rituals, he violates the samaya precepts and will fall into the crying hell.” If having not received empowerment based on any of the four tantras, one should not practice the visualization of deity or the mantra chanting only by the guru’s discretionary permission. Once violating the precept, one may follow the method to purify his sin, as stated in the previous tantra: “As for the samaya precepts, if one makes mistakes to break them, one must hold and chant the heart mantra for one hundred thousand times, or chant the dharani of non-ignorance mind for one thousand times. Alternatively, one can make an offering to Haven to eliminate disaster, or enter the altar again.”
In Precious Torch Shastra – Explanations of Zanu Sutra, the passage follows the samaya precepts: “I collect various samaya precepts from Action Tantra. All the yogis of Great-yoga Tantra should uphold the precepts for the advanced practice by place, time and pleasant intention. For those who claim themselves as the yogis of Great-yoga Tantra, they should like cleanliness and well uphold the precepts. For the advance by pleasant intention, it may be allowed to break the precepts in some way, as stated in Action Tantra: “Whether clean or not, eaten or not, taken a bath or not, you can be considered as not violating the precepts by simply remembering the deity. Hence, the yogis of Great-yoga Tantra should not violate the above samaya precepts.” That means, not only the one who receives the empowerment of Action or Performance Tantra, but also the one who receives the empowerments of Highest-yoga Tantra must keep the precepts. So, one must know well about the samaya precepts and the root sins. One should act with caution and never commit the root sins. In case of committing, do not just let it go. As mentioned, if committing the root sin in the daytime, one must repent it in the night; if committing it in the night, one must repent it in the daytime. Thus one can remove and purify the sins. [21: 64-65]
As stated by Tsongkhapa, the samaya precepts contain mainly four statements. First, one who is not a qualified practitioner (not yet received the secret empowerment in an altar) should not receive the mantras and those secret teachings. Second, one should not let his mind wander in the altar. Third, if one offends against the samaya precepts, he must repent and purify the sins with the tantric methods. Fourth, if one breaks the samaya precepts by delivering the secret mantras or dharma to an ‘unqualified practitioner,’ he will fall into the crying hell. Those who slander the female consort’s great bliss also break a grave precept. (Refer to [34:109].) Those are all included in the fourteen downfalls of the root precepts in Tibetan Secret Schools. (For details on the tantric fourteen root precepts, refer to [34:166-168].)
Yogi C.M. Chen sets up the following regulations: “If one has sex with a Buddhist nun, one’s mother, one’s daughter, one’s sister, or an animal, he violates the samaya precept. However, if one practices such activities according to Couple-Practice Tantra, it is not regarded as the sexual misconduct and thus he does not violate the samaya precept.” As a result, many highly-achieved tantric gurus practice Couple-Practice Tantra with their sisters, looted princesses, or even the female animals.
During the practice, the Buddhist nun, mother, sister or the female animal must be a lotus-natured yogini. (The term of lotus-natured female will be explained in Chapter 8 and 9). If not a lotus-natured one, she must have gained the achievement of the preliminary stage (being a female tantric practitioner who achieved the preliminary stage). If neither of the couple has gained the achievement of the preliminary stage, both of them violate the samaya precepts and will fall down to the hell. That is regulated in the tantric samaya precepts.
If one has sex not in a proper time, he violates the samaya precepts. But if such activities conform to Couple-Practice Tantra – no lust of the flesh during the practice (no ejaculation owing to the pursuit of sexual climax), then any time is appropriate to practice without violation. Accordingly, the tantric gurus often practice with their sexual partners without separation for a whole day or several days. They stay in the sensational perception of sexual climax without interruption for a long period of time, without bringing forth the greed of lustful pleasure (the greed for perceptional pleasure in ejaculation). By this way, not only do they not violate the precepts, but also they can attain the ‘great merits and virtues, becoming a buddha immediately.’ In Tibetan Secret Schools, the joint cultivation of Couple-Practice Tantra is the samaya precepts that lead to the ultimate Buddhahood.
If one has sex not in a proper place, such as in front of the buddha statue or in the altar, he violates the samaya precepts. But if both practitioners are qualified for Couple-Practice Tantra, then having sex in front of the buddha statue is not regarded as a violation of precepts. It is a proper way for cooperatively cultivating Highest-yoga towards Buddhahood, namely ‘the very practice of the unsurpassed buddha’s way.’ It is not only far beyond the breakage of samaya precepts but with ‘great merits and virtues.’
Furthermore, another samaya precept requests that the joint sexual practice is allowed only after the success of visualization. Otherwise, the practitioner is regarded as violating the precepts. That is so-called the ‘three boil-like openings.’ Thus, according to Couple-Practice Tantra, a practitioner (taking a male for example) takes the female lower opening (the vagina) as the proper opening for practice. Prior to the joint practice, he must visualize the female lower opening as a lotus. Once accomplishing the visualization, he can perform the joint practice. Sometimes, he can use the female upper opening (the mouth), yet it is not a proper practice. In this situation, he must visualize her mouth as the opening for nectar, and visualize the saliva from his glans of penis as the nectar. Then he can perform the joint practice. Sometimes, he can practice with the opening of female anus. Prior to the joint practice, he must visualize making offerings to the ‘mother of site protection;’ otherwise, he violates the samaya precept.
Tibetan Secret Schools think: “If a Buddhist monk inserts his vajra pestle (male sex organ) into a female’s lotus (vagina), it is a violation of the precepts. If the length of insertion reaches over 1.2 inches, it is so called a complete violation, a violation of the root precepts. However, while the ‘lamas’ of Tibetan Secret Schools practice Couple-Practice Tantra with females by the ‘insertion at full length,’ it is not restricted by any precept mentioned above. Yet he must visualize the union of both sex organs as a vajra pestle being inserted into a lotus. Having once completed the visualization, he can then take the real practice. Without the completion of visualization, the real practice violates the root precepts.” (Refer to [34:162-163].)
If the male practitioner leaks drops incautiously (ejaculates out of control) during the practice of Couple-Practice Tantra, he violates the samaya precepts. If he can keep from leaking the bright-drop (semen drop) while enjoying sex with woman, it is not regarded as a violation of precepts. The following passage states:
So, when I met Budaguda, a master with great achievement in India, he delivered the empowerment of Highest-yoga to me, and taught me many of the expedients in Action Tantra (convenient methods of Couple-Practice Tantra). He set up an altar in a quiet place, and started to chant the mantra of beckoning. A while later, a fifteen-year old fair girl came, with glorious clothing and ornaments. Suddenly, there were other sixteen girls showing up and dancing in a parade. Since I had taken the precepts, my wisdom of greed (the wisdom of achieving Buddhahood by Couple-Practice Tantra) could not arise. Shortly, the girl took her skirt off and showed her lotus (exposed her genital area). An altar appeared in the lotus (the private place). The master commanded me to copulate with her. I responded in sincere, “I am a monk. How can I do that ?” The master replied, “It is a tantric practice. You must do it. If you are in doubt, you may take my pills and perform the Chi-practice I taught. You will not leak your bright-drop. Any action to satisfy your sexual desire is fine then.” I refused with a firm attitude. I would never dare to follow the command to break the precepts and cheat my root master. Finally, the master sighed in pity, “How ignorant you are of the true essential teaching!” Then he himself started (the sexual intercourse) with the girl. After the practice, he made an offering (offering the sexual fluid, visualized sexual contact and joyful perception to the buddha). After a snap of the fingers, the girls disappeared. I deeply regretted later. Without leaking the bright-drop (semen), I would not violate the precepts. My wisdom (of Couple-Practice Tantra) could grow rapidly. My root master would be very happy about that, and it was certainly not a matter of cheating. But unfortunately this chance disappeared already, and the great dharma of dependent arising was missed. What a pity! Master Budaguda then taught me the oral pithy instructions of the greed path (Couple-Practice Tantra) and delivered the secret teaching to me. The main points are: “Hold with wisdom. The male practitioner will not violate the ‘forbidden precept’ even the bright-drop, on which the wisdom relies, is destructed (ejaculated incautiously). Before the generation of wisdom, the practitioner keeps the bright-drop so that his wisdom can grow gradually. … Occasionally, you may have questions about the violation of precepts by monks. But after drinking a cup of tea, you will not ponder on it anymore. Then you may want to sing, to enjoy the pleasure with women, or to do whatever you like in any unknown place.” [34:608-609]
What mentioned above shows that there is no violation of precepts without the leakage of material bright-drop (semen) – if a male practitioner can hold and prevent his semen from leaking out, he can have sex with others to practice Couple-Practice Tantra, and does not violate the precepts.
One who violates the tantric samaya precepts can purify his sin with such a dharma:
For the yogi who wants to purify his sin of violating the samaya precepts, Practices of Bodhisattva Samata-bhadra reveals: ‘‘While violating the samaya precepts, one visualizes the moon of mind. The heart mantra becomes the assorted vajra and samadhi vajra masters. One contemplates all beings’ original purity, and in the assorted colors of lotus leaves, receives the empowerments following the sequence mentioned above.” The Sammi vajra master has explained this passage as follows: “One visualizes the earth wheel at his heart. There is an assorted color lotus on it. Above the middle of the moon wheel, the ‘hum’ seed-syllable becomes the karma pestle (the male sex organ). There is a ‘kan’ seed-syllable on the pestle. This seed-syllable transforms into a precious sword and then becomes Buddha Amoghasiddi. Wisdom and expediency are the bodies of those transformations. (The secret meanings of Mother tantra and Father tantra are the bodies.) Afterwards, one contemplates that the natures of all dharma are clean. The wisdom-being (female sky-walker) emits light from the seeds in her heart, asking all buddhas in the emptiness (universe) to emit light. Heaven fairies such as Buddha-eye appear and hold the precious vases filled with nectar to empower this practitioner. All motes and dusts become moistened.” Here this school distinguishes itself from others as follows: “Practice the heaven first, follow such things as the five kinds of nectar, and cure the sin of breaking the samaya precepts.” This school refutes other schools’ argument about ‘melting one’s body into Buddha Amoghasiddi’s samadhi form and receiving empowerments.’ In Treatise of Four Hundred and Fifty Verses, it states: “The way to recover from the sin of breaking the samaya precepts is to visualize the wonderful and non-empty vajra wheel, and to contemplate the karma vajra ‘kan’ seed-syllable in the heart. All those are for the self empowerment.” The treatise master Tranquility states, “When practicing to attain the non-emptiness, one should visualize a karma pestle in the deity’s heart and a ‘kan’ seed-syllable on the pestle. Then one can make the self empowerment.” It is the most important thing to practice either of the two methods, as that can eliminate the sin of disregarding or criticizing the masters. [21:540-541]
If one violates the samaya precepts (e.g., not believing or denouncing the tantric dharma; a female practitioner refusing a male practitioner’s request for the couple practice, or vice versa – all those violate the samaya precepts), one has to offer a beautiful consort (to offer a handsome and masculine male if the guru is a female) to please the guru, in order to eliminate one’s sin. So, Sakya school states:
After violating the samaya precept, one can make it up with the following actions. While there is a complete violation of all the samaya precepts, one can make up with the true essence of the vajra practice. As mentioned in the verse: “Use the five wonderful desires, etc., to please the guru.” The ‘wonderful desires’, including the inner and outer desires, here actually mean the methods set up expediently to make the guru truly happy. The ‘merits of five outer desires’ imply the offerings of materials and wealth. The ‘merits of five inner desires’ imply to offer well-decorated, shapely consorts to the guru. The actions here not only please the guru, but somehow make up for a violation of general samaya precepts. As for the downfalls of the root precepts, a purification empowerment has to be held to please the guru. [61:326-327]
Tsongkhapa also asserts the same ideas as mentioned above. Moreover, the fake ‘buddha’ in The Great Sun Sutra said:
Secret Master! The above Thus-come One’s seals are generated from the faith in and the understanding of Thus-come One. Those countless seals are the same as bodhisattvas’ markings. Also, Secret Master! You should know that even the body’s motions or postures are all secret seals. You should also know that various sayings by the motions of tongue are all mantras. So, Secret Master! Those bodhisattvas who practice in the mantra door, with their bodhi minds resolved, should stay in the Thus-come One’s ground and draw the altar. If not, they defame all buddhas and bodhisattvas, violate the samaya precepts, and are doomed to fall into the evil worlds. [Volume 5]
The passage above requires the tantric practitioner to assure: “All the body, speech and mind activities of both the master and the practitioner in the practice-altar pertain to the secret seals of mantra, being divine and beyond questioning. Otherwise, it violates the root precepts – a violation of the samaya precepts, and will cause him to fall down to the evil worlds with endless sufferings.” Those are the root precepts mentioned in The Great Sun Sutra of Tibetan Secret Schools.
1.6 The completion of the generation stage required for Couple-Practice Tantra
When learning the tantric basics, the practitioner has to start from the lower three tantras: Action Tantra, Performance Tantra and Yoga Tantra. The lower three tantras belong to the generation stage. Only by completing the lower three tantras, the practitioner can receive the secret and wisdom empowerments, and eventually practice Couple-Practice Tantra. Otherwise, he will violate the root precepts. Tsongkhapa said:
Those who enter the completion stage must have had a firm basis on the generation stage. As mentioned before, this requirement applies to all gurus. Original Tantra of a Collection of Esotericism, Chapter 12, tells us the following: “About serving the wisdom nectar, one should observe everything. That means from which one can practice all mantras of reality.” … The Collected Shastras of Practicing teaches us about the renunciation of the body. In addition, it tells us that the sequence should begin from the generation stage and extend to the dual operations (of emptiness and bliss through the couple practice); he should complete the former stage before learning the later one. Without the former stages like the renunciation of the body, the later achievements cannot be obtained, since the sequence is rightly so. [21: 546]
The practice of Action and Performance Tantras consists mainly of worshipping, offering, praying, mantra holding, repenting, praising, serving ‘all buddhas, bodhisattvas, dharma-protecting dragons and heavenly beings,’ setting up the altars (mandalas), etc. As for Yoga Tantra, the four most important practices are: Heaven-yoga, Emptiness-yoga, Wind-yoga, and Chant-yoga. After achieving Heaven-yoga, one can then proceed with learning Emptiness-yoga, Wind-yoga, etc. As stated in the following:
Regarding the attained heavenly body, although the attainable samadhis are boundless, only the great secret Vajra holder is the ultimate one. Likewise, the chanted mantras are boundless and the chanting benefits are limitless. However, there are discriminations between the ultimate mantras and the non-ultimate ones. Chanting the ultimate mantra is the vajra chant because the verbal root wind leads to liberation. It is the reason why only the vajra chant is recognized as the verbal vajra samadhi, the ultimate one among all chants. If a person practices, as stated in The Collected Shastras of Practicing, from the generation stage to the renunciation of the body (not attaching to the human body), and gains a (visualized) heavenly body, one is thus an ultimate chanter. Then, he can hold the ultimate chant with that body, and gain control over the word-uttering wind (chanting the seed-syllable with Vase-chi yoga). One can hold and guide realms at will with the power of wind (controlling the movement of seed-syllable and the pure part of semen in the energy-channel of one’s body via Vase-chi yoga). So if one combines with the exterior seal (body seal – the female consort for male practitioner or the male consort for female practitioner), starts a fierce fire (kundalini), and melts the bodhi mind, one can sustain at ease without decaying, eliminate 80 discriminations of self-nature, engender the wisdom of three types of emptiness, and attain the samadhi of mind vajra. Thereafter one can generate an illusory body. Due to the rise of the perfect wisdom of great emptiness, one can enter all emptiness of luminosity. By the power of the illusory body generated from the perfection of one’s wind mind, a practitioner can enter all emptiness, and then directly realize the body of dual operations. Subsequently, by studying the essence of dual operations, one advances to the Buddha ground with that homogeneous flow. … In summary, one who is going to study the essential teachings through this dharma should practice the first stage diligently and yield ‘the renunciation of the body.’ Then one should master the ‘life power and vajra chanting,’ and mainly practice the wind (Wind-yoga). [21: 552-553]
Therefore, if one wants to practice Couple-Practice Tantra to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime, he has to practice the visualization of Heaven-yoga (to visualize a heavenly being’s vast body) first, then Wind-yoga (Vase-chi), vajra chanting, etc. Finally, he can start to practice Couple-Practice Tantra. Without completing the generation stage, a practitioner should not practice Couple-Practice Tantra. Otherwise, he violates the ‘root precepts.’ That is Tsongkhapa’s assertion.
Consequently, Tsongkhapa said:
Prior to the stage of thoroughly manifesting the non-dual inherent-joy perfection, one should practice the empty drop of transformation, namely practicing the Wind-yoga vajra chanting. There are several divergences in the holy sect, asserting that the power of this practice can make all dharma seem like the fantasies. Before that stage, one (in case of a male) should practice the secret drop, which means lowering the empty drop (visualized bright-drop) at the heart down to the muni gem (the glans of penis) at the private place and holding it still (inducing the pleasure yet without leakage). In this drop, he should practice the subject depending and the object to be depended to perfect the altar. He holds his mind well in the empty drop at main deity’s heart, and practices various ways to recollect and release the drop (during the joyful contact of Couple-Practice Tantra, being able to recollect the released bright-drop – semen). … He practices the three drops – the indestructible drop of mind (visualized bright-drop), the secret drop in muni gem (in sexual climax, the semen about to ejaculate at the glans of penis is named as the secret drop), and the transforming drop on the upper tip of the nose. The sequence of practice follows the order of joy, superior joy and renouncing joy. Furthermore, after attaining the indestructible drop, the practitioner will have the inherent joy on practicing recollecting and releasing according to the destructible sequence (Tibetan Secret Schools generally regard that as the attainment of ultimate Buddhahood). In conclusion, based on the first two to practice Emptiness-drop yoga and the third to practice Wind-yoga, through the ability on wind and drop, the practitioner collects it back and forth, and raises the luminosity. Through frequent practice, he can attain the thorough manifestation of the non-dual pure wisdom body. Then, he can continue to practice for the fruition through those homogenous flows. [21: 556-557]
The homogenous flow here does not equal to the homogenous-flow fruition in the exoteric Buddhism; rather it is defined in the aspect of Tibetan Secret Schools, which is completely different from the teaching of the exoteric Buddhism.
The practice of the lower three tantras has to be completed within sixteen lives. Then one can start to practice Highest-yoga. Otherwise, one cannot practice Couple-Practice Tantra to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime; one then has to comprehend the theory of the vajra and the womb world:
One has to understand Yoga Tantra. The first two are the vajra and the womb world. One can achieve Buddhahood through these two yoga practices! ... The womb world equals to a woman’s lotus (female sex organ). And the vajra world equals to a man’s pestle (male sex organ). Within Highest-yoga, the yoga of vajra and womb means the joining of pestle and lotus, the very practice of Couple-Practice Tantra. The lotus and the pestle represent great compassion and great wisdom respectively. But the white bodhi (semen) emitting from the pestle also has great compassion and the red bodhi (female sexual fluids) emitting from the lotus also has great wisdom. The red and the white must mix together. Then there is the white in the red, and the red in the white. [32: 219-220]
There are three conditions required to practice the visualization of deity in the generation stage. One is buddha’s pride, another is apparentness and the other is firmness and long-lasting. …, then practicing the buddha-wind! If you see the progression of breath in your body, you will find the difference. The breath at first is all the outer breath, i.e., the air outside. After the practice of the life air, it becomes the inner breath. The buddha-wind is the secret breath. The secret breath comes from the buddha-wind. The secret breath is the breath of dhyana. … The secret breath is the one in central-channel, while the outer breath is simply inside nostrils and lungs. … The coming and going of buddha-wind are always through central-channel. That is the real buddha-wind. If one practices the buddha-wind without reaching the central-channel, it is not yet the buddha-wind! It is only a visualized central-channel. That is wrong. Only the actual clearance of the central-channel is the right one. There is indeed an appearance of the clearance of central-channel. It will make difference in the appearance when the central-channel is cleared. Seeing a clear sky without clouds is the true clearance of the central-channel. [32: 122-123]
After achieving bright-drop and buddha-wind (Vase- chi) to allow a person to raise and lower one’s bright-drop at will, one can then receive the secret empowerment and learn the dual operations of bliss and emptiness in Highest-yoga. Otherwise, one will violate the root precepts of Tibetan Secret Schools, and ‘deserve the sufferings in Hell.’ For the male without achieving bright-drop and buddha-wind to drive it up and down at will, he is unable to extract the pure or slushy part of his bright-drop from the female partner during Couple-Practice Tantra; then, it is only an excuse to have inappropriate sex with others. Therefore, he offends against the Tibetan precept.
1.7 The indirect and weird practices of Tibetan Secret Schools
The practices of Tibetan Secret Schools are extremely indirect, weird and time-consuming. Why indirect? The most important thing to really ‘become a buddha’ in the future is to realize one’s true mind – the eighth (Alaya) consciousness (i.e., the true-suchness mind in the future Buddha ground). Once realizing it, the practitioner then just follows the predetermined sequence to practice step by step until the Buddha ground. By contrast, the Tibetan tantric practitioners must first practice the heretical and mundane methods, like Heaven-yoga, energy-flow, bright-drop, etc., before they can practice the tantric dharma formally. Even when they finally start to practice the formal tantric dharma, what they practice is the lustful sexual activity, and has totally nothing to do with the Buddha dharma. Their practices are still in the scope of ordinary conscious mind (the sixth consciousness), by no means Buddhahood-way or Liberation-way of the orthodox Buddhism. In addition, the eighth consciousness they have validated is nothing but the bright-drop through visualization, rather than the really Alaya consciousness – Thus-come-store (Tathagatagarbha). Although the Alaya consciousness mentioned by the tantric gurus does not mean the bright-drop sometimes, it is still some variations of the conscious mind. Therefore, the tantric practices are indirect and far away from the way to Buddhahood.
Why weird? In Highest-yoga Tantra, the practice of Great-seal through the dual operations of luminosity and emptiness still pertains to the state of the perceptive mind, not related to the true-suchness or buddha-nature. But they advocate that is the true-suchness of the Buddha ground. In addition, they proclaim the Highest-yoga action seal with dual operations of bliss and emptiness is the best tantric practice which can make the practitioner attain Buddhahood in a lifetime. However, the union of bliss and emptiness that they realize is the mental awareness. Without realizing the Thus-come-store in the cause ground, how can they realize the true-suchness of the Buddha ground? Nevertheless, they assert the practice allows the practitioner to become a buddha in this lifetime. Therefore, the tantric practice is weird and far beyond common sense.
Another weird example is stated in the secret sutra: “To visualize a moon disc appearing in one’s mind means to recognize that moon disc as one’s true mind.” The Diamond Peak Sutra, Vol. 1 mentions as follows:
At that time, a bodhisattva speaks to All Thus-come One: “The World-honored One! The Thus-come One! After getting omniscience, I see that my mind is just like a moon disc.” All Thus-come One replies: “Virtuous man! The self-nature of mind is bright and pervasive. You can get it right after doing. It is just like dyeing a white dress and the color of the dress is changed immediately.” In order to flourish the wise mind of self-nature, All Thus-come One teaches the mantra ‘Om bodhicitta Manupalayami’ to make the practitioner bring forth his bodhi mind. Then, following All Thus-come One’s order, the bodhisattva has brought forth his bodhi mind. He says: “I see my heart is like the shape of a moon disc.” All Thus-come One replies: “You have already initiated Bodhisattva Samantabhadra’s mind, and the mind is so solid like a diamond. Stay well in the state of the initiated mind. And visualize your moon disc as the shape of a diamond. …” … Then, Bodhisattva Mahasattva from the Vajra-realm asks All Thus-come One: “The World-honored One! The Thus-come One! I see All Thus-come One as my body.” All Thus-come One replies again: “Therefore, Bodhisattva Mahasattva! All Sattva Vajras can attain all forms and can visualize their bodies as the buddha’s. By this achievement of self-nature, they can chant the mantra at will: Om yeta sarva tathagata hum.” Soon after, Bodhisattva Mahasattva from the Vajra-realm gets enlightened. After prostrating himself before All Thus-come One, the bodhisattva says: “I hope The World-honored One can empower me so that I can keep my realization of the bodhi mind solid.” As soon as he finishes his words, All Thus-come One enters Boddhisattva Mahasattva’s body. Then, The World-honored One of the Vajra-realm (the body transformed from Bodhisattva Mahasattva of the Vajra-realm) realizes the equality wisdom of All Thus-come One, enters the samaya of equality wisdom, and becomes a buddha.
Such a claim regards a visualized moon disc as the true mind. If it were right, the true mind had form and appearance. That contradicts what Buddha Sakyamuni has taught. Since the tantric sutra claims it is from ‘Thus-come One,’ the Thus-come One in that tantric sutra is absolutely not the buddha of the true Buddhism. The real Buddha should not say that like an un-enlightened person. Furthermore, regarding the ‘visualization of a moon disc,’ the practitioner sees that All Thus-come One’s body is equivalent to his body; then, just by chanting a mantra, the bodhisattva of Vajra-realm ‘realizes Buddhahood and attains the wisdom of the Buddha ground.’ That is totally ridiculous! Not only The Diamond Peak Sutra states so, but The Great Sun Sutra expresses the same concept too. Both sutras mention that if the visualized deity’s appearance becomes the buddha’s appearance, the practitioner becomes a buddha right away. But in fact, this kind of achievement is totally ignorant of the eighth consciousness which the seventh-stay bodhisattva realizes. Their claim to attain Buddhahood does not make any sense at all. The teachings of Tibetan Secret Schools are by no means the dharma of the true Buddhism. Thus, the tantric practice of visualization is weird.
The tantric practice is very time-consuming. For example, the number of times needed for chanting mantra in the preliminary practice is usually over one hundred thousands or even one million. It takes a lot of time and efforts. Tsongkhapa said:
During the practice of the six deities to attain treasuries and essences, chant the heart mantra for one hundred million times, chant the heart mantra in mind for three hundred million times, etc. Dedicate one tenth of the merits to the Goma rituals. A treatise explains that is from the viewpoint of the perfect world. The treatise also mentions: “The statement about chanting for one or two hundred millions times is from the viewpoint of the perfect world. You should chant twice of that number.” This saying pertains to the practice of achievement (siddhi). [21: 171]
The tantric ceremonies are extremely complicated and take much time to learn and set up. Many mantras must be memorized and chanted and many kinds of visualization methods must be practiced for years. The Chi-practice takes much time. The offerings and ritual sites need time to set up too. In addition, the female consort or buddha-mother needed for Couple-Practice Tantra at the final stage is not easy to get. Some conditions are necessary for the female sexual partner except the practitioner himself having completed the preliminary stage.
In the third empowerment of Couple-Practice Tantra, a practitioner must offer the female consort who satisfies one’s male guru (or male consort for one’s female guru) so that one can get the permission and start to learn Couple-Practice Tantra. But in current age, to find a proper consort for one’s guru becomes very difficult because most people understand the sexual practice is not a true Buddha dharma. If using money to hire a prostitute as the consort, the guru will not be happy due to the risk of infecting sexual diseases like AIDS, etc. Thus it is not easy to practice the third empowerment in current environment. Therefore, current Tibetan gurus generally perform the secret or the fourth empowerment through the ceremony only, rather than the real sexual actions. Even the practitioner fulfills so many complicated methods and finally gets the achievement of Couple-Practice Tantra, it is only a heretical lustful sexual game, nothing to do with the Buddha dharma. Through those practices, the tantric practitioner spends a lot of time and money, but attains nothing on the way to Buddhahood.
Moreover, Tibetan Secret Schools mismatch their dependent states of heretical validation with the stages of attainment in the orthodox Buddhism. For example, The Lotus Born has the following teachings about the dual operations of bliss and emptiness in Highest-yoga:
About the matching of bliss with six paramitas, visualizing the deity as buddha-father or buddha-mother and offering the wealth or materials are almsgiving; protecting the bright-drop like your life (keeping the semen from ejaculating) is holding the pure precept; regarding all sufferings as enjoyment is patience; staying in the state of understanding the meaning is samadhi; being tireless and restless on bliss is diligence; understanding happiness and validating the union of bliss and emptiness are wisdom. About the matching with the four empowerments, visualizing the deity as buddha-father or buddha-mother is the vase empowerment; moving the bright-drop in the channel and raising the warm feeling are the secret empowerment; being able to take cleanness and identifying the rough or subtle perception are the third empowerment; and manifesting the great bliss and leaving the wisdom of mind are the fourth empowerment. About matching with the three precepts, the continuous contact of bliss is the precept of individual liberation; willing to benefit others (to co-practice for others) is bodhisattva’s precept; and the clarity of the visualized deity to create the wisdom of bliss and emptiness is the tantric precept. About matching with the four ways, after initiating the bodhi mind, the clarity of visualized deity to create the wisdom of great bliss is the perfect merit way; both buddha-parents’ stays to validate bliss and emptiness are seeing-the-way; being able to practice without any attachment is to practice the way; and the essence (bright body) of practice leaving the functions of mind is the way of nothing-more-to-learn (regarded by Tibetan Secret Schools as the ultimate Buddhahood). [34: 557]
In summary, Tibetan Secret Schools wrongly regard those attainments as getting enlightened, becoming the bodhisattva on or over the first-ground, or even becoming a buddha. Their practices are weird, far beyond common sense and absolutely not Buddha Sakyamuni’s real teachings. Unfortunately, they use those strange, indirect methods to debase the real practices of the orthodox Buddhism, and boast their methods are created later than the original one but even better. It is really ridiculous.
1.8 The Lustful Couple-Practice Tantra as the gist of Tibetan Secret Schools
The practice methods of Tibetan Secret Schools center on the view of attaining the carnal pleasure through Couple-Practice Tantra. Beginning with Acquaintance, Cause and Vase empowerments, followed by the Guru-yoga, bright-drop and Heaven-yoga visualizations as well as the Chi-practice, and eventually the ‘attainment of Buddhahood in this lifetime’ through Highest-yoga, all the activities of the practice methods are based on the evil view and have never been the true Buddha dharma. Starting from Chapter 2, we will give examples and then refute their fallacies. In fact, those wicked and wrong teachings as well as the practice methods are collected from the Tantrisim of Indian Brahmanism. This sequence is exaggerated as the best way to attain Buddhahood in one lifetime, which has never been taught by The World-honored One Sakyamuni. They fabricate it as the ‘best way to the fruition ground’ mentioned by Dharma-body (Dharmakaya) Buddha. Because it is not related to the absolute truth, what Tibetan Secret Schools have advocated does not really make any sense.
Actually, Buddha has refuted such an evil view in advance in The Surangama Sutra:
Ananda, why do I call mind-holding as a precept? If the sentient beings of the six rebirth-paths in each world clear their lustful minds, they will not fall into the cyclic rebirths. Practicing the samadhi is supposed to save them from the worldly affairs; but the practice will be in vain if the lust persists. Even being wise enough and attaining the samadhi, without eliminating the lust, they will fall into the devil path: becoming the demon kings at their best, male demons in the medium way, or female demons at the worst. These demon creatures also have their disciples, and each claims to have attained the unsurpassed achievement. After I pass away, there will be many such demons during the period of the degenerate dharma, flooding the world with lustful conducts while pretending to be the good and wise advisors. That will eventually make many sentient beings be trapped in the afflictions of desires and views, and lost their paths to the bodhi. Therefore, you should teach people to eliminate their lusts prior to practicing samadhi. That is the pure, clear and decisive preachment from Thus-come One, The World-honored One. [Volume 6]
The practice methods and knowledge of Tibetan Secret Schools have gone wrong since the very beginning. From taking the four refuges till practicing Highest-yoga, they always treat lustful Couple-Practice Tantra with copulation as the gist, and regard it as the right method. As for the final stage of practice, it still falls into the heretical state and the karma of severe deception. None of these activities is relevant to the Buddha dharma, so it is definitely not the true Buddhism. Thus, anyone who wants to learn and practice Liberation-way and Buddhahood-way must discern it with great caution. Otherwise, one may commit the serious crimes of breaking precepts and damaging Buddha’s teachings, leading to the endless and unbearable sufferings in the future measureless lives, which will be too late to repent then.