Annual India Tours
These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt
gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity.
These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.
Nanaimo November 13 1990
Although most of the meditations we do are for the generation of insight, which applies the generation of some wisdom, for a Buddhist it is important that we develop a conscious experience where we can become more aware of what we are doing with ourselves. There are certain ideas that are given such as the noble truth of suffering, the cause of sufferings and so on that are the fundamentals of Buddhism. They deal with the wisdom side as one should develop wisdom to understand better. So when you deal with your emotions, you do have an understanding and can utilize mindfulness, awareness to deal with them and not to be completely overwhelmed or made unconscious because of some emotional force of what is happening. That is the general intent of most of the meditation techniques.
But, I thought this evening it would be fun to do something different. The other side is method. In working on method which is also a meditative style which should be developed in conjunction with wisdom, there are many different methods which are utilized. Principally, there is a meditative method and also activity method which is used. Activity method is your activities involving love and compassion. You try to develop a wiser mind but you express that by love and compassion by being considerate and trying to help others so there is balance. You have inner wisdom and outer expression of love and compassion.
There are also meditative states which refer to method. You could say the principle one is the generation of concentration. When you develop concentration, that is method and is supportive of the development of the internal wisdom. So it is internal versus external.
In regards to the internal development of method, it is principally the development of concentration, whether you utilize it as the awareness of breath through the nostrils or with the rise and fall of the abdomen, those are different objects to focus on. But there are also methods which can be generated in a meditative way which have two functions. One is the development of concentration, secondly, it works on a powerful physical level. They are principally taught in the tantric tradition, but my teacher Lama Yeshe had the idea that they should also be taught for ordinary people because they gave powerful experiences, and it was important for Westerners to receive powerful experiences because it helped them feel more confident that meditation was more than just being there passively like a lump of matter. Rather that one could generate very powerful experiences which could then be inspiratory for ones practices.
He taught a form of the tummo or psychic heat meditation which was appropriate for a non tantric practitioner, so that is what we are going to teach tonight. In the article Laura brought, it said the person can raise his body temperature as much as seven degrees in the extremities of his body although the core temperature remained the same. That is the scientific side.
As to what the meditators are doing, that is what we are going to deal with tonight. From a meditative point of view, the experience within the whole body is an experience of extremely pleasant warmth. Although initially it is said to be a very hot sense in the abdomen area, the actual experience is one of bliss and of extreme pleasant warmth. I don't know how many of you are familiar with the term of "Warm Fuzzies" from transactional awareness, well, it is like having one major warm fuzzy. This is to give you a little of the meditative side of it. It is not that you should think I have hot hands! You don't even meditate on your hands! You meditate totally in the abdomen area.
To work with this particular technique, it will work on two levels. One, it is the generation of concentration because you have to become fairly concentrated to be able to generate it. Whether any of you generate it tonight or not is immaterial. I just teach the technique. And if you want to work at it you can actually develop psychic heat, it is not that impossible to do but it does take a little energy and working and purification through yoga and other such things.
In the meditative texts, it is said there is a psychic channel running through the crown of ones head down in front of the spine, and down to the pubic area about half to one inch in front of the spine. And it is about the size of a soda fountain straw. On the outer surface it is bluish in color, and on the inside, a reddish color. It is a shaft which is clear, supple, and moist. It is called the central channel and is said to be the life channel of the body.
At the level of the navel or approximately between two and four fingers below the navel, at the navel chakra, is the point where you do the psychic heat meditations. You should visualize that the center of the chakra is inside or is central around the central channel running down your body. Following on Lama Yeshe's commentary, it is subjective as to where it is exactly. For some of you it will be lower, and for some it will be at the level of the navel, when you meditate you will find that there is one place where there is a feeling. It is just a sensation. That is the thing you should look for.
I know in the teachings, it is hard, you think I get this particular teaching and I sit there and I have nothing there, and you do not understand. You look for a particular feeling, when you hit that point, it generates sensations. That sensation, where there is more sensation for you is where you focus. And as I say it will be somewhere between the navel and two inches below.
You should meditate as if you were inside the central channel and it may require a bit of subjective juggling as to where you place your consciousness. But principally it is said that you should relax enough to feel you are in your abdomen, that you are there, or that most of your energy is there.
The actual technique to do it in a comfortable manner, is that you should retain your breath for a short period, not that you should hold your breath until you are uncomfortable. But you should try to inhale and then hold your breath for five or ten seconds, whatever is comfortable, because most of you, unless you practice holding your breath, you will find that ten seconds is actually very long!
As you do that, you inhale, hold your breath, and then have the lower muscles between your anus and sex organ, you will find a little set of muscles there. Pull those up a little bit. It is a small lifting of those muscles, try! Hold that, and at the point at the navel where you have generated sensation, they say you should think of as if someone were to take a hot brick of coal, and put it in the center of that central channel and have it generate a sense of warmth. That the warmth starts to generate in the body. In that way you hold your breath, you generate the warmth, and when you relax, the air goes out.
And the next time you inhale, you feel like there is a little set of bellows and where the air comes in, it blows on the coal, and you pull a little the muscles up. And again, it sort of blows a little air. Like you had a little draft in an air-tight stove, and you open the draft a little bit. It goes in and causes it to heat up. And that is the very simplified form of how to visualize the generation of psychic heat.
You might wonder why I would teach that because you do not want hot hands! The benefits of this is, one, if you were to be able to get your mind in the central channel, they say that the conscious experience of serenity, of peace of mind, bliss, inner comfort of the mind, the warm fuzzy, is generated. And the sense of inner fulfillment is much greater and you become more of an introvert, you have more inner satisfaction. Lama Yeshe referred to it that when your inner bliss is great, then outer attractions do not hassle you any more. So you do not get hung up about things! He was giving that information to a friend of mine who had hang ups about girls! Lama Yeshe said he had to have better inner experience than he would get from outer experience. That was Lama Yeshe's antidote to desire!
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