Yeshe Tsogyal: Advice about Sex
Yeshe Tsogyal (eighth century, Tibet) was a consort and disciple of Padmasambhava, the Indian Master of Tantra who helped lay the foundation for Tibetan Buddhism, and who is very highly regarded in Buddhism, second only to the Buddha Shakyamuni. Yeshe Tsogyal recorded many teachings of Padmasambhava, and gave teachings herself. The following is excerpted from her songs, as recorded in "Sky Dancer: The Secret Life and Songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyel" by Keith Dowman (Penguin Books - 1989).
Tsogyel's Karmamudra Instruction
After I had finished, the Nepali girl Kalasiddhi performed many prostrations and circumambulations and then made this request:
Mother, when you have vanished into inner space,
What should we zap-lam initiates of the Tibetan
Who will dispel obstructing spirits and stimulate our
Still sustain Tibet with your compassion!
I answered her:
O listen Dakini, well-born lady,
Mantra-born maiden with siddhi,
You who show the path of virtue
With a well-endowed body's selfless aspiration.
This community and future travelers on the zap-lam path,
Must first find a teacher especially qualified,
And from that teacher possessing every spiritual sign,
You must request initiation and pledge fulfillment of your vows.
Then train your [sexual] energy flows until you gain self-control [over lust and orgasm],
And after receiving the three superior initiations, transmute the ensuing desire,
To perfect the nature of the four levels of joy,
For six months or until signs of achievement appear in the body.
Unite male (solar) and female (lunar) energies,
Developing the method of mixing higher and lower energies,
Female assisting male and male assisting female,
The principles of each being separately practiced.
Intensify and elevate your practice, broadening the horizons of your bliss;
But if bliss and Emptiness are not identified,
Profitlessly you stray from the path of Tantra:
Apprehend the intrinsic unity of bliss and Emptiness.
Guard the samaya [oath of chastity] of Guru and Dakini like your eyes;
In various skillful ways enjoy the five sacred substances;
Practice to perfection the skill of retaining your seed-essence [semen, bodhichitta];
Be attentive to obstacles and hostile powers [your egos, defects, vices];
If the samaya [chastity] is impaired strive to restore it.
About the body: do not let it slip into old habits [of lust and orgasm]
Or you will become like ordinary men and women [who are animals];
With the confidence of the deity, meditate charged with power
And inform your focal points of energy as a principal and his circle of deities.
About speech: concentrate upon mantra and energy flows -
Without energy control your sexual activity is fornication;
Properly execute the exercises of 'drawing up' [the spine] and 'saturating' [brain and heart]
And with the [iron] nails of your imagination apply an hermetic seal [to prevent any loss of energy].
About mind: identify the conditioned mind with seed-essence [bodhichitta] itself;
If seed-essence [semen, bodhichitta] is lost in actuality [through orgasm]
The karma of slaying a Buddha is incurred;
At all costs gain self-control [over lust and orgasm].
Absorb yourself intently in [comprehension of] the experience of desire,
For without [comprehension] the mysteries have no meaning;
Desire transmuted into purity bliss [free of lust] is the goal fulfilled.
Preserve constant cognition of the primal purity of experience [the Absolute];
Protect the samaya [of chastity] like your body and life,
For if it is broken there is no authority to restore it.
The foregoing is advice upon meditation practice.
All you initiates into the tantric mysteries
Should bury your ambition and conceit in a pit,
Pour your sanctimony and pride into a river,
Burn your obsessive lust and infatuation in fire,
Cast your selfish aggression and perverse behavior on the wind,
And dissolve your shamelessness and deceitful lies in space.
Protect your secret sexual practices from prying eyes;
Do not be loose with your sexual organs, bind them fast;
Do not flaunt your signs of success;
Rely upon the Yidam deity [your Innermost] as the indivisible three roots;
Maintain regular torma offerings and ganachakra feast rites [Eucharist];
Preserve the seed of kindness [bodhichitta, semen] for the sake of other beings;
Do not break the flow of formless benediction.
The foregoing is general instruction upon Action.
With that understanding fixed in your heart, O Siddhi,
You and I are essentially one,
And through emanation we will give purpose to beings of the future.
(Fruition and Buddhahood, pp.155-7); The biography of Yeshe Tsogyel (Bod kyi jo mo ye shes mTsho rgyal gyi mdzad tshul rnam par thar pa gab pa mngon byung gyud mangs dri za'i glu 'phreng), a revealed text (terma) attributed originally to Gyelwa Jangchub and Namkhai Nyingpo and revealed by Taksham Nuden Dorje; translated by Keith Dowman and Choepel Namgyel.