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Dalai Lama: Sex and Kalachakra

Advice for Keeping the Vows and Beginning Kalachakra Practice

The Vow Not to Lose Seminal Energy-Drops

Berzin: Many Westerners are married, what about the close bond of not losing (mi-nyams) seminal energy-drops (khu-ba)?

His Holiness: What lay householders should do, I don't know.

Berzin: Is this just referring to when practicing the complete stage (rdzogs-rim)?

His Holiness: What should I say? In Kalachakra, for achieving a devoid form (stong-gzugs), you need supreme unchanging bliss (mi-'gyur-ba'i bde-ba). Kalachakra speaks a great deal about the necessity for maintaining non-weakened seminal energy-drops and therefore not losing semen. That being the case, then if a person practicing the Kalachakra complete stage is a male, it would seem that it is pervasive with the person abandoning home life (rab-byung) and becoming celibate. But, I wonder if that is so? I don't know.

Berzin: For instance, Serkong Rinpoche said when you are practicing the complete stage, this is an absolute necessity. But before you reach that point, if you simply have confident belief in this and set the intention that when you reach that point you will practice like that, then it is probably OK.

His Holiness: Probably it is like that, better to explain it like that, because being able to have sexual contact without releasing semen is something needed when you practice the advanced stages of the complete stage. But to say that you are not permitted to before you reach the point [of being able to dissolve into the central channel the downward-voiding energy-winds (thur-sel-gyi rlung)] so that you are able to have sexual contact without releasing semen, that would be difficult, wouldn't it? To say that it is necessary for everyone who takes the initiation to act like monks would be difficult.

On the other hand, if I give the impression of telling them to go ahead and release semen, that wouldn't do at all. This is because if you really are practicing Kalachakra, you need to have no release or loss of semen whatsoever. Moreover, there is probably no division to be made in this respect between practitioners of the generation stage and of the complete stage. To state this clearly is probably better.

Now, as for the actual root downfall of discarding bodhichitta, this is talking about having the mind that wishes liberation through the bliss of orgasmic release ('dzag-bde grol-ba 'dod-kyi sems). As for this bliss of orgasmic release, some non-Buddhist traditions (mu-stegs-pa) assert that offering a homa fire puja of semen in the reality source of a woman pleases Ishvara (dBang-phyug, Shiva) and that through this one can achieve moksha, liberation. But, liberation doesn't happen like that. Therefore, specifically to stop this mistaken practice, the vow was made that if, with a mind wishing for liberation through the bliss of orgasmic release, one ejaculates one's constituent source energy-drops externally (phyi-rol-du khams-phong-ba), it is a root downfall. Usually, however, when one has and ejaculates semen, there is no thought of wishing liberation through the bliss of releasing it. Thus, it is not a root downfall.

However, there is a transgression and ignoring (chag-'dor) of the root vow. One was not taking care about one's seminal energy-drops (khu-ba bdag-po-ma-byed). Thus, there is a transgression of the root vow, but not a complete root downfall. If one is a practitioner and one's constituent-source energy-drops are lost (khams nyams-pa yin-pa), then one weakens the generation of unchanging bliss.

Kadrubjey said that in Kalachakra, it is necessary for constituent-source energy-drops never to be lost at all. He states this in conjunction with the point concerning methods for actualizing blissful awareness. In Chakrasamvara and Guhyasamaja, one actualizes an illusory body. In Kalachakra, however, one actualizes a devoid form and a devoid form is actualized within a state of supreme unchanging blissful awareness. Because of that, it is extremely important never to degenerate, weaken, or lose one's constituent-source energy-drops, he says.

Therefore, to constitute a root downfall, one needs the mind of wishing liberation from the bliss of orgasmic release. Furthermore, although root downfalls will not occur [without such a wish], still the flaw can occur of being stained with the fault of an infraction of the vow. To avoid this, one needs to safeguard against losing one's seminal energy-drops [if one is a serious practitioner of Kalachakra, at any stage of the practice.] Nevertheless, to say that this pertains mainly to complete stage practice and leave it at that is probably OK.

Women Not Emitting Seminal Energy-Drops

Berzin: How should women understand the vow not to emit seminal energy-drops?

His Holiness: When Kalachakra speaks of constituent-source energy-drops being emitted, they are not necessarily a gross liquid and do not necessarily have to come out of the body externally. What we need to eliminate are the propensities for these subtle energy-drops to move (g.yo-ba'i bag-chags). We have to cease (' gag, stop) all movement of the constituent-source energy-drops and bind them unmovingly.

For instance, in terms of men, not merely is it not having constituent-source energy-drops fall (lhung) outside the body with gross liquid drops of semen. In addition, when the constituent-source energy-drops cascade down (mar-babs) first through the chakras in the central energy channel [as white bodhichitta], we need to make that which has fallen remain stable (brtan-par gnas). That is what unmoving means.

[In other words, when the subtle constituent-source energy-drops descend in the central energy-channel through the burning of the inner heat of tummo in advanced complete stage practice, they need to stay put there. One does not put an end to the blissful awareness by having the subtle drops join with seminal fluid and move outside the body. One needs to maintain this blissful awareness to have it focus on voidness.]

Not only outside, but even inside the central channel, the constituent-source energy-drops may move back up (yar-log-pa). We must bind them so that they don't return up. This requires stacking them inside the central channel, like building a wall - stacking or piling them up one on top of the next.

This non-moving of the constituent-source energy-drops comes from relying on a devoid-form mahamudra (great sealing partner). In the stages of meditation, union with a visualized jnanamudra (deep awareness partner) causes the constituent-source energy-drops to drip down and brings moving blissful awareness (g.yo-ba'i bde-ba) [since the drops move back up the central channel]. Practice with a devoid-form mahamudra brings the unchanging blissful awareness of the constituent-source energy-drops not moving or shifting, either externally [outside the body in connection with gross liquids] or internally [back up the central channel].

Berzin: So women have this vow too?

His Holiness: Yes, yes.

Berzin: Is it to be understood only on an internal level of not having their constituent-source energy-drops move in their central channels? Or, does it also refer to their worldly bliss of an orgasmic external release of constituent energy-drops?

His Holiness: I really don't know. It is difficult to say, since it is not clear in any text, but women undoubtedly have something similar. If we consider men, when constituent-source energy-drops fall outside (lhung-na), then at that point, since the basis for the blissful awareness has been lost (bde-ba'i rten nyams-pa), the blissful awareness itself ceases, doesn't it? So if men can bind (bcings, hold) the basis for the blissful awareness, the bodhichitta drops, without it being lost (nyams), the blissful awareness will not go away, will it? Women must have something analogous, whether or not it entails a release of gross fluids.

Quoted from a conversations between the 14th Dalai Lama and Alexander Berzin from The Berzin Archives.