introduction jnani raja hatha tantric kundalini laya mantra karma bhakti sufism vajrayana zen taoist


Vajrayana has many Tantric methods. They are described in a Buddhist terminology but are largely underpinned by a structure based on Samkhya. The features of the subtle anatomy, i.e. the chakras, sushumna, nadis etc are the same in both systems.
The six Yogas of Naropa may be mentioned to illustrate the point. Dumo or heat Yoga resembles Kundalini, though with differences of detail. It makes use of the kumbhaka of Hatha Yoga pranyama.
The Illusory Body Yoga involves visualising a Buddha or a Tantric deity, a practice used in Laya Yoga.
Light Yoga involves a melting away of forms into the void. Thus all distinctions and boundaries are dissolved.
Bardo Yoga uses the after death state.
Transformation Yoga enables the Yogi to transfer his consciousness to his patron Buddha so that he will be reborn into a Buddha land. It involves intense visualisation, mantra and control of prana.
Tilopa's Mahamudra and Padmasambhava's Dzog Chen resemble Zen and show the way to a dissolution of all distinctions, including crucially that between ignorance and enlightenment. See also Jnani Yoga.
Considerable use mandalas is made in Vajrayana. These symbols of wholeness and completeness bring together all opposites in a mysterium coniunctionis, or coincidentia oppositorum. Often, this is symbolised by a divine couple in ecstatic sexual embrace (yab-yum) at the centre of the mandala. This symbolism serves precisely the same function as that found in Kundalini in which Shiva and Shakti embrace at the top of the head.

In the higher Tantras of Mahamudra and Dzog Chen the visualisations are let go or dissolved to make way for the clear light of the void. No boundaries, no puzzles. Not even the boundary between no-boundary states and boundary-less states.


Translation of part of The Natural Liberation through Naked Vision by Robert Thurman.

Translation of Tilopa's Song of Mahamudra by Keith Dowman.

introduction jnani raja hatha tantric kundalini laya mantra karma bhakti sufism vajrayana zen taoist