The Six Yogas of Nāropa (Tib. Narö chö druk, na-ro’i-chos-drug), also called the six dharmas of Naropa[1] and Naro’s six doctrines (Mandarin: Ming Xing Dao Liu Cheng Jiu Fa; rendered in English as: Wisdom Activities Path Six Methods of Accomplishment)[2], are a set of advanced Indo-Tibetan Buddhist tantric practices and a meditation sādhana compiled in and around the time of the Indian monk and mystic Nāropa (1016-1100 CE) and conveyed to his student Marpa the translator. The six yogas were intended in part to help in the attainment of siddhi and enlightenment in an accelerated manner.

The six yogas are a synthesis or collection of the completion stage practices of several tantras. In the Kagyu traditions by which the six yogas were first brought to Tibet, abhiṣeka into at least one anuttarayoga tantra system (generally Cakrasaṃvara and/or Vajrayogini/Vajravarāhi) and practice of its utpatti-krama are the bases for practice of the six yogas; there is no particular empowerment for the six yogas themselves.

Though variously classified in up to ten yogas, the six yogas generally conform to the following conceptual list:

(Tibetan Wylie transliteration and Sanskrit in parentheses)

* tummo (T: gtum-mo, S: caṇḍālī) — the yoga of inner heat (or mystic heat).[3]

* gyulü (T: sgyu-lus, S: māyākāyā) — the yoga of the illusory body.[3]

* ösel (T: hod-gsal, S: prabhāsvara) — the yoga of the clear light or radiant light.[3]

These next three are considered the main practices of the completion stage (T: dzog-rim, S: saṃpanna-krama) in the anuttara yoga tantra.[4][5]

* milam (T: rmi-lam, S: svapnadarśana) — the yoga of the dream state.[3]
* bardo (T: bar-do, S: antarābhava) — the yoga of the intermediate state. This is well-known through the Bardo Thödöl. Bardo yoga as the yoga of liminality may include aspects of gyulu and milam and is therefore to be engaged as an extension of these disciplines.[3]
* phowa (T: hpho-ba, S: saṃkrānti) — the yoga of the transference of consciousness to a pure Buddhafield.[3]

Other yogas, sometimes grouped with those above, or set as auxiliary practices, include:

* forceful projection, into another body. (((this is called Drongjuk Powa–transference whereby theconsciousness leaves the old body and enters and animates another’s corpse.))) This technique may no longer be extant, or is kept secret. The forceful projection of the mindstream into the bodymind of another is a variation that consists of elements of phowa, ösel and gyulu.
* Keown, et al. (2003) list a “seventh yoga” that is a variation of phowa, in which the sādhaka by transference (grong-‘jug), may transfer their mindstream into a recently deceased body.[6]
* karmamudrā or “action seal” (T: las-kyi phyag-rgya) (erroneously: kāmamudrā or “desire seal”) . This is the tantric yoga involving a physical partner. Like all other yogas, it cannot be practiced without the basis of the inner heat yoga, of which karmamudrā is an extension.
* Nāropa himself, in the Vajra Verses of the Whispered Tradition, adds the practice of self-liberation in the “wisdom of non-duality” [7] which is the resolved view of mahāmudrā and dzogchen. But this is always considered as a distinct path.
* There are many practices and physical exercises called yantras, preliminary to the inner heat yoga. A good example of this is the visualization on the body as being hollow: “here the body and the energy channels (nadis) are to be seen as completely transparent and radiant”.[8]. This essential technique releases tensions and gives suppleness to the prāna channels.

As Nāropa is regarded as a Kagyu lineage holder, the six meditative practices are strongly associated with the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. The teachings of Tilopa (988-1069 CE) are the earliest known work on the six yogas. Tilopa is said to have received the teachings directly from Cakrasaṃvara. Nāropa learned the techniques from Tilopa. Nāropa’s student Marpa taught the Tibetan Milarepa, renowned for his yogic skills. Milarepa in turn taught Gampopa. Gampopa’s student, the future first Karmapa, Düsum Khyenpa, attained enlightenment while practicing the six yogas. cn

The Karmapa, the first figure in Tibetan Buddhism whose reincarnation was officially recognized, has been strongly associated in certain reincarnations with particular yogic attributes. Many Gelugpa practitioners including Dalai Lamas are expert in the six yogas of Nāropa.

The six yogas of Naropa are ordered and progressive, each subsequent yoga building on previous attainments.
Physical exercises

Before engaging in the actual yogas, one begins by doing the “six exercises of Naropa”. Trülkhor (Tibetan ‘khrul-‘khor)

* Filling like a Vase — a breathing technique
* Circling like a Wheel — rolling the solar plexus
* Hooking like a Hook — snapping the elbow into the chest
* Showing the Mudrā of Vajra Binding — moving the mudrā from the crown downwards
* Straightening like an Arrow — hands and knees on the floor with the spine straight; heaving like a dog
* Shaking the Head and Entire Body — pulling the fingers, followed by massaging the two hands

Meditation on the Body as an Empty Shell

Here the body is envisioned as being entirely without substance, appearing in the mind like a rainbow in the sky. This meditation and the physical exercises should be practiced in conjunction with one another.
Stages of Meditating upon the Actual Path
Inner Heat

(Tib. gtum-mo) Visualizing the channels, Visualizing the mantric syllables and engaging in the vase breathing technique. This gives rise to five signs: like a mirage, like a whisp of smoke, like the flickering of fireflies, like a glowing butter lamp, and like a sky free of clouds.
Four Blisses

(Tib. dga’-ba bzhi) Bliss at the throat chakra, supreme bliss at the heart chakra, inexpressible bliss or special bliss at the navel chakra, and innate bliss at the secret place, tip of the jewel. This is accomplished by relying on two conditions; the internal condition of meditating on inner heat yoga and the external condition of relying upon a karmamudrā.
The four types of Karmamudrās

* Karma Mudrā A maiden possessing the physical attributes of a woman, for dull yogis.
* Jñāna Mudrā A maiden created through the power of one’s visualization, for middling yogis.
* Mahā Mudrā The images within one’s own mind spontaneously arise as various consorts, for sharp yogis.
* Samaya Mudrā The mudra experienced as a result of accomplishing the former three.

* These are usually termed the ‘four handseals’ with only the last one called mahamudra. There are various lists, usually some combination of the following: Action Mudra (Karmamudra), Wisdom Mudra (Jnanamudra), Phenomena Mudra (Dharmamudra), Pledge Mudra (Samayamudra), and Great Mudra(Mahamudra). Action mudra is a woman, phenomena mudra is all appearance, commitment or pledge mudra is tummo, wisdom mudra is the meditation deity, and non-duality is the great mudra.

Pure Illusory Body

(Tib. dag-pa’i sgyu-lus) Meditations on all appearances as illusory, dream illusions, and bardo experience.
Actual Clear Light

(Tib. don-gyi ‘od-gsal) The four emptinesses lead to the experience of clear light during the waking period and during sleep. Emptiness, Very Empty, Great Emptiness, and Utter Emptiness. They are associated with external and internal signs of the appearance of mirage, smoke, fireflies, butterlamp, cloudless sky; and whiteness, redness, blackness, and the clear light of early dawn which resembles a mixture of sunlight and moonlight, respectively.
Union of Clear Light and Illusory Body

(Tib. zung-‘jug) Actualizing the results. The state of a Buddha Vajradhāra.
Transference of Consciousness and Forceful Projection (Tib. phowa grong ‘jug)

The branches of that path. [10] There are two ways to practice the transference of consciousness; with a support and without a support. This is separating the body and mind without a support by achieving the emptiness of great conceptlessness whereby the mind is not attached to the body and the body is not attached to the mind. Separating the body and mind with a support, one imagines the mind as a substance. With awareness one draws the mind up the central channel and then with force expels the mind into the space of the sky. There are two methods to separating a body and mind with support;transference in stages and transference all at once–at the time of death. Transference in stages involves dissolving the sufferings of the six realms into a bindu which ascends the body and travels upwards in the central channel. Starting under the sole of the feet, each point radiates colored light; feet-black-hell, joining together at the secret place-yellow-hungry ghosts, navel-gray-animals, heart-green-human, throat-red-demigods, and crown-white-gods. Once the bindu has reached the crown, it has the nature of five colors; corresponding to the last five stages (black is not counted). This bindu then leaves the central channel through the crown and comes to rest inside the heart of a deity that is one cubit above in space. The mind is rested in equipoise in this state.
Related traditions

The six yogas of Niguma are almost identical to the six yogas of Nāropa but are the version taught by Niguma who was both a teacher and, depending on the sources, either the sister or spiritual consort of Nāropa. The second Dalai Lama, Gendun Gyatso has compiled a work on these yogas.[11] Niguma [12] transmitted her teachings to yogini Sukhasiddhī and then to Khyungpu Neldjor,[13] the founder of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage. A translator and teacher in the lineage, Lama Sarah Harding, is currently working on a book about Niguma and the core role her teachings such as the six yogas of Niguma have played in the development of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage. [14]

In the lineage of Machig Labdron, The practice of Mahamudra Chod begins with The Yoga of the Transference of Consciousness.
Constructs such as ibid. and loc. cit. are discouraged by Wikipedia’s style guide for footnotes, as they are easily broken. Please improve this article by replacing them with named references (quick guide), or an abbreviated title.

1. ^ The Tibetan term choe or chos is often translated as “dharma” and has a cognate meaning.
2. ^ Dr. Yutang Lin (2006). Six Yogas in Great Harmony. [1] (accessed: November 16, 2007)
3. ^ a b c d e f The Art of Dying: Esoteric Instructions on Death and Liberation
4. ^ Philippe Cornu, Dictionnaire encyclopédique du Bouddhisme. Editions du Seuil, Paris, 2001. 843 p./ p.541.
5. ^ And also: Readings on The Six Yogas of Naropa. Translated, edited and introduced by Glenn H. Mullin. Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca (USA), 1997. 175p./ p.14. This latter is also the main source of the other informations contained herein.
6. ^ Keown, Damien (ed.) with Hodge, Stephen; Jones, Charles; Tinti, Paola (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Great Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. P.270. ISBN 0-19-860560-9
7. ^ Keown, Damien (ed.) with Hodge, Stephen; Jones, Charles; Tinti, Paola (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Great Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. P.39. ISBN 0-19-860560-9
8. ^ Keown, Damien (ed.) with Hodge, Stephen; Jones, Charles; Tinti, Paola (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism. Great Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. P.58. ISBN 0-19-860560-9
9. ^ Verses on the Path Technology: A Supplement by Pakmo Drupa (Tib. Thabs lam tshigs bead ma’i lhan thabs)
10. ^ A Book of Three Inspirations: A Treatise on the Stages of Training in the Profound Path of Naro’s Six Dharmas by Tsongkhapa Lobzang Drakpa
11. ^ 2nd Dalai Lama. Tantric Yogas of Sister Niguma, Snow Lion Publications, 1st ed. U. edition (May 1985), ISBN 0-937938-28-9 (10), ISBN 978-0-937938-28-7 (13)
12. ^ ni gu ma ( b. 10th cent. )
13. ^ khyung po rnal ‘byor ( b. 978/990 d. 1127 )
14. ^ Seeking Niguma, Lady of Illusion

Source: Wikipedia

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