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Tibetan Tantra and the Subtle Body

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

In Vajrayana Buddhism, the subtle body refers to the energetic system within an individual that is composed of channels, winds, and drops. This concept is also present in other traditions such as Hinduism and Tibetan medicine.


According to Vajrayana teachings, the subtle body is believed to be an interconnected network of subtle channels (nadis) through which vital energy or life force, known as prana or lung in Tibetan Buddhism, flows. These channels are said to intersect at various points, forming energy centers called chakras or energy wheels.


The winds (Tibetan: "lung") in Vajrayana represent the dynamic movement of energy within the subtle body. These winds circulate within the channels and play a vital role in the functioning of the body and mind.


Drops (Tibetan: "tigle") are subtle energetic essences that are stored or concentrated within specific locations within the subtle body. They are considered to be the most potent form of energy, and their activation and movement contribute to the awakening of higher states of consciousness.


In Tibetan Tantra practices, such as deity yoga or energy practices, practitioners work with the subtle body to purify and transform their experience of reality. Through specific techniques such as visualization, mantra recitation, and meditation, they aim to activate and harmonize the subtle body's channels, winds, and drops to facilitate spiritual development and the attainment of enlightenment.


It's important to note that understanding and working with the subtle body in Vajrayana Buddhism requires guidance from qualified teachers or masters who have received proper transmission and training in these practices.


Tigle- Tantra and the subtle body. The essences


In Vajrayana Buddhism, "tigle" (also spelled "tiglye" or "tiglé") refers to subtle drops or essences that are believed to reside within the channels of the subtle body. These drops are considered to be the most refined and potent form of energy or essence.


The concept of tigle is intricately connected to the practice of inner yogas, such as Tummo (also known as Kundalini) and Dzogchen. It is believed that through specific meditation practices, the practitioner can access and work with these subtle drops to attain higher states of realization and awakening.


Tigle is closely associated with the vital life force or energy known as "prana" in Sanskrit or "lung" in Tibetan. It is said to be responsible for sustaining life, consciousness, and physical vitality. The tigle are considered to be the carriers or vehicles of this life force.


The "white drop" (Tibetan: "od-dkar"), which represents the pure and primordial state of consciousness. It is associated with the essence of wisdom and clarity.


The "red drop" (Tibetan: "od-ser"), which represents the vital life force and energy associated with the body and physical existence. The red drop is connected to physical health, vitality, and the transformative power of sexual energy.


In advanced practices, practitioners work to unite the white and red drops, allowing them to merge and ascend through the central channel, leading to the experience of non-dual awareness and enlightenment. This is what we do in Deity Yoga.


The understanding and practice of tigle require guidance from experienced teachers who have received the proper transmissions and empowerments! The practices associated with tigle are often considered highly advanced and require a solid foundation in meditation, visualization, and other preliminary practices.


It's important to approach the topic of tigle with respect and understand that it is a profound and nuanced aspect of Vajrayana Buddhism. The teachings and practices related to tigle are typically transmitted orally and kept within the sacred lineage of qualified teachers.


After years of practicing Vajrayana under the guidance of teachers slowly this awareness is coming. I emphasis slowly, as Tantra is not a path to be rushed. There are no shortcuts my gurus have all said many times!


Practices such as Tummo and Trulkor (Tibetan Yoga) illustrated in the picture below creates inner fire in the body to melt these two drops so they can come together along with cleansing the channels.


If you are interested in learning some Tibetan Yoga during our Tantra sessions, I can show you some easy poses to remember and to take with you in your daily life.


With love,


Tashi



Yogi practicing Tummo to open Subtle body
Yogi doing Tummo for subtle body opening

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