Jhana and Karmamudra

Andy, modified 5 Months ago.

Jhana and Karmamudra

Posts: 32 Join Date: 12/1/19 Recent Posts
I made a post here recently titled "Jhana erection." Upon reading the gracious feedback of those on this forum and discovering that the way I was doing jhana was not the way everyone else was doing it, I attempted it the normal way. After a few days I had no trouble reaching the 8th. This got me thinking though. The states I was illicting before were also quite intense, and if I'm being honest, more pleasurable. I decided to begin experimenting with karmamudra, or more specifically, jnanamudra, the visualized consort.

There is precious little real information avialable on this subject. I did stumble across Dr. Nida Chengtsang's "Karmamudra: The Yoga of Bliss." I just received my copy though and haven't begun to dig into it yet. What I have been focusing on however is using jhanic states in conjunction with jnanamudra. What I have discovered is that, while in jhana, I can enter into the state I was previously over and over again, both with and without a visualized partner. It is quite blissful. These states, though short lived, can take over in a way that jhana states do not. 

If anyone is familiar with this territory I would love to hear your feedback. 
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Noah D, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Jhana and Karmamudra

Posts: 1155 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
There is a lot that could be said here.

In general, dzogrim (completion stage tantra, the category that karmamudra falls into) talks about energy channels in our body, winds which flow through the channels & drop/essences which get carried on the winds.  At the risk of oversimplification, the "goal" is to use bliss to straighten out the channels, then consciously get the winds & drops to enter the central channel & the heart, while watching that process of dissolution.  This process goes through 8 stages, with the 5 elements dissolving & then 3 layers of subtle seed consciousness (red light, white light, black light) before the last layer called "clear light".  

Dr.  Robert Thurman believes that these 8 stages of dissolution correspond to the first 7 jhanas & that the 8th jhana corresponds to clear light consciousness.  However, the jhanas are on a coarser level as compared to the subtle level of the stages of dissolution.  This makes sense to me.

Beyond that particular cross-map, we have the idea that the samadhis of Theravada (the jhanas) lack great compassion bodhicitta motivation to benefit others, so they are not working towards generating positive force to overcome the knowledge obscurations (what blocks the omnicompetence of a buddha), only the afflictive obscurations (what blocks the liberation of an arahant).  Since karmamudra falls into the path of mahayana (which relies upon bodhicitta), it would be invalid to *fully* compare Theravada jhanas to it. 

Beyond that, there is the need to put a bigger warning flag on dzogrim practice than on jhana practice.  Just like all meditation (as has been highlighted on DhO, podcasts, etc) jhanas can stir up psychoemotional instability or trigger it even if there was not a precondition.  However, dzogrim specifically can disrupt the underlying energetic cause for all other levels of being, including mind & body.  Therefore, dzogrim (including karmamudra) is even more dangerous than meditation which does not directly manipulate the energy body.

In general, I think it makes sense that the samadhi of jnanamudra, karmamudra & tummo would aid jhana practice & visa versa.  It certainly has for me & I am no expert in either one.  I will add that the dzogrim practice has arguably had much more benefit in a relative way in my life than what breath focus meditation (for instance) has.  Everyone's mileage will vary though.  Best to have some 1-1 time with an expert specialist teacher to work with the energy body safely.
Andy, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Jhana and Karmamudra

Posts: 32 Join Date: 12/1/19 Recent Posts
Noah D

In general, I think it makes sense that the samadhi of jnanamudra, karmamudra & tummo would aid jhana practice & visa versa.  It certainly has for me & I am no expert in either one. 

This has been my recent experience as well. Just over the last couple days my jhana has become extremely strong. So much so that I haven't been able to engage in jnanamudra today. It's interesting.

Tummo is another practice I am of course interested in. Might you know of any good resources you could point me towards?
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Noah D, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Jhana and Karmamudra

Posts: 1155 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
Can you send me an email?<br /><br />meditatingtogive at gmail dot com&nbsp;
John H, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Jhana and Karmamudra

Posts: 23 Join Date: 4/17/18 Recent Posts
My introduction to Tummo was through Glenn Mullin's excellent translation of Tsongkhapa's Six Yoga's of Naropa which I bought in a store. I got the book and dove right in. The instructions were clear and useful and produced immediate results. It was only after I'd had the book for six months or so that I noticed in the frontspiece that it said something very like "If you attempt to practice this without the supervision of a proper tantric master you will go to hell." There were a lot of remarkable things in the book and so although I didn't stop I backed way off. 25 or so years later I'd say that I would have definitely benefitted from finding a qualified lama right then. At this point I prefer jhana to tummo and I'm not at all sure I buy the idea that tummo leads at least not directly to a deeper or more final result. Given the correspondences between the 8 jhanas and the 8 stages of dissolution and my somewhat mediocre meditation practice and experience I'm inclined to agree with Dr. Thurman. Different schools have different stories about their practices even when the actual practices are quite similar or even when they spring from the same root.  In review it seems to me that bodhicitta is more about intent than the differences between jhana and tummo. Lastly, a teacher of mine introduced me to Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta: Setting Rolling the Wheel of Truth where Buddha gave his first teaching. It doesn't use the mahayana words but to my eye that sutta drips with bodhicitta. 

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.011.nymo.html
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Noah D, modified 5 Months ago.

RE: Jhana and Karmamudra

Posts: 1155 Join Date: 9/1/16 Recent Posts
Makes sense, jhana can be practiced with bodhicitta.  Dr Berzin talks about this - that people always dedicate the positive momentum of practice to buddhahood, but you could just as well dedicate to arahantship.  And this is essentially what Theravadan practitioners are doing whether they know it or not.  So really the practice & the intended outcome are somewhat disconnected.  

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