Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Missing Link In Buddhist Tantra: Swara Yoga

Tibetan grandmasters such as Milerapa and Padmasambhava first obtained their transmission directly from India; and later they preached the teachings in Tibet. However due to over secrecy, many yoga techniques are lost in time. Hence, current Buddhist Tantra teachings are not quite the same as the Indian counterparts though the names remain the same.


This condition is worsened when Buddhist Tantra texts are being translated to other languages such as Chinese, English and others. For example in Tibetan Buddhist Guru Yoga supplication, there is a pledge for the lineage gurus to bestow four accomplishments. The sentence would sound something like:



“Please bestow the accomplishment of body, speech, mind and activities!”


In Buddhist Kriya Yoga, the three terms: body, speech and mind are interpreted as mudra, mantra and visualization; practitioners also attribute this to the ‘three secrets’ (三密). It is said that one can only achieve siddhi when all of the three aspects are in union.


Though some of the Higher Buddhist Tantra practices continue to refer the ‘three secrets’ in their teachings; I have some doubts as I am more inclined to think the Buddhist concept of body, speech and mind is in fact described by Swami Muktibodhadana in Swara Yoga.


My special interest is with the term ‘speech’ (). Many people think the ‘speech’ refers to ‘mantra’ but according to Swara Yoga, the speech refers to ‘swara’ or ‘voice of breathing’.


In Swara Yoga, there are three types of swara:


·         Chitta refers to mind that controls our sensory nerves and left channel

·         Prana refers to life force that controls our 5 organs of actions and right channel

·         Atma refers to spirit which is the overall controller and related to central channel


So as you can see, the definitions given by Swara Yoga fit better in the context of Buddhist Anuttara Yoga Tantra. It is apparent that we now need to turn to the study of Hindu Tantric texts to understand the Buddhist Tantra teachings now days. Or further supplications to gurus would not yield any benefits if we cannot understand the meaning of true ‘speech’!


1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr. Liew !

    There is a quite cool (and very informative) internet page, with all kinds of
    of transalted tantra texts. The site belongs to Mike Magee .
    There's also some material about "breathing yoga" e.t.c

    Look: http://www.shivashakti.com/vijnan.htm

    The whole site is here:


    You can navigate through the page via the menu buttons on the left side.

    Thank you very much for your precious time !

    Michael B.