Saturday, September 29, 2018

Kum Nye, Vipassana & Dzongchen (昆耶,内观与大圆满)

Kum nye is a type of Tibetan massaging practice said to be originated from India. If I am not mistaken, the word 'kum' means body and 'nye' means 'massage'. So, on the surface kum nye is just one of those traditional massaging techniques out there.

This is unarguably partially true as kum nye has been integrated into Tibetan medicine and used to treat illnesses; at least to most of ordinary folks; kum nye stays that way.

It would be a waste if kum nye is used to treat physical illnesses because kum nye is deemed too soft compares to Hatha yoga or Yantra yoga. So, it certainly will not stretch our body to the limit and produces the simulations we desired.

Kum nye and vipassana

In order to understand kum nye, we can make a comparison of kum nye with the practice of vipassana that is prevalent in Theravada schools.

Vipassana is a meditative technique that emphasizes on 'attentive movements'meaning a practitioner must aware of his own movements in relation to his environments.

This may sound strange to the educated modern folks but just give it a thought: Do we really know what we are doing all this while? Did we really take a moment to feel how our feet react to the floor we walk on day to day?

In short, vipassana techniques trained us to feel how our inner mind feels. Once our feeling and body are in sync, then we will quickly see through delusions and achieve enlightenment. Kum nye is likewise same as vipassana except that it has more elaborate techniques. 

The essentials of kum nye

Kum nye is basically a pre- and post- dzongchen meditation practices meant to remove ambiguity arose between meditative and awakening states. 

It has 3 states:

  • Body awareness
  • Speech awareness
  • Mindful awareness

In the initial stage, we feel physical sensations: hot, cold, rough or smooth. Further into the process, we describe the blockage or the problems we are facing and finally our inner mind understands the problem and removes the obstacles.

Once obstacles of our body and mind are removed, we will naturally achieve enlightenment.

Kum nye and dzongchen

We can treat kum nye as a supplementary exercise to dzongchen as kum nye is very closely associated with the teachings of Garab Dorje (胜喜金刚). In fact, a practitioner will gain more by first practising kum nye techniques and then follow Garab Dorje's 'Three Essentials That Strikes The Point' (唯棰三要):

First, we must understand our mind
Second, we must trust our mind
Third, we must firmly meditate on it.


It is my experience that kum nye when used as a massaging technique will not provide very good healing results as it is too weak to stimulate our modern day body. However, it is extremely powerful for seasoned dzongchen practitioners to realize enlightenment.