ཡོལ་མོ་སྤྲུལ་སྐུ་རིག་འཛིན་བསྟན་འཛིན་ནོར་བུ།

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Six Yogas (lit. Six Unions), (Skt. ṣaḍañga-yoga) - sbyor drug (NOT chos drug!)

There is, and always was, only one system in the Tibetan tradition that was ever referred to as "Six Yogas". And that is the system of perfection process practices according to the Kālacakra tradition. These practices are nowadays maintained predominantly by the followers of the Jonang school.

Why anyone would want to translate "chos drug" as "Six Yogas" is beyond me. But scores of colleagues keep perpetuating this several decade old mistake, on the flimsy pretext of "not wanting to confuse people, because that’s what they’re used to". As if that would make it right eventually. Indian texts were translated over several centuries into Tibetan, and lots of terminology was revised and corrected many times. Why can that not happen in the West as well?

The Six Yogas are:

1. so sor sdud pa – withdrawal (Skt. pratyāhara)
2. bsam gtan - mental focus (Skt. dhyāna)
3. srog rtsol - wind control (Skt. prāṇāyāma)
4. 'dzin pa – retention (Skt. dharāṇā)
5. rjes dran – consummation (Skt. anusmṛiti)
6. ting nge ‘dzin – absorption (Skt. samādhi)

The characteristics of the Six Yogas:

The essence of Pratyāhara is non-conceptualisation through petrifying the mind.
The essence of Dhyāna is focussing the mind on the appearances of empty-form.
The essence of Prāṇāyāma is to prevent the action-winds from moving outside the central channel.
The essence of Dharāṇā is to reduce the winds to nothing.
The essence of Anusmṛiti is the great passion of the blazing Tummo.
The essence of Samādhi is the unchanging bliss of the seeds.

Pratyāhara and Dhyāna are yogas of the channels, as they are the best for purifying the paths of the channels.
Prāṇāyāma and Dharāṇā reduce the movements of the winds of sun and moon.
Anusmṛiti and Samādhi are yogas of the seeds.

The other systems, such as "na ro chos drug" and "ni gu chos drug", must be referred to as "Six Doctrines" or "Six Dharmas". The Six Doctrines are:

1. The practice of inner heat (gtum mo).
2. The illusory body (sgyu lus).
3. The dream state (rmi lam).
4. The clear light or luminosity ('od gsal).
5. The ejection of consciousness ('pho ba).
6. The intermediate states (bar do).

Combined with the meditations of deities such as Vajrayoginī/Vajravārahī or Cakrasaṃvara, and the system of Māhamudrā they are the most important meditational practices of the various Kagyu schools (TSD)

External Links

  • Introduction to the Six Yogas [1]