The Secret Meaning of the Couple-Practice Tantra in Tibetan “Buddhism”

Published:2012/05/25    07:55

(By the True Heart News interviewing team in Taipei)Radio Free Asia (U.S.-funded) broadcast an interview with Chairman Zhang (was then the CEO) of the True Enlightenment Education Foundation, together with Teacher Yu Zhengwai, and Dawa Tsering, Director of the Tibet Religious Foundation of H.H. the Dalai Lama on Dec. 7, 2011.

During the interview, Dawa Tsering evaded the issue of the Couple-Practice Tantra; his arguments were logically inconsistent and he attempted to politicize the motive of the True Enlightenment Education Foundation. Therefore, the True Heart News is obliged to refute his utterances with evidence so that the public would not be misled.

Dawa Tsering pointed out: “Tibetan Buddhism is also called Esoteric School because of the ‘secret meaning’ stated in the sutras, which can only be explained by the gurus. There is no way to understand its true meaning simply based on literal interpretation.”

Concerning this particular point, Chairman Zhang Gongpu of the True Enlightenment Education Foundation replies that Tibetan tantras are neither authentic Buddhist dharmas nor Buddhist sutras. One can refer to the True Heart News reports for reference:

True Heart News: The Tibetan Tantras are not Buddhist Sutras

True Heart News: Teachings of the Tibetan Tantras are Erroneous and Have Nothing to do with the Confucian Ethics
Tibetan Buddhism does not Teach the Buddha Dharma, and is Definitely not a Legacy of Buddhism

For further understandings of the secret meaning of tantras, we will again quote some statements from the Dalai Lama’s books.

In his book The world of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama states the following:

As explained in the Vajra-Tent Tantra, there are four classes within the tantric system. However, it is only in Highest Yoga Tantra that the profound and unique features of tantra find their fullest expression. Consequently, we should view the lower tantras as steps leading towards Highest Yoga Tantra. Although the presence of various methods of taking desire into the path is a feature common to all four classes of tantra, the level of desire employed differs considerably from one class of tantra to another. In the first class of tantra, one takes into the path the desire generated from merely gazing at an attractive person of the opposite sex. Then, the three remaining classes, respectively, employ the desire generated from smiling at and laughing with such a person, the desire involved in touching and holding hands, and finally, the desire involved in sexual union.(H.H. the Dalai Lama, The World of Tibetan Buddhism, p. 103)

As stated by the Dalai Lama, the practice of Tibetan “Tantrism,” from the preliminary to the final stages, consists of totally four classes of tantra, the Action Tantra, the Performance Tantra, the Yoga Tantra, and the Highest Yoga Tantra, all of which focus on sexual matters; to start with smiling, gazing, embracing, and eventually sexual union, these are the core methods of Tibetan tantric practice; the fourth and last class, also called the “sexual union tantra,” “Mahayoga,” and so on, is the central principle and the ultimate method of esoteric cultivation, namely the Highest Yoga Tantra. All the afore mentioned are the “secret meaning” referred to by Dawa Tsering; ironically, these are no longer secrets anymore.

In Dalai Lama’s book, he states:

According to the tantric explanation, when we speak of a blissful experience here, we are referring to the bliss that is derived from the emission of the element of regenerative fluid, another type of bliss which is derived from the movement of that element within the channels, and a third type of bliss which is derived through the state of immutable bliss. In tantric practice it is the two latter types of bliss that are utilized for realizing emptiness. Because of the great significance of utilizing bliss in the realization of emptiness we find that many of the meditational deities in Highest Yoga Tantra are in union with a consort. (HH the Dalai Lama, A Survey of the Paths of Tibetan Buddhism, PDF edition, p. 27 retrieved from, 2010/01/10)

In his book Gentle Bridges - Conversations with the Dalai Lama on the Sciences of Mind, the Dalai Lama states:

The one that you experience at the time of orgasm is the strongest. That is one of the reasons why the practice of bliss comes into the highest yoga tantra. …During the event of orgasm, because the experience of clear light is longer in duration, already you have a greater opportunity to utilize it. (HH the Dalai Lama, Gentle Bridges - Conversations with the Dalai Lama on the Sciences of Mind, p. 81)

Thus, it is obvious to see that cultivation methods mentioned in tantras, the bible of Tibetan “Buddhism,” are based on the practice of sexual union; it is also called the practice of bliss. Regarding the Tantric “secret empowerments,” the couple-practice of copulation is explicitly described in more detail by ancient Tibetan gurus in tantras. As stated by the ancient Tibetan Tantric patriarch Tsongkhapa:

As stated in the Tantras of a Collection of Esotericism: “The union of a vajra and a lotus (the union of both sex organs) gathers all vajra (collecting all semen) through the preparatory practice of the bodily, verbal, and mental deeds with a concentrated mind (to focus on the practice in a single-minded manner). It is ejected through the vajra path (to ejaculate through urethra) and descends to the disciple’s mouth (to put the semen into the mouth of the disciple).”

The secret-empowerment dharma instructor (the person who transmits the secret empowerment) shall then take the vajra from the lotus (the sexual fluid from the female sex organ), and get the muni gem with the thumb and ring finger (use the thumb and ring finger to get the precious fluid). … Put it into the disciple’s mouth.

The secret-empowerment dharma instructor shall then take the vajra from the lotus and get the muni gem with the thumb and ring finger. He realizes that this Tathagata fluid is the same as the bodicitta; yet for fear that the disciple who chants the vajra mantra with Amitabha pride would not accept the fluid upon witnessing, the dharma instructor covers the disciple’s face to keep out of his sight and reach, and then recites: “Like empowering the Buddha’s sons with the vajradhara in the past, as stated in the Madhu-Kara Tantra, now I empower you with the wondrous bodhicitta.”

…Then, the female consort comes out of samadhi (the female consort rises up to her feet after her orgasm), naked, and takes the nectar drop from the lotus (takes the nectar mixture of sexual fluid from her sex organ) to put it into the disciple’s mouth accordingly; the disciple would also swallow it (the disciple takes in the fluid).
(Tsongkhapa, The Great Exposition of Secret Mantra, translated into Chinese by dharma-master Fazun, Wondrous and Auspicious Publisher, 1st Ed., June 1986)

For further readings, one can access the website of the True Enlightenment Education Foundation on the free book section A Talk on the Couple-Practice Tantra of the Dalai Lama. (A Chinese version)

Chairman Zhang indicates that Lamaism (Tibetan “Buddhism”) is not orthodox Buddhism. It is only a combination of erotic sexual techniques coated with Buddhist terms. The Foundation’s statement is not alone, and there are scholars who have also pointed out this fact during interviews. For instance, The Liberty Times reports on Dec. 15, 2010:
        Dr. Huinan Yang, a former professor of philosophy at the National Taiwan University and an expert on the history of Buddhism, said that in the early days, the Yoga practice was indeed a religious cultivation method in India; at present, some branches of Tibetan Buddhism have incorporated some Hindu teachings, including the copulation practice, and thus the essentials of their teachings have greatly deviated from those of traditional Buddhism highlighted by Buddha Sakyamuni.

Therefore, Dawa Tsering was simply trying to evade the key issues and he assumed that Taiwanese people are still unaware of the “secret meaning” of the Couple-Practice Tantra in Tibetan “Buddhism.” Pretending to be mysterious, he still attempted to deceive the Taiwan public. He even highly praised such sexual tenets in tantras as the Buddha dharma and highlighted, “The points raised by the True Enlightenment Education Foundation are only records in the sutras, yet hardly any practitioner has achieved this level throughout our history. Most importantly, the sutras also clearly stipulate that the monks who have received the precepts are absolutely forbidden to practice in that way because it violates the precept.

His statements are totally untrue. Historically, all ancient Tibetan Tantric gurus are actual practitioners of the Couple-Practice Tantra. We can prove this fact by, for examples, one of the sixth Dalai Lama’s poems quoted in a Chinese book A Talk on the Tibetan Culture (edited and translated by Yelü Dashi from Trimondi’s book Der Schatten des Dalai Lama - Sexualität, Magie und Politik im Tibetischen Buddhismus), and it says:
     While I live in the monastery palace,
     I am Ridzin Tsangyang Gyatso, honored in this lineage.
     When I roam the streets in Lhasa, and down in the valley to Shol,
     I am the wildman, Dangyang Wangpo, who has many lovers.
     Never have I slept without a sweetheart
     Nor have I spent a single drop of sperm

Nevertheless, whatever state they have described regarding “no emission of semen” is definitely not the Buddhist cultivation.

DawaTsering said, "Tibetan Buddhist monks are not allowed to actually do the sexual practice"; he was obviously telling a lie, because the Dalai Lama nowadays publicly advocates in his books that ordained monks can cultivate the copulation practice.

The 14th Dalai Lama states:
     For Buddhists, sexual intercourse can be used in the spiritual path because it causes a strong focusing of consciousness if the practitioner has firm compassion and wisdom. Its purpose is to manifest and prolong the deeper levels of mind (described earlier with respect to the process of dying), in order to put their power to use in strengthening the realization of emptiness. Otherwise, mere intercourse has nothing to do with spiritual cultivation. When a person has achieved a high level of practice in motivation and wisdom, then even the joining of the two sex organs, or so-called intercourse, does not detract from the maintenance of that person’s pure behavior. Yogis who have achieved a high level of the path and are fully qualified can engage in sexual activity and a monastic with this ability can maintain all the precepts. (The XIV Dalai Lama, translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins, How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life, Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. NY, 2002, p.193.)

Therefore, it is plain obvious that even by the Dalai Lama’s statements, Dawa Tsering is also telling lies. We hope that the public will not be fooled by him, nor will people be misled or harmed by the wicked tenets of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism—the Couple-Practice Tantra. (Reported by the Interviewing Team)20120525

Editor's Note:

This article is an English version of the Chinese edition published on

January 30, 2012.