Never to release seminal fluid; to rely upon pure behavior.
We should try not to release our red and white drops. Releasing our drops interferes with our development of great bliss.
This is another vow that often gives rise to a good deal of doubt, worry and confusion. Does this mean it is a Tantric downfall to have an orgasm? The short answer is eventually, yes; but until then, be natural.
First, why does the release of our drops interfere with the development of great bliss? While the drops of our subtle body and those of our gross body are not the same things, there is close relationship between them. When we release our gross seminal fluids, it is also like opening up the floodgates and we lose a tremendous amount of our inner energy drops. The drops of our subtle body are what give our body and mind vitality. Losing our drops, then, functions to drain us of our vitality. From the early Gladiators to modern day boxers, this is a fact that is well known. Such fighters would refrain from losing their drops before their fights because doing so drains them of the strength they will need in the arena.
When we lose our drops, it does not just drain us of our physical vitality, but also our mental vitality. Even in the early days of our spiritual training, we can notice a big difference in the quality of our meditation and insight between when we have not released our drops for some time and when we just did last night. This is the experience of all those who have bothered to check if it is true.
Does this mean we should all become ordained, or if not ordained does this mean we should all stop having orgasms? I asked Venerable Tharchin this question once. He said (paraphrasing), “it is extremely difficult for those who are not ordained to do this. Ordination provides special blessings which helps us control such desires. But even the ordained frequently lose their drops, if not through masturbation (which weakens, though doesn’t break one’s ordination vows) then during their dreams. Whether we are ordained or not, though, the logic is the same: at some point our desire for realizations is greater than our desire for an orgasm, and when this happens we naturally desire to lose our drops less and less. But we shouldn’t worry that this will destroy our sex life, if truth be told – and I speak from experience here as a child of the 60s – it makes it better.”
We should become acutely aware of the relationship between our losing of our drops and the decline in our vitality and ability to meditate effectively. As we deepen our experience of Dharma, and in particular the lamrim, there will come a point where we start to want realizations more than we want the pleasant feelings of an orgasm. We will see the trade-off between the two, and from our own side choose to refrain from losing our drops, even if only for a short while. Over time, we will start to want to refrain for longer and longer, not out of some feeling that losing our drops is some “sin,” but rather we simply want realizations more. We forgo all sorts of samsaric pleasures for the sake of gaining Dharma realizations, willingly and gladly. Losing our drops is just one more example.
In my view, the best analogy for understanding the process by which we gradually forgo more and more samsaric pleasures is one of a child outgrowing their toys. When my first born was a baby, her favorite toy was a Pampers Wipies box. It was quite fascinating for her. She could open the lid, put things in, close the lid and everything would disappear. She could then re-open the lid and they would magically reappear! She could then take things out and start all over again. Like all samsaric enjoyments, gradually, though the wonder of it all wore off and she started to become interested in new, better toys like Pet Shop Pets and Barbies. There was never a point where she felt guilty about playing with her Pampers box like doing so was “wrong,” she rather just naturally left it behind as she moved on to more sophisticated pleasures. Now, she would never choose to play with a Pampers box for the simple reason of she has outgrown it. In exactly the same way, as our experience of Dharma increases we gradually and quite naturally outgrow our various samsaric pleasures. We do not abandon them because we feel guilty about it like they are some sin, rather we simply gradually leave them behind as we move on to more qualified spiritual pleasures. We spiritually outgrow them, even such things as releasing our drops.
Within our sexual relationships, we can begin by saying we will not lose our drops with anybody other than our partner and ourself. This can combine our refraining from sexual misconduct with this vow. Then we can start to do it with ourself less and less, while continuing to lose them as normal with our partner. Eventually we can get to the point where we don’t lose our drops with ourself, except during our dreams. Over time, even that will become less and less until eventually it stops altogether. With our partner, we can work to go longer and longer without losing our drops, training to not do so until we can no longer not. This means longer and often greater pleasure for both you and your partner, and it means making progress with this vow. Eventually, it is even possible where you could reach the point where you maintain an active sex life with your partner but never lose your drops. Venerable Tharchin winked, saying, “after I did that, my sex life really took off.”