Happy Tsog Day: How to Practice the Song of the Spring Queen (part 2)

In order to remember and mark our tsog days, holy days on the Kadampa calendar, I am sharing my understanding of the practice of Offering to the Spiritual Guide with tsog.  This is part 25 of a 44-part series.

HUM All you Tathagatas,
Heroes, Yoginis,
Dakas, and Dakinis,
To all you I make this request:
With a mind completely aroused by great bliss
And a body in a dance of constant motion,
I offer to the hosts of Dakinis
The great bliss from enjoying the lotus of the mudra.
AH LA LA, LA LA HO, AH I AH, AH RA LI HO
May the assembly of stainless Dakinis
Look with loving affection and accomplish all deeds.

The first four lines and the last three lines can be understood in exactly the same way as the verse above. With the fifth line of this verse, we recall our mind has been completely aroused by great bliss from the previous verse and we are experiencing joy at our throat chakra. With the sixth line, we imagine that ourself and our consort Vajrayogini are in fact a single body of inseparable bliss and emptiness engaged in a dance of constant motion – our act of engaging in spiritual union. Here, we offer this experience of great bliss to the host of Dakas and Dakinis of the body mandala. There are two ways of engaging in Heruka’s body mandala. In the first, as explained in Essence of Vajrayana, we imagine the deities of the body mandala surround us in concentric circles. In the second, as explained in the sadhana New Essence of Vajrayana, we imagine all the deities of the body mandala at the twenty-four places of our body. In both cases, we imagine that the deities of the body mandala are by nature our channels and drops of our subtle body at these places. By mixing the deities of the body mandala with our channels and drops at the twenty-four places, we receive powerful blessings that function to heal our subtle body enabling all our winds to more easily find their way into our central channel at our heart and not become blocked by imperfections or blockages within our subtle body.

In the context of the practice of Song of the Spring Queen, we can imagine either the deities of the body mandala around us in concentric circles or at the twenty-four places of our body. In either case, we offer our experience of great bliss arising from engaging in union with the wisdom mudra Vajayogini to the Dakas and Dakinis, and as a result of them experiencing great bliss, we imagine that our subtle body is completely healed. The Dakas and Dakinis are then able to unobstructedly transmit their blessings through the principal channels of our subtle body causing all our inner winds to travel through them into the central channel at our heart. When we recite the ninth line, we imagine that once again Vajrayogini’s pure winds are blown up into our central channel, re-igniting our tummo fire, and causing the white bodhichitta at our throat to descend to our heart chakra, where we experience the second joy called supreme joy. It is as if all the pure winds from throughout our subtle body and the white bodhichitta descending from our crown all converge into our heart chakra in a concentration of indescribable bliss. 

HUM All you Tathagatas,

Heroes, Yoginis,

Dakas, and Dakinis,

To all you I make this request:

You who dance with a beautiful and peaceful manner,

O Blissful Protector and the hosts of Dakinis,

Please come here before me and grant me your blessings,

And bestow upon me spontaneous great bliss.

AH LA LA, LA LA HO, AH I AH, AH RA LI HO

May the assembly of stainless Dakinis

Look with loving affection and accomplish all deeds.

In this verse, with the fifth line, we recall that the great bliss everyone is experiencing around us is by nature emptiness. There is nothing more beautiful nor peaceful than the emptiness of all phenomena. With the sixth and seventh lines, we invite the wisdom beings of all the deities of Heruka’s body mandala to enter into the commitment beings that we have been visualizing up to this point. We imagine that from the ten directions come countless collections of the 64 deities of the body mandala that all dissolve into ourselves as the self-generation. When they do so, we imagine that they bestow spontaneous great bliss upon us, mixed inseparably with a direct realization of the emptiness of all phenomena. When we recite the ninth line, we once again imagine Vajrayogini’s pure winds enter into us, strengthen and further power the tummo fire at our navel. This causes the white bodhichitta, which is still experiencing supreme joy at our heart from before, to descend to our naval channel where it mixes in separably with the tummo fire itself. As a result, we experience the third of the four joys, extraordinary joy, which is even more profound and intense then the supreme joy we generated before.

HUM All you Tathagatas,
Heroes, Yoginis,
Dakas, and Dakinis,
To all you I make this request:
You who have the characteristic of the liberation of great bliss,
Do not say that deliverance can be gained in one lifetime
Through various ascetic practices having abandoned great bliss,
But that great bliss resides in the centre of the supreme lotus.
AH LA LA, LA LA HO, AH I AH, AH RA LI HO
May the assembly of stainless Dakinis
Look with loving affection and accomplish all deeds.

Normally when we speak of liberation, we are referring to abandoning all our delusions for ourselves. This is the final result of the Hinayana path and also the middle scope of the Lamrim teachings. However, as explained above, the mind of bodhichitta is the substantial cause of the mind of great bliss, and the practices of generation stage and completion stage are these circumstantial causes that enable us to transform the mind of bodhicitta into the very subtle mind of great bliss. Thus, with the fifth line, we recall that Vajrayogini, who we are engaged in union with, is by nature bodhicitta, which is the uncommon characteristic of the liberation of great bliss. The liberation of great bliss is an experience of great bliss that is equal to or greater than the bliss of individual liberation from samsara, otherwise known as nirvana, but whose special characteristic is to retain the bodhicitta motivation that prevents us from being content with solitary piece.

With the sixth and seventh line, we recall the importance of completely abandoning all attachment if we are to engage in qualified completion stage practice. Aesthetics principal practice is abandoning attachment, and they do so primarily through renouncing all pleasant experiences and achieving a mind that is completely at peace despite that. Aesthetic practices are similar to the practices of physical yoga. When we engage in physical yoga, we put our body into all sorts of extremely uncomfortable positions and stretches, but then we learn how to relax completely into that discomfort and tension completely fades away and we experience it as blissful relaxation of letting go into discomfort. In our practice of tantra, we do not abandon pleasant experiences, rather we learn how to transform them into the spiritual path of generating the mind of great bliss that we then use to meditate on emptiness. The sixth and seventh lines, therefore, remind us that our practices of generation stage and completion stage must be completely free from every trace of attachment just like the practices of an aesthetic must be. The difference is we do not need to renounce the pleasant experience, instead we use it spiritually. With the eighth line, we recall that great bliss can only be found through tantric practice, and in particular through completely loosening all the knots at our central channel as described above. It is only through tantric technology that we can attain enlightenment in one lifetime. This can only be done through relying upon both a wisdom and an action mudra. The supreme lotus refers to Vajrayogini’s bhaga.

When we recite the ninth line, we once again imagine that Vajrayogini’s pure winds flow up into our central channel where they envelop our white bodhichitta now at our navel chakra, and then they draw our white bodhichitta down to the tip of our sex organ. Technically speaking, the center of the chakra at the tip of our sex organ is slightly outside the tip, so we should feel as if the white bodhicitta is now residing inside the center of our lower door and we experience the fourth joy, spontaneous great bliss joy.

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