golden dorje

The Rape of Yeshe Tsogyel

- excerpt from Sky Dancer with commentary -

golden dorje

Commentary: The Use of Sex

A most remarkable example of the use of sex for the benefit of others is provided by Tsogyel when she initiates the rapists who successively abuse her. Much wisdom can be extracted from the song she sings to them.

In the first place, she shows what great power the Dakini possesses over them, and in their dependence upon her how their need can be used for their own good. The desire that arises upon apprehending an attractive woman in the visual field can transform a man into a god if his desire is penetrated by insight into emptiness; divine confidence creates a divine environment populated by gods and goddesses. The woman, or rather, the Dakini, transforms the man who lusts after her into her Guru, the man of her dreams. (Verse 1)

In this context, as in many other passages in The Life, mahamudra has a technical meaning distinct from its usage in the Kahgyupa School where it denominates the goal of practice synonimous with Buddhahood and virtually equivalent to Dzogchen. Here mahamudra indicates the totality of the unitary field of reality in its female aspect. (Verse 2)

It is the Dakini's nature of complete receptivity, empty space, that assuages male aggression; and it is the female organ's 'empty space' that is receptive to the symbol of his aggression. The mandala is completed as the Yidam deity takes up residence in his palace; and joy and pleasure, serenity and peace, are the hallmarks of the Guru's experience of mahamudra after the Mystic Initiation. (Verse 3)

Through 'involuntary exertion' ('no-action') desire reaches its climax, and it is the moment of climax that pure pleasure is understood as Emptiness; insight into Emptiness is achieved in the union of the male and female aspects of the mind and of being itself. The experience of Emptiness is a function of the unitary field of reality, which in this case is a result of sexual consummation.
(Verse 4)

Even the uninitiated can gain intimation of pure gnostic awareness in the post-coitus hiatus, when our 'mystic partner' and all external phenomena seem to float in space, and sound has a clarity and timbre unrecognised in ordinary perception. The samaya of the Fourth Initiation is to sustain this experience of 'natural purity' in the world of appearences' and the samaya of zap-lam is to sustain recognition of the Emptiness in the desire that has been transformed into Awareness by the intensity of pure pleasure. Thus whatever arises in the fields of perception is cognised as primal space, and desire itself is the path so long as it is recognised as Emptiness: this is Maha Ati, Dzogchen, the starting point, the path and the goal.
(Verse 5)

(Sky Dancer pp. 250-51, Commentary, The Path of the Inner Tantra.)


My sons you have met a sublime consort, the Great Mother,
And by virtue of your resources of accumulated merit,
Fortuitously, you have received the four empowerments.
Concentrate upon the evolution of the four levels of joy.

Immediately you set eyes upon my body-mandala,
Your mind was possessed by a lustful disposition,
And your confidence won you the Vase Initiation.
Apprehend the very essence of lust,
Identify it as your creative vision of the deity,
And that is nothing but the Yidam deity himself.
Meditate upon lustful mind as Divine Being.

Uniting with space, your consort's secret mandala,
Pure pleasure exciting your nerve centres,
Your aggression was assuaged and loving kindness was born,
And its power won you the Mystic Initiation.
Apprehend the very essence of joy,
Mix it with your vital energy and maintain it awhile,
And if that is not mahamudra, nothing is.
Experience pleasure as mahamudra.

Joined to your consort's sphere of pure pleasure,
Inspired to involuntary exertion,
Your mind merged with my mind,
And that blessing won you the Wisdom Initiation.
Undistracted, guard the very essence of pleasure,
Identify pure pleasure with Emptiness,
And that is what is known as immaculate empty pleasure.
Experience pure pleasure as supreme joy.

United at your consort's blissful nerve,
Our two nectars fused into one elixir.
The phenomena of self and others extinguished,
Awareness won you the Initiation of Creative Expression.
Guard the natural purity in the world of appearances,
Identify your love and attachment with Emptiness,
And that is nothing other than Dzogchen itself.
Experience innate joy as no-joy.

This is extraordinary, exalted secret instruction;
To consciously practise this method brings a fall,
But discovered by chance it gives miraculous release.
You attained the four empowerments at once,
And your success was matured by the four stages of joy.

From Sky Dancer Chapter Seven, pps. 118-19;
Establishing, Spreading and Perpetuating the Teaching,

Sarva Mangalam!
May all beings be happy!