Physical Dynamic Concentration
in Other Traditions
The idea of Dynamic Concentration (DC), as has been explained in the previous chapter of this book, is to cut through all layers of the self-based mind and in consequence access one's pure wakeful nature. This type of yogic exercise is done with sudden explosive yet purposeful and controlled force. It can be done solely on the level of the mind but easiest way to apply it is through shout, often as repeated shouts.
Physical Dynamic Concentration
Dynamic Concentration can also be done physically. In Pemako Buddhism this is known as Physical Dynamic Concentration (PDC). Find Physical Dynamic Concentration with simple tantric mantra of Guru Rinpoche and Yeshe Tsogyal taught in this video, under the name of Vajra Body-exercise.
The idea of Physical Dynamic Concentration is to tense all muscles of the body at once in a controlled yet forceful manner while being fully aware of it. Because tensing of the muscles is so engaging, during this type of concentration it is very difficult for the mind to start drifting and therefore PDC also accomplishes very well what the practitioner intends to do, which is to access and establish one's wakeful nature. Flexing is kept for few seconds, usually while holding the breath, with tantric elements such as mantras and visualisations, and then relaxed. As in the above video instruction, PDC should be done at least few times before a brief pause (half a minute or a minute) before second (-third-fourth) series of repetitions. Same idea of several repetitions (up to 100 in one series) and few sets (usually 2-4) is used with both DC and PDC in Pemako Buddhist practice. This is because many repetitions and sets works more effectively and accomplishes the task splendidly in comparison to just few repetitions.
Physical Dynamic Concentration in Other Traditions
Probably the most widely practiced form of PDC, is Paramahamsa Yogananda's Energisation Exercises. Yogananda is famous through his Autobiography of A Yogi. He is one of those who brought a type of hindu tantra called Kriya Yoga to the West beginning in 1920's. See from this video how he formulated PDC, together with prayer and breathing practices.
According to Swami Satyananda, Yogananda's childhood friend and dharma brother, Yogananda got the idea of PDC from a book on gymnastics by a German physical educator in the early 1900's. According to Swami Kriyananda, Yogananda's close disciple, Yogananda practiced Energisation Exercises twice every day of his life until his passing. See a photo of Yogananda taken just an hour before his passing in 1952, at the age of 59. I find his energy and appearance quite impressive.
Another, though much less known, tradition of hindu yoga that uses PDC is the lineage of Shyam Sunder Goswami. Goswami published few books and was the founder of the Sweden-based Goswami Yoga Institute. His Advanced Hatha Yoga introduces PDC as ”Carana Yoga”. See these pictures of Goswami students practicing ”yogic bodybuilding”.
The only buddhist tradition that uses PDC exactly in the same way as Pemako Buddhism and the other examples is the Shaolin-tradition from China. Shaolin monastery is considered to have been founded by Bodhidharma, the yogi who brought Zen from India to China.
Over the past 1500 years, the training system of Shaolin temple has developed into a three-way system: 1. kung fu, 2. chi gong and 3. meditation (c. chan). Roughly speaking, kung fu refers to martial arts training, chi gong refers to conditioning of the body, focusing of the mind and cultivation of breath energy (c. qi) and meditation refers to cultivation of mindfulness. These three can also be explained as physical cultivation (c. jing), cultivation of breath energy through intention (c. yi) and cultivation of wakeful nature (c. shen).
The Gift of Physical Dynamic Concentration
People arrive and have glimpses of the natural state accidentally, as a side-effect and purposefully. The point of DC and PDC is to have a reliable and mechanical tool that enables recognition of one's wakeful nature anywhere and anytime to anyone, with or without a tantric empowerment.
Thank you for reading and many blessings,
-Kim Rinpoche, 16 of July 2020
Pemako Buddhism, www.pemakobuddhism.com
* This text is additional material to What's Next? On Post-Awakening Practice