sunnuntai 29. elokuuta 2021

About Sex and Semen Retention


About Sex and Semen Retention

Semen retention was mentioned few days ago in one of the discussions. It reminded me of this video of this sifu who has become famous in the internet. Here are my own view and experiences of this matter.

First of all, semen retention or sexual abstinence is not a requirement for awakening experiences or even full enlightenment (buddhahood). One can have a satisfying sexual life, have orgasms and ejaculate without it having any effect on awakening as it is understood on mahayana and vajrayana buddhism. In excess, however, like anything else, too much sexual activity will cause imbalance, lack of energy and energetical disharmony in the body.

A further point against abstinence from sex is the fact that across history those who refrain from sex, often hoping it to make one holier and purer, have become greatest sexual perverts and abusers. Based on this simple fact it is entirely misleading to say that being sexually active would be harmful or detrimental to one's spiritual or martial life.

One of my spiritual and martial heroes is Yamaoka Tesshu, a famous master of zen buddhism, swordmanship and calligraphy who lived in 19th century Japan. Tesshu was known, not in erratic sense, but he greatly enjoyed partying, drinking and having sex with women. He seemed to have a great appetite for the joys of life, while he was also committed to his spiritual, martial and art practices, as well as his work as an imperial advisor and as a familyman. He is said to have been a huge man with huge energy. I own a collection of Tesshu's calligraphies and can testify that none of his eagerness for drink or sex had a detrimental impact on his calligraphy (where the black ink stores his energy to this date). In fact, his energy is much fuller and more abundant than the works of many monks who assumably were celibates.

When it comes to sex, I have followed Tesshu's example. Since I was a teenager, I have never been a celibate except for one 5-week period, around the age of 30. That I have been sexually active has had no harmful effect on my realisation whatsoever. In fact, being sexually active has made my mind much more relaxed and emotionally balanced than I'd imagine I would have been without. Sex has also been fun (!).

Now, because I have not practiced celibacy and have been a steady ejaculator for the past 30 years, I do not have authority to say that the recommendation to remain a celibate wouldn't have all the benefits the sifu and other sources say. However, I can say is that celibacy, refraining from sex or ejaculations is not necessary for spiritual enlightenment (as it is understood in mahayana buddhism) because it simply isn't. The sifu on the video doesn't give any meaningful definition what he means by enlightenment but what comes to buddhist enlightenment, there is very little or no relation to sexuality at all. Dealing with sexual desire, on the other hand, is important but this is a practice of meditation that has no relation to sex, sex organs or such.

We can surely become fully enlightened beings and great martial artists by having a balanced and healthy life style.

-Kim, 29.8.2021

maanantai 23. elokuuta 2021

My Legacy as a Buddhist Teacher


My Legacy as a Buddhist Teacher

Today as I was sitting on the train I was thinking about my legacy as a buddhist teacher. Often buddhist teachers and masters they establish center/s in many countries, build stupas, temples or big buddha statues. I love all that but when I was thinking about my legacy, one meaning immediately rose above others: to help great number of my students to attain buddhahood, full enlightenment. When I say great number, I'm thinking of 100 people. I think I will be around for another 50 years so I think this goal can be realistic. If I keep reaching good student material who are ready and fit to face their inner demons without wavering, like many in our sangha now, this will be no problem.

Functionality of the Pemako method isn't a problem either, since the first one is already through. Yes, one of my students has recently attained buddhahood, exhaustion of all phenomena. I've given "weather warnings" about this since late last year and now our students have started finishing their practice.

Hundred of those... 100 mahasiddhas... Centuria mahasiddha...

Yeah, that's the kind of legacy that I want to leave.

-Kim, 23.8.2021

maanantai 9. elokuuta 2021

Goals and Goal-orientedness in Pemako buddhist practice


Goals and Goal-orientedness in 

Pemako buddhist practice

Every now and then someone sends me a message saying that Pemako practice seems so ”goal-oriented” as if we were aiming for some special experiences. I'll put this into a proper context so that you can understand what goals and goal-orientedness in Pemako means.

In Pemako practice, we have the so called ”bhumi openings” and ”bhumi perfections”. Bhumis (lit. ground) are areas or fields in our mind, i.e. the subtle body made of energy channels and centers, where any kind of awakening/insight/enlightenment experiences happen. The reason we speak of the 13 bhumis in total and purification of the 10 bhumis is because this is a specific way to understand and to apply practices. Because of this knowledge about the subtle body; that there is a chronological continuum from beginning of insight practice (opening of the 1st bhumi), then consecutive openings (openings of 2nd to 13th bhumis), then completion of purification (perfection) of each of these bhumi fields in chronological order from 1 to 10; all this is actually a clear map how it all works. And actually this applies to every type of training system, not only Pemako. So, what we have in the 13 bhumi map is a clear and solid path map from unawakened state to full enlightenment.

As a teacher and founder of Pemako, I put a lot of emphasis on teaching my students about the distinction between self-based mind of confusion and our basic state, or buddhanature. I point this out on all retreats and the reason for that is that practitioners need to know what their buddhanature feels and tastes like. They need to have it pointed out so that they gain confidence quickly. But in our system pointing out instructions given by the teachers is really just a safety valve because our practices enable recognition of the basic state very easily and quickly.

What does all this have to do with bhumis and goals?

If you ask me, there is no other practice in buddhist yoga except to recognise ourselves as fully enlightened, awake and aware beings. In zen, some masters say the same thing that there is no other practice but kensho (lit. seeing one's true nature). The way I teach is that I explain to my students how each technique, be it prayer, mudra, visualisation or anything else makes this recognition happen, so that they know how to do their practice correctly. Not knowing this is, in fact, faulty practice and largely a waste of time.

When with the help of yogic exercises, purposefully and not accidentally, we make our buddhanature appear and its recognition takes place, this is all there is to it in all of buddhist yogas. This moment of the recognition of the basic state is unlike any other kind of experience in all of existence, and that is why the recognition of oneself as a fully awakened buddha has the power to eradicate our self-based existential confusion.

So, what bhumi openings and bhumi perfections are, are moments when our buddhanature shows up and is recognised fully. These bhumi events are so called cessations, widely discussed by all buddhist traditions. Cessation of the mind means that the self-construct that causes confusion and existential pain, ceases to be for some period of time. Even if it lasts for only just few seconds, it leaves a permanent mark in the mind, in other words, a notable bit of the ego-construct becomes untangled and deconstructed. Again, this is what buddhist yoga is all about. This is how we come to know ourselves.

So if we do practice correctly, as a sign of succesful practice, we inevitably have recognitions of the basic state, recognitions of ourselves as buddhas, that is, bhumi events. On the other hand, if our practice and view is incorrect this sign is absent and our basic state remains foreign to us.

So when you hear our sangha members speak about this, they are talking about the signs of correct practice. That's all. This is actually universal not only to all buddhism but to all types of methods. This is because the basic state is the same in all beings, regardless of spiritual or religious denomination or interpretations. You either know yourself or you don't. You are either accumulating first hand experience of your basic state or you aren't.

So on the surface you might think that ”oh those Pemako folks just focus on achieving some momentary goal” but actually we put focus on the correct understanding of practice and then the signs of succesful practice, bhumi events, come automatically.

In us there is perfect purity and freshness, clarity and sobriety. Discover it.

Kim, 9.8.2021

keskiviikko 4. elokuuta 2021

About Readiness and Basic Principles


About Readiness and Basic Principles

We start with no confidence at all in who we truly are because we don't know who we are. However, my style of dharma is entirely tied and related to practice, that is, actual recognition of our true being, and in this way we start coming up with confidence little by little. In a year or two your life will change altogether because that recognition becomes stable.

However, to some people, for various reasons it can take longer to stabilise the basic state. Some are not ready when they come to pemako and for this reason they can't really understand how buddhist meditation works and how tantric meditation works. This is a sign of having not enough "merit" which means not being ready, not having realised that the pain is inside or heads and hearts, that it's not anywhere outside. Anyway these students still make some progress, though usually slowly.

If your progress is slow, openings and perfections come slowly, the problem can definitely be found from 1) not understanding the four noble truths and/or 2) not having developed genuine bodhicitta. Of course poor health can make progress slow (or very fast) but that's another topic.

So those who feel like practice is heavy or hard should contemplate the 4 nt's and bodhicitta. If they still don't hit one's heart, then I think it is better to stop practicing because practice will only just make you feel worse by making subconscious negativities and self-based habits come to the surface but if you don't know and cannot practice correctly, you'll just project your negativity to those around you.

People who have this problem don't often realise how much chaotic energy they might be bringing to their teacher, the sangha, their families or even work environments, so this is something we all definitely need to contemplate because not only we might be making ourselves feel like shit with our wrongly directed and motivated practice, but we might be making others feel like shit too, and that obviously misses the mark entirely.

Those practitioners who are ready, have merit, have grasped the meaning of the four noble truths even before hearing about them. I mean that ready students know that the suffering is inside us, in our minds, in our self-delusion, and that spoils life for us. A good practitioner remembers this always and uses all opportunities, day and night, for being and becoming aware of the endless negative and small-minded forms and ways the small self takes. The difference between unripe and ripe practitioner is in this alone: a ripe practitioner uses the self-based stuff for practice while an unripe practitioner thinks that the problem is somewhere outside and so begins the endless complaining and conflict-making. This is the reason why teachers and masters of old didn't take students unless they tested their ripeness. They were very smart to do that because 1 or 2 unripe students in a sangha can create hell of a lot of problems for others.

In a sense, a good practitioner is on guard at all times and especially when the subconscious negativity hits the fan. Together with bodhicitta and understanding of the practice and the path, alertness and vigilance, is the formula that takes us all the way to perfect freedom, unshakable stability and firsthand realisation of the buddhanature. There is no doubt about that.

The secrets are in the basics. Although there are great differences between methods and vehicles, all of dharma is based on the same principles that are shared even by other religions than buddhism. So, all secrects are in the basics.

The reason why the word secret is often used is because for someone who is ignorant of the basic state, the reality of oneself and all things remains a hidden secret. It remains a secret because we are deluded but to undelude ourselves all we need to do is grasp the basics. Knowing the most basic theory and practices from inside out will make you a master, a living buddha, who is a living embodiment of bodhicitta. It is all so simple. 


-Kim, 4.8.2021