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Yuthok Yonten Gonpo – The Younger – lived in the 12th Century, and is known as the Father of Tibetan Medicine. It is said that Yuthok The Younger left a legacy of ‘two jewels’, namely the Four Tantras (the classic text on Tibetan Medicine) and Yuthok Nyingthig (a very important and the most compact spiritual practice for practitioners of Tibetan Medicine).
Yuthok The Younger predicted that ‘in the future, doctors would be so busy that they would have no time for spiritual practice’. So saying, he composed a very concise practice – the practice known as Yuthok Nyingthig, taught it to his one best student, and also passed onto him the transmission. This practice has subsequently been passed down from one generation of Tibetan doctors to the next, in an unbroken lineage.
Thus Yuthok Nyingthig is the essential teachings of Yuthok Yöntan Gonpo, founder of
Traditional Tibetan Medicine and enlightened spiritual master. His blessing is the speedy realization, designed for today’s fast-paced world prophesied by him back in the 12th century.
As a Buddhist Vajrayana practice this Rime cycle contains a complete teaching of the Nyingma and Sarma traditions, including practices of enhancing medical powers, four kinds of Guru Yoga, the Six Yogas, Karmamudra, Mahamudra and Dzogchen.
Classes/teachings traditionally closely related to this medical and spiritual practice include the Medicine Buddha Healing Practice, Nejang (Tibetan Healing Yoga), and various Mantra Healing and medical retreats.
Yuthok Nyingthig Ngöndro
Ngöndro means preliminary practice or preparation. The term ‘preliminary’ refers to something very basic yet very profound and of great importance – like a tree’s roots. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Ngöndro practices are often very demanding with regards to time and effort. Strong dedication is needed to accomplish hundreds of thousands of prostrations, recitations of refuge and bodhicitta, Mandala offerings, etc. However, the Yuthok Nyingthig (Uncommon) Ngöndro takes only seven days, thus sustaining Yuthok’s special blessing as to speed.
Typically, in other Ngöndro practices there are two different stages referred to as Common Ngöndro and Uncommon Ngöndro, but the Yuthok Nyingthig Ngöndro is made up of three main parts: Common Ngöndro, Uncommon Ngöndro, and Routine Ngöndro.
Yuthok Nyingthig Kyerim
Vajrayana Buddhism introduces refuge in the Three Roots – Guru, Deva, Dakini – which can be found in the Yuthok Nyingthig Kyerim practice, also known as ‘Deity Yoga’. The goal is to transform ordinary conception and perception by creating a divine self and mental clarity. Vajrayana’s Kyerim is the equivalent of the Sutrayana Samatha.
The Yuthok Nyingthig Kyerim creation stage, is presented through four forms of Guru Yoga where Yuthok is guru, under various appearances of different Buddhas or Devas, and via two dakini practices that follow.
Outer Guru Yoga
The Outer Guru Yoga includes the Four Empowerments and can be summarized as meditation on the guru as a refuge field. The whole practice is compressed into a seven day retreat. It is followed by the practice of Four Activities including a meditative healing practice which is unique to Yuthok Nyingthig.
Inner Guru Yoga
The Inner Guru Yoga includes practices of Kyerim and Dzogrim, aiming at opening the five chakras and developing the Clear Light. Additionally there is a meditative study of the Four Tantras.
Secret Guru Yoga
This practice also works with the channels and chakras and combines Kyerim and Dzogrim in seven or more days of practice.
Concise Guru Yoga
It is a daily guru yoga practice and includes a long life practice.
To complete the practice on the Three Roots, the Yuthok Nyingthig contains special dakini practices which follow the guru yogas.
Yuthok Nyingthig Dzogrim
The next stage of practice called Dzogrim or ‘Completion Stage’ consists of the Six Yogas of Naropa which are very well known in Tibet. They are an advanced chain of practices from Anuttara yoga tantra which require a profound knowledge of the subtle structures of the Three Vajras in order to realize the Six Yogas. The main goal is to achieve the blissful and clear light natured state of Buddhahood. This happens through the discovery of one’s own infinite potential and through realizing the true nature of the vajra body, vajra speech and vajra mind.
This fire practice is one of the advanced practices of the Six Yogas to be found in Vajrayana Buddhism. Its purpose is to gain complete control over all body functions resulting in perfect health and continuous bliss.
The blazing heat of this fundamental Tummo yoga within the completion stage purifies the ordinary body’s channels and energies, thereby transforming it into the deity’s body. The teaching includes transmission and explanations, including instructions for the dark retreat.
Complemented by explanations about medical dream work and the shamanic Bön practice of clairvoyance, this night practice takes you on a journey to your inner self.
The teaching includes transmission and explanations required by the Tibetan tradition, as well as instructions and practical sessions on how to analyze and interpret dream language and symbols, heal yourself through dream, and methods of access to hidden knowledge about yourself.
Clear Light Yoga
Clear Light is the most essential aspect of the Six Yogas. During the death process, the innate Mother clear light can be realized. The ‘Union of Mother and Child Clear Light’ is the terminology used when one dissolves in that light and this is known as spiritual realization.
Illusory Body Yoga
Illusory body is an essential support for Tummo, and it helps the mind to be free from attachment and aversion and to discover and experience the real nature of the body and all existence.
The experiences of life, death and what happens after death are described and analyzed. The teaching includes transmission, explanations and exercises. Through the practice of Bardo Yoga one learns to face life and death with inner peace, being aware of the great potential during the bardo after death. Skill and yogic experience hold the opportunity of achieving enlightenment and choosing the next rebirth.
Also dubbed Liberation without meditation, the practice of Phowa is meant for Buddhist practitioners as a shortcut to the safe planes of any Buddha’s Pure Land after death. Though the extraordinary effect of Phowa will manifest after death, knowing exactly what do to during death will change life now in a profound level. The teaching includes transmission and explanations, as well as the actual practice and analysis of Phowa marks and signs. Group exercise is known to enhance the success of Phowa.
Yuthok Nyingthig Karmamudra
The Yuthok Nyingthig contains a very extensive teaching on Karmamudra as a key point to achieve innate clear light experience. This practice of the orgasm state is also known as the ‘path of bliss’ or the ‘union practice’. It can be done alone or with a partner and involves training in yogic exercises and utilizing the energy and channels to attain different levels of bliss experiences to integrate with meditation, for both men and women.
According to the Yuthok Nyingthig, the result of Karmamudra can lead to the attainment of the Rainbow Body.
Yuthok Nyingthig Mahamudra
Mahamudra literally means ‘Great Gesture’, but is commonly translated as ‘Great Seal’. It is one of the most advanced Tibetan meditation methods of the Vajrayana tradition, practiced by most of the Tibetan Tantric schools. It is a direct teaching about the true nature of mind. Teachings about it can also be found in the Sutra tradition, such as in the Prajnaparamita Sutras where it is conducted through Samatha and Vipassana meditation.
The teachings on Mahamudra in the Yuthok Nyingthig – like most Mahamudra teachings – explain about the Four Yogas of Mahamudra. Based on the transformation of body channels and energy during the Dzogrim stage, Yuthok Nyingthig’s Mahamudra aims especially at the thig le (essence drop of the mind) transformation.
Yuthok Nyingthig Dzogchen
This practice, known as Mahasandhi or Atiyoga, is a direct meditation technique to reveal the ultimate nature of our mind. It is most commonly translated as ‘The Great Perfection’, a practice which greatly ends (samsara) as ‘dzog’ means end and ‘chen’ means great.
In the Yuthok Nyingthig the particular Dzogchen chapter is called ‘The Self-Liberation of Samsara-Nirvana’. It is a secret path of Trekchö and Tögel for realizing the final rainbow body, the expression of the complete transformation and control over the elements of matter, energy and mind.
Yuthok Nyingthig Supplementary Practices
The Yuthok Nyingthig contains various additional practices on the path to spiritual realization. They include Eliminating Obstacles, Signs of Practice, Action Practice (a medical practice for non-medical spiritual practitioners), Long Life Practice, Fire Puja, Amulets, Pulse Practice (a practice specific to the Yuthok Nyingthig), and Protector Practice.
The study about the subtle structures is the foundation for any Vajrayana tradition. Especially starting from the Dzogrim practices the spiritual development depends profoundly on the knowledge and experiences of the channels and chakras, rlung energy, and thigle.
Teachings about the Vajra anatomy are traditionally kept in secrecy, they are revealed only in the context of devotional practice and advanced spiritual progress in unbroken tantric lineages.
Medicine Buddha Practice
This very rare practice of the Medicine Buddha and the Four Dakinis is related to Tibetan Medicine and to the tradition of mantra healing. The meditation instruction is a terma given by Guru Rinpoche, and later discovered and mentioned by the Yogi Ju Mipam Rinpoche (1846 – 1912) in his mantra healing text.
For this practice, it is essential to do the visualization and to recite the mantras with faith as well as wishing to help all sentient beings. This is a direct way to be purified from the root of diseases afflicting body, energy and mind and to also permanently prevent disorders. It is done both for healing oneself and for healing others. It can therefore be practiced not only by physicians but by anyone for healing.
Mantra Healing Retreats
In order to develop one’s abilities of healing through mantras various retreats exist. The practice in retreats is a way of single-mindedly focusing oneself onto a spiritual topic for a time – a practice known in probably all religious or spiritual traditions. Once engaged in the mantra retreats they not only help to concentrate the mind but access hidden healing powers connected to healing mantras. Certain healing mantras require the completion of specific retreats in order to be activated.