The Niguma: A once strictly-guarded yoga
Niguma Yoga, which once was strictly kept a secret, is now being propagated to the public. It is the main teachings of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, which is also called Tsalung Trulkhor.
Niguma was one of the two fully realized Dakini mahasiddhas whose wisdom and teachings led to the formation of the Shangpa Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
Born into a Brahman family in Kashmir in the 11th century, Mahasiddha Niguma transmitted her teachings on yoga to a single disciple, Khyungpo Naljor.
Khyungpo Naljor received the teaching on the condition that it would remain a secret with himself and only be passed on to a single disciple for seven generations.
Accordingly, in the 13th century, Sangye Tonpa, the seventh-generation lineage holder made the Six Yogas of Niguma, and associated physical practices more widely available to a bigger audience.
Tāranātha, the foremost scholar and exponent of the Jonang school of Tibetan Buddhism further codified it in the 17th century.
Kalu Rinpoche presented on the teaching at the fourth Vajrayana Conference in Thimphu on October 1. He is the present lineage holder of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
Rinpoche now teaches Niguma Yoga around the world to cultivate awareness of the psychophysical basis of effective spiritual practice and to promote physical and mental well-being.
He said the yoga exercises of the Niguma tradition are highly beneficial to both the physical body and the inner, subtle body, which is related to the cultivation and circulation of internal energy and vital essences (thigle).
“Unlike Tummo, the auxiliary practices of Niguma Yoga can be taught openly without prerequisite empowerments,” Rinpoche said.
He said that this presentation, therefore, represents a new era in the transmission of Vajrayāna Buddhism in which a once ‘secret’ practice is made available to a larger audience by an experienced lineage holder as a support for advanced tantric disciplines, including Mahamudra and Dzogchen.
The Centre for Bhutan & GNH Studies (CBS) and the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan are organising this four-day conference in close collaboration with the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), India.
© Kuensel Online Bhutan’s Daily Newspaper – October 3rd, 2022