May 13

Kalu Rinpoche | Wisdom Dharma Chat – subtle body (Q&A6)

Q: There’s another sort of word we hear all the time in Tantric teachings: “subtle body”, how should we think about “subtle body” when we have “illusory body”, we have “subtle body”, these terms we heard, how should we pick these all together?

A:Subtle body” is not an experience that you try to grasp nor you try to get. “Subtle body” is something that you experience eventually if you practice well enough. And if you don’t practice well enough, obviously “subtle body” is still an idea.

Like I said in the beginning, it is not a practical method that you can apply and somehow you discover how to do it. The “subtle body” experience and the “subtle mind” experience, you cannot discover by forcing yourself into it, you cannot. You have to practice with a sense of diligence, with dedication, with determination, with a sense of renunciation as well.

Like an example, like the dream yoga, in the Niguma’s teaching of the dream yoga, it says very clearly that if you practice the dream yoga with a great renunciation, with a sense of solitude, a great renunciation, we need only 2 weeks, 1 week or 2 weeks, to practice the dream yoga, to be able to maintain your awareness even in the state of the dream, not throughout the day but also throughout the night.

So that is the meaning of the “subtle body”. So you cannot experience “subtle body” based on how many books you read, how many teachings you receive. The “subtle body” really comes down to the less “illusory mind” you have and then the more “subtle body” and the “subtle mind” tend to exist. Because it will be never escape, not lost, it never went away, it is there, you don’t have to grab from somewhere else, you don’t have to add from somewhere else. It has been there, just as the nature of the mind has been there, you don’t have to transfer from anywhere, right? So the “subtle body” is there, the “subtle mind” and “subtle body” is there. But in order to reach to the subtle level of the “subtle body” and “subtle mind” you need a great renunciation, great determination, great renunciation and a sense of solitude.

Even that one seems to be quite far away from our reality, let’s put it into our perspective. Like yourself individual, individual like yourself, some people they like to talk a lot, they like to talk a lot of things but very much on the surface, there’s no depth to the conversation. “Ah, hello, ah”, lot of things, “I like your tee-shirt, I like your shoes, it’s very nice”. What is that supposed to mean? So all of us, majority of us we talk a lot on the surface.

And then, there is the individual who reads a lot of books, who has a lot of curiosity, very interesting mind. And every conversation that you have with them, with the glass of wine or without the glass of wine, the conversation is very interesting all the time with these few individuals, who are writers and then some teachers, some scholars and so on, when you interact with them, you love to listen to them.

But then, you take one step further from that, and then you become an individual who doesn’t want to talk, who finds talking waste of time, who finds engaging with other people a waste of time, who finds traveling and going from places to places waste of time. Interacting, anything to do with the worldly life, waste of time.
So now, let’s say you become that individual, you are no longer the writer, you are no longer the poet guy that is interesting, you like to talk or you like to listen to. You become that individual who also enters into the solitude mindset and then with a complete renunciation. Then the dream yoga is a possibility within a week or 2, right?

So then, if the dream yoga is a possibility within a week or 2, that already means that you have some form of quality of “subtle body” and “subtle mind”. So that is a state of mind that you tend to reach over the time, not a practical method that you can grab and take it.


Wisdom Dharma Chat | Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche – April 2024 (18′ 37”)
During this Wisdom Dharma Chat host Daniel Aitken and Rinpoche discuss his Wisdom Academy course Illusory Body and Mind, along with his new and upcoming Wisdom Academy course on Niguma’s dream yoga, and much more.