How can we make our body more disciplined, with a greater capacity to work?

Lama Ole’s answer:

The best method in Diamond Way Buddhism is the 111,111 prostrations. If you have forced yourself through this practice, then everything in life is easy. Once you work your way through this intensive treatment, then the body isn’t a difficult master anymore but rather a good servant. Then you can use it for what you want to do, and it won’t be all crooked and obstructed anymore. After the prostrations, your body will be completely different.

I would give everybody this advice: use the prostrations to push out all the drugs, all the laziness, all the compromises, all the things you have constrained yourself with—forcefully blow all this out of yourself with the help of the prostrations and then move on.

I used to be rather calm, but since I started meditating, all kinds of strange feelings have come up. What does this mean?

Lama Ole’s answer:

Always think that everything you experience is for the benefit of all beings. Then whatever comes up is useful. There are people who have three times as many thoughts as you; but by learning how the traffic moves, you can help them. As my student, you can always tell yourself, “Everything pleasant is a blessing! Everything difficult is a purification—a liberation that teaches me to help others!” With this, you are always on the right path.

Also make it clear to yourself that the problem wasn’t there before, that it is changing constantly now, and that it will dissolve again later. Then you can look at it with inner distance and develop compassion for those who take problems like that seriously.

Are there specific dreaming techniques one can use?

Lama Ole’s answer:

We do have a meditation that enables us to use deep sleep. We also have meditations for the state of dreaming, but those are a bit dangerous because they work with the throat center, where a lot of very mixed energies lie. If one works with the throat center in the wrong way, one starts to talk harshly and snappishly.

But the deep-sleep meditation works with the heart center. Here, one cannot make mistakes because this energy center is well rounded and in the middle. It can bear a lot and is unshakable—really solid and strong. However, one should take refuge before doing this deep-sleep practice called the “clear light meditation.” In this practice, you learn to become more and more aware and able to take the feeling of dreaming into the day. This protects you very, very well!

I myself received the transmission for this meditation from the 16th Karmapa, but it stems from the 15th. With this practice you can learn to remain in the clear light during the night and to feel at home in it. You do the meditation before falling asleep. It is easy to hold the awareness before falling asleep and while lying down—one can learn both. But to stay clear in the moment consciousness goes from being awake to sleeping, that is the difficult point. But you also don’t necessarily need this.

In any case, if you are working with a machine the next day and you want to take all ten fingers home with you, then you must not do the clear light meditation too often. In Tibet, where people often had to walk long distances with a horse in front, there one could afford to do this. But for us today, maybe just once a week is good.

What’s the purpose of the tantric union practices?

Lama Ole’s answer:

In tantric union practice, the main focus is to bring the male and female together to become “complete.” Of course we maintain our outward appearance, but on the inner and secret levels, we can quickly adopt the other gender’s qualities: men gain the intuition inherent in the women, and women obtain the strength of the men. On the deepest level, the man receives the space that transforms everything into something beyond personal, while the woman obtains the joy that rounds everything off.

The practice is very good if one is truly capable of doing it. Men and women can really complement each other that way. Women have certain energies in their bodies that contain different wisdoms and insights: There is a mirror-like wisdom which shows everything the way it really is. There’s an equalizing wisdom that shows the complexity of things. There is also a discriminating wisdom, a wisdom of experience, and an intuitive, all-pervading wisdom. If the man goes to the woman as if he is going to a temple, full of respect and dignity, if he opens up to her and is able to see her on a very high level, he will receive these wisdoms. If the woman approaches the man in same way, she will receive the four activities: the pacifying activity, the enriching activity, the fascinating activity, and the powerfully protecting activity.

On the deepest level, the female is like a lotus flower—warm, open, and happily holding something—while the male is like a diamond which enjoys radiating on its own. But a lotus that doesn’t hold anything and a diamond that doesn’t radiate for anybody are of no use. This is why it is important to bring the female and the male together. On the inner and secret levels, this encounter brings forth a complete human being.

But even if one has accomplished this, one still has desire for the other. Actually, once one has become liberated from hindrances and veils, one’s physical appearance might become more distinctly male or female and one’s ability to love becomes stronger. And on the inner and secret levels, there is great enrichment.

When I am resting in open space during meditation, after a very short time my ego disrupts the experience. Is there an antidote against this?

Lama Ole’s answer:

I would always praise the ego until it completely loses its footing. I would say, “Fantastic, what wisdom! You already know that you are losing control if you play along, if you allow for space. Very smart how you are doing this!” Or you can think, “Oh, this is the ego. It always comes around here. Take a cup of tea, ego, I’m meditating!” We simply continue one-pointedly. And one day, we’ve made it. At some point the ego finally dissolves.

But don’t turn the pet into a predator. There can be reasons why the ego is resisting. It could be that in the beginning, the perfect experience of emptiness is too strong; it might throw you out of balance. You may first have to build up even more good impressions in the store consciousness before you can allow all this. It is also possible that one area—for example, intellectual understanding—is already very developed, while another area—like emotional maturity—isn’t so developed yet. There one has to give the development some time.

So don’t get mad at the ego. Think instead, “Aha, that surely has its meaning!” or “that clearly makes sense!” or “that will definitely help me with something!” and then simply go on. I wouldn’t fight it wildly. That just puts energy into ego games, which will only get stronger this way. Just continue until it dissolves by itself from its lack of strength.

How can sexuality be used for meditation practice?

Lama Ole’s answer:

A meditator’s goal is to have the same control of his body that a racecar driver has of his car. That is, we become capable of steering the energies in the way and direction we choose. However, only those who have already accomplished a lot can do this practice. It is necessary to train, to learn to experience things in a beyond-personal way, and to develop meditative power.

If we look at the succession of the practices, the tantric union teachings come after the practice of “inner heat,” where one can sit in the snow and melt it. To do this correctly, one must be able to pull the energies down, hold them, and turn them around. There is a yogi joke that if a man has truly accomplished this practice, he can pull water mixed with milk up through his penis and then release the water and milk again separately. I have no idea to what extent this is true, but in any case, the practice is very difficult indeed.

The reason we don’t talk a lot about sexual union practices isn’t prudishness. From the Buddhist viewpoint, the body is neither dirty nor sinful. It is a tool—a temple of energy where enlightenment can take place. But one explanation of why union practices are not mentioned often is that many people have difficulties concerning sexuality. If we talk about the energies of the body, sexual energies, and working with them, people often start to think in their old-fashioned Christian or Islamic concepts, regarding sexuality as something dirty and wrong. They build up dualities.

The union practices are generally kept secret for the people’s own good—because they simply cannot understand what a jewel they are holding. If we still hope and fear, hold on and push away, if we want to keep ourselves under control and develop disturbing feelings, then it’s better to keep the lid on it. Only when we can meet each other in a state of giving and taking and aim at developing each other, only then does the tantric union practice become useful. Not until one experiences everything as a dream and can see both practitioners as forms of energy and light does it make any sense to invoke the powerfields and exchange energies.

Generally speaking, it’s like this: use your body as a tool to give others joy and avoid causing them suffering. You should also not destroy the joy experienced when making love with any ideas about how we should do it. Enjoy, be good to your partner, and everything else will evolve gradually.

In Buddhism, the ultimate level of insight is called detong, which means the inseparability of joy and emptiness. That means that you remain in a state of bliss and ecstasy. You keep this state without interruption, and you are in full control of it. But it is not a personal state. You radiate into space, full of joy. As soon as something is touched by you, it starts to radiate too. In this state, the experience isn’t that one person is doing something for somebody else. Rather something happens in open space. Try to hold this level all the time, when making love too. Experience it as the highest initiation and not as a small thing you only want to keep for yourself. Then it will be an encounter full of highest truth and the most beautiful jewels. Stay aware of this and then radiate on everything.