Vajra Fist

Trakata/Candle Gazing

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I practice zhiné and it is indeed very similar to the description of trataka.

I use the Tibetan letter A rather than a candle.

It's an extremely effective method of developing concentration and developing a direct understanding of the distinction between the mind and the mind's nature. 

In Dzogchen, zhiné is used to introduce the student to the nature of mind. 

Any object will do but some are probably more conducive to practice than others.

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On 1/19/2018 at 11:55 PM, steve said:

Any object will do but some are probably more conducive to practice than others.

 

Would you say a candle was as conducive as the Tibetan letter A?

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5 hours ago, Vajra Fist said:

 

Would you say a candle was as conducive as the Tibetan letter A?

 

In general, I would say yes, although I think it could vary a bit from individual to individual.

I've been taught that ŗĹ® does not have any particular significance in the context of the practice, it is just a simple,¬†neutral and familiar¬†object. I suspect, however, that¬†ŗĹ® was selected over the rest of the Tibetan alphabet because it represents the empty aspect of the nature of mind - just a guess.

 

The important thing is that the object of focus is easy to stay focused on, not too big and not too small.

Also, the object should not be very stimulating in terms of thought, aversion, desire, visual effects, and so forth.

It is simply a focal point for stabilizing the attention so that we can observe the mind and recognize the distinction between the discursive mind and its essential nature.

 

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I’m curious if it has any of the health benefits of sun gazing?

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That's also what I am curious about. Also I have heard candle meditation could heal shortsightedness, so I think I will try that out some time.

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6 hours ago, MBZ said:

I’m curious if it has any of the health benefits of sun gazing?

 

I'm not aware of any specific health benefits.

In my tradition it's used to help us recognize the essence of mind and how all experience arises from that.

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Trataka is an advanced and powerful practice that is part of Kundaluni Tantra and some schools of Kriya yoga.  Yes, the foundation of the practice may be from Hatha yoga.  This practice is normally undertaken to stimulate and open the 3rd eye or Ajna chakra.  Besides aiding in the opening of 3rd eye, it is described to have various other benefits including health. Though it could work with other objects, there are reasons to do it with flame.  It is best to undertake such powerful practices under the guidance of a qualified teacher.  Also, to start very slow, with just 1 or 2 minutes of practice a day, and slowly increasing the time.  Opening of heart chakra (4th) is very important, before proceeding to  practices that target the 3rd eye. I have learned that bypassing the heart and targeting the 3rd eye directly ( some  schools do this), can result in some major imbalances. 

 

For this and various other reasons, even right practices undertaken at wrong time (in our own personal evolution), can produce negative results.   In my experience, there are easier and safer ways to do energy practices effectively with  guidance from a teacher or being part of the right group.

 

If you want the complete details about undertaking this practice and it's benefits (including health), the best place to look for is in the books of: 'Kundaluni Tantra' & 'A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya' by Swami Satyananda Saraswati.  Swami Sivananda's books on Kundaluni and Kriya yoga also have information about this practice.  

 

(Btw: I have both of these books. If you  just need some additional information on this practice, I can try to get it from the books)

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