Are Chakras Buddhist? A Comprehensive Guide

This comprehensive guide explains what Chakras are and how they relate to Buddhism.

Are Chakras Buddhist? A Comprehensive Guide

Above I said that the West has so far failed to understand chakras. Let me clarify that by “West” I mean not only Euro-American culture, but also aspects of modern Indian culture that are based on the Euro-American cultural matrix. Since it is now almost impossible to find a form of yoga in India that is not influenced by Euro-American ideas about it, when I use the term “Western” I also include most of the current teachings on yoga in India that exist in English. Chakras are not like the organs of the physical body; they are not fixed facts that we can study how doctors study neural ganglia (with which chakras were confused in the 19th century).

The energy body (sūkshma-sharīra) is an extraordinarily fluid reality, as we should expect from anything non-physical and supersensory. The energy body can present, experientially speaking, any number of energy centers, depending on the person and the yogic practice being performed. On countless websites and in countless books, we read that the mūlādhāra chakra is associated with survival & security, that the maṇipūra chakra is associated with willpower, self-esteem, etc. The educated yogi should know that all associations of chakras with psychological states is a modern Western innovation that began with Carl Jung. Perhaps such associations represent experiential realities for some people (although usually not without preparation), but we certainly don't find them in Sanskrit sources.

There is only one exception that I know of, and that is the 10 chakra system for yogi musicians that I made a blog post about. But in that 13th century system, we don't find that each chakra is associated with a specific emotion or psychological state; rather, each petal of each lotus chakra is associated with a different emotion or psychological state, and there seems to be no pattern by which we can create a label for the chakra as an integer. This is not to say that putting a certain type of crystal in your belly when you have self-esteem problems and imagining that it purifies your maṇipūra chakra does not help you feel better. Maybe so, depending on the person. While this practice is certainly not traditional, and hasn't been tested for generations (which is really the goal of tradition), God knows there is more to heaven and earth than my rationalist brain dreams of.

But, in my opinion, people should know when the pedigree of a practice is a few decades, not centuries. If a practice has value, then you don't need to falsify where it came from, right? Note that Tantric Buddhism (for example, g.For a typical five-chakra system like that found in classic Tantra, see page 387 of my book Tantra Illuminated. As far as the original authors are concerned, the main purpose of any chakra system was to function as a template for nyāsa, which means the installation of mantras and energies of deities at specific points in the subtle body. So, even though millions of people are fascinated by chakras today, almost none of those people use them for their intended purpose.

Again, I'm not here to make anyone wrong, just to educate people who are interested. In addition, most of the geometric figures associated with the current chakras also belong properly to the Elements. Earth is traditionally represented by a square (yellow), Water by a crescent moon (silver), Fire by a red triangle pointing downwards, Wind by a hexagram or a six-pointed star, and Space by a circle. So when you see those figures inscribed in illustrations of the chakras, you now know that they are actually representations of those respective elements, not of a geometry inherent in the chakra itself. After all, everything that every yoga teacher has ever experienced is in you too.17th century image of several chakras from Nepal.

TAKE MY RECOGNITION SUTRAS COURSE UNPACKING MY BOOK. Sahasrara, which means 1000 petal Lotus, is generally considered the chakra of pure consciousness, within which there is no object or subject. The important point is not that Buddhists don't accept or believe in the chakra system; it's that they don't seek to use them to achieve immortality (as in Taoist teachings), but to achieve Buddhahood. Forget about most of the images you see online for chakras and inner bodies; they are 99% based on Indian yogas or new-age practices. This chakra is located in the sacrum and is considered to correspond to the testicles or ovaries that produce various sex hormones involved in the reproductive cycle.

The non-profit Edinburgh Skeptics Society states that despite their popularity there has never been evidence of these meridian lines or chakras. The seven treasures of a wheel-spinning king are a chakra; elephants; horses; jewels; jewel-like women; excellent ministers of financial and general affairs. White and Georg Feuerstein have suggested it may be a reference to kundalini shakti and a precursor to terminology associated with chakras in later Tantric traditions. Many of the views guiding Leadbeater's understanding of chakras were influenced by previous Theosophist authors; in particular Johann Georg Gichtel; a disciple of Jakob Böhme; and his book Theosophia Practica (169); in which Gitchtel refers directly to internal centers of force; a concept reminiscent of chakras. The idea of chakras is not fundamental to Buddhism; but the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism is often represented as a rotating wheel with eight spokes representing eight aspects of Noble Path. Chakras are thought to vitalize physical body and are associated with interactions physical; emotional and mental nature. Indians recognize more chakras; but if you think about it; these are just alternative ways to emphasize some important places in person's subjective space. Within Tibetan Buddhism all meditation techniques regarding chakras are transmitted directly between teacher and student; and are rarely taught outside formal teaching environment.

In Jainism term 'chakra' also means wheel and appears various contexts its ancient literature. The term....

Veronica Molinski
Veronica Molinski

Total zombie maven. Avid beer practitioner. Avid coffee guru. Infuriatingly humble internet nerd. Travel expert. Social media specialist.

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