Chulen – Taking the Essence

Chulen in Tibetan means “taking the essence.” These pills help to restore prenatal or ancestral jing, which is the energy that allows for the possibility of human conception as well as what determines an individual’s basic constitution. Chulen pills serve to rebuild the most fundamental energy of life, the principal seat of one’s vitality, as well as serving to extend life and generally increase health and wellbeing. While in Chinese medicine this energy is said to be forever gone once it has been used up, these Tibetan pills are capable of restoring this most precious essence of life.

The practice of taking Chulen is a practice of essence extraction – extracting the essence of the elements or “drinking the vast space of Dharmakaya.” Taken with proper care (which involves, in the most basic sense, refraining from the excesses that result in depletion) and in combination with physical yoga practices, chulen can lead one to “recognize the nature of awareness and its relationship to the pure essence of the elements” (Joseph Wagner). One is thus cared for and “fed” by the Dakinis (Khandros in Tibetan), “sky-goers” or “space-dancers”, ethereal awakened beings with a female form who play in the vastness of open space, the field of pure awareness. With their guidance dualistic vision can be overcome.

Namkahi Norbu describes the delusion of karmic vision as a sate of apparent “radical separation between our person – body, speech, and mind – and that which we take for an external world.” When the illusionary misperception of self and world as absolute, self-existing realities is dissolved, as Norbu continues, “the individual experiences his or her own nature as it is and as it has been from the very beginning: as an awareness free from any restriction and as an energy free from any limits or form. To discover this is to discover the Dharmakaya or ‘Body of Truth’, which is better rendered as ‘Body of the True nature of Reality.’”

That chulen can lead one to drink in the vast space of Dharmakaya was revealed to me a few weeks after starting on these pills. I had a dream that I was in the mountains of Tibet with one of my herbal teachers. She was showing me how to subdue the demons and elemental spirits that were appearing before us. This resulted in an initiatory vision of these various malefic beings being transformed into glorious rainbows that extended into infinity – a light of bliss that pervaded the entire universe and reached all sentient beings.