Meditation retreat combined with Chulen practice
Chulen literally means “extracting essence” from the elements. The practice combines traditional Tibetan medical knowledge with meditation. Advanced practitioners of Chulen are able to live with little or no food, extracting nutrition from the natural elements themselves. This ability allowed some practitioners to live in retreat, free from daily concern about obtaining food. With Chulen, capable meditators can increase their mental faculties as well as their spiritual qualities.
Chulen is usually performed as the final part of Tummo retreats. First, practitioners clean their intestines with a traditional method. Then they abstain from eating and drinking for three days and four nights, or just take specific food (yak milk) or herbs dissolved in water. This is integrated with visualizations, reciting mantras, and performing rituals. The herbs used most during Chulen practice are juniper and rou (Aruda).
During the first week of the retreat at Shenten Dargye Ling, participants will dedicate their time to Dzogchen meditation to settle into a proper state of mind. The second week, the foundation of Chulen will be explained by Geshe Samten Tsukphud. Fasting will be possible, but not necessary, according to individual capacities. The retreat is open to everybody and participants can come anytime, for the whole retreat, or just part of it.
Chulen is described in different Bönpo texts, including the work of Sharzda Tashi Gyaltsen Kusum Ranshar which will be used for the teaching at Shenten Dargye Ling.