Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Six Liberations

Nyingma Tradition Main Page

Six Liberations:
- Wearing
- Hearing
- Seeing
- Remembering
- Touching
- Tasting

Video: Six Liberations

The Six Liberations involve a number of different Tantric concepts that relate to a variety of practices directly associated with the physical senses, seeing, hearing, touching, and so on. The 'Liberations' as a set of six appear to be more of a construct of the Nyingma tradition. Jamgon Kongtrul (1813-1899) adds even more topics in his An Astonishing Ocean: An Explication on the Practice of Eleven Liberations, the Ritual Sequence of the Samboghakaya Tamer of Beings.

Liberation through wearing generally refers to the carrying on the body a folded paper or cloth yantra such as Samantabhadra and others. An example of hearing can be the Bardo Todal or the sound of the white conch of Subhuti, a treasure of the Sakya Lhakang Chenmo. Seeing has many different examples such as the unveiling of the giant applique textile scroll works at many monasteries and temples but also the black hat of the Karmapa which is said to be a liberation from rebirth in the three lower realms. Touching refers to holy relics and special physical objects. Tasting is the secret tantric practice of imbibing the five meats and the five nectars, also contained in 'buddha medicine,' which are the special pills and edibles related to specific tantra texts and deities. Tasting is also related to the practice of rasayana (chulen).

Jeff Watt 4-2022

Liberation through sensory encounters in Tibetan Buddhist practice. James Gentry. Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines, no. 50. 2019.

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).