Rejuvenation (Skt. rasāyana; Tib. བཅུད་ལེན་, chülen, Wyl. bcud len) refers either to the methods of rejuvenation or to the rejuvenating substance itself. Especially in India and also in Tibet, it was and still is a whole branch of science. For Buddhist practitioners, having a long life is important to have the time to accomplish the practices and reach enlightenment.
There are vast amounts of methods, ranging from simple and public methods to highly advanced and dangerous, and thus secret, methods. For example, there are methods based on long pepper (pippali), garlic, triphala (the three fruits), and the famous Indian formula of Chyavana Prasha, which is based on amalaki fruit. Then there are also many methods based on minerals and metals. Many degrees of rejuvenation exist, but rejuvenation even to a minor degree is possible only when you discipline your sexual activity. Obviously, all of this should only be undertaken under the direct supervision of a qualified physician.
In Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism, rejuvenation practices consists of methods for extracting the essence from samsara (extracting the essence from the five elements, plants, minerals and so on), and extracting the essence from nirvana, involving practices based on the wind-mind association.
Explaining the Terms
Robert Svoboda explains:
- The word used in ayurveda for both rejuvenation and rejuvenating substance is rasayana, which literally means "the path of rasa". To walk the path of rasa you must purify and nourish your physical rasa dhatu, since rasa is the raw material from which the other dhatus are formed. Healthy rasa dhatu is the first step in the physical production of healthy shukra, from which ojas is directly produced. Careful selection of food tastes (rasas) and control of emotions (rasas) ensures production of healthy rasa dhatu, which can then generate healthy shukra and ojas.
To understand this one must consider the seven dhatus, which explain the manner in which nutrition is extracted and transformed in the body, which begins with the intake of food being transformed into 'juice' (rasa). At each stage, the pure essence is extracted and further refined, and the remainder of that is disposed of, until it reaches it's purest form, the male and female essences (shukra).
The Tibetan translation of rasayana is chülen. Chü means 'essence', and len means 'to take'. This refers to the procedure of taking the essence of things, hence the term is occasionally translated as 'extracting the essence'.
- Elixer extraction (Erik Pema Kunsang)
- Extracting the essence
- Accomplishing Amṛta: A Clear Explanation of the Procedures of Rasāyana, (ra sa yA na'i lag len gsal bar brjod pa bdud rtsi gub pa ), by Mipham Rinpoche.
- The Light of Wisdom: The Conclusion, Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, translated by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-2013), pages 25-30.
- Prakriti, Your Ayurvedic Constitution, Dr. Robert E. Svoboda (Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi, 2005), chapter 8: Rejuvenation, pages 161-178.
- Rejuvenation therapy, by D. Puntzo Wangmo, in The Mirror, June 1995.