What is Alchemy?
The knowledge and wisdom of the ancient practice of Alchemy is still very much alive within the lineage of Siddhas in Myanmar at the Aungtawmu Monastery in Mebegon Village. Today this lineage is lead by the Siddha and Sayadaw (spiritual head) Kowida, Headmaster of Nagama Mountain. Another relevant figure related to the Alchemy is the most Venerable Siddha and Sayadaw Tillaw Keinda, born in 1925 and founder and Abbot of Aungtawmu Monastery, a living example of sacrifice and endurance, whose path and attainment is only matched by that of the ancient Siddhas.
The practice of alchemy combines the physical transformation of heated matter with a deep meditative practice, its purpose being to enhance the spiritual development of practitioners, which can then be used for the benefit of all.
The diversity of different spiritual practices matches the diversity of different temperaments and characters of people everywhere. The practice of alchemy, as developed by Myanmar Buddhism, and when taught by skilled practitioners, is accessible to anyone regardless of their own belief system. However, as with any legitimate spiritual practice, the practitioner will only attain accomplishment if the motivation for the practice is greater than for just one’s own personal spiritual development. When the motivation for practice is rooted in compassion, aimed to benefit all sentient beings (Bodhiçitta) and to eradicate all kinds of suffering, then its goal is more likely to be achievable and sustainable.
Within the practice of alchemy a metal is heated on the fire in a pot of clay and at its completion becomes to be the reflection of one’s own mind. This allows the practitioner to be able to perceive and recognize the six senses inherent within each one.
There are two aspects to be found as a result within the process of alchemy. Firstly, it allows the practitioner to recognize his or her state of consciousness by the creation of the so called Dhatlon (the metal heated on fire, also known as the Philosopher Stone). Secondly, by its development it enables the practitioner to expand his or her own consciousness in perceiving reality. In this way, it leads the practitioner towards the understanding of the perfect functional order of Nature. At the same time, it also brings significant spiritual benefit if one maintains a regular practice.
Great masters such as “Gesar Mukpo Rinpoche” remarked alchemy as Ati-yoga.
This method of teachings of alchemy is taught by the ancient and modern Siddhas of Myanmar and by the historical great Buddhist masters, like Tilopa, Naropa and Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna applied a sadhana called "the alchemy of mercury." He was one of the foremost ‘Rasayana’ Siddhas, and his greatness in this yoga was his ability to apply the alchemical process at every level of his being, attaining the highest meditative realization of Ultimate Truth.