Message Boards Message Boards

Books and Websites

Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening

Toggle
Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/17/15 5:00 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening bernd the broter 1/18/15 2:21 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/18/15 7:02 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Jenny 1/19/15 10:34 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/20/15 7:52 AM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening bernd the broter 1/20/15 11:02 AM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/20/15 12:59 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Chris M 1/20/15 3:51 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/20/15 5:21 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/20/15 5:41 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening lama carrot top 1/20/15 10:55 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Chris M 1/21/15 5:51 AM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/21/15 7:35 AM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening bernd the broter 1/22/15 5:05 AM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening (D Z) Dhru Val 1/20/15 10:38 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/21/15 7:41 AM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening . Jake . 1/21/15 10:04 AM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Not Tao 1/21/15 12:01 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening . Jake . 1/21/15 12:51 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Not Tao 1/22/15 8:47 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening . Jake . 1/23/15 9:50 AM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/23/15 1:01 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/21/15 2:58 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Chris M 1/22/15 12:27 AM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/22/15 2:39 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Ryan J 1/22/15 11:54 AM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/22/15 2:40 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Eric M W 1/22/15 3:12 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/22/15 4:05 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/22/15 5:03 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/22/15 7:05 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening sloane 1/22/15 4:08 PM
Thread Split - Moderation and focus of the DhO Simon Ekstrand 2/11/15 1:32 PM
RE: Thread Split - Moderation and focus of the DhO . Jake . 2/13/15 8:46 AM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Psi 1/22/15 7:10 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Psi 1/22/15 7:26 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening heath 1/22/15 10:01 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Pål 1/25/15 4:01 AM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening . Jake . 1/25/15 9:21 AM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/25/15 11:07 AM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Psi 1/25/15 11:54 AM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/25/15 1:02 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening sawfoot _ 1/25/15 1:52 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/25/15 5:41 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii 1/28/15 7:04 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/30/15 1:56 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening sawfoot _ 1/31/15 1:17 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening Dada Kind 1/31/15 4:38 PM
RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening sawfoot _ 2/1/15 4:33 PM
Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening by John T. Houseman
mirror
The book is completely free to download, distribute, sell, etc.

I've been looking for a book on spiritual sex that isn't too commercial, obscure, poorly-researched, or impractical. I think I hit the jackpot with this one. Unlike most authors of commercial, "neo-Tantra" books, John Houseman is claiming some serious credentials
I have devoted myself to Tantra for over thirty years. Trained as a lama, I completed an intensive, solitary three-year meditation retreat in the remote desert mountains of Arizona under the guidance of the Tibetan Buddhist master His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche.

At the age of nineteen, after two years of meditation practice, I had a profound spiritual awakening and vowed to attain enlightenment in this lifetime. I was first taken by Tantric philosophy while studying Buddhism as a Religion major at Wesleyan University, where I studied with three highly regarded professors - Robert Thurman, Janice Willis, and James Stone. I also received the university’s annual James A. Spurrier Award for distinction in ethics. I later earned a master’s degree from Columbia University.

I have been in the presence of thirty enlightened masters from among the world’s great spiritual traditions. My early spiritual studies were eclectic – I spent time with many highly realized beings such as Brother David Steindl-Rast, Pir Vilayat Khan, Shri Chinmoy, Mother Meera, and Thich Nhat Hanh. I also studied Tai Chi in New York City with master C. K. Chu. I attended the Barbara Brennan School of Healing for two years, where I learned the skills of energy healing. I was a client of John Pierrakos, MD, the founder of Core Energetics, a spiritual, body-centered psychotherapy. I learned channeling as a student of Diana Muenz for six years. In addition, I received from her a two-year course in enlightenment from her spirit guides, and received teachings and intensive empowerments from many of the greatest spiritual masters of all time, including Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Quan Yin. I followed for several years a path of soul initiations taught by Alice Bailey of the Theosophical Society and led by Robert Jaffe, MD. I also followed for five years a Sufi path to God realization called the Twenty-Eight Stations of the Heart with Railey Macey. I was a client of two incomparable energy healers, Mark Shoofs for a year, and Nora Cooper, PhD, for three years. I have supported my spiritual path with numerous Ayahuasca journeys, and a meditation practice spanning nearly thirty-five years.

In the early 1990s, my focus shifted strongly towards Tantra. Seeking to understand its exceptionally rich five thousand year history and countless traditions, I read over six hundred books on the subject – I uncovered a secret history of Tantra, virtually unknown to historians, and a secret philosophy of Tantric Buddhism, virtually unknown to Buddhists. I studied traditional Hindu kuṇḍalinī yoga with Swami Hridayananda in France, and received teachings from Guru Mayi at Muktananda Ashram in South Fallsubrgh, New York. I also practiced haṭha yoga and studied Sanskrit and the Tantric philosophy of Kashmir Śaivism while living for a year at Satchidananda Ashram in Buckingham, Virginia. From 1999-2001, I led the Tantra movement in New York City, hosting monthly Tantra community gatherings, and practiced with nearly twenty Western Tantra teachers including Margot Anand. Robert Frey and Lori Grace were my first Western Tantra teachers, who opened my eyes to the power of Tantric sex - through them I finally found my core path. The deep love of a few passionate Tantric yoginīs also helped me to transform what I knew of only as an enjoyable activity into something infinitely greater. Their wisdom, love, and inspiration remains embedded in each page of this book. My Tantric consort for seven years was Katya Salkinder, a highly regarded psychotherapist, yoga and Tantra teacher. I taught Western Tantra for several years in the Northeast. I also had the good fortune to be part of a wonderful and supportive Tantric community in Bethesda, Maryland for two years.

But it is in Tantric Buddhism where I made my home. I studied and practiced Tantric Buddhism for four years as a resident of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra monastery in Woodstock, New York, the North American seat of His Holiness the Seventeenth Karmapa (in photo with the author). I have received teachings from over fifteen Tibetan rinpoches, and more than a hundred Tantric deity empowerments. My outstanding teachers in deity yoga include Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, Drupon Rinchen Dorje Rinpoche, Garchen Rinpoche, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In subtle energy yoga and the visualization practices of sexual yoga, Drupon Rinchen Dorje Rinpoche and Garchen Rinpoche have been supreme. In nondual yoga, my precious guides for Mahāmudrā have been Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, Thrangu Rinpoche, Drupon Rinchen Dorje Rinpoche, Garchen Rinpoche, and Nubpa Rinpoche, as well as Traga Rinpoche for the Dzogchen traditions of Trekchö and Tögal.

It has been my lifelong wish to give a great gift to the world. To be able to give the first complete, modern instruction book on the original path of the Indian Tantric Buddhist siddhas, and the first on Buddhist sexual yoga, far exceeded my expectations. For the first time, modern readers have all the information they need to attain enlightenment in a single lifetime. The practices in this book are proven to be the swiftest means of all, and I am determined to give them to a world in suffering so that all beings may know the Great Bliss.

I'm really not familiar enough with any spiritual teachers, nor the dogma, history, teachings, etc of the different vehicles of Buddhism to verify any of the author's claims, interpretations, etc. If someone more versed in these things could chime in I'd appreciate it. In any case, the author makes interesting claims that I haven't encountered in my meandering
The Secret History of Tantra

“My god, sweet is the drink of the wine-maid,
like her drink sweet is her vulva, sweet is her drink,
like her lips sweet is her vulva, sweet is her drink,
sweet is her mixed drink, her drink.”
- The Sacred Marriage Rite, Ancient Sumer


Tantra is the world’s oldest spiritual path, yet it remains one of history’s greatest untold stories. For thousands of years, human beings have used pleasure, and specifically sexual pleasure, to gain the divine powers of the gods. From the time when people first began to develop a spiritual outlook, Tantra emerged, and its themes and practices are so compelling and enduring that Tantra has influenced every major religion in the world.

About 150,000 years ago, the first humans moved across Africa, Europe and Asia, living authentically, passionately, erotically and spiritually. They honored the sacredness of their world with their bodies, emotions, minds and hearts fully open, to the awesome powers of nature, and to each other, celebrating in awe and delight each moment of their lives. They lived in peace and harmony with their world in a holistic consciousness that saw life and spirit as one. From these roots, Tantra as the path of uniting sex and spirit emerged as a natural expression of the essence of human existence. Tantra is not a set of ideas like a religion that some person once thought of long ago. Tantra is built into you. It is a potential within you to realize.

The earliest peoples knew that through uniting sex with spirit they could be transformed into higher beings. The oldest written evidence for Tantra comes from the world’s oldest story, the Sumerian tale The Epic of Gilgamesh, which dates to around 2800 BCE, and speaks of timeless wisdom. In this story, the wild man Enkidu spends several days making love to a Sumerian priestess (often pejoratively translated as “sacred prostitute”), after which he becomes “like a god.” In India, the Harappans (6000 BCE to 1800 BCE) participated in ecstatic sacred sex rituals using sacred ring stones and liṅgaṃs - the ancient origins of the religions of the divine female principle (Śakti) alongside the worship of the eternal male principle (Śiva).

The blissful harmony of early humans was ultimately shattered by catastrophic shifts in the ways people lived their lives. The original integrated consciousness that saw life and spirit as one was lost. Beginning around 3000 BCE, following the intensive adoption of farming and herding, new concepts like private property arose, which threw human beings out of their holistic world view. Land, animals, and even human beings became identified as objects to be exploited. Farmers needed more children to tend their fields, and marriage was stressed as a moral virtue so that men would gain the sole economic benefits of their many offspring. For women to produce more children, the age-old practice of weaning them was shortened from three to four years to about eighteen months. Corporal punishment became the standard for child-rearing. These changes resulted in children growing into anxious, insecure adults - an inner lack searching for an ever-elusive wholeness.

Once people gained greater material wealth, it had to be protected from greedy neighbors. With the development of metals, weapons became more lethal than ever. The terror of war began to dominate the landscape, creating devastating suffering. The invention of writing, which also occurred around 3000 BCE, further shifted human consciousness out of the original balanced harmony of awareness. Holistic thinking was replaced by linear, rational thought, a strong subject-object division of experience, and people were compelled emotionally toward controlling others rather than delighting in being their equals. This relentless process occurred across cultures over a period of several thousand years as human beings became progressively more imbalanced and ultimately insane. What we call the “story of civilization” is principally the story of what human beings do when they lack inner contentment and self-love. These events that began five thousand years ago continue to shape how most people live their lives today.

The final shift in human life in ancient times was spiritual. Beginning after 2000 BCE, the world’s religions faced what the historian Joseph Campbell called the “Great Reversal.” The earliest myths point to life on earth as fundamentally good, worthy of sacred celebration. Yet life had become so drenched in misery that these myths could no longer speak to people. New myths arose that describe life on earth as inherently dangerous and filled with suffering, and teach that the only way to find lasting happiness is to escape from it permanently. In the West the concept of Original Sin took ground, while in the East humans were believed to have entered the Kali Yuga - the Age of Strife or degeneracy.

In India, the hymns called the Vedas (Songs) expressed much of the pre-Great Reversal enthusiasm for the sacredness of life. The Vedic religion was a Tantric tradition whose priests made offerings to the abiding spirits of nature, organized their rituals to the polar elements of fire and water (united in the spiritually empowering soma drink), and participated in group sacred sex rituals. The earliest known Tantric sect, the Vratyas, is described in the Atharva Veda (The Songs of Atharva), which tells of worship of ecstatic gods, sacred sex rituals and kuṇḍalinī yoga.

Starting around the time of the Upaniṣads (The Wisdom of Sitting Near; c. 800-400 BCE), however, much of Indian religion reflects an unprecedented new principle that following the sacred path means rejecting life. Life on earth is viewed as a tragedy and a trap from which a human soul can only seek to escape. The Sāṃkhya (Enumeration) and Yoga (Union) philosophies both consider that the human soul is imprisoned in the world, therefore their goal is liberation from the world. Pleasure only further enmeshes you in the sinkhole of life; ascetic detachment, they say, leads to liberation and eternal happiness.

In response to the intense suffering of so many people around the world, an era of reform movements known as the Axial Age (c. 800 BCE - 200 BCE) rose. The many leaders of this Age (such as Plato, Zoroaster, the Jewish prophets, Mahāvīra, the Buddha, Confucius, and others) accepted the belief of their time that life is inherently suffering, and taught that the only true path to happiness is to reach an other-worldly paradise. They rejected worldly pleasures as leading to hell, and rejected anything Tantric as an especially fast path to hell. The leaders of the Axial Age established the religious language and concerns that guide the world’s major religions today. Tantra was once integral to all the ancient Eurasian civilizations. From the temple prostitutes of Babylon to the Greek mystery schools, from the Celtic spring festivals to the Gnostic Christians and the royal palaces of China, the idea that sexual pleasure led to inner transformation was an accepted fact. Following the guidance of the Axial Age leaders, however, almost everywhere the Tantric traditions that celebrated life were wiped out.

The Buddha, like other Axial Age teachers, taught that people suffer because of their never- ending desire for sensual pleasures. He found that although it is possible to find limited happiness in this world, because of the impermanence of everything in it, the immutable laws of karma, and the unending cycle of wandering in suffering he called saṃsāra, this world remains intrinsically dangerous. By renouncing the world, cutting yourself off from desire and sense pleasures, and pulling your awareness inwards through meditation, you can release yourself from your bonds and attain everlasting peace and bliss. After death, as a liberated being, you will never again have to face the suffering of life on earth. Although the Buddha taught the same world-denying message as other leaders of his era to his monks, remarkably, he taught a dramatically different message to his lay followers that is far less well known to modern people: to enjoy worldly pleasures responsibly. This “radical” idea produced two extraordinary results. First, of all the teachers of the Axial Age, the Buddha was the only one who actually established a successful record of bringing more peaceful lives to his followers. And second, it created a rare opportunity for something even greater to emerge – in time, from within the core of the Buddha’s own teachings, an extraordinary Tantric tradition once again affirming the sacredness of life and its potential for bliss was eventually born.

Because of the enduring influence of tribal cultures on Indian civilization, Tantric ways remained strong in India even as they nearly died out in Europe and much of Asia. Beginning around the 400s CE, a richly Tantric Hindu culture flowered, and it eventually influenced Buddhism. Beginning around the 700s CE, India’s masters of Tantric Buddhism, the siddhas (accomplished ones), taught a very different path and goal than those first taught by the Buddha. All beings that are not enlightened are in suffering – the siddhas strongly affirmed this position. But the real enemy, they taught, is not desire, but craving or compulsive desire – also called attachment. Pure desires, and especially strong ones, can not only be enjoyed for their own sake, but can also be used to propel you to inner awakening. And the best path for achieving that awakening is not through renouncing the world but through intense pleasure, love, and bliss.

The siddhas taught that the world is not inherently suffering – it is only your false misconceptions that make it seem so. Once you are released from suffering, this precious world becomes a paradise. They rejected the central message of the Axial Age leaders that hypnotized the world and reaffirmed the original, primordial vision of human beings of the sacredness of life, pleasure, and sexuality. Tantric Buddhism praises life on earth as inherently good and pleasurable, and all pure desires are to be enjoyed.

Tantric Buddhism is mainly known in the West today in its form as Tibetan Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism is one of the world’s most successful systems for spiritual transformation, and is becoming increasingly popular in the West. As Tantric Buddhism first came to Tibet from the 700s to 1200s, it was largely identical to its practices in India, but over time the Tibetans changed it. The greatest difference between the two traditions is in the role of sexual yoga. The great Indian masters who founded the major lineages of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, Padmasambhava (c. late 700s), Virūpa (c. 800s), Tilopa (988-1069), and Atīśa (980-1054), understood sexual yoga as central for liberation. Yet most later Tibetans moved away from sexual yoga as a core practice. In addition, many Tibetan teachers rejected the life-embracing philosophy of the Tantric siddhas, and returned to an earlier life-negating message found in the sūtras that life on earth is inherently dangerous and sensual pleasures should be avoided.

Tibetan Buddhism is to a great extent a dis-integrated form of Indian Tantric Buddhism. All Tibetan lineages affirm in principle that sexual yoga is necessary to attain enlightenment, and the reverence for the Indian masters and early Tibetan masters who practiced sexual yoga is high. But the monastic establishment reshaped Tantric Buddhism to suit their needs. As a result, most Tibetan lineages do not practice the original Tantric Buddhist path in its complete form. Tibetan Buddhist rituals are thoroughly desexualized except symbolically, and this change creates a path that is inevitably different in its shape and power from what the siddhas followed in India. Sexual yoga is taught only to special students and a few high masters. Some Tibetan yogis do integrate these practices, but they are in a very small minority.

Numerous other differences arose between the two traditions, and the Tibetans are keenly aware that they have never produced anywhere near the number and quality of enlightened masters as the Indians. Tibetan Buddhism’s form of consecrations or “empowerments” is a much weaker version than what is taught in the Tantras – rituals that were originally intended to permanently shift your consciousness into enlightenment have been reduced to merely receiving the blessings of deities. One of the great strengths of Indian Tantric Buddhism was its inclusivity – virtually anyone with the right motivation could practice. In Tibet, however, the preliminary practices – one hundred thousand each of refuge prayers, Vajrasattva mantra recitations, maṇḍala offerings, generating bodhicitta prayers, and guru yoga recitations - introduced by Marpa (1012-1097), along with the 19 th Century addition of the three-year retreat, are so arduous that it turned Tibetan Tantra into an exclusive system for training spiritual elites. A final difference is that Indian Tantric Buddhism was motivated by a great spirit of egalitarianism – Tantric communities were fundamentally gatherings of equals. Tibetan Buddhism, however, is hierarchical and formalized, qualities the siddhas sought passionately to avoid.

Tantric Buddhism has come to the West mainly through two groups, Tibetan monks and Western scholars. Neither have an experiential understanding of sexual yoga. Some non-celibate Tibetan lamas, including a few of high renown, practice sexual yoga with their consorts, but the practices have been largely kept secret, often referred to in popular books but never elucidated. The most prominent Tibetan advocate for sexual yoga is actually the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, who writes very openly and positively of it in his books. But because he does not actually teach the practices, sexual yoga remains purely theoretical for his Western followers.

The idea that our age is a degeneration of an age of peace with sexual liberty is exactly what Wilhelm Reich thought. And, AFAIK, he had no contact with any Tantra.

The author also claims that sexual rituals have always been a part of Buddhism,
Sacred Sex Rituals
The Buddha encouraged lay people to enjoy sexual pleasures ethically. Unlike other religious leaders of the Axial Age, he never condemned having many lovers or spouses, orgies, prostitution, homosexuality, sex with animals, or concubines. And sexual rituals, usually considered only part of later Tantric Buddhism, were a part of lay Buddhist practice from the very beginning. Many historians have pointed out that sexual rituals were always an element of the Buddhist path because so much of Indian culture, as well as most cultures in the ancient world, was highly orgiastic. Herbert Guenther, author of The Tantric View of Life, writes that “Orgies have been a part of life in India since earliest times and are not a particular feature of Tantrism.” The earliest Buddhist art, such as at the sacred sites of Sāñcī and Bhārhut (c. 200 BCE), is joyously orgiastic, and the art historian Garima Kaushik has written that the earliest Buddhist religious sites were actually centers for orgiastic rituals, full of “revelry” and “debauchery.” The oldest known Buddhist statues are not of ascetic buddhas but sensuous female wine bearers (kumbha dāsīs), which The Kāma Sūtra identifies as a class of prostitute. This matches the world enjoying message the Buddha gave his lay followers, rather than the world renouncing message he gave his monks.

Two streams of sexual practice influenced early Indian culture. The first stream is a secular stream of teachings on love such as The Kāma Sūtra, in which sexual pleasure is enjoyed as an art form without a spiritual goal. The second is the Tantric stream, in which practitioners seek totransform themselves into gods through sexual yoga. Early Buddhist lay culture was strongly influenced by the first stream, and elevated it to a sacred act of devotion to the Buddha that brought merit. Mahāyāna Buddhism was eventually radically transformed by the Tantric stream.

And, here's the introduction to the section on Vajrayana

Introduction

“What is Tantra’s purpose? It is the means of achieving all desired aims - the worldly powers that are the good qualities of the desire realm, and the supreme achievement, the wisdom of the buddhas.” - Vīravajra, A Sign of the Lighted Goal

Tantric Buddhism, called the Vajrayāna (Adamantine Path or Vehicle), promises something no Buddhist had ever openly dreamed of: the fulfillment of all your personal desires, and enlightenment for yourself and all beings. Put most simply, Tantric Buddhism promises you everything you could ever want.

Tantric Buddhism is a philosophy, a set of practices, and a lifestyle for rapid spiritual growth. These ways are not found in the sūtras of the Common Vehicle or the Mahāyāna, but in the Tantras. They are advanced because in order to be most effective, you need a foundation in the principles and practices of the first two vehicles. Developed in meditation and wisdom, and motivated out of oceanic love and compassion, you perform these practices to end your own suffering, enjoy the pleasures of the world, and bring bliss to all beings. It is the quickest path to awakening, and the only one in which you can attain complete enlightenment in a single lifetime.

Embracing the Sacredness of Life

The Vajrayāna affirms the sacredness of life itself. It teaches that you do not have to reject this world to live in bliss - only your own emotional and mental obscurations are impure. Though firmly rooted in the essential philosophy of the Mahāyāna, Tantric Buddhism holds its own distinct, radically life-affirming philosophy and values. The Tantras ground their philosophy most strongly in the teachings of Buddha Essence, but take a dramatic turn from that philosophy as well - they declare that all appearances are real and primordially pure. This “Tantric” Mahāyāna contrasts with the orthodox Mahāyāna position that stresses appearances as fundamentally illusory and impure. While recognizing that suffering in this world is often great, Tantric philosophy soundly rejects the idea that this world is in any way inherently suffering.

For the Buddha, desire and craving are synonymous - the cause of suffering. In the Tantric tradition, however, they are completely different. Compulsive craving must be transformed, but desire undefiled by emotional and mental obscurations is a virtue to be pursued intently. All Buddhists agree that you must release your attachment to sensual pleasures in order to find inner peace and happiness. In the Vajrayāna, however, while attachment leads to suffering, pure desire without attachment leads to bliss.

While the orthodox Mahāyāna teaches you to avoid worldly pleasures, the Vajrayāna embraces them as the most powerful path to inner awakening. The Common Vehicle shuts down the senses, the Mahāyāna neutralizes the senses, and the Vajrayāna opens the senses and floods them with bliss. In the sūtras, the principal motivation for practice is negative: the dangers of saṃsāra lead you fearfully to practice. This is the “stick” approach: if you do not practice, you will suffer. But the Tantras offer another inspiration, the “carrot” approach: the Tantric yogas are so pleasurable you will want to practice. Renouncing life leads too easily to repression and self- hatred. The purpose of life is not to negate it, but to enjoy its gifts.

The Superiority of the Vajrayāna

The Vajrayāna is the path of transformation. You do not renounce the world as in the Common Vehicle, but you do renounce suffering. You do not merely purify yourself of negativity as in the orthodox Mahāyāna, but you are profoundly purified. Above all, you rapidly transform yourself into a buddha by harnessing the incomparable power of bliss. According to the Tantras, Tantric Buddhism is superior to both the individual way of the Common Vehicle and the universal way of the Mahāyāna. It offers many methods, each one designed for the specific needs of practitioners. It avoids the hardships of three eons of slow inner perfection. It is clear, direct, enjoyable, fast, and its power is indestructible. Men and women are equally capable of attaining the highest realization. No matter how terrible your actions have been in the past, your karmic stains can be quickly wiped away.


The book is 500 pages total. He goes over the history, philosophy, and practices of every vehicle. He says the goal of the book is to help the reader attain enlightenment in this lifetime, so no mushroom culture here. Here's the table of contents,
Contents
About the Author i
Acknowledgements iii
Pronouncing Sanskrit v
Introduction. Juicy Buddhism: The Power of Sexual Yoga 1
Chapter 1. The Path of Renunciation: The Common Vehicle 13
Chapter 2. The Path of Purification: The Mahāyāna 44
Chapter 3. The Path of Transformation: The Vajrayāna 78
Chapter 4. Ready for Bliss: Consecration 115
Chapter 5. Sacred Outlook: Deity Yoga 178
Chapter 6. Inner Bliss: Subtle Energy Yoga 206
Chapter 7. Intimate Rapture: Sexual Yoga 258
Chapter 8. Embrace of the Beloved: Nondual Yoga 323
Chapter 9. The Sacred Site of Enlightenment: Preparing for Practice 355
Chapter 10. Revered by All the Yoginīs: 367
The Sādhana of Secret Vajravilāsinī
Chapter 11. Inner Awakening: The Commentary to 407
The Sādhana of Secret Vajravilāsinī
Conclusion. The Paradise of the Yoginīs: The Tantric Lifestyle 442
Appendix: Buddhist Names 447
Notes 449
Bibliography 482

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/18/15 2:21 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Sri Chinmoy? Something rings a bell.

http://www.agpf.de/Chinmoy-Ex.htm#SexwithGhose

I took a cab back to the hotel, where we had separate rooms. He invited
me into his room. I sat, with my hands folded, on the floor in front of
him as he sat on a soft chair. He started by saying that I was a very advanced
soul and that he was very pleased with me. He said he wanted to test the
purity of my vital. "Do you have impure thoughts and feelings?" he asked.
I told him I sometimes felt pressure in my groin and that I felt guilty
about it because I didn't know where it came from. He said that if I were
truly surrendered to him, he could purify me. 
 
 He then told me to touch him. I timidly
touched his foot with the tip of one of my fingers, afraid that my impurity
would cause him great pain (as he always claimed human impurity did). "No,
no," he said. "Come close and embrace me." I stood up, walked to his side
and gently put my arms around him, then he said, "Very good. Now sit down....Good
girl, take your clothes off."  Immediately I started doubting my guru's
purity. I pushed the doubt away.  Maybe I hadn't heard him correctly.
He repeated his command and when he saw my hesitation, he said, "You don't
have to do this. If you don't want to, I will never ask you again. This
is my gift to you, to purify you. It is your soul's request to me that
I do this for you. But if you do not want to, I will still love you unconditionally." 
 
 "So this was a one-time event that would
purify me," I thought. Isn't purity of my vital a major step on the way
to God-realization? If I don't take this opportunity, I may never get another
chance in this incarnation. It seemed foolish and unspiritual not to do
it.  I took my sari off, as he sat and watched through his partially
open eyes. When I was naked, he told me to lie down on the bed. He lay
on top of me, still wearing his satin kurta and dhoti. I could feel only
the weight of his body on mine, as he wiggled back and forth mechanically.
I was relieved to think that maybe this was the treatment, nothing more.
But slowly I started to feel his small erection through his dhoti. 
 
 
 Then he took his dhoti off and inserted
his penis into me. He moved up and down mechanically, as if he didn't know
exactly what he was doing. From time to time he said, "This is my union
with you. This is my oneness with you. This is my unconditional love for
you." There was absolutely no passion, no kissing, no fondling, no touching
just plain sex.  Finally he came inside me. Then he got up and told
me to put my sari back on. While I got dressed, he told me I must never
tell anyone about this. Not Alo, not L., not R., and not my husband. No
one must ever know. He gave me a few hundred dollars, I promised never
to tell, and I left the room.  Afterwards, the next day he asked me
how I felt. I said that I was confused because I still felt pressure in
my groin. "Oh, it is like a hat," he said. "When you've been wearing a
hat for a long time, you can still feel the hat on your head even after
you take it off." 
 
 
 I flew back to San Francisco with a powerful
secret, one that I believed was momentous in my spiritual life. I was closer

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/18/15 7:02 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Thanks for the heads up. But, learning from one teacher that allegedly sexually abused a student doesn't mean much. Daniel learned from Titmuss, etc.

I imagine that the line between what's considered a guru sexually abusing a student and what's considered a student consenting to ritual sex with a guru is very fine. I see no easy answer for this, which is probably one reason why these things are still taboo.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/19/15 10:34 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
MCTB2:
More to the practical point underlying the trouble people run into with teachers, it is easy to imagine that, just because they are moral, they have some understanding of deep wisdom; conversely, it is easy to imagine that, just because they may have some deep wisdom, they will be moral. It is this last assumption that causes most of the chaos, because it is a totally dangerous assumption. Beware assuming that those who know ultimate reality to whatever degree couldn’t possibly have some unskillful relationship to money, power, drugs, or sex. Call me a prude, a traditionalist, or whatever—and not to presume to tell anyone else how to live his or her life—but I assert that, in general, it is best to avoid having sex with your dharma teachers, and this goes doubly if it is done in secret or with someone who generally claims celibacy. Following this simple advice will save you and them all sorts of trouble. There are lots of people out there to have sex with. Those who claim that it will lead to special wisdom are just selling something. You have been warned.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/20/15 7:52 AM as a reply to Jenny.
Timely, thanks.
Those who claim that it will lead to special wisdom are just selling something.
Avoiding sex with gurus seems like a useful rule of thumb. But, without knowing if Dan has experience with sexual meditation techniques I see no reason to accept this sentence. Also, 'traditionalist' by what tradition? It would seem that, if this book is accurate, a traditional Indian Tantric would consider sex with a guru traditional behavior.

It seems totally plausible to me that sex with those experienced with sexual meditation techniques could lead to insight faster than other methods. So maybe minus the 'special' part of 'special wisdom'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drzPr3PsVJ4
etc

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/20/15 11:02 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:

It seems totally plausible to me that sex with those experienced with sexual meditation techniques could lead to insight faster than other methods. So maybe minus the 'special' part of 'special wisdom'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drzPr3PsVJ4
etc
Why does that seem plausible to you? Why not outright preposterous? I can't think of a single reasonable reason why sexual activity might have to do anything with insight. Because it can be extremely pleasant or alluring? Why not try free-climbing with your guru, singing, playing call of duty or drowning in spices for fun instead?

Consider this: the method claims to be >5000 years old.
Since about 50 years is the first time in history that you can actually have safe sex without risking STDs or unwanted pregnancy. Sexual revolution has happened. Pornography is generally accepted as normal. There is nothing in the law which would prevent people from practicing these. So, the circumstances are exceptionally favourable for that sort of practice. But it's not happening, is it? People still prefer to torture themselves in Goenka retreats.
As much as I would like that sort of thing to actually be effective - the burden of proof is certainly on them.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/20/15 12:59 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
First, there is no formal debate nor evangelizing going on here so there's no burden of proof on anyone. I personally don't mind if people think these techniques are outright preposterous. I personally don't feel compelled to defend the position comprehensively.

If you're interested in why I think it's plausible watch that Shinzen video I linked and read the relevant sections of the book. My position is also influenced by Wilhelm Reich, Crowley, Julius Evola, Christopher Hyatt, Nik Douglas, Mantak Chia, my experience, my intuition on the topic, my reasoning on the topic, reading experiences of others, etc. If you have any specific questions I can answer them, but it would take too long to present the complete case. Read these authors on the subject, if you're genuinely interested.

One fast answer: sex is the most intense experience one can have. Oh, your meditation is more intense? Well then try it during sex. Think you have mindfulness skills? Well then try it during sex. Think you have concentration skills? Well then try it during sex.

I could give more mystical answers but the above is a simple one.

Certainly a sexual revolution has happened. But, the sexual revolution hasn't (whatever that may be). That sexuality has been legally liberated doesn't guarantee the societal attitudes about sexuality, conscious or unconscious, have changed radically. I would argue they haven't; I believe sexual attitudes have changed superficially (elaborate explanation). Then, from my POV, circumstances aren't exceptionally favorable. Tantric sex is not ordinary sex, nor even just 'good sex'. Sure, plenty of people want to improve their sex life but few are willing to dedicate themselves to stripping away societal conditioning and developing serious concentration skills, attentional skills, physical control, etc. Why do that when you can indulge in numerous cheap, highly-stimulating modes of entertainment easily available today? For this reason sexual meditation techniques (the ones that require real practice over long periods, I should add) are about as popular as intense meditation, plus the difficulty in finding a suitable partner.

A few popularizations of sexual meditation techniques have been successful. David Deida's work is a good example. I don't know how many people have success with his work.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/20/15 3:51 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Her's a tasty morsel from p.336:

Drinking Sexual Fluids
 
Sexual fluids (rakta and śukra) are Mahāmudrā in physical form. When you ingest sexual fluids
consciously, you set off the sympathetic vibrations between sexual fluids and Great Bliss, and
you spontaneously attain nondual awareness. Accordingly, the Hevajra Tantra instructs
practitioners of Mahāmudrā to drink sexual fluids daily. In addition, in the ritual of Tasting the
Nectar of Immortality (Amṛita Āsvādana) taught by Śabara, you take the sexual fluids generated
by your lovemaking and place them into a cup of alcohol containing the pure substances of the
Five Nectars: 1) feces, 2) urine, 3) human flesh, 4) female sexual fluids, and 5) male sexual
fluids. You mix them together, blessing the drink with the dhāraṇī mantra of the deity, and ingest
them, triggering an experience of Mahāmudrā.

 
I wonder where you get the human flesh to ingest on a daily basis? Maybe you could get a big lump and freeze it, then shave a portion off as required?
 
In all seriousness though, this has about as much to do with Buddhadhamma as B-grade porn has to do with sophisticated art.
 
More importantly, this is Hindu Tantra which has infiltrated Mahayana Buddhism. I’m not being a prude and saying it’s not a valid path, but it’s probably best not to confuse it with Buddhadharma.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/20/15 5:21 PM as a reply to Chris M.


I'm sure they eat baby flesh, smoke hash, have orgies, and fuck goats under the moonlight using blood as lube.

But seriously, that aspect of the Hevajra Tantra was already posted here in an image months ago. A small sect ritually consuming minute amounts of bodily fluids and excrements sounds pretty crazy. Two billion people adhering to a religion that symbolically consumes the flesh and blood of a Jewish zombie sounds even crazier. Speaking of which, Crowley and others believed that was symbolic of the consumption of semen.

In all seriousness, I personally don't care about what qualifies as 'Buddhism', 'Buddhadharma', etc. I know people that refuse to read MCTB because "it's not Buddhism". When you point out that there's no way to be certain about the teachings of an Indian dude that's been dead 2500 years they don't seem to care. I'm tired of fundamentalism of all kinds.

'Infiltrated' is an interesting word. Did Taoism infiltrate Buddhism to contribute to the formation of Zen? Also with Bön and Tibetan Buddhism? Also with the numerous other traditions that interact?

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/20/15 5:41 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
For the detractors, here's a quote from the 14th Dalai Lama's book How To Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life

Prudes 0
Goatfuckers 1
For Buddhists, sexual intercourse can be used in the spiritual path because it causes a strong focusing of consciousness if the practitioner has firm compassion and wisdom. Its purpose is to manifest and prolong the deeper levels of mind (described earlier with respect to the process of dying), in order to put their power to use in strengthening the realization of emptiness.Otherwise, mere intercourse has nothing to do with spiritual cultivation. When a person has achieved a high level of practice in motivation and wisdom, then even the joining of the two sex organs, or so-called intercourse, does not detract from the maintenance of that person’s pure behavior. Yogis who have achieved a high level of the path and are fully qualified can engage in sexual activity, and a monastic with this ability can maintain all the precepts. One Tibetan yogi-adept, when criticized by another, said that he ate meat and drank beer as offerings to the mandala deity. Such Tantric practitioners visualize themselves as deities in a complete mandala, within realization that the ultimate deity is the ultimate bliss—the union of bliss and emptiness. He also said that his sexual practice with a consort was undertaken for the sake of developing real knowledge. And that indeed is the purpose. Such a practitioner can make spiritual use not only of delicious meat and drink, but even of human excrement and urine. A yogi’s meditation transforms these into real ambrosia. For people like us, however, this is beyond our reach. As long as you cannot transform piss and shit, these other things should not be done!

Buddha set out a specific series of stages on the path precisely for this reason. The preliminary stage is training in the vows of individual liberation. If you live as a monk or nun, your conduct has a more sound basis—there is little danger of excessive distraction. Even if you cannot fully implement such vows, there is not much risk. Then simply practice, practice, practice. Once you develop inner strength, you can control the four internal elements—earth, water, fire, and wind (or five elements if inner space is included). Once you can fully control these internal elements, then you can control the outer five elements. Then you can make use of anything.

How does sexual intercourse help in the path? There are many different levels of consciousness. The potential of grosser levels is very limited, but the deeper, more subtle levels are much more powerful. We need to access these subtler levels of mind. But in order to do so, we need to weaken and temporarily stop grosser consciousness. To accomplish this it is necessary to bring about dramatic changes in the flow of inner energies. Even though brief versions of the deeper levels of mind occur during sneezing and yawning, they obviously cannot be prolonged. Also, previous experience with manifesting the deeper levels is required to make use of their occurrence in deep sleep. This is where sex comes in. Through special techniques of concentration during sex, competent practitioners can prolong very deep, subtle, and powerful states and put them to use to realize emptiness. However, if you engage in sexual intercourse within an ordinary mental context, there is no benefit.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/20/15 10:38 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Cool book... skimmed through about half of it at lunch.

I think being able to do / discuss things that are conventionally or socially taboo without feeling craving or aversion is an important aspect of liberation.

It is not that we have to necessarily engage in such behaviour, but it is important that the patterns of holding and repression that go along with such taboos are dissolved.

Otherwise we risk creating a sort of tainted moral virtue that is really just a psychological cover to hide weakness and anger.

I do feel some level of discomfort with some of the pratices described in the book. But usually that to me is a sign of unexamined areas for spritual and psychological growth.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/20/15 10:55 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Sound advice indeed!:
Such a practitioner can make spiritual use not only of delicious meat and drink, but even of human excrement and urine. A yogi’s meditation transforms these into real ambrosia. For people like us, however, this is beyond our reach. As long as you cannot transform piss and shit, these other things should not be done!

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/21/15 5:51 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
It seems from your response that I’ve hit a raw nerve Droll Dedekind. I know it appears as a reply to you, but that’s the way posts on this forum are formatted, although I meant it as a general response to this thread, not just to you, but also for others to read and reflect on in regard to the  document link you’ve posted. It appears from your reactivity you don’t like what I’ve said; oh well … however, if you are going to post a document on a public forum that wants to frame this practice as being “Buddhist” I’m going to disagree with it and pull no punches in pointing it out for the sake of others that are reading and may want clarification and some perspective. Also, if pointing out the origin of Tantric practice is somehow fundamentalism, then I’m happy to accept that label.
 
Anyway it’s pretty clear you’ve “hit the jackpot with this one” because after all, as John T. Houseman has claimed, he’s “received teachings and intensive empowerments from many of the greatest spiritual masters of all time, including Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Quan Yin.”
 
Perhaps more discernment is in order though …




RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/21/15 7:35 AM as a reply to Chris M.
I've been posting my dissatisfaction with Western Buddhist attitudes towards sex and tradition here for a couple months now.

Comparing a book I liked enough to share to "B-grade porn" is a bit reactive, no?

The Hevajra Tantra is between 1000-1200 years old. The Cakrasamvara Tantra is 1200 years old. I'm impressed that you can personally decide which parts of Tibetan Buddhism "aren't Buddhism". What is Buddhism, if I may ask? Strange how every fundamentalist group thinks they have the true version of every religion. X is real Buddhism. Y is real Christianity. Z is real Islam.

And, here's the quote in context
I learned channeling as a student of Diana Muenz for six years. In addition, I received from her a two-year course in enlightenment from her spirit guides, and received teachings and intensive empowerments from many of the greatest spiritual masters of all time, including Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Quan Yin.

Got any more cheap shots?

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/21/15 7:41 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Thank you for the solitary positive response. Agreed on every point.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/21/15 10:04 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Looks damned interesting to me, I plan on taking a closer look soon. Don't like reading PDFs on my kindle so will have to check it out on a laptop over the next few evenings. I may have something more productive to say about it after that. All I can comment for now is he certainly seems to have a wild history and the things he's saying about Vajrayana seem to fit pretty well with what I've heard from my own teachers. There's an old saying, 'no Mahamudra without Karmamudra' which means no accomplishing the highest tantric awakening practice without consort yoga (karmamudra). And what he writes about the history of Vajrayana in Tibet and how it was essentially coopted and symbolicized by the monastics seems spot on.


To all the critical respondants: Why the need to bring up all this theoretical criticism and bog down a practice oriented thread? I don't get it. Just start other threads if you really feel the need to be contentious. It's kind of ridiculous when someone posts  something like this and 99% of the responses are basically shutting down the conversation. Just stay out of it if it's not your thing. Jesus.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/21/15 12:01 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
The intro that you posted reads to me like the resume of an ADHD new ager who wanted to be as spiritual as possible.  Someone who dabbled in everything he could get his hands on but never really found peace with any of it.  Why else would you keep jumping around between religions and teachers for 30 years?  I mean, he name dropped the Buddha, Moses, and Jesus in his list of teachers...

I don't have anything against sex, but I feel like you picked a bad roll model to promote your cause Droll.

@Jake: Droll is promoting a book here.  How is this a practice oriented thread?

EDIT: I read some more of what you posted from the book just to give you the benefit of the doubt, but he just sounds like another new ager to me.  There's the standard claim that all religions are one.  There's the fluffy bunny projection of modern values onto ancient cultures because they were connected to the land and supposedly respected women - and this was lost sometime in pre-history.  There's the standard argument that modern humans are insane, childish, or mentally ill and that wars and human suffering are at an all time high (which is opposite of the truth).  Not to make any snap judgements, but I feel like I've read this book a number of times already.  There's never much of value.  I'll skim some of the later sections to see what's on offer.

EDIT2: I do like the way he frames Tantra as a rejection of the life-denying values of many religions, which is true.  Maybe he should just avoid trying to teach history since he's very myopic and judgemental of things he doesn't seem to understand very well.  He's very convinced that Vajrayana is the only way to achieve complete enlightenment in this lifetime, which also seems a bit myopic.

TBH, I think I'll stick to my original judgement.  He doesn't seem to be saying much beyond his opinions about the world - which is the majority of new age books I've read.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/21/15 12:51 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Yeah, it's just the whole adolescent hypermasculine "let me jump in here and mansplain why the thing you are sharing is stupid" gets old. No one really gives a fuck about your half assed opinions.

ETA: so what's the point of sharing them? Why not just leave people to have a conversation about something they are interested in without people constantly butting in to debate everything? It's so fucking boring.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/21/15 2:58 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Tapped a response on my phone between classes and Firefox crashed emoticon

If only for a bump:

I got the same initial impression that he seemed like a restless seeker. But I realize that were I a seeker before the Internet my resume would likely look the same before finding Tantric Buddhism or something similar. Anyway, is there not room to learn from people who've studied broadly? Shinzen studied all 3 vehicles, but I never see similar criticism of him.

Sexual meditation techniques are usually promulgated by people with little credentials trying to make a buck, so they're not taken very seriously. I suspect the author is aware of this and so listed his credentials extensively and made the book as free as it gets.

I don't have a cause. I prefer 'sharing' to 'promoting'.

As to the name dropping, I know nothing about channeling so I can't judge. Clearly the claim should be regarded with skepticism, like the 'arahat' claim on MCTB.

I see no support for the New Age comparison. Here are some stark differences off the top. The book: doesn't purport to be for everyone, isn't written for profit, is heavily based on established tradition(s), doesn't claim practices are harmless, doesn't promise easy results, etc. A few valid comparisons I see are its claim that meditations on bliss can lead to enlightenment, and that enlightenment can lead to Great Bliss. This claim is hardly unique to New Agers, it's straight from established tradition (but does currently seem idealistic to me). Shinzen also makes the claim that having equanimity with pleasure is just as purifying as having equanimity with suffering.

In fact, that the book is so rooted in established tradition is my only major criticism of the book. It's difficult to be sure what's ossified dogma and what's been reality-tested. At this time I suspect a qualified model of emotional transformation seems plausible. Emotional perfection: unlikely. But I think MCTB went too far in throwing out emotional considerations in models of enlightenment. It seems to me that the traditions comfortable with 'energy', and Buddhist Tantra in particular, do have something of value on that front.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/22/15 12:27 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:
Thank you for the solitary positive response. Agreed on every point.

Looks as though you are just looking for positive affirmations for the choice you've made.

If there is just the one "solitary positive response" as you say, what does that tell you? You were asking for people's opinions and seems now you don't like their assessments.
 
Also, by only partly quoting John T. Houseman in my last post, changes nothing in regard to context. He is still claiming he “received teachings and intensive empowerments from many of the greatest spiritual masters of all time, including Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Quan Yin.” Doesn’t this raise any red flags for you?
 
As I said before, perhaps more discernment is required?

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/22/15 5:05 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:
First, there is no formal debate nor evangelizing going on here so there's no burden of proof on anyone. I personally don't mind if people think these techniques are outright preposterous. I personally don't feel compelled to defend the position comprehensively.

If you're interested in why I think it's plausible watch that Shinzen video I linked and read the relevant sections of the book. My position is also influenced by Wilhelm Reich, Crowley, Julius Evola, Christopher Hyatt, Nik Douglas, Mantak Chia, my experience, my intuition on the topic, my reasoning on the topic, reading experiences of others, etc. If you have any specific questions I can answer them, but it would take too long to present the complete case. Read these authors on the subject, if you're genuinely interested.

One fast answer: sex is the most intense experience one can have. Oh, your meditation is more intense? Well then try it during sex. Think you have mindfulness skills? Well then try it during sex. Think you have concentration skills? Well then try it during sex.

OK, I realize that my skepticism made my reply look more negative than I intended.
I suppose that useful practices around sexuality exist.
I am indeed interested in why it works and what it leads to. I'm interested in the mechanism and what is generally possible. (I'm not that much interested in reading 20 books which talk in circles around the subject.) I watched Shinzen's video you linked to, and I am familiar with some of Mantak Chia's and David Deida's material. Shinzen seems to talk about liberating Sex from dirt. The others seem to talk about energy, chakras, emotions, memories and similar stuff. All of this seems to be work in morality, not related to awakening, and maybe partly to the 2nd training of concentration.

I find Houseman's book rather tiresome. There is so much text in it, but finding actual information in it seems hard. It seems to consist mainly of vague claims, rituals, nice pictures and symbols, and repetitions of those.
I looked at some paragraphs, and here are some of the only statements with some real content:
Love is thesupreme expression of reality. To see reality clearly, as the awakened ones do, is to be in a continuous state of love. In sexual yoga, it is essential to hold strong feelings of love for each other.
Bliss transforms awareness. Erotic bliss is the single most powerful instrument for liberating obscuring emotions and thoughts, and it does so very quickly.You create together a container of bliss, and within it your negative emotions and thoughts arise safely and are released. As negativities arise, you support each other with wisdom and unconditional love, and you witness with joy as they transform into light. Blissfully, you liberateeach other into inner awakening.
The nirmāakāya, the physical form of a buddha, is erotic. As an enlightened human being you have an inherently erotic presence about you. Your body isdivine, you are the essence of passion (kāma tattva), and you attract beautiful consorts effortlessly. Your task is to purify the world through your enlightened awareness and to share your pure sexual fluids in lovemaking to bring others to inner awakening
Tantric consecrations are extremely powerful, and are in no way “merely symbolicacts. The Tibetan master Jigten Sumgön (1143-1217) remarks, “The difference between the sūtras and Tantrasis the consecrations.” They lay the seeds for your quick transformation into a buddha. Without the consecrations, as a bodhisattva you must follow the most arduous path to enlightenment that takes three incalculable eons. Yet because of the consecrations,you can attain enlightenmentin a single lifetime
I guess, I'd just like to see some sort of MCTB-style book about these practices.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/22/15 11:54 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I just want to say thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for, was on my agenda, and the heavens bestowed via you and the author to me this book! Having a great time skimming so far, and have some fun tie-ins I personally enjoy with my own education and plan to write a lengthy post in a day or two.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/22/15 2:39 PM as a reply to Chris M.
The choice to post a free book on an obscure message board, for free? Whadda doozy

I'm unperturbed with respect to the book by the reactions of those who obviously did not read the book. I'm disappointed with respect to the culture by the negative reactions. I'm happy enough with getting the book out there.

I'm satisfied with my discernment.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/22/15 2:40 PM as a reply to Ryan J.
emoticon

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/22/15 3:12 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I'm not sure I can contribute to the main theme of the thread, with all the arguing and goat-fucking, but I'd still like to add my two cents on the issue as a whole...

Sex, like siddhis, is a "hot potato." Folks tend to divide into two extremes on the issue, perhaps because sex is so powerful and deeply embedded in our brains, not to mention entangled with a whole host of emotional and psychological issues. It really is complicated. So, to boil things down, the main question is this--  how can one best utilize sex on the spiritual path?

I may be called out as an old-fashioned fire and brimstone type of guy for saying this, but here it is anyway. Skillful restraint is the absolute best policy when it comes to sex, especially on the spiritual path. In my perfect little world, everyone would reserve sex for long-term partners whom they know intimately, just because so much complicated stuff happens outside of the physical act itself. 

At the same time, such restraint can cause huge problems, such as repression and associated mental illnesses. Just look at the number of anti-homosexual preachers and the like who have been caught in the act themselves. Restraint to the extent that we deny our basic humanity is damaging, hence the qualifier "skillful." Even though I am in a marriage and think that skillful restraint is best, there is still a part of me that wants to bang every cute girl I see. It's part of being in the animal kingdom.

TL;DR Keep your pants on

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/22/15 4:05 PM as a reply to Eric M W.
But long-term committed relationships and sexual meditation techniques aren't mutually exclusive

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/22/15 4:08 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I find it very funny that you're getting MCTB passages thrown at you like bible verses, instead of actual discussion. 

Thanks for posting, it's on my kindle to read.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/22/15 5:03 PM as a reply to Eric M W.
imho most skillful way is to not adress sex at all on your spiritual path
This is precisely how shadowsides develop.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RTCNuZSCsU

No one is suggesting one ONLY uses sexual spiritual techniques. I'm unsure where you got that impression, as it seems to me you did. The book covers all three yanas and consecrations, deity yoga, subtle energy yoga, sexual yoga, and nondual yoga. The book does say, however, that sexual yoga makes the others much more effective. This seems plausible to me.
I can think at least few better ways to get and closer to non-duality than from sexual activities that for me seems like conditioned dead end.
I have no idea what "conditioned dead end" means here. And, anyway, most Western Buddhists engage in sex.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/22/15 7:05 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Aside from the drive for basic survival I don't know of anything more reliable than sex drive. As an overwhelming majority of (young) Westerners are either having sex actively or trying to have sex actively, and want better sex, sexual yoga seems pretty available. Again, there is no reason why sexual yoga can't be practiced with other techniques. Just as, for example, retreats aren't available to everyone all the time, but they're still useful if you can do them. Or, just as masterful teachers aren't available to everyone all the time but they're very useful if you can find them.

Please watch the video I linked above. He handles this subject with more tact and understanding than I'm capable of or willing to muster.

@Anyone reading this
Dan mentioned at the Buddhist Geeks conference that how to advertise dharma has been a perennial question, and that he thinks about it a lot. Can anyone think of better advertising than "master these techniques properly and you can use them to have better sex, and get enlightened therefrom"? Objections to this approach are understandable. But I would urge anyone to carefully consider their objections, experientially and intellectually. Are one's objections based on: A belief that sexuality and spirituality are necessarily antithetical? A belief that sex is dirty, bad, sinful, carnal, etc? Insecurity? Fear? Lack of experience with combining meditation and sex? Doubt that it can be done? A belief that sexuality can't produce insight? Feeling that it's hackneyed, classless?

I see no reason why the pragmatic dharma community couldn't do this skillfully, realistically, and with class. And, in fact, I think it's at least as honest as the other approaches to advertising, "skillful means", and so on. It doesn't have to be "LEARN TO GO ALL NIGHT IN JUST 10 DAYS FOR 3 EASY PAYMENTS...". It could be handled as skillfully as it is in this book, "Put the meditation work in. Practice. Find a partner with whom you have a loving connection. The goal is enlightenment. etc"

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/22/15 7:10 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Hey Droll, 

Thanks for the book link, have only browsed, I always think it wise to stay open minded, information never hurts.

Watched your video link to Buddhist Geeks.

 Mindfulness seems to quiet the mind so so that sex does not get wrapped around by negative emotions such as shame or guilt, which lets the sexual experience become easier and more natural, of which it is anyway.

Here is another link, albeit simpler than the 500 plus page book you linked to, which if anyone has not noticed does seem to include a rather large chunk of the Buddha's teachings, Eighfold Path, Jhanas, Vipassana, Liberation, etc.

http://www.mindful.org/in-love-and-relationships/intimate-relationships/better-sex-through-mindfulness-meditation

Really the subject of sex was not what the Buddha taught, he basically just said it was not wise to engage in sexual misconduct or harm others.
As far as I know.

And, as far as I know he did teach piano lessons either.

And that being said, I do not think this is a taboo subject, but a side subject.  That being said, it may be of importance, even of utmost importance for some individuals to have some teachings on sex.  In this way they can have wholesome sex for themselves and their partner, and not become so attached to sexual sensations, see their partner as an object, or use sex as a manipulative tool.  Not to mention energy flow possiblities.

Psi

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/22/15 7:26 PM as a reply to Psi.
Jack LaLane, Fitness Legend was once asked about sex,
For those who do not know of Jack LaLane, 
Sorry if I am derailing, but his answer about his sex life is, well look at his feats of fitness first.
Some of Jack Lalane's feats:
  • 1954 (age 40) – swam the entire 8,981-foot (1.7 mi; 2.7 km) length of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Franciscounder water, with 140 lb (64 kg; 10 st) of air tanks and other equipment strapped to his body; a world record.[36]
  • 1955 (age 41) – swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco while handcuffed. When interviewed afterwards he was quoted as saying that the worst thing about the ordeal was being handcuffed, which significantly reduced his chance to do a jumping jack.[citation needed]
  • 1956 (age 42) – set what was claimed as a world record of 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes on You Asked For It,[37] a television program hosted by [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Baker_(actor)]Art Baker.
  • 1957 (age 43) – swam the Golden Gate channel while towing a 2,500 lb (1,130 kg; 180 st) cabin cruiser. The swift ocean currents turned this one-mile (1.6 km) swim into a swimming distance of 6.5 miles (10.5 km).[36]
  • 1958 (age 44) – maneuvered a paddleboard nonstop from Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore. The 30-mile (48 km) trip took 9.5 hours.[citation needed]
  • 1959 (age 45) – did 1,000 jumping jacks and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hour, 22 minutes, to promote The Jack LaLanne Show going nationwide. LaLanne said this was the most difficult of his stunts, but only because the skin on his hands started ripping off during the chin-ups. He felt he couldn't stop because it would be seen as a public failure.[36]
  • 1974 (age 60) – For the second time, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf. Again, he was handcuffed, but this time he was also shackled and towed a 1,000 lb (450 kg; 71 st) boat. At least that's according to his website. However, according to an account of this event published the day after it occurred in the Los Angeles Times, written by Philip Hager, a Times staff writer, LaLanne was neither handcuffed nor shackled if each of those terms has the conventional meaning of "tightly binding the wrists or ankles together with a pair of metal fasteners" although that's not how handcuffs or shackles work. Hager says that LaLanne "had his hands and feet bound with cords that allowed minimal freedom". But "minimal" clearly did not mean "no" freedom, since elsewhere in the article Hager describes LaLanne's method of propulsion through the water as "half-breast-stroke, half-dog paddle" which is how you swim with your hands tied.[citation needed]
  • 1975 (age 61) – Repeating his performance of 21 years earlier, he again swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater and handcuffed, but this time he was shackled and towed a 1,000 lb (450 kg; 71 st) boat.[citation needed]
  • 1976 (age 62) – To commemorate the "Spirit of '76", United States Bicentennial, he swam one mile (1.6 km) in Long Beach Harbor. He was handcuffed and shackled, and he towed 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.[38]
  • 1979 (age 65) – towed 65 boats in Lake Ashinoko, near TokyoJapan. He was handcuffed and shackled, and the boats were filled with 6,500 lb (2,950 kg; 460 st) of Louisiana Pacific wood pulp.[39]
  • 1980 (age 66) – towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida. The boats carried 77 people, and he towed them for over one mile (1.6 km) in less than one hour.[citation needed]
  • 1984 (age 70) – handcuffed, shackled, and fighting strong winds and currents, he towed 70 rowboats, one with several guests, from the Queen's Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 mile.[40]

Anyway, when Jack was asked about his sex life, He said, He and his wife had sex almost every day!  

Almost on Monday, almost on Tuesday, almost on Wednesday...

Psi

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/22/15 8:47 PM as a reply to . Jake ..
. Jake .:
Yeah, it's just the whole adolescent hypermasculine "let me jump in here and mansplain why the thing you are sharing is stupid" gets old. No one really gives a fuck about your half assed opinions.

ETA: so what's the point of sharing them? Why not just leave people to have a conversation about something they are interested in without people constantly butting in to debate everything? It's so fucking boring.


Haha, true, but that seems to be the modus operandi of this whole forum... TBH, Droll actually did a good job rebuffing my arguments. emoticon

@ Droll: Does he have anything about semen retention in there? That's a big topic on The Tao Bums. They might be very interested in this book even without that, though. HA!

Psi:
Anyway, when Jack was asked about his sex life, He said, He and his wife had sex almost every day! 

Almost on Monday, almost on Tuesday, almost on Wednesday...

Psi


Speaking of semen retention...

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/22/15 10:01 PM as a reply to Psi.
Psi:
Jack LaLane, Fitness Legend was once asked about sex,
For those who do not know of Jack LaLane, 
Sorry if I am derailing, but his answer about his sex life is, well look at his feats of fitness first.
Some of Jack Lalane's feats:
  • 1954 (age 40) – swam the entire 8,981-foot (1.7 mi; 2.7 km) length of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Franciscounder water, with 140 lb (64 kg; 10 st) of air tanks and other equipment strapped to his body; a world record.[36]
  • 1955 (age 41) – swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco while handcuffed. When interviewed afterwards he was quoted as saying that the worst thing about the ordeal was being handcuffed, which significantly reduced his chance to do a jumping jack.[citation needed]
  • 1956 (age 42) – set what was claimed as a world record of 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes on You Asked For It,[37] a television program hosted by [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Baker_(actor)]Art Baker.
  • 1957 (age 43) – swam the Golden Gate channel while towing a 2,500 lb (1,130 kg; 180 st) cabin cruiser. The swift ocean currents turned this one-mile (1.6 km) swim into a swimming distance of 6.5 miles (10.5 km).[36]
  • 1958 (age 44) – maneuvered a paddleboard nonstop from Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore. The 30-mile (48 km) trip took 9.5 hours.[citation needed]
  • 1959 (age 45) – did 1,000 jumping jacks and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hour, 22 minutes, to promote The Jack LaLanne Show going nationwide. LaLanne said this was the most difficult of his stunts, but only because the skin on his hands started ripping off during the chin-ups. He felt he couldn't stop because it would be seen as a public failure.[36]
  • 1974 (age 60) – For the second time, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf. Again, he was handcuffed, but this time he was also shackled and towed a 1,000 lb (450 kg; 71 st) boat. At least that's according to his website. However, according to an account of this event published the day after it occurred in the Los Angeles Times, written by Philip Hager, a Times staff writer, LaLanne was neither handcuffed nor shackled if each of those terms has the conventional meaning of "tightly binding the wrists or ankles together with a pair of metal fasteners" although that's not how handcuffs or shackles work. Hager says that LaLanne "had his hands and feet bound with cords that allowed minimal freedom". But "minimal" clearly did not mean "no" freedom, since elsewhere in the article Hager describes LaLanne's method of propulsion through the water as "half-breast-stroke, half-dog paddle" which is how you swim with your hands tied.[citation needed]
  • 1975 (age 61) – Repeating his performance of 21 years earlier, he again swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater and handcuffed, but this time he was shackled and towed a 1,000 lb (450 kg; 71 st) boat.[citation needed]
  • 1976 (age 62) – To commemorate the "Spirit of '76", United States Bicentennial, he swam one mile (1.6 km) in Long Beach Harbor. He was handcuffed and shackled, and he towed 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.[38]
  • 1979 (age 65) – towed 65 boats in Lake Ashinoko, near TokyoJapan. He was handcuffed and shackled, and the boats were filled with 6,500 lb (2,950 kg; 460 st) of Louisiana Pacific wood pulp.[39]
  • 1980 (age 66) – towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida. The boats carried 77 people, and he towed them for over one mile (1.6 km) in less than one hour.[citation needed]
  • 1984 (age 70) – handcuffed, shackled, and fighting strong winds and currents, he towed 70 rowboats, one with several guests, from the Queen's Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 mile.[40]

Anyway, when Jack was asked about his sex life, He said, He and his wife had sex almost every day!  

Almost on Monday, almost on Tuesday, almost on Wednesday...

Psi

all that pent of energy has to go somewhere ya know..?

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/23/15 9:50 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao: "Haha, true, but that seems to be the modus operandi of this whole forum... "

Tell me about it. jesus fuck!
;)

NT:
"TBH, Droll actually did a good job rebuffing my arguments."

He did! But he would have probably preffered not having to.. anyhow, that's just my projection (obviously lol). Thanks for having a sense of humor and putting up with my exasperation!

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/23/15 1:01 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
LOL. Concessions in Internet arguments are so rare that I genuinely feel accomplished. I didn't think it was possible. Thanks.

Anyway, I read about semen retention in Mantak Chia's work and am currently doing an experiment with that. I might post about it in my log. This author says it's a misinterpretation of the texts, but he does acknowledge that sexual fluids are important, holy, whatever and encourages their consumption in a ritual context.


The spiritual importance of sexual fluids sounds insane when I'm thinking like a materialist. When I'm thinking magickally or mystically it makes perfect sense. So, I'm just keeping an open mind and plan to settle it for myself empirically.

I've been lurking the Tao Bums lately. Kinda cool but it doesn't seem to me many are gunning for real results. The same could be said about here, but at least here gunning for results is encouraged behavior.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/25/15 4:01 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
To me, Buddhadhamma is the words of the Buddha and I trust the oldest documents of those words, the pali suttas, to be the closest we can come to what the Buddha taught. 

"The many leaders of this Age (such as Plato, Zoroaster, the Jewish prophets, Mahāvīra, the Buddha, Confucius, and others) accepted the belief of their time that life is inherently suffering, and taught that the only true path to happiness is to reach an other-worldly paradise."

this is most probably incorrect. Nibbana is not an "other-worldly paradise" as described in the suttas.

"It is the quickest path to awakening, and the only one in which you can attain complete enlightenment in a single lifetime."

this claim shows how far from the Buddhadhamma buddhism had went when Vajrayana was developed. In the Satipatthana suttas it is said that through the nobel eightfold path only, one can reach awakening in 7 days. According to the Mahayana it takes three aeons to reach Buddhahood. These claims are not contradicting eachother, since the sravakayana and the mahayana have different goals. But after some hundred years I think the traditions developed different definitions of arahantship vs Samyaksambuddhahood. According to the Theravada it is impossible to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime, unless you teleport to another universe or something since the definition of a Buddha is someone who finds the path to awakening by themselves, in a time where the teachings of a Buddha have disappeared. This makes the Vajrayana claim that "vajrayana is the fastest path, you can reach Buddhahood in twelve years" really weird from a theravadan perspective. Because 1) twelve years is not fast at all if awakening is all you want 2) we alreasy have a Sammasambuddha's living teachings in this world so becoming one in this life is per definition impossible. 
I'm not completely sure about the last thing though. The Dhamma might be dead. Let's become Buddhas. 

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/25/15 9:21 AM as a reply to Pål.
Those are good points about the various traditions. I think it's a good rule of thumb to have critical thinking in regards to each tradition's polemical views of the others. It's best to understand each tradition from within itself. And it's best to not take too seriously the 'versions' of Therevada that Vajrayana espouses for instance or of Mahayana that Theravada espouses (like that polemical essay by the Theravada monk against 'non-duality' that gets shared here occassionally). Polemics generally tell us more about the polemicist's assumptions than about the tradition they are critiquing. 

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/25/15 11:07 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
The philosophy section of the Vajrayana chapter is most interesting. Here's an excerpt

Philosophy

“The way of beings is the inconceivable play of the buddhas.” - Cakrasamvara Tantra

 When You Perceive Reality as Both Unchanging Essence and Changing Appearance, You Attain Buddhahood

Dancing with Reality

Tantric Buddhist philosophy arises from the wisdom revealed in the Tantras and popularized by the siddhas. Tantra accepts the Mahāyāna teaching that you can never understand reality, but adds, you can dance with it. It overturns all previous Buddhist teachings of rejecting life, pleasure, and the body. It boldly affirms the sacredness of desire, enlightened love, bliss, eroticism and spontaneous play. The Vajrayāna is called “the indestructible path” because the path and its goal are indestructible, and the name is a demonstrable rejection of other Buddhist teachings on existence as being “impermanent.” It destroys the illusions of saṃsāra so you can perceive and enjoy the true nature of reality, which is both the formless expanse of the dharmakāya and the pleasurable world of the senses.

The Innate Reality is Both Unchanging Essence and Changing Appearance

The Innate (Sahaja – lit. co-arising) is a dynamic vision of primordial wisdom as a blissful and active power in the world. Sahaja means “the Innate” because it expresses how primordial consciousness is innately present within all levels of reality. It is the spontaneous creativity of ultimate reality within the joyous world of appearances. The Innate is the ecstasy of intrinsic reality, not caused or conditioned by anything but always fully present, overflowing and awesome in its immensity. It is also a state of spontaneous love, play, and erotic aliveness. The Innate perceives life as essentially good, enjoyable, and blissful. It is immediate, authentic presence, and deep, ecstatic aliveness. It is unchanging bliss and delightful involvement in the world for yourself and others without attachment. It is līlā, the divine creative play of ultimate reality, and vilāsa, erotic play. The Innate is the essential philosophical foundation for Tantra that leads to inner awakening.

The Innate wipes away the misconceptions of the spiritual path common in many religions influenced by the Axial Age: that life is not sacred and a mistake, that the point of the spiritual path is to renounce the world, and that the final goal is to return to the state of being uncreated. It destroys completely any idea that the act of creation from Source is not passionate - ultimate reality is intensely passionate, and the worlds it creates are passionate as well.

Four major characteristics comprise the Innate:
1. Pure Appearance (Evaṃ) - Appearances are real, pure, and erotic.
2. Great Passion (Mahārāga) – Desire is real, pure, and erotic.
3. Essence (Tattva) – Ultimate reality is real, pure, and erotic.
4. Great Bliss (Mahāsukha) – Great Bliss is the erotic union of ultimate bliss and worldly bliss.

...


The Innate and Its Place in the Buddhist Philosophy


The philosophy of the Innate incorporates the teachings of the sūtras and transcends them. The Innate is founded most strongly on the teachings of Buddha Essence. The Tantras strongly support the position of the philosophy of Buddha Essence of ultimate reality as an indestructible, primordial wisdom that truly exists, whose nature is luminosity and bliss. They tend less to support the Middle Way philosophy of ultimate truth as simply an absence of inherent self- nature. In the Tantric belief, “the perfection of wisdom” actually becomes a synonym for, in Jamgön Kongtrul’s words, the “primordial indestructible great vital essence” - a meaning never intended by the philosophers of Emptiness. The contemporary Tibetan master Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso writes that Buddha Essence is “the view that links the sūtras and the Tantras. It is taught in the sūtras and is the basis for all the Tantric practices.” The Innate is the indestructible nature of ultimate reality, and it is from this absolute indestructibility that the Vajrayāna takes its name. Since in the Middle Way philosophy nothing is indestructible, it is clear that the Tantras follow a very different philosophical standpoint.

While the position of the Innate on ultimate reality matches the philosophy of Buddha Essence, its position on appearances is dramatically different. The Innate steps well beyond the teachings on Buddha Essence to declare that not only is ultimate reality real and pure, but appearances and desire are real and pure as well. The Innate perceives ultimate reality as an all-good creative power, a view completely foreign to the sūtras. Saraha decisively criticizes the Buddha Essence philosophy as incomplete, as mere attachment to nirvāṇa, and says that the true understanding of reality is impossible without understanding the Innate: “Without realizing the Innate, those who familiarize themselves with nirvāṇa will not accomplish the single ultimate by anything whatsoever.” This is because, unlike the traditional Mahāyāna philosophies, the Innate embraces both the bliss of nirvāṇa and the bliss of worldly existence as the practitioner’s goal.

Without rejecting its value as a tool for liberation, the Innate philosophy criticizes the Middle Way philosophy for its claim of ultimate reality and appearances as not truly existent and impure. The Innate criticizes the Mind Only philosophy because mind is not primordial wisdom. And the Innate criticizes the Buddha Essence philosophy as incomplete because the Innate sees primordial purity not only in ultimate reality but in appearances as real as well. These differences have profound implications for practice and realization, and fully justify the Innate being regarded as a separate philosophy - the philosophy of the Vajrayāna. Any Buddhist philosophy must ultimately be judged not based on whether it conforms to any supposed “objective reality,” but by its liberating power. The record of the Innate in serving to liberate thousands of beings over centuries is unparalleled by any other Buddhist path.

The Two Truths

In the philosophy of the Innate, relative truth is, just as in the other Mahāyāna philosophies, the false perception of yourself and appearances as independently existing entities. The Hevajra Tantra notes sharply that suffering arises “because of subject and object.” When you perceive appearances through the distorting lens of subject and object, you experience attachment and suffering. However, unlike in the Mahāyāna sūtras, the Innate teaches that appearances are primordially real and pure because they arise from a real and pure Essence. Ultimate truth, then, is the correct perception of the unchanging ground of ultimate reality as primordial awareness and the co-arising of ultimate reality and appearances as real, pure, and erotic.

One of the core philosophical differences between the Mahāyāna sūtras and the Innate is in their idea of the nature of Essence. All three philosophies of the Mahāyāna sūtras accept the assumption that Essence cannot change and be Essence and form simultaneously. Nāgārjuna, who develops the logical case for the sūtras most strongly, asserts that since Essence is by definition eternal and unchanging, to say that Essence can in any way change temporarily into forms is illogical. If Essence changed, he says, it would no longer be Essence, but dependently originating and subject to suffering. Essence is the opposite of change, and since the world around you continually changes, this world cannot possibly be Essence.

This is exactly the point where the philosophy of the Innate disagrees. The Innate says Essence has the capacity to change into form temporarily and still remain unchanging Essence. Following Nāgārjuna’s logic, for example, if an ocean were Essence, it would be incapable of change, and incapable of producing waves which are ever-changing. Nāgārjuna would have to deny the existence of waves as expressions of the unchanging ocean - waves could only be something completely separate from the unchanging ocean. However, the ocean does produce waves that are both temporary and pure expressions of the unchanging ocean that are never separate from it. The Innate teaches that Nāgārjuna’s logic is wrong.

That Essence can be simultaneously unchanging and changing is not contradictory but paradoxical. The true nature of reality is ultimately found not through exclusivistic logical proofs such as “A can never be B” that dominate Buddhist philosophy, but in paradox. “Unchanging” and “changing” are not contradictory opposites but simultaneous, dynamic aspects of Essence. A gyroscope remains stationary at its center while it spins, dynamically unchanging and changing. An atom is a particle and a wave. Paradox brings logic to silence as pure awareness dawns.

In the philosophy of the Innate, even emotional and mental obscurations are expressions of pure and perfect buddha wisdom. Suffering and liberation are created by the absolute reality. That may sound like the ultimate disempowering statement, but it is just the opposite – for you are the absolute reality. As the Hevajra Tantra says, “You are yourself the Destroyer, the Creator, the King and the Lord.” You create your bonds, and you free yourself. Buddhahood is up to you.

Buddhahood as Wisdom and Compassion

For the philosophy of the Innate, primordial wisdom goes beyond any words that could ever be spoken. Wisdom is a spontaneous arising of knowingness that guides you. The wisdom of the moment is fresh, ever-present, and perfectly responsive to your needs. Wisdom possesses the very characteristics that Nāgārjuna’s logic says is impossible: it is simultaneously eternal and changing. Attaining the bliss of primordial wisdom, all appearances become your friends.

The natural response to a world of beings in suffering is compassion. The orthodox Mahāyāna, because it sees this world as inherently filled with suffering, praises the compassion of the buddhas and bodhisattvas. There is really not much room for love, and the lack of love as a major theme in the sūtras is quite evident. In contrast, the natural response to a world that is pure and perfect is love. Only in the philosophy of the Innate is love finally able to take its place as equal to compassion in Buddhism. Realizing the Innate, a buddha not only liberates beings but also becomes their lover.

I skipped a large chunk of text with my ellipsis that includes an elaboration on those "Four major characteristics that comprise the Innate".

Wow is this gonna ruffle some 'Buddhist' feathers

EDIT:
For good measure,


RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/25/15 11:54 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
[quote=]Third sentence:
It overturns all previous Buddhist teachings of rejecting life, pleasure, and the body.

Well, right there is a misconception, so I stopped reading.

Psi


For good measure:


RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/25/15 1:02 PM as a reply to Psi.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/25/15 1:52 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll, are you familiar with David Chapman's writings on tantra?
https://meaningness.wordpress.com/category/buddhism/reinventing-buddhist-tantra/

You might enjoy it (along with his other writings on Buddhism in the consensus Buddhism series).

These posts also relevant to some of the discussion on this thread (though a somewhat different angle to the book):
http://buddhism-for-vampires.com/disgust-as-buddhist-practice
https://meaningness.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/renunciation-in-buddhism/

I had a look at the book - Chapman argues that at heart, tantra is all about attitude, and I liked it when the author expressed that, such as in the final chapter.

And if you are getting into tantra, this is a great intro:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003X27ORO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=aro-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B003X27ORO

And for a tantric approach to romance (as opposed to sex):
http://aroencyclopaedia.org/shared/text/h/honey_ar_eng.php

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/25/15 5:41 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Thanks. I was checking out David Chapman's stuff last week and I agreed with most of it but not all of it. I'll check out those links.

And, that Lama Yeshe book's been in my library since I saw it on Dan's reading list. I'll check it out also. I'm reading all these Tantras now and I should probably start with something more friendly. I'm taking all suggestions.

To be clear so no one gets the wrong idea, the author says that Tantric sex without love won't work. So the book's already about romance and sex; 'as opposed to' doesn't apply

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/28/15 7:04 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll thanks loads for this, exactly what I have been looking for. I will read with interest.

I have been working through some tantric stuff with a partner in a consort relationship over the last year and found it to be absolutely an incredible container for buddhist practice, so much more than I expected. Specifically it has removed almost all my craving surrounding sex, sexual fantasy and even lust over the female form, in just a few months, of not doing very much actual practice. It utterly killed my sex drive as I knew it. I wouldn't have thought it possible. It is not mystic or new age, it does this simply by generating perfectly aligned, very powerful conditions for insights to arise. As you said, the love/devotion aspect is the most important part of these conditions.

And in terms of the real 100% deep integration of non-dual insight (which is surely what everyone here is seeking), the practice of surrendering the body into an open, non-dual-awareness, full body relaxation during states like scary/pleasurable things like sex, is an incredibly fast way to practice.

I feel like teachings about the embodied journey - riding non-dual insight to full Enlightenment (fetters model 3/4th path) is one that the pragmatic "tradition" is really lacking in at the mo, and so this kind of work, and also the Reich/Lowen stuff is really interesting for it too... I would love to see how it this movement grows into pragmatic tantra, etc. Exciting times.

Agree also with D Z, perfectly put.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/30/15 1:56 PM as a reply to Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii.
Very nice. Well-put. I'm glad the thread has some personal testimony now.
I feel like teachings about the embodied journey - riding non-dual insight to full Enlightenment (fetters model 3/4th path) is one that the pragmatic "tradition" is really lacking in at the mo, and so this kind of work, and also the Reich/Lowen stuff is really interesting for it too... I would love to see how it this movement grows into pragmatic tantra, etc. Exciting times.
Something similar has been in my head for awhile now. I dunno about emotional perfection models, but emotional transformations with caveats, possibly tending toward 'perfection' seems plausible to me. An emotional limitation model seems... boring to me. My current fantasy of emotional 'perfection' seems similar to the Reichian/Lowen/Pierrakos perspective -- ability to feel and appropriately express an emotional range. You could say the ideal is like a functional integration of 'mind', 'body', 'feelings', etc (only separated in speech, hence quotes). It seems to me that the purification intended through taking on a range of archetypes through deity yoga is similar to the purification intended through expressive exercises in Reichian/bioenergetics. I believe this purification is, in both cases, intended to bring about the above functional integration, etc. Then, my old evaluation in the other thread that Reichian is similar to Tantra in philosophy was better than I realized.

Israel Regardie effectively got me into all this. So, I feel obligated to add, when Regardie was supporting the creation of new Golden Dawn temples in the US he insisted that every initiate should have at least one year of therapy as a neophyte. As the Golden Dawn system is reasonably comparable to Tantric practices I suggest any pragmatic tantra movement should heed the same advice.

Many Hindus believe Kundalini is linked with a form of Universal energy, and with the sexual response. The techniques Reich employed and his method for discussing and treating patients held certain similarities to Regardie's and to my Chakra therapy. All of this is not to say that Reich borrowed from the Eastern Yogis and Hinduism; however, Dr. Regardie was fascinated by the similarities. Regardie felt that if an integration between certain methods and ideas suggested by Reich and Kundalini Yoga could be made, a new Tantra, a new Goddess "religion" would begin to emerge in the West.

From one of Hyatt's books. Seems possible. I would be interested in the integration taking heavily from any Western and Eastern psycho-sexual-spiritual traditions (there were arguably many). There have been and are some attempts like here, here, and here.Also, these ones are pretty amusing from Hyatt

Many proponents of the Golden Dawn and related traditions, like Waite and Felkins, were so “Christianized" that they were even sex negative, attempting to live the life of the Puritan and of course influencing modern occultism in an ascetic direction. Others, like Crowley and Regardie, preserved the essence of the ancient order, knowing that the proper use of the Psycho-Sexual brought true enlightenment. This is why Dr. Regardie felt that Reich's therapy was the best therapy for the aspiring student. However, he knew that while Reich's therapy would lead to a form of orgastic potency, it would never lead to true enlightenment. Reich himself had no use for Eastern practices, which of course included Yoga. Regardie often told me that Reich must have known of Tantra, or if he didn't he should have.--Regardie often wondered if Reich had any experience with yoga. I used to think he did, but Regardie would frequently argue both points of view. Sometimes he would hypothesize that Reich was a "reincarnation" of an Eastern Yoga Master. When he said this he would laugh at the thought and then drop the subject.


RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/31/15 1:17 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:
Thanks. I was checking out David Chapman's stuff last week and I agreed with most of it but not all of it. I'll check out those links.

And, that Lama Yeshe book's been in my library since I saw it on Dan's reading list. I'll check it out also. I'm reading all these Tantras now and I should probably start with something more friendly. I'm taking all suggestions.

To be clear so no one gets the wrong idea, the author says that Tantric sex without love won't work. So the book's already about romance and sex; 'as opposed to' doesn't apply

I tend to get into the habit of agreeing with  Chapman so much that my critical filters get disengaged. I would be interested to hear what you don't agree with. 

On a related note, is that you talk about a "pragmatic tantra movement" - do you have a vision of what that might look like - and in what way might it be different from Chapman's vision of a modern tantra?

I also just want to say thanks for your inputs to the forum - such as the Reichian thread, which led to lots of interesting discoveries for me - I even ended up buying "the way to vibrant health".  And I think we may have following some similar lines of inquiry - such as the relationship between tantra and bodywork in the Reichian/Lowen mold. Following one of your links above (the last one of three) led to some good sites. I found Phil Hine's stuff, which I am sure you know about, and he has a great blog where he discusses tantric practice and some practice logs. This post, for example (and see the "practice" tag):

http://enfolding.org/heart-practice-approaching-the-tantric-body-in-practice-i/

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
1/31/15 4:38 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
I just noticed Sam Webster commenting on Chapman's website. Cool. Sam Webster founded that Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn I linked to earlier, and wrote Tantric Thelema.

Content-wise I tend to disagree with Chapman's supernatural-natural dichotomy and his whole take on Vajrayana 'magic' and 'superstition'. He never defines 'magic' nor the supernatural-natural dichotomy. I understand his blog is meant for accessible reading, but I think the subject needs to be treated with more nuance. I don't whether Chapman is capable of that nuance but doesn't want to scare off readers, so he's using common terms and Western philosophical assumptions. He uses the phrase "scientific worldview" again with no definition. There isn't one definition of science nor one philosophy of science. There are some consensuses but I would personally reject most of those.

I believe that if a Western Tantra is constructed based on what appear to be Chapman's idea of 'superstition' etc, the system will lose its power. I do agree with a lot of what Chapman writes, particularly the compatibility between some of Tantric philosophy and Western values. I think a Western Buddhism that takes some of the philosophy of Tantra but leaves out most of the rest ('superstition', etc) will be better in some ways than current Western Buddhism, but wouldn't deserve to be called Tantra. What he calls "psychologizing and mythologizing" seems preferable to me than stripping entirely, but it still wouldn't deserve to be called Tantra. I don't think a genuine Tantra, pragmatic or not will be fit for popularization at this point in history. It would have to be essentially elitist (Regardie felt the same way about new Golden Dawn temples).

So, my idea of a genuine pragmatic Tantra... I believe it would be most successful if it takes from both the Western and Eastern esoteric systems. One would need experience with an esoteric system before being qualified to strip it of excess. So, Westerners accomplished in a Western esoteric system working with Easterns accomplished in Eastern esoteric systems have the best chance at creating a successful hybrid. Heeding Regardie's advice about neophytes doing a year+ of therapy also seems essential to me. Reichian/bioenergetics seems especially suited to be part of that therapy. I also like the OSOGD format, but again it would require experienced practitioners to really work.

Thanks for the appreciation. I like to share cool stuff.

I've read some of Hine's books but haven't checked out his blog. I'll look, thanks.

EDIT:
Also, I found an excellent reading list for Tantra. I wish I could take that class emoticon

EDIT2:
Oo, the teacher of that^ class wrote the book "Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism", which Hine just reviewed on his blog. Makes sense.

RE: Great Bliss: Tantric Sex and the Path to Inner Awakening
Answer
2/1/15 4:33 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
quote=Droll

Content-wise I tend to disagree with Chapman's supernatural-natural dichotomy and his whole take on Vajrayana 'magic' and 'superstition'. He never defines 'magic' nor the supernatural-natural dichotomy. I understand his blog is meant for accessible reading, but I think the subject needs to be treated with more nuance. I don't whether Chapman is capable of that nuance but doesn't want to scare off readers, so he's using common terms and Western philosophical assumptions. He uses the phrase "scientific worldview" again with no definition. There isn't one definition of science nor one philosophy of science. There are some consensuses but I would personally reject most of those.

Ah, ok. I guessed this might be a point of disagreement for you. I think he is capable of nuance - he is a follower of Aro where the default orientation tends to be magical - but he writes from his own basic orientation of a scientifically informed worldview, and I believe (like me) he feels that a modern tantra would need to operate within that worldview. You may reject a consensus around that though I wouldn't.

I believe that if a Western Tantra is constructed based on what appear to be Chapman's idea of 'superstition' etc, the system will lose its power. I do agree with a lot of what Chapman writes, particularly the compatibility between some of Tantric philosophy and Western values. I think a Western Buddhism that takes some of the philosophy of Tantra but leaves out most of the rest ('superstition', etc) will be better in some ways than current Western Buddhism, but wouldn't deserve to be called Tantra. What he calls "psychologizing and mythologizing" seems preferable to me than stripping entirely, but it still wouldn't deserve to be called Tantra. I don't think a genuine Tantra, pragmatic or not will be fit for popularization at this point in history. It would have to be essentially elitist (Regardie felt the same way about new Golden Dawn temples).

Perhaps you are right about losing power if you approach it from a non-magical worldview, but I see it as a matter of degree (i.e. it wouldn't lose all its power), and I can live with it - there are advantages and disadvantages and it depends on your goals, and how "process pure" you want to be about the goals.

I tend not to see "genuine" and "pragmatic" as words that go well together (just like "pragmatic" and "Ultimate Reality" and "Truth" don't go so well together), and I personally am not so concerned with genuinity and struggle to see one can make those kinds of claims. For example, compare with what we have seen on this thread, you have been defending tantra as part of the buddhadharma against detractors who have argued that tantric Buddhism isn't genuine/proper/real dharma.

Elitist? I don't see why it would need to be. A minority view, sure, given that most spiritual paths tend to go against dominant cultural conditioning.

So, my idea of a genuine pragmatic Tantra... I believe it would be most successful if it takes from both the Western and Eastern esoteric systems. One would need experience with an esoteric system before being qualified to strip it of excess.

Is there anyone arguing of stripping away excess? It depends by what you mean by excess of course (getting rid of ghosts and spirits is one angle, as Chapman talks about). If a key part of tantra is working with symbolism, then the excess is tantra? Perhaps a reconfiguration in terms of modern and culturally relevant reference points is more what is needed.

So, Westerners accomplished in a Western esoteric system working with Easterns accomplished in Eastern esoteric systems have the best chance at creating a successful hybrid. Heeding Regardie's advice about neophytes doing a year+ of therapy also seems essential to me. Reichian/bioenergetics seems especially suited to be part of that therapy. I also like the OSOGD format, but again it would require experienced practitioners to really work.

Chapman has consistently argued that a modern tantra would need someone who is very accomplished in it to produce it (and he isn't qualified). It's interesting that you suggest those from the Western esoteric traditions might be well equipped to do so. I am largely ignorant of that tradition and so it isn't clear to me the value that it brings. Chapman has been arguing for the importance of ritual, and I guess the occultists are experts here.

Thanks for your responses.

Thread Split - Moderation and focus of the DhO
Answer
2/11/15 1:32 PM as a reply to sloane.
Split thread due to off-topic discussion thread.

The new thread can be found at http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/5664191.

RE: Thread Split - Moderation and focus of the DhO
Answer
2/13/15 8:46 AM as a reply to Simon Ekstrand.
Simon, the thread appears black to me and I can't click on it. Is this a glitch on the site, purposeful, or perhaps a glitch on my end? I tried to PM you but couldn't find you in the system :\