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Monday, 5 November 2012

Proof Reading....input invited

Tantra is about cultivating the beautiful, it is about cultivating balance in our lives. In practising Tantra we become and surround ourselves with the beautiful. We cultivate beautiful bodies, hearts, minds and surroundings. That is the essence of this book.

The Tantra within this book is, as Tantra always has been, unapologetically syncretistic. Specifically  there are Theravadin Buddhist elements, for although Theravada in the West is stiflingly conservative, there are meditations and  teachings in it that are very deep, powerful and beautiful and it is these that I use.

The  Five and Eight Trainings of Theravada Buddhism are, I feel useful in a Tantric context.  Periods of celibacy do have a place in Tantra. If you want to experience the full force of sexual energy then engage in celibacy. About a week in and you will be well and truly aware that there is a lot of heat and energy in the vicinity of your crotch. And when the time for celibacy ends the discharge of energy will lead to some awesome moments.  I think that unless you are asexual, that withdrawing from all sexual activity for years at a stretch is not particularly healthy. The exception to this I will concede is in the pursuit of a very specific goal. Enlightenment qualifies as just such a goal. Even then the monastic’s end up with all sorts of health issues that in all likelihood are derived in part from pent up sexual energy.

There are  Hindu elements in my practice in the form of yoga, and worship of Ganesh. There is also a significant modern Western element, particularly when it comes to illustrating the teachings. The Tantra in this book is also unapologetically positive and gentle, my practice for the last 25 years has been based on what are called the Divine Abidings, these are Metta (Loving-kindness), Karuna (Compassion), Mudita (Sympathetic Joy) and Upekkha (Equanimity)  and if something has worked for this long, I’m not about to change.

If anything, I more than likely leaning towards an ascetic interpretation of Tantra in that hedonism doesn’t really work for me. The overindulgence in food and alcohol messes with my metabolism and at any rate, runs counter to the Core Teaching of cultivating the beautiful.

There is no clergy here, there is no one separating you from The Divine or insisting that their interpretation of it is the only valid interpretation. The only valid interpretation is the one that has meaning for you.

I like my rules (I have high functioning Aspergers Syndrome) so the No Rules approach of NeoTantra doesn’t work for me, and I believe anyone else. The reason why religions have rules is to provide a framework so that the practitioner doesn’t get lost in their own preferences, and orgiastic behaviour in the form of excessive consumption of alcohol, meat and drugs  doesn’t appeal to me. Consumption of high quality alcohol in moderation is something I do like. Getting intoxicated to the point where I’m no longer in control or able to function sexually on the other hand is simply not me.

Group sex is something I do enjoy. Certainly there is room for Swinging and Polyamory in Tantra. Because Tantra is sexual in nature, and it is the role of sex in worship that defines Tantra as a path there is no guilt in regards to sexual expression, so long as it doesn’t fall into what is accepted by all as being criminal in nature.

Sex is such a powerful and fundamental energy that I think that to refuse to use it in our spiritual lives seems simply stupid.

You will find that what is presented in this book is coherent and mutually supportive. There is nothing left out on a limb. Meditation is supported by exercise and diet, exercise and diet are supported by the Five Trainings, the Five Trainings are supported by the Core Teachings, which in turn support the meditation. There is  an interconnectedness similar to a spiders web, everything here supports and is connected to everything else.

Perhaps what sets this book apart is the use of the Sufi Rumi and his teachings as part of the Core Teachings. Rumi, in my opinion at least, was a Metta adept. If I was ever to embrace a Guru, Rumi would be him. Rumi is all about Love and at times it is hard to distinguish whether he is talking about a Love of The Divine or a person. Because Rumi was Muslim, The Divine for him is masculine, however there are enough verses where Rumi addresses or talks about the Beloved, for The Divine to possess an androgynous nature. Rumi may have self identified as Muslim, however his true religion was Love, and this is why I use him in my practice. It is also the first time to my knowledge that Theravadin scriptures and teachings will be used in a Tantric context.

My background in practice is, Theravadin Buddhist. I was deeply involved in almost every aspect of Theravada and spent a fair bit of time in and around hermitages and monasteries for a quarter of a century before essentially running out of room within which to practice. To quote S. Dhammika “Theravada is hostile to all forms of beauty” and as I grew older and my first marriage began to die, I developed a deep interest in beauty. Because of Theravada’s lack of interest in beauty, it is relatively easy to spot both practitioners of Theravada and Tantra in a Buddhist crowd....the Theravadins often dress and look like shit, Tantrics are often stylishly dressed and possessed of gorgeous physiques. Theravadins are often quite threadbare and dour in expression, Tantrics will often glow. This is, in its own way, a shame, for there is a lot of room in Theravada for beauty.

 I am a Metta (Loving-kindness) meditator and it is through a desire to deepen my Metta that I came to Tantra. Metta is a powerful meditation and the way that I was wanting to incorporate it into my life simply isn’t supported in Theravada. I wanted to use Metta in pursuing weight loss, diet, parenting and sex, and it is the last activity in particular that Theravada at first balks at, and then gives an emphatic no to. It  isn’t particularly comfortable with the  use of the first three, but it is the use of sex in our meditation that Theravada emphatically denies. Tantra offered me the path to deepen my Metta practice and use sex as a tool to do so. A way without judgement and without obvious hypocrisy. Too many opinions were being offered by those with too little knowledge of what they were talking about. Once I realised this, the path I had to walk was obvious.

 In regards to parenting, it is obvious that  celibates have little or no relevant knowledge when it comes to raising a child and in the last year or so of my involvement with Theravada I had met my wife and parenting became very much something I wanted to do. I have found that being a parent has deepened my practice and changed me in ways I could hardly even imagined, let alone having done. The idea of listening to those with limited, if any actual experience of something as profoundly life changing as becoming a parent just seemed absurd. Once again, the monks and nuns who are serious about their practice will actually not offer opinions on parenting and if they see that parenting is actually deepening your practice will be openly happy for you.

And having been very much part of the Theravadin monastic scene, these people are the absolute last people who you should ever consider turning to for relationship advice. And a good monk or nun will tell you this.  There are enough sexual hang-ups, and outright dysfunctions in the Theravadin Sangha in the West to keep an Agony Aunt or Psychiatrist gainfully employed to the Big Crunch at the end of the Universe and beyond. Theravada is very much in the head to the point where the body is actively denied, there are no teachings on how a healthy body can empower your Metta practice, let alone use sex to deepen your Metta. In fact one teacher in particular, does so little exercise he has developed Type 2 diabetes. The Golden Age of Western Theravadin Asceticism is stillborn. It isn’t happening and instead the Sangha often lives in more comfort than you do and eats better.

I don’t naturally “do” quiet.  I do look at the world from a very different perspective and the very last thing I am is conventional  and when I’m happy, I’m loudly, openly happy and when I’m sad....  The Theravada group I belonged to throughout my first marriage simply couldn’t deal with such an unconventional, non-conservative personality. Theravada also likes to be monochromatic, especially in the personalities it wants to attract in the West. The ideal Theravadin is someone who is quiet, dresses and thinks conservatively and is in my opinion a new idea free zone. Theravada responds incredibly badly to experimentation, perhaps because the average age of a person in the West attending a Theravadin group that is not ethnically dominated is in their late 30’s or older. Also the Theravadin Sangha is the better part of 2600 years old, most of us grow more conservative as we age, and the Theravadin Sangha, I fear, is no exception.

Where the Theravadin Sangha is incredibly and valuable is in the very specific area of meditation. In some ways they are the meditative equivalent of free climbers and the very few who literally put everything on the line in their quest for Enlightenment are deeply valuable. There are a few who will talk about their struggles with sexuality and lust, Amma Thanasanti is one. If you are interested in taking your meditation into the bliss states, then these people are the ones to go to.

 My ultimate act of trashing Theravadin conservatism was leaving my wife of 20 years for a woman who was respectively 31 years younger than her and 19 years old at the time, my wife wasn’t even half my age, let alone my ex-wife’s. I must hold the distinction of being the only person to have been actively excommunicated from a mainstream Buddhist tradition.

The Buddhist Society of Victoria must have breathed a hearty sigh of relief when I finally took the hint and left. The loud, noisy one and his emotions and weirdness was finally gone...and they could return to their rightful silence and solitude. In the years since I left the Buddhist Society of Victoria it has been repeatedly put to me that I had the misfortune to be involved with a bad crowd. Certainly Theravada in its Asian homelands, with the exception of Sri Lanka, is remarkably open and tolerant. Theravada in Australia, however is prone to intolerance, cliques and more than a little Guru worship. Theravada and the Forest Tradition in particular in the West can be incredibly and irritatingly  arrogant and misogynistic. To be different is to invite exclusion. One day when I have the time I would like to research the involvement of people with Aspergers in Theravada.

I departed Theravada and embraced a whole new Dharma, one far more suited to my personality. Tantra gives me to room to be as loud and passionate as I want. The very last thing Tantra has ever been is conservative, and as a result it suits me perfectly.

Saturday, 27 October 2012


When I was growing up there was a cartoon strip called Hagar the Horrible about a particularly inept Viking.. In one particular strip Hagar is absolutely gorging himself and one of his followers asks him out it. Hagar's reply is utterly brilliant:
"Everything in moderation....including moderation".
We must balance our lives. The intense hike is balanced by a deep sleep. The weights workout is balanced by yoga. The diet is balanced by the occasional bout of utter indulgence. The sex is balanced by periods of abstinence (however brief).
The exercise of balance is important. We may occasionally swing like a metronome, but eventually we slow down and spend more and more time in the a state of balance.
When everything is balanced nice things begin to happen. Blissful things. For all the apparent extremes of Tantra, balance is its ultimate goal.
Suppressing one entire and important aspect of ourselves is one reason why celibacy works for such an incredibly minute percentage of us. We need the release of sexual energy in order to bring things into balance.

Sunday, 2 September 2012


Also known as “Counting your Blessings”. And blessings are something we all have. For a start we are living in the West, which automatically means we are significantly better off than the vast majority of everyone else on the planet.
So you have Gratitude for the nice place in which to meditate.
You can have Gratitude for the people around you who helped you become a Tantric. I did this towards the Theravadin group and its members I had known for so long. They were still complete fucking arseholes, but they were complete fucking arseholes who had given me every reason and some very good ones to leave Theravada and to explore a Path that is significantly more suited to me as a person. I looked back on every person who contributed to my leaving Theravada and developed a deep sense of absolute Gratitude towards them. I didn’t and still don’t like them as people, but the anger is by and large gone. These people were a Blessing, by and large in disguise.
I also looked back on the people who refused to talk sense to my ex-wife and thus in encouraging her in her increasingly destructive negative behaviour that brought about the death of that marriage and from the position of a deep happiness in my marriage to Selina, developed a deep Gratitude. No great accident that the people who were in the Theravadin group and those who simply didn’t help were the same crowd.
The point of this is to illustrate that whilst things may at first seem profoundly negative, we can in hindsight look back on them and see them as a net gain. I would never have done half the things I have in the last 5 years had  I remained either in the marriage or the group I was in. Thus, for me, there is room to see things as a Blessing.
Mahayana Buddhism is very big on Gratitude towards our parents. There is the truism that we only understand the sacrifices our parents made in raising us when we become parents ourselves.  Thus I now understand my parents and have a great deal of Gratitude towards them.
Selina understands that as an Aspergers, I need a fair bit of solitude just to function as a person. She gives me two weeks a year to go walking by myself. This is a deep gift from my wife.
My son is absolutely a Blessing to me. For a start he helps me become both the man and the father I want to be. He has also taught me an incredible amount of Dharma. Because of him I’ve also had to practice more Patience, Metta, Karuna, Mudita and Equanimity than I ever thought I would. He has also helped me heal from a rather painful past.
I regard Aspergers Syndrome as a Blessing. Yes it can be a royal pain at times, but the positive aspects are what defines me as a person. A friend remarked that it was the Aspergers that enabled me to stage and win my fight against the Depression that was the legacy of my childhood. Aspies are notorious for not backing down in a fight, nor giving up.
The motivation to pursue the Tantric path is a Blessing. Even if that motivation came from a near miss with death or diabetes.
We sit in our usual manner and review all the utterly wonderful things in our lives. You might be surprised at just how many there are.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Tantra on The Great South West Walk

I am planning to walk the GSWW( from  November 19,  you are welcome to accompany me.  The walk is a minimum of 12 days, if you average 20 km + a day and don't take any rest days. Most people, including myself,  take two weeks to complete the walk. See the map above. About 80 km of the walk is along the beach.  There is no cost.
Disclaimer:  At no point do I accept liability for loss of property or injuries sustained whilst on this work. You accompany me at your own risk.

Selection Criteria
Bail points much after day two, when you are within phone range of Portland are limited. So you need to be fit enough to walk 25 km a day whilst carrying 20 + kg. This is the one non-negotiable criteria. Anyone who is clearly unfit  will be rejected on application. Most likely we will walk the Eastlink Trail ( and see how people hold up. I am no speed demon and average about 5 kph over the sort of terrain we will be walking.
Applications and questions are to be via Facebook. You can find me at "Tantra of The Light".

The terrain is pretty flat. It is a fuel stove event, especially along the beach. The facilities as far as washing yourself, clothes etc., are nonexistent on the walk and limited in expect to get smellyish. Water on the walk is courtesy of rainwater the amount isn't unlimited. Mobile phone coverage, if the websites are anything to go by, is pretty good. I would suggest acquiring a solar recharger for mobiles, ipods etc., Please ensure that walking boots are broken in, the first time I tried this walk I ended up with egg sized blisters from wearing only one set of socks instead of two and had to bail after day 2. Also know how to set up your tent and work your stove

I intend to practice meditation and yoga whilst on the GSWW. I will be bring a Dharma and or Tantra book with me. So don't expect any formal teachings.
Being Tantrics,  it's byo contraceptives & lube. I think skinny dipping in the Glenelg River is up to you. Discovery Bay is both unpatrolled and known to be dangerous, so no swimming there.

Apart from this: enjoy yourself

Saturday, 4 August 2012

The Great Salutation

With thanks to:

Based on Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salutation, the so-called "Great Salute" is a sequence of 22 postures (see the Posture Page). It includes the postures of the Sun Salutation, plus Warrior I and II , the Triangle and others. Like the Sun Salutation, the Great Salute is a complete workout, stretching, opening and strengthening the whole body. When repeated at a brisk pace, it also helps build stamina. Try several different approaches to this vinyasa. For example, move through the sequence, coordinating each step with an inhale or exhale, but never hold a pose for more than one breath. Then try it holding each of the major poses for 3-5 breaths. The Great Salute works as a warmup or part of a longer routine. On days when you have little time, it's a simple and quick way to work in many of the major standing poses.

1. Mountain
Begin in Mountain pose, feet about hip width apart, hands either by your sides or in prayer position.

2. Hands up 
 On your next inhale, sweep your arms up overhead and gently arch back, but only as far as feels safe and comfortable .

3. Head to knees 
As you exhale, bend forward, bending the knees if necessary, and bring your hands to rest beside your feet.  

4. Lunge

Step the right leg back

5. Upright lunge 
Maintain the leg position, while straightening the back and bringing the hands to rest on the thigh.

6. Warrior I

Inhale and raise the arms overhead. If comfortable, hold the hands in temple position and look up.  

7. Lunge
  Bend forward, bringing the hands to either side of the foot

8. Plank

Step the left leg back into plank position

 9. Stick

 Exhale and lower yourself as if coming down from a pushup. Only your hands and feet should touch the floor. 

10. Upward dog

Inhale and stretch forward and up, bending at the waist. Use your arms to lift your torso, but only bend back as far as feels safe and comfortable.  

11. Downward dog
 Exhale, lift from the tailbone and hips and push back and up.

12. Lunge

Step the right foot forward into the lunge position
13. Triangle

Move into Triangle by turning your left hip up and the right down, bringing the right side of your torso in alignment with your right leg. Raise your left arm.  


Straighten up, keeping your arms up and extended.

15. Warrior II

Bend your right knee, keeping the knee over the right ankle, and move into Warrior II. 

16.Open heart

Straighten up, clasp your hands behind your back, lift your chest and keep the arms and legs engaged, pulling shoulders back and down

17. Standing seal


 Bend forward at the hips, bring the head down to the knee and lift the arms up into the air. Lift the arms up and move them forward as much as possible

18. Open heart

Straighten up 
19. Lunge

 Bend the right knee and move into the Lunge

 20. Head to knee

Step the left foot forward and lift the tailbone into the air, moving into Head-to-Knee 

21. Hands up
Sweep the arms out to either side, bend upward from the hips, keeping the back straight

22. Mountain 

 In a slow, sweeping motion, lower your arms to the sides or bring them into prayer position. Repeat the sequence, beginning with the other leg