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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Out from the Darkness

Traditionally Tantra was kept secret because it challenged cultural norms in Indian society. However in a culture where meat eating and  alcohol consumption are part of everyday life and where even multiple sexual partners is hardly even blinked at there is no need at all to keep Tantra in the shadows. Mind you, with the sheer numbers of books, video's and websites that have "Tantra" as their subject, there is the very real fact that "Tantra" is already a long way from the shadows.

I wonder whether what we are being presented with in the West is Tantra at all.  I feel and fear that a bastardisation of Tantra has taken place in the same way and by pretty well the same group of people that have trashed yoga & meditation. NeoTantra in particular seems to be pretty well an excuse to fuck whoever you want, dress it up as a "religion" and thus have a clear conscience.

Whilst I am only too happy to admit to being enthusiastic about sacred sex and swinging, to me there is and always has been far, far more to Tantra than just sex. Sex whilst integral to my practice, is but a part of a much larger whole. Tantra is about living honestly and ethically. It is about affirming all of life, something I feel that Theravada Buddhism does not do. Tantra is a loud celebration of life. It is about balance, health and a deep connection to the universe around us. This is why my practice of Metta meditation still is central to my life. Likewise with my new practice of yoga and proper nutrition as well as an enthusiastic embrace of exercise. As a Tantric my life has been brought into balance.

If we insist on presenting "Tantra" as little more than an exercise in sexual gratification, then yes it should remain in the shadows. If we want to be serious about what we are and present Tantra as a working way of living then we can and should bring it out of the shadows and into our lives and thus be no more unsure of self identifying as Tantrics than a Christian or Muslim has with self identifying as Christian or Muslim.

If we want to shed the New Age nonsense and what seems at times to be little more than an exercise in separating people from their money, then we need to come out into society. We need to present a coherent set of ethics. We need to be HONEST and kick out the predators both sexual and financial. And in this blog I am exploring a coherent set of ethics and a consisten theology.

We can make being healthy part of Tantric teachings. We can also add the Five Trainings I have written about, as well as the worship of The Divine and come out with a set of workable ethics. And I'm not wanting Theravada "with spice". I practice a Tantra that is wholistic and elevates my life, not something where fraudsters shaft the ignorant or gullible, nor where people can engage in their basest of desires and wrap it in a pseudo-religion. I want and practice Light and not Darkness. Tantra should come out into the mainstream of society and become a fully fledged way of Dharma.
Which I guess means I will be thinking and posting for some time to come as I explore and offer my way of Tantra..

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Offerings to The Divine

At the severe risk of becoming boring and repetitive I really do think that as Tantrics that we can and should make our whole lives an offering to the Divine. There is no higher gift than to give ourselves completely to the worship of The Divine. And this means making every action, every thought something that we would quite happily give a God or a Goddess.

The Divine is, I feel intensely personal. For me, I worship not only Avalokitesvara, but also the Divine within each of us. I also very clearly worship physical beauty.

The absolute best offerings we can make are our lives. We offer our fitness, our diet, our exercise regimes, our meditation, our morality to The Divine. There is a very real place for incense, candles and rituals in embracing The Divine, both the Feminine and the Masculine, but I feel that these become empty and indeed an exercise in one upmanship if we don't take our worship of The Divine out into our lives.

I am also of the opinion that Tantra has spent way too long in the shadows. We should be open about our practice and the best way to do that is to present Tantra as a lot more than an excuse to indulge in excess and what seems to many a complete absence of morality. It is going to be very hard to present Tantra as a, for want of a better word, religion, if the main activity is the pollution and trashing of our bodies and what seems for better or worse as nothing deeper than getting our rocks off. It will be significantly easier if we present Tantra as a complete way of life. One where health, beauty and morality are paramount.

My offering to The Divine is the complete rearrangement of my life since I began to practice Tantra I have pursued and gained a different way of life. Where once I ate fish & chips, pizza, beer, and red meat on a regular basis, I now eat leafy green salads and am determinedly Flexitarian 

I openly laughed at what is recommended for men over the age of 35. I have dropped almost 40 kg...yes you read it properly, 40 kg, since I was in my mid 30's.  Where once, much to my now ex-wife's intense chagrin, I was a couch potato, now I absolutely enjoy my morning yoga and weights and feel odd if I'm not walking frequently. I have been acutely unwell recently and in my all out drive to regain my health I offer the almost daily improvements in fitness and stamina to The Divine. My health is returning with a vengeance and the joy that comes with this is also something I offer to The Divine. My life has gone something like the cartoons that follow. Even our laughter can be an offering to The Divine.

Kwan Yin Worship

Here is the preliminary to what I hope will become a complete devotional in Pali. Freely admit to heavily borrowing from Theravadin forms. I like Pali as a language, and feel utterly comfortable with using it in my worship of Avalokitesvara.
Om mani padma hum
Om mani padma hum
Om mani padma hum.

Namo tassa Avalokitisvara
Namo tassa Avalokitesvara
Namo tassa Avalokitesvara 

Avalokitesvaro saranam gacchami
Dhammam saranam gacchami
Mettam saranam gacchami

Dutiyampi Avalokitesvaro saranam gacchami
 Dutiyampi Dhammam saranam gacchami
 Dutiyampi Mettam saranam gacchami

Tatiyampi Avalokitesvaro saranam gacchami
Tatiyampi Dhammam saranam gacchami
Tatiyampi Mettam saranam gacchami

Panca Sila 
Panatipata veramani sikka padam samdiyami
Adinna - dana veramani sikka padam samadiyami
Kamesu micchara cara veramani sikka padam samadiyami. 
Musavada veramani sikka padam samadiyami
Suraya meraya majja pama datthana veramani sikka padam samadiyami.

Metta Sutta 

yantaṃ santaṃ padaṃ abhisamecca,
This is to be done by one skilled in aims
Who wants to break through to the state of peace:
Sakko ujū ca suhujū ca
suvaco cassa mudu anatimānī,
Be capable, upright, & straightforward,
Easy to instruct, gentle, & not conceited,
Santussako ca subharo ca
appakicco ca sallahuka-vutti,
Content & easy to support, with few duties, living lightly,
Santindriyo ca nipako ca
appagabbho kulesu ananugiddho.
With peaceful faculties, masterful, modest, & no greed for supporters.
Na ca khuddaṃ samācare kiñci
yena viññū pare upavadeyyuṃ.
Do not do the slightest thing that the wise would later censure.
Sukhino vā khemino hontu
sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhitattā.
Think: Happy & secure, may all beings be happy at heart.
Ye keci pāṇa-bhūtatthi
tasā vā thāvarā vā anavasesā,
Whatever beings there may be, weak or strong, without exception,
Dīghā vā ye mahantā vā
majjhimā rassakā aṇuka-thūlā,
Long, large, middling, short, subtle, blatant,
Diṭṭhā vā ye ca adiṭṭhā
ye ca dūre vasanti avidūre,
Seen or unseen, near or far,
Bhūtā vā sambhavesī vā
sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhitattā.
Born or seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.
Na paro paraṃ nikubbetha
nātimaññetha katthaci naṃ kiñci,
Let no one deceive another or despise anyone anywhere,
Byārosanā paṭīgha-saññā
nāññam-aññassa dukkham-iccheyya.
Or through anger or resistance wish for another to suffer.
Mātā yathā niyaṃ puttaṃ
āyusā eka-puttam-anurakkhe,
As a mother would risk her life to protect her child, her only child,
Evam-pi sabba-bhūtesu
māna-sambhāvaye aparimāṇaṃ.
Even so should one cultivate a limitless heart with regard to all beings.
Mettañca sabba-lokasmiṃ
māna-sambhāvaye aparimāṇaṃ,
With good will for the entire cosmos, cultivate a limitless heart:
Uddhaṃ adho ca tiriyañca
asambādhaṃ averaṃ asapattaṃ.
Above, below, & all around, unobstructed, without enmity or hate.
Tiṭṭhañ'caraṃ nisinno vā
sayāno vā yāvatassa vigatam-iddho,
Whether standing, walking, sitting, or lying down,
as long as one is alert,
Etaṃ satiṃ adhiṭṭheyya
brahmam-etaṃ vihāraṃ idham-āhu.
One should be resolved on this mindfulness.
This is called a sublime abiding here & now.
Diṭṭhiñca anupagamma
sīlavā dassanena sampanno,
Not taken with views, but virtuous & consummate in vision,
Kāmesu vineyya gedhaṃ,
Na hi jātu gabbha-seyyaṃ punaretīti.
Having subdued desire for sensual pleasures,
One never again will lie in the womb.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Creating the Space

For me meditation is an essential part of Tantra. Indeed I would go so far as to state that meditation is the foundation of my practice of Tantra. Meditation is where I consciously cultivate what I consider essential to being a Tantric. So the space has to be different. It has to be conducive to extended periods of silence and a space we like being in. It also has to be functional. For it is in this space that all the other supports for Tantra happen and these include yoga, weights, pelvic lifts and sacred sex.

The space for me has to be bright. Not as in full of blindingly bright light, but full of colour and light, I have about six candles in the room. One thing I immediately changed when I decided that Tantra was the Dharma I wanted to pursue was all the monochromatic Theravadin Buddha images were removed from my altar. Now the altar is filled only with Avalokitesvara and there are multicoloured images of Shakti, Avalokitesvara and Shiva hanging along the curtain line. The energy in the place changed immediately...for the brighter and in my opinion, the better. I also bring flowers, a drink....often some of the tea I'm drinking and an offering of food to the altar.

My meditation area is filled with what is sacred to me and that includes a Shiva Lingam smack in the middle of the altar and in front of my Avalokitesvara's. I have openly sexual images on display. This makes sense because it is in this space that sacred sex happens.

I am careful in my choice of incense and meditation accessories. I think that I have engaged in a simple form of aromatherapy in that it is with the lighting of the candles and incense that the signal is sent to the mind that now is the time for the pleasureable practice of meditation.

I make a point of the meditation cushion being comfortable, but firm. The cushion I am using at the moment is filled with Buckwheat husks. And because I live in Melbourne, I have a meditation shawl which I wear in winter.

And because I am a pragmatist, I bring caffeine with me. I am also an early morning meditator and despite getting some criticism for it over the years before I exceeded my pain threshold with the Theravadins, I think a good solid shot of tea or coffee whilst meditating is perfectly acceptable. For me all these physical supports help with the meditation and I have been meditating for 24 years now.

I hope these thoughts help you.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Divine Masculine

We all have the Divine Masculine in us. Even the most feminine of women have testosterone. The Divine Masculine is the vigorous, the aggressively sexual, the virile, the energetic, the goal orientated,  the urge to simply mount an attractive woman or man and shed our seed into them. The Divine Masculine isn't exemplified by the celibate. So no images of the Buddha or of monastics here. Celibacy is unnatural and life denying.

 So why an image of Avalokitesvara in the Divine Feminine? Simple answer: Kwan Yin is a Goddess, not an example of a flesh and blood person, also she's been remarkably discreet about her sex life over the millenia, so who knows who she is fucking.

The archetypal Divine Masculine is the Bull.  I remember once seeing a what I presumed was a stud bull. He was utterly male and utterly beautiful with muscle definition and a masculinity that was completely confident in itself.

The Divine Masculine is for me represented by both the Bull and the Angel. We must be like both. The  Angel has a wonderfully, beautifully kept body. You can see the care that this being takes with his body. He gives it exercise, rest, proper nutrition and care. The Angel isn't afraid of engaging his Divine Feminine as shower the body with love. The Angel is an example of the complete Divine Masculine. I find the image utterly arousing, and to be completely candid, find myself wanting that cloth to slip a little lower so I can see his cock.

To embody the Divine Masculine we must express it by being vigorous. We must pursue exercise regimes that push our envelopes, that get us to and keep us at our absolute physical best. It isn't the Divine if you are fat & sloppy. There is no excuse for not looking your absolute best. We must look masculine. Being clearly and confidently as masculine as the Bull is seriously attractive. People like the play of muscle tone on a fit body, even if that body is mostly hidden by a well tailored shirt..

We must adopt an attitude that when it comes to sexual activity that our priority is to give our lovers our absolute best. It is not manifesting the Divine Masculine to treat our lovers as simply a way to express our dominance and our masculinity and therefore jumping on, fucking hard & fast, dropping our load and then leaving, is not acceptable, that is simply being a pig. We manifest the Divine Masculine by being attentive, gentle, patient and blowing their minds when it comes to our skill base.

The Divine Masculine balances the Divine Feminine. We need both to be complete.
We worship the Divine Masculine by engaging in the very activities that are masculine.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Divine Feminine

We must worship the Divine  Feminine in ourselves and others and this means worshipping the full range of the expressions of the feminine and not just divinities like Kwan Yin. Kwan Yin is all the positive aspects that we cultivate as Tantrics distilled. There is however more to the Divine Feminine than the veneration of a Goddess.

 The Divine Feminine is the gentle aspect in us all. It is the emotional, the nurturing and the aspect of the mind that is utterly open and receptive like a woman is when she is with a man. The woman opens her mouth and her legs and lets the man enter her completely and then spill himself inside her, so is the Divine Feminine within us is open to emotions and the gentler, kinder aspects of life and whatever they may spill inside us.

It is the Divine Feminine that responds to music, sunsets, babies laughs, to love, and rejoices at the great poets. In order to be completely masculine we must become utterly open to the Divine Feminine in the same way a woman who desperately wants to be fucked opens herself to a male.

We must nurture in ways that men are, in this culture, simply not used to. We must adopt the mental approach of the happily pregnant woman who joyfully gives the baby in her womb whatever it needs to grow.

 Or the mother who nurtures her baby as it draws life from her breast.

Or as open as the joyously and utterly unihibited engage in everything. Can we invest the time to make ourselves as physically and emotionally beautiful, to dress well and take genuine care of ourselves?

We can and should engage in the worship and cultivation of these aspects of ourselves. Can we become as loving and as attentive as a breast feeding mother? As open to our emotions as a woman wanting to be fucked opens her legs.

Can we cast aside our preconditioning and finally become completely human? Can we bring ourselves into balance and finally lose that sense of incompleteness?

I believe we can. This is why to me it is utterly logical to meditate on Loving-kindness and to consciously pursue the development of the Divine Feminine within myself. It is in embracing and rejoicing in the Feminine that I become completely male.

Friday, 1 June 2012


Lately as part of my meditation I have been cultivating gratitude. Rather than being angry at the people who I used to have contact with at the Buddhist Society of Victoria, Bodhivana Forest Monastery, Vimokkharam Forest Hermitage and Bodhinyana Forest Monastery, for not practising what they preach and being mind alteringly conservative, I now cultivate an attitude of
For it is their decisions that have lead me to Tantra. I no longer see people like Prem Nawaratne, Cora Thomas, Jinanie De Silva, David Cheal, Ian & Poh Lan Chen as the objects for my anger, rather it is a case of "Thank-you for giving me no other option but to leave a path that manifestly was not working for me." They are the people who taught me that Theravada simply isn't me. They helped me see where I was never going to achieve what I wanted using that Dharma. Their behaviour encouraged me to seek out and explore alternatives, and the alternative for me is Tantra. They are deeply influential teachers of mine and as a result I now cultivate that deep sense of gratitude. Gratitude brings happiness.

I reflect on just how much brighter and happier my practice is these days. I am able to achieve peace and stillness very quickly these days in my meditation. The meditation room is full of bright colours and I think that shows itself in the energy of the place. 

I am now exploring teachers I would never have gone near when I was a Theravadin and I can fully understand why Osho has been so popular. I can now see my favourite Sufi the poet Rumi as the Metta Adept he clearly was. I have removed the intellectual and religious shackles I wore when I was a "know-it-all" Theravadin and the resulting freedom is delicious. The absence of deepening frustration at not having something working for me no matter how much I tried, has also contributed to the deepening happiness and sense of deliciousness.

It is for these reasons that I cultivate gratitude to these people, who in their own rights are utterly bereft of Dharma. People with no sense of style or beauty now have me exploring both. They have given me the sky and for that I shall always be grateful.