Tag: Buddhism

The Secrets of Tantric Buddhism, by Thomas Cleary

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The Secrets of Tantric Buddhism, by Thomas ClearyThe Secrets of Tantric Buddhism, by Thomas ClearyThe Secrets of Tantric Buddhism: Understanding the Ecstasy of Enlightenment, by Thomas Cleary Weiser Books, 9781578635689, 226 pp., 1998, 2014The Secrets of Tantric Buddhism is collection of 46 writings from more than 20 prominent siddhis within the Carya-Gira from the 10th century, translated by Thomas Cleary. The mystic poets discuss the nature of reality, the processes of the self, and the path to enlightenment, often framed as the relationship between the practitioner, and a beloved partner (representing at different times reality, self, or enlightenment). These writings are a form of mystic poetry, not surprisingly very reminiscent of the Bhakti devotional mystical poetry from Bengal.Cleary does a great job with translating the poetry, always a more difficult text than translating prose, especially when the poetry is focused towards an abstract mystical understanding. Each section contains the poem as a whole, and then over the course of the next few pages it is pulled apart and built upon a few lines at a time. While the book comes with an introduction, I wish Cleary had spent more time explaining who the poets were, as well as his process of translation. Read More

Naga Magick, by Denny Sargent

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Naga Magick, by Denny SargentNaga Magick, by Denny SargentNaga Magick: The Wisdom of the Serpent Lords, by Denny Sargent Original Falcon Press, 978-1-935150-59-6, 216 pp. (incl. glossary, bibliography, and resources), 2014Naga Magick is an interesting find on many levels. Denny Sargent has written an erudite and fascinating glimpse into a world at once mysterious and paradoxical.Naga Magick began life as a research project which then blossomed into this book. As a practicing tantric and historian, Denny Sargent can speak with authority about these mysterious and powerful serpent entities who have been the object of veneration for millennia in India and other parts of Asia. Serpents as an archetype and reality arouse both fear and awe in humans, they haunt the depths of our subconscious and manifest in many areas of human culture; a relic, perhaps, of a primeval fear from our ancient past. Read More

Tantric Thelema, by Sam Webster

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Lotus detail, photo by smilla4Tantric Thelema, by Sam WebsterTantric Thelema: The Invocation of Ra-Hoor-Khuit in the Manner of the Buddhist Mahayoga Tantras, by Sam Webster Concrescent Press, 9780984372904, 115 pp. (incl. appendices, and select bibliography), 2010Sam Webster co-founded Chthonic-Ouranian Templars of Thelema in 1985, and is an initiate in the Golden Dawn, Wicca, and Buddhism, among other things, though he is probably best known for founding the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn in 2002. The OSOGD is based on the principles of open-source software, which allows users to modify and adapt programs as needed, and so it is in the Order.It's no surprise, then, that Tantric Thelema is an eclectic text. Webster acknowledges that he's not a lama, that the practices described are based his own work and teachings, and these are provided to the student as tested material, but can be repurposed as needed. He describes his practices, notes their origins, and where the material deviates from ancient Egyptian, Golden Dawn or Thelemic custom, and it is very obviously a lived practice. Read More

Compassion Conquers All, by Tsem Rinpoche

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Compassion Conquers All, by Tsem RinpocheCompassion Conquers All, by Tsem RinpocheCompassion Conquers All: Teachings of the Eight Versus of Mind Transformation, by Tsem Rinpoche New Page Books, 978-1-60163-354-5, 192 pp. (incl. foreword, appendix, glossary, and author bio), 2014 His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche, an unrealized monk, received the teachings of the Eight Verses of Mind Transformation at the age of 13 from His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. The teachings are a translation of the Lord Buddha’s teaching on compassion and, when followed, develop the Bodhicitta or compassionate mind, ultimately leading to enlightenment.The text begins with a discussion of motivation and how motivation affects an action and the outcome of any single action. The eight worldly concerns are introduced and discussed and the reader is instructed to memorize these concerns and use them as a reference point to check their motivation in day-to-day life. When working from the eight  worldly concerns, suffering is guaranteed and can only lead to negative states of mind. Read More

Linkage: Tulpas, ethereal muscles and neo-Neolithic long barrows

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Linkage, chain background image by Faramarz Hashemi


Magicians have a tendency to filter their experiences through human assumptions, and while it's understandable, there are other factors to consider.There's more to tuplas thank you think, and they definitely are not whatever it is that 4chan thinks they are. (Though I'm having a lot of fun picturing Blue Flame Magick making that face.)A workout regimen for your ethereal muscles.Love or hate the terminating "k," it sure does make searching for magick a hell of a lot easier on Google. Read More

When is it cultural theft?

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The Shadow (1994)It is, as I noted previously, an inevitability of working with pop culture symbol-sets in magick, that a certain amount of cross-cultural symbolism happens. Often this is condemned by the more purist practitioners as cultural theft; views on this across occulture vary, and the debate is far from over.

I generally fall on the side of the debate that says, Yes, respect cultures, don’t nick their ideas and forms willy-nilly -- but once a symbol or practice has become part of common culture, it can’t be put back in the box. And if it’s there, you might as well use it. Once those symbols are enculturated, they evolve, and what they become is no longer quite what they were, and this is often a positive evolution. Read More

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