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Re: Tantra--Hindu, Himalayan Buddhist--problems
Posted by: shamela ()
Date: April 04, 2012 12:50AM

Thanks to all for creating this thread. It fits with what I have been working on re psychotherapists who are practitioners of tantric Buddhism. What so many don't realize is that these practices are not hidden or condemned in tantra but sought and valorized as "crazy wisdom."

Have any of you read the big work by the Tremondis on kalachakra, Tibetan buddhism etc.? If so, how do you evaluate it? It seems solid to me.

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Re: Tantra--Hindu, Himalayan Buddhist--problems
Posted by: Misstyk ()
Date: April 09, 2012 12:49PM

I've read it. I think it's an important contribution toward understanding TB. I haven't been able to find corroboration of some of the practices that they say are still going on, i.e. are not historical but contemporary. Naturally, it's a difficult field to penetrate, to find out what the practices really are. And unfortunately, most women who have suffered abuse, or who have been roped into participating in the more extreme rituals, don't want to talk about it, and only want to put the experience behind them. This doesn't help us find out what's going on, and to warn others.

There's a thread here that was started by "Wannabefree", who joined a TB sangha where the teacher was a psychologist, and he used his skills to really do a number on her (without telling her in advance, which is extremely unethical in psychotherapeutic circles). She required a lot of therapy afterwards to recover, and suffered disabling symptoms. I think it's on the "Doubts About the Dalai Lama" thread.

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Re: Tantra--Hindu, Himalayan Buddhist--problems
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 10, 2012 11:39PM

I wrote this in response to a post by Mysstk. Eventually what I wrote drifted into the territory of tantra, which would be better on this thread.

Mysstk had written

Quote,97575,page=2I've been doing some research, and I've discovered that in the book "Story of Tibet", which is based on extensive interviews with the Dalai Lama by Thomas Laird, he says that practicing tantra with a consort was part of a very degenerate period in Tibet's history, and that it is wrong to practice this way. He states that unequivocally.

However, at roughly the same, the Dalai Lama has been publishing in his own books that practice with a consort is necessary in the "completion stage" of tantra. Furthermore, he states that monks "retain their purity" in sexual practice, because they retain the semen, which, according to the DL, is key to the practice. It's not sex if you don't ejaculate, it's spiritual practice and meditation. The vows of celibacy aren't violated.

Clearly, he's talking out of both sides of his mouth. As if he thinks we wouldn't notice.

(See: "How To Practice, Way To A Meaningful Life", "The Good Heart", "Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying", by the 14th Dalai Lama)

In reply I wrote



. Furthermore, he states that monks "retain their purity" in sexual practice, because they retain the semen, which, according to the DL, is key to the practice

This comes right from the non Buddhist Hindu tantric practices.

One doesnt hear about any of this in the Theravedan Mahaparinibbana sutta. In that sutta, Buddha stated (or the surviving sangha decided Buddha would have said this)that Buddha had held back none of teachings needed for liberation. There was no secret practice yet to be revealed. He had handed on all that future students would need.

The Vajrayana types write the Theravedans off saying "The arahants practiced only for their own liberation, not for liberation of all sentient beings." The implication is that the Theravedans were selfishly concerned with only their liberation and no one elses.

Therefore, this justified adding later modifications to the earlier teachings.

The Vajrayana practitioners claim, "But we are doing this to actualize our Buddha Nature and bring all beings to liberation."

(That is another modification-in Vajrayana one gets emphasis on 'Buddha Nature'. In the secret teachings, this is warped to justify violation of conventional ethics.

In Soto Zen, another Mahayana path, it is much different. When we take vows as laypeople, in the vows we state "Even after attaining enlightenment, I will continue to obey these precepts.' (Which warn against killing, lying, sexual misbehavior, peddling and consuming intoxicants, stealing, greed, abusive language)

Somehow invoking this intention to function from Buddha Nature makes it OK to ignore or violate precepts that one was told earlier on were necessary, but suddenly become less necessary for Vajrayana. It also contradicts the key passage in Parinibbana sutta that Buddha had left no hidden teachings.

This calls into question the many elements in Vajrayana that come from shamanic practices and ritual sexual magic that were indigenous to the mountain regions before Buddhist missionaries arrived. And calls into question the the stories that abound in Tibetan Buddhism of hidden teachings found in caves or revealed in visions.

Here is another clue about the Brahmanical Hindu origins of a lot of this. In his memoir, Turtle Feet: The Making and Unmaking of a Buddhist Monk, Nikolai Grozni described the process of his taking monastic vows.

Grozni was suprised at the impediments to becoming a monk.


"After spending nearly an hour discussing the different physical and mental flaws that barred one's entrance into the monastic community (something I found quite shocking, since the divide ran along caste lines: an untouchable stood a far greater chance of missing his teeth, a finger or an eye than a Brahmin did)"
Page 7 Turtle Feet: The Making and Unmaking of a Buddhist Monk Nikolai Grozni.

After taking his Gelukpa monk vows, Grozni alleges he had a conversation with Purba, a male Tibetan friend in Dharamsala right afterwards. Purba was a former monk.

Purba tells a newly vowed Grozni:


Did you know that if you go into a dark room with the intention to have sex with a woman named, say Ani Dawa, but end up in the wrong bed and have sex with her girlfriend instead, you wouldn't be breaking your vows, technically speaking?"

Grozni : "Purba where the hell do you get your information?"

Purba: "I've read it in the texts. In your mind, you think you are having sex with Ani Dawa, but in reality you are sleeping with a Tibetan girl named Pemo. You have no intention of having sex with Pemo. So, techically speaking, you are not breaking your monastic vows."

Grozni "Okay, Purba, but what if I never find out that I've had sex with the wrong person? Am I still going to be a monk or not?"

(Purba replied)

"See? This is what you are getting into! The whole thing is a mess. You could have twelve judges and hundreds of witnesses, and you still wouldnt be able to say who is breaking the rules and who isn't.

Technically speaking."
(Turtle Feet: The Making and Unmaking of a Buddhist Monk, pages 10-11)

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Re: Tantra--Hindu, Himalayan Buddhist--problems
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 10, 2012 11:51PM

Kashmir, where Shavite Tantrism was practiced was not too far from Swat, the area where another tantric, Padmasambhava lived before going into Tibet.

One can find an article about Swat and Padmasambhava and the regions Buddhist history in Alice Albinia's book, Empires of the Indus. Albinia noted that Swat had a spooky reputation in the old days, precisely because it was an area where ritual tantra was practiced. And this was where Padmasambhava came from. After Padmasambhava became famous in Tibet, pilgrims visited Swat, looking for ways to honor him, and the locals, seeing tourist potential, created alleged sites where Buddha had visited, and were Padmasambhava had lived. ( In the US, we like to claim connections with celebrities - same process)

Now, lets look at Hindu Kashmiri Shaivism, as represented by Abvinagupta and brought, disastrously, to the US by Swami Muktananda. We can read this and those who have been studying the TB situation can see whether there are any similarities.

We need to keep in mind that what made early Buddhism revolutionary was its teachings that ritual had no use in gaining liberation from delusion and suffering.

And that caste meant nothing, that what mattered was virtue. A Brahmin could be a fool and a brute, a poor person could be kind and honorable. That was what mattered, sila - ethics, not caste.

Sarah Caldwell had been a disciple of Muktananda. In her article, The Heart of the Secret, a Personal and Scholarly Approach to Tantra she writes about vajroli mudra - with holding semen, a central part of the Kashmiri Shaivite tantric ritual and also comsidered necessary by Vajrayana practitioners.

She was shocked because in his early teachings Muktananda had put the emphasis on chastity/celibacy and had kept his tantric commitment secret.

A footnote to thepublished talk, which appeared in the October 1982 issue of the ashrampublication, the Siddha Path, (along with the eerie announcement thatBaba had “taken mahasamadhi,” i.e., died, on 2 October), informs usthat “[t]his is known in the scriptures as mahavajroli mudra—an esoteric yoga technique by which an accomplished yogi reabsorbs his seminalfluid, after emission.”17 I had already learned about vajroli mudra fromconsulting my book on Abhinavagupta. Amazed, I had read about thedetails of the practice of withholding semen by the male practitioner ofthe Kaula sexual rite.

yoga technique by which an accomplished yogi reabsorbs his seminalfluid, after emission.”17 I had already learned about vajroli mudra fromconsulting my book on Abhinavagupta.

Amazed, I had read about thedetails of the practice of withholding semen by the male practitioner ofthe Kaula sexual rite. Mr. Yande’s talk, delivered less than two monthsbefore Baba’s death, seemed a thinly veiled admission, a challenge. Babaseemed to have thrown caution to the winds, to be urging us to seethings differently than we ever had before, and was laughing all thetime. The sense of secrecy, mystery, and evanescent inner circles ofwhich I could never quite be a part, utterly captivated and maddenedme. I wanted to know.No doubt one reason for the complexity of my response to theseevents was my own troubled sexual background. Just prior to joiningthe ashram, I had suffered serious psychological distress due to a seriesof abusive incestuous contacts with male family members that had cul-minated in my leaving Yale University suddenly in my sophomore year.In the ashram, with its perfectly predictable, regulated routines, puri-tanical codes of behavior, and celibate safety, I could concentrate myintense emotions into the love of a remote, brilliant, elderly guru, andthe icy, inaccessible mystico-erotic deity, Shiva, for whom I developed aperfect passion.

After five years of celibacy in my early twenties, I foundthat my erotic imagination was beginning to get the best of me. With guru bhakti (intense devotion) held up as a model for my inner life,combined with the practice of self-discipline and physical restraint, sexdid indeed seem to hold some extraordinary taboo power.

(Then Sarah Caldwell tells us this of herself.)

My back-ground of sexual abuse, which I certainly could not have recognized or named at that time, added dimensions of fear, mistrust, and denial to the heady mix.

The discovery of the “left-handed” sexual practices ofKaula Tantrism through the Abhinavagupta volume held out a new pathfrom any I had yet seen. The sublime passages describing the ecstatic,brilliant bliss of realization that were the real goal of such rituals seemedto redeem sex as I had known it.

The promise of transforming thisugliness into something liberating and transcendent was too enticing. Iwas hooked on Shakta Tantra.

Before my fantasies of participating in the secret rituals could go toofar, however, I happened upon an important passage which outlinedthe qualifications necessary for its performance:

Only those great souls—who have grasped the Ultimate…who haveattained such a perfection in the Råjayoga…that they can detach their minds, at any stage, from the most stimulating sensuous situation and can, by sheer force of will…be at one with the Highest Subject—arerecognised to be qualified for the performance of the secret Kaula ritual….18


Corboy note: There are some problems.

First, how many persons are actually qualified to be 'great souls'. If you have already 'grasped the Ultimate' - why would tantrism remain a necessary additional step?

Two ( I speak as an unevolved peasant here), wouldnt it be a creepy and chilling experience to be sexually conjugated to someone who isnt even there for you during the act? Is'nt even there for you because he's able to 'detach his mind, at any stage, from the most stimulating, sensous situation, and can by sheer force of will by at one with the Highest Subject"??

Caldwell quotes a commentary on a portrait painting Abvinagupta an important teacher of Kashmiri Shaivite tantrism


it presents him as a typical follower of the Kula system…. [T]he char-acteristic feature of…Kaulism is that it denies antagonism between sen-suous joy and spiritual bliss (Ånanda); recognises the former to be ameans to the latter; and emphatically asserts that it is meant for the few,who are highly proficient in the Råja-Yoga as distinct from the Ha†ha-Yoga, who have such control over the mind that they can withdraw itfrom the stimulating object even at a time when it is being enjoyed most….8

But as I started to read further in the thick red volume aboutAbhinavagupta and the Kaula practices, I was taken aback. Sitting in mydorm room in the Ganeshpuri ashram in India, in the hour of sultryafternoon stillness between morning and afternoon work sessions chop-ping vegetables in the kitchen, I eagerly fingered page after pagedescribing in detail the secret sexual rites of the Kaula Tantra, the drink-ing of wine, eating of meat, and sexual intercourse. Since joining theashram tour in 1978 in Oakland, California, at the ripe age of 21, I hadcompletely and enthusiastically abandoned such pleasures, as Baba hadinstructed us to do.

Baba’s book, Ashram Dharma, which was distributedto every newcomer to the Ganeshpuri ashram, clearly described whatwas proscribed: sex, drugs, meat, liquor, gossip.

I had been celibate forfive years, living in separate quarters from my husband in the ashram, amajor factor in the eventual dissolution of my marriage (performed byBaba in 1979 in South Fallsburg). In my understanding and Baba’s unequivocal teaching, sex had no place whatsoever in spiritual life.

Whatthen was this mystico-erotic ritual (described in the Abvinagupta text), in which the genitals of a girl wereworshipped, touched, and honored, her menstrual fluids ingested, alongwith wine, fish, grain, and meat? I was utterly confounded.

One passage that especially caught my eye was Abhinavagupta’sdescription of the perfect Duti (literally, “Messenger”), the ideal sexualpartner for the Tantric rites:
A D¨ti, necessary in the performance of the secret ritual, is to be awoman who can personify Çakti; has the eyes, rolling with intoxication;lips red like the ripe fruit of Bimba; beautiful teeth; face with well kniteyebrows; eyes, beautiful like those of a fawn in fear; charming smile;hair, dark like a multitude of glittering black bees; eye-brows, bent likethe bow of cupid; complexion similar to that of melted gold; ears, deckedwith ear-ornaments, beautifully engraved….
The passage went on to enumerate the beauty of such a Duti’s neck,rising breasts, arms, fingers, thighs, abdomen, hips, ankles, voice, andface, in the “head to foot” praise genre found in such poems as the Saundaryalahari (Ocean of Beauty, a hymn of praise to the goddessTripurasundari).

However, I had at that time never heard of such a genre, nor had I ever read anything quite like this erotic wish-list.

Thepassage went on to mention that the mind of such a partner should befully enlightened, “continually experiencing the pure bliss of identifica-tion with [God].”

While her physical attributes are desirable, the “expo-nents of Kaulism had realised that such a woman is extremely difficultto find,” and thus had placed their emphasis on the woman’s mental qualities and capacities for enlightenment by means of the secret Kaula ritual

(Note: in the situations discussed here on Rick Ross's message board, we hear time and again that what prompts the damage reports are selection of girls and women who have the mental quality of being easily groomed, flattered and then manuvred into keeping secrets. Caldwell noted that many of the girls selected by Muktananda were too young to be adept at yogic states, giving the lie to the whole thing. Corboy

("Eyes beautiful like those of a fawn in fear" -- this to me is a description of a girl or woman who can be easily dominated by the male yogi.

And it looks much too convenient for the ideal Murti to have the attributes of a Playboy Bunny.

Why is it convenient?

A gorgeous, yet submissive young woman who can be easily dominated, is less likely to frighten the male, and he's less likely to have performance problems during the tantric ritual.

If this is Universal Wisdom, why shouldn't older women, wiser women be included in this description? Again, I am but an unevolved peasant. And plan to remain that way. Corboy)

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Re: Tantra--Hindu, Himalayan Buddhist--problems
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 10, 2012 11:59PM

Now, for an example of vajroli mudra as used in tantric ritual, by persons who were mostly ostracized by society - the actual Bauls of Bengal.

The actual Bauls of Bengal also practiced sexual tantra.

The nominal Buddhists of the Himalayas and Mongola/Buriat took a very old indigenous sexual ritual and rationalized it as necessary for Buddhist practice.

This ignores the radical contribution of Buddhism itself - for it originally began as a movement which rejected caste distinctions and rejected the validity of ritual as a means to gain enlightement.


(I say 'actual' because these days in the US and in India, some call themselves Baul, especially in areas where Baul musicians are honored and are now identified as important custodians of Bengali culture. This process began with Rabindranath Tagore, who sometimes called himself a Baul. Oppenshaw, Seeking the Bauls of Bengal.)

But because of Baul outsider status the group has little ability to defend itself from those who want to come in from the outside and appropriate the name. In this regard the Bauls share social vulnerability with tribal peoples whose traditions are being irresponsibly commercialized by outsiders)

The actual Bauls do use vajroli mudra (retention of semen by the male practitioner) as part of their tantric ritual.

However, Bauls are quite different from the Vajrayanas in an important respect.

The Bauls were outsiders--despised outsiders. Thier rebelliousness was simultaneously feared and (after some were safetly dead), honored as heroism by nervous farmers and householders who dared not emulate this.

Bauls make a point of evading insitutionalization and catagorization. Unlike Vajrayana their rituals and relationships have not been institutionalized and are not a fast route to social respectability--with the exception of music. The Bauls who are known or suspected of practicing sexual tantra are, by contrast with the Vajrayanas, regarded with fear and suspicion by the establishment--precisely because they defy rigid local social norms.

The Bauls who remained close to their tradition and refuse to commercialize it by becoming famous musicians are the ones who were and are socially and sexually transgressive. This led to social and political disenfranchisment. Many practiced with mature women. Their practice of sexual tantra brought them social hardship, not prestige. Unlike in Tibet their tantra was private, not was not used to consolidate political power.

But...the techiques used by the Bauls - retention of semen by the male during intercourse - was similar to the methods used by the Kashmiri Shivites and what has been described used by the tantrics in nominally Buddhist areas in the Himalayas and Mongolia.



Seeking Bâuls of Bengal... in a glossary entry on 'four moons' practices, has 'semen, menstrual flow, ... to
style Tagore 'the greatest of the Bauls of Bengal'.48 Dasgupta's refutation of ...

<article-title>Seeking Bauls of Bengal</article-title> <contrib-group ...The Bauls of Seeking Bauls of Bengal offer an eloquent and illuminating critique
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Re: Tantra--Hindu, Himalayan Buddhist--problems
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 11, 2012 12:12AM

It appears that vajroli mudra is part of old Hindu rituals that were not Buddhist at all, but were given Buddhist disguise and elaborate rationalizations by the Vajrayanists and most significantly, used to consolidate identity as powerholders by those few allowed to learn the practices--only if you were elite and male did you get to do this.

Mysstk made this very important point



Grozy's Tibetan friend is splitting the wrong hairs. If a monk's intent was to have sex, then they've broken the vow. Who he intended to have sex with doesn't matter. (eyeroll) It's monks desperately searching for loopholes in the rules who come up with these ridiculous scenarios, and the faulty reasoning to justify their actions. If this is what their minds are on so much of the time, they should give back their robes and live a little.

Notice that the DL says monks remain celibate even while practicing tantric sex, if they don't "spill the seed". But think about it--how much trial and error did that monk have to go through before he learned the technique? Who does the DL think he's kidding?!

Exactly. According to Grozni's description, masturbation was considered a sin to confess. He took vows as a Geluk monk (the DL's order) and went to the monthly confession/penance ritual with other monks.

So, how is a formerly person, who has been told early on as a monastic that even masturbation is a sin, or even a non monk who is used to consummated intercourse, to learn how to prolong the 'matter at hand' and then learn to conserve and reverse ejaculation?

And where does the male aspirant find girls and women when he has has attained control of his plumbing, eh?

One thing that Grozni reveals, without seeming to realize how important this is, was that during his time in Dharamsala, among many of the locals, the bigoted adoration of the DL was staggering. People considered him infallible and unquestionable.

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Re: Tantra--Hindu, Himalayan Buddhist--problems
Posted by: walter1963 ()
Date: April 11, 2012 11:42AM

Hindu Tantra has never had a good rep in India and in many of the more rural areas Tantrics are viewed as outcasts and vagabonds, seen as Black Magicians obsessd with power to the point they'll do human sacrifices to get it. Hence they end up being migrants. I've seen film of the real practitioners and they'd scare the day lights out of normal Westerners.

This alone should be a red light for the perceptive - avoid it.

The only reason it's popular is because Hindus and certain slimy Americans have taken notice that Americans and Europeans have a taste for this exotic and some times dangerous material. So the material gets bowlderized for a jaded white upper middle class audience and they gobble it up like its manna from heaven, especially the unbalanced ones or those using it in lieu of therapy. With predictable disasterous results.

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Re: Tantra--Hindu, Himalayan Buddhist--problems
Posted by: shamela ()
Date: April 11, 2012 12:01PM


This makes complete sense to me. It takes me back to the early twentieth century New Age movement with Otto Gross and the folks at Monte Veritas in Switzerland. What goes around comes around. Nothing new under the sun.

For me it's someting to beware of personally and with threapists or other practitioners who are followers of tantric gurus. Second-hand tripe.


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Re: Tantra--Hindu, Himalayan Buddhist--problems
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 12, 2012 12:02AM

I plan to write some quoted material from Oppenshaw's book on the Bengali Bauls and their tantra.

Until then, here is an example of what could be called American tantra. And a form that upholds the elitist structures of the status quo.

Tantra isnt only sexual. It is transgressive, period.

REad the Rolling Stone article on Dartmouth and its Fraternity excesses and the way alumni responded when someone broke the code of secrecy. Very similar to what we have seen on this message board.


Tantra rituals in Asia include feces and urine.

Interesting that the males at Dartmouth unconsciously activated this bestial archetype.

And do take note that women at Dartmouth feel a need to be on their guard.

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Re: Tantra--Hindu, Himalayan Buddhist--problems
Posted by: shamela ()
Date: April 12, 2012 03:21AM


Thank you so much for that tip. I also had a crazy wisdom TB therapist who "did a number" on me. I knew she waas TB but didn't know what it meant: no respect for boundaries, realtivistic morality (lying OK), following the thread of her cult rather than the work I wanted to do, etc. I've also had a big job of recovering from it. She also had a breakdown in the process....

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