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Posts tagged ‘Abhinavagupta’

  1. Book Review: An Introduction to Indian Philosophy

    Not long ago, I ran into a friend who asked what I was reading at the moment. I replied that I was reading a book on the work of Kumārilabhaṭṭa, a seventh-century Indian philosopher of the Mīmāṃsā school. This led to a good deal of explanation about what the Mīmāṃsās thought, what Kumārila had to say in particular, and why I was interested in his work in the first place. After all that he said something to the effect that he thought that Tantra wasn’t a philosophy – or at least that as a “tradition” it wasn’t given over to much philosophical speculation. Continue reading »

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  2. Book review: Tantra Illuminated

    I’m often asked by correspondents if there’s “one book” that will cover all aspects of tantra for a general reader. Of course there are many books which make the bold claim of being “the only book” a reader will ever need, but if there’s one book that I would unhesistatingly recommend to anyone – indeed that deserves a place on any bookshelf – it would be Christopher Wallis’ Tantra Illuminated (Mattamayūra Press, 2013, 506pp, p/bk). Continue reading »

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  3. Reading the Saundarya Lahari – XV

    “…those who always ponder over this [fivefold act of the Lord], knowing the universe as an unfoldment of the essential nature [of consciousness], become liberated in this very life. This is what the [sacred] tradition maintains. Those who do not ponder like this, seeing all objects of experience as essentially different, remain for ever bound.”
    Kṣemarāja, Pratyabhijñāhṛdayam

    Now for some brief discussion of verses 26-27 of Anandalahari. Continue reading »

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  4. Reading the Saundarya Lahari – XII

    In twining creepers I see your body,
    in eyes of startled does your glance,
    in the moon the glow and shadow of your cheek,
    in the peacocks’ crested plume your hair,
    in the flowing waters’ quick ripples
    the capricious frown on your brow,
    but no single object holds
    an image of your likeness.
    Kalidasa, Meghadūta

    Desire (kāma) is the will to take possession [of the other] (to make the other oneself). Veiling everything with his desire, the desirer can accomplish everything, since everything has as its ultimate principle desire itself.
    Abhinavagupta, Mālinīvijayavārttika (1.281)

    Now to verses 21-22 of Saundaryalahari. Continue reading »

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  5. Heart practice: On the Adoration of the Senses – I

    “Just as one who sees something out of the ordinary experiences a feeling of amazement, so the feeling of amazement in enjoying contact with the various manifestations of knowable reality is continually produced in this great yogin with the whole wheel of the senses increasingly revealed, motionless, disclosed, by virtue of penetrating into its most intimate nature, the compact union of ever-renewed consciousness and wonder, extreme, extraordinary.”
    Ksemaraja, commentary on Śivasutra, 1.12, quoted from Torella, 2012

    “All wisdoms have celebrated the instant, the wise man leaves aside memory; he has few projects, makes himself at home in the present, inhabits its differential.”
    Michel Serres, The Five Senses

    I’ve been taking this foray into “heart practice” slowly, beginning with a central theme in tantra practice – that of the goddess dwelling in the heart. I’m now going to progress things slightly, with a look at a practice I tend to refer to as the “adoration of the senses”. But first, some thoughts on the senses themselves. Continue reading »

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  6. Announcement: Online Tantra courses from Mark Dyczkowski

    Anuttara Trika Kula – a web site set up recently to promote the work of renown tantric scholar Mark Dyczkowski, has recently announced a forthcoming series of online courses by Dr. Dyczkowski. These will be composed of audio and video content, together with support materials and online discussion forums. A free introductory course – consisting of two audio lectures and two video segments – exploring the historical development of the tantras and historically locating the works of Abhinavagupta is available now. Register at www.anuttaratrikakula.org/locating-trika/

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  7. Tantra keywords: Embodied

    “I praise the circle of deities innate within the body, an elevated assembly continually present, the end of everything, vibrant and the essence of experience.”dehasthadevatacakrastotra

    For this post, I want to discuss some “Tantric” themes which relate to embodiment – in particular, whilst stressing that Tantra constitutes an embodied practice, I also want to point towards a key difference between South Asian and “western” esoteric epistemologies – that underwriting Tantra’s embodied practice is what might be called an embodied theology. Continue reading »

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  8. Tantra keywords: Wonder

    I’m working on an article at the moment, attempting to explain what for me, are some of the basic orientations of my approach to Tantra practice. Rather than seek safety in definitions, I thought it’d be more interesting to examine my own perspective on Tantra practice by highlighting a few keywords – and so I’m beginning with Wonder. onwards…

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