Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cakrasamvara Tantra

Through the always-loving generosity of a dear, dear friend, I've received a copy of David B. Gray's Cakrasamvara Tantra, The Discourse of Sri Heruka: A Study and Annotated Translation. His is a remarkable scholastic achievement, out on the market for about three years now, to considerable critical acclaim but lousy sales.

I am about to change all that.

Candidly, I do not know how to review this book.

The Sri Heruka Abhidhana is what it is, and what it is was never intended to be presented in an open forum. If you, with a teen-ager's mind, take this book literally, and try to put what you read into practice absent a competent guru's ear-whispered advice -- shaking your Lha like your Gucci rag -- the chances are better than average that you will be arrested and imprisoned for a very long time.

There is always that danger, isn't there?

Or, what is much, much worse: you might take to wearing (or not wearing) exotic clothing, fancying yourself a yogi, or a dakini, and found a cult for yourself and your like-minded associates. There you go: sneaking into graveyards, copulating like bobcats on acid, reanimating zombies, and swilling unspeakable regurgitations, all the while at immediate risk of contracting Hep C.

If you are thinking that this sounds like your last weekend in Las Vegas, this book could help rationalize your behavior to your therapist, soon-to-be-ex-wife, or probation officer, as the case may be. Mind is what you don't make of it, but sometimes, the courts see differently.

This day and age, what happens in the charnel ground doesn't always stay in the charnel ground.

As a scholastic exercise, this book should become a model for translation of the tantras. The annotation is both ample and sound; it achieves the rare grace of not intruding upon the text, but of actually enhancing the text. I recommend this work highly, and think it should be published with a warning label.

"Everything whatsoever, spoken or unspoken, exists in Sri Heruka."

Hear this now, and believe it later.

UPDATED: Here is a quote from the introduction -- "There is a long history of androcentricity and misogyny in Indian and Buddhist literature going back to the early period." There is also a recent history of revisionist gender studies here in the late period. What never fails to amaze me, amid all the angst about androcentricity in tantric literature, is that the wailing scholars ignore the obvious: the first person in Tibetan history to follow the tantric path, and thereby relax into the ever-present liberation neither represented by state nor statelessness, was in fact a woman -- Yeshe Tsogyal -- and she didn't leave us with a record of complaint.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

1 reader comments:

Shaktipat Seer said...

Lol.. I like the style of your writing.. You should author books..