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Our email address is editor @realization.org.

Copyright 2001 Realization.org.



MARCH 2000
Letters to the Editor

Buddhism and Eating Meat

March 20, 2000 12:05 AM

Buddha never said one should be vegetarian. In fact, at one point his brother-in-law threatened to split with half the sangha if Buddha did not make vegetarianism a requirement. Even in the face of this kind of ultimatum, Buddha declined.

You will find that meat and alcohol both play an important part in the various Tantric feasts (tsok or ganachakra). The reasoning behind this is quite interesting and in itself can be a very profound manner in which to approach all experience.

Lama Tulku Thubten Rinpoche, a young Nyingma teacher working with Lama Tharchin in California, told an interesting story when visiting here in Hawaii once. He said that Tibetans are quite fond of meat (not that the goal is to become Tibetan). He said the style on the cold, high, arid plateau is to hang raw hunks of butchered meat outside unwrapped where they take on the characteristics that Westerners would call "badly freezer burned"... just the way the Tibetans like it! He said that just about any social gathering would require the host to produce a hunk of raw meat in just such a condition and that everybody would sit around talking and using their knives to hack and saw away at the carcass and snack on the raw meat. He said it is a bit of a problem with Tibetans new to Western culture in that they will occasionally throw a hunk of raw, unwrapped meat into the freezer and when they go to grind on it later, they get quite sick; Western methods of mass butchering and attention to hygiene in such a milieu being what they are.

Desire is a funny thing. On the one hand, desire is an expression of the instincts and very necessary and appropriate to insure the happiness and well being of any organism. On the other hand, desire can lead to all kinds of suffering. In the sutra style of Buddhist practice, desire is seen as the big boogey that must be eliminated, and as a result renunciation is a main part of the practice. In the Vajrayana and Tantric style of practice, discipline, effort, etc. are, of course, seen as very important but it is generally felt that merely suppressing desire isn't sufficient. One must get to the root of desire and only by eliminating that can one achieve freedom. Ignorance of the way things truly are is seen as the root so the main kinds of practices in the Tantric style are to chase the boogey of ignorance by cultivating the wisdom of emptiness. In the Dzogchen/Mahamudra style of Buddhist practice, one has cultivated discipline, one has had the realizations of emptiness, things just as they are has been pointed out by the teacher and assimilated by the student. There is no longer anything to be abandoned, nothing to be adopted. All things reveal innate perfection in their own nature. Yet proper conduct arises naturally, spontaneously, for the good of all beings... even one's own self.

Lance Caspary
From the Dzogchen mail list


Joyful Radiance From Photo

March 15, 2000 5:54 PM

The recent stuff on Master Charles has blown me away. I agree that Alan Scherr's article is extremely well written. The photo of Master Charles hit me like a ton of bricks... I saw a huge white aura around his head, and felt ecstatic tingling through my body. I went to look at myself in a mirror, and I was/am glowing with a special radiance. Several folks have commented that I look ebullient, joyful, content... WOW! Again, thank you.

Mike Horwitz, M.D.


There's Shakti in That Photo

March 14, 2000 2:57 PM

First, thank you for your extraordinary webzine. It's a marvel, and all the more so for including pieces of genuine poetic brilliance, such as Charlie Hopkins' Prayer Body.

In response to the question [you asked on the Realization mail list], I'm writing to let you know that the picture of Master Charles definitely produced an effect on me.

I live in Canada and have never met Master Charles. However, I did meet Swami Muktananda many years ago and have experienced the results of the encounter in meditation ever since. Charles' picture is, for me, very charged with Shakti, the emotional-energetic phenomenon I experienced around Muktananda. With the latter, this quickening, enlivening energy was so pronounced that, to my great surprise, I once felt it through the wall of a hotel before he stepped through the door to reveal to me just where the oceanic surge of bliss was coming from.

I wasn't expecting him to appear. It was 10:30 in the morning, no program going on. I just happened to be outside the hotel-ashram when he took his morning walk. My doubting Thomas mind had been suspecting Muktananda of hypnotism, mesmerism, etc., but the fact that I felt his Shakti -- to the point of almost swooning -- coming through a solid wall, kinda impacted on my doubts.

Master Charles, if his picture is any indication, seems to be a spiritual powerhouse. I know, I know, we're all The Self ultimately, but gol darn'd if some of us just don't seem to radiate the free-standing conditionless condition more than others. Some of us hide our light under a bushel. Some like Master Charles appear to have the high watt bulb installed.

Peace and continued success with your beautiful web site,

Colin Yardley


Nighttime Shakes: Does Kundalini Kill?

March 13,, 2000 9:57 PM

Would the practice of Kundalini result in annihilation? In Nighttime Shakes, Bonnie Greenwell writes: "Kundalini supports the deepening of spiritual awareness, which ultimately leads to peace and the end of the seeker." The end of the seeker seems a bit extreme, or is it just a typo?

Paula Steinert

"End of the seeker" is a fairly common phrase that means the person stops being a seeker. In other words, he or she stops looking toward the future and desiring objects or changed conditions. --Editor.


Tantra: Old and New Are Not at Odds

March 11,, 2000 5:11 PM

Regarding Tantra, I would like to say that modern, western sexual tantric practices are different from the traditional ones of the Hindu and Buddhist world. This is easy to see. But that doesn't make any difference.

Today, in the West, most people who do spiritual practice see sexual and romantic relationships as a vehicle for transformation. In ancient India, things were very different. Marriages were arranged and brides could be burned if they were found not to be virgins.

I think it's appropriate that our spiritual teachers should include some who explore sexuality as a spiritual path, now that our cultures allow it in our lives.

The old Tantra and the new are not at odds with one another.

Some unripe teachers might cling to the name Tantra and argue that the other form doesn't "deserve" to use it. Aversion of any kind always says more about the person experiencing it than anything else. Doubly so for the teachers. It might be nicer if the old Tantra school focused more on how it was Tantra, instead of how the new one isn't. It comes down to the meaning of the word, and I think each has the right to define it for themselves.

Todd Murphy



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This page was published on May 16, 2000.


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