New Year, New Aquisitions

New Aquisitions

A few new books made their way into The Library recently, under some fairly auspicious circumstances.  The first two books, The Play of God: Visions of the Life of Krishna and There Are No Secrets: Professor Cheng Man Ch’ing and His T’ai Chi Chuan,  I found one fine morning strolling the streets of Brooklyn.  After a delightful breakfast with a dear old friend, we wandered past three big boxes of books on the street.  There were a few other book hounds rifling through, and I just couldn’t help but take a moment.  How delightful that these two books jumped out!

I have only had the chance to briefly go through them, but it appears that ‘The Play’ takes a comprehensive view of Krishna’s entire life, sharing his exploits from His Childhood stealing butter, to his part in the fierce battle of the Mahabharata.

‘No Secrets’ is one of those totally cool spiritual memoirs written about a teacher by one of their students.  These books are fun; the students love to raise the teacher up to superhuman status, with great wisdom and mystical powers.  The Professor in this story does not disappoint.  Very enjoyable, so far.

 

The Third book, Chod in the Ganden Tradition: The Oral Instructions of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, I found at a bookstore 50% off. Not as magical as finding it in a box on the street, but still very fortunate. I enjoy delving into the depths of Chod, in both practical and theoretical ways, and this text seems to fit the bill. Its author, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, seems to be qualified. He is pictured above, playing the traditional Chod Drum.

You can find these books here:

The Play of God: Visions of the Life of Krishna
There Are No Secrets: Professor Cheng Man Ch’ing and His T’ai Chi Chuan
Chod in the Ganden Tradition: The Oral Instructions of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche

Thirumandiram, post one

Siddhar Thirumoolar
Siddhar Thirumoolar

I discovered a new text recently.  Love it.  From the Tamil, Southern  India, The Thirumandiram has a slightly different vibe from the northern, Kashmiri literature that I am a little more used to.  These teachings of Siddhar Thirumoolar are said to be the seed that later blossomed into Saiva Siddhanta, a very heartfelt and devotional approach to the worship of Shiva and the understanding of the universe.

The book is three separate volumes, and contains nine Tantras within.  I’ve perused up to Tantra five, at which point it was clear to me that I need to spend some more time with the first four.  Which is fine, because they are plenty remarkable.

I want to share with you the first verse of the first Tantra.  It is delightful, full of Bhakti, and much like  the first sutra of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, seems to sum up the whole deal.  If you think I’m wrong, I’m happy to hear your argument.  I am new to this text, after all.

He came down from heaven, clothed in body,

Karma to match, stretched forth His cool Feet of Grace, from time immemorial

And lo!  inside me He stood, melting my yielding heart;

And filled my eyes with peerless bliss, past all compare,

All impurity dispelled.

This one verb, it really does it for me, it’s a verb that shows up in other verses, and also, in the intro.  It’s all about the melting.  The goal, is to melt the heart into the universal love of Shiva, and to melt the mind and ego into His universal consciousness. It is similar to the melting that happens to salt when it is placed into water.
To make this practical, one can visualize their body as if it were made of a solid block of salt. Perhaps that lovely pink Himalayan mountain salt. Then one can meditate on the body melting and dissolving into a vast ocean. One realizes that the individual self is not extinguished or negated by this melting. Instead, there is the experience of expanding into and merging with this vastness. We find that while the small self still exists, the wondrous bliss of Shiva’s reality supersedes petty individual concerns.
I highly recommend this book, and wil be posting more about it in the coming weeks. The practices in the book, along with the devotional reminders can powerfully orient the mind toward the ultimate and support our soul’s illumination.

New Aquisitions

I really enjoy books. I’ve always accumulated them quite easily, read them voraciously, and collected them doggedly. My library reached a new level several years ago when Bhagavan Das asked me to look after a few boxes of his books. There was some good stuff in there, stuff I may not have come across otherwise, and other things that I was familiar with, but just hadn’t got around to accumulating just yet. It was a quantum leap, quite satisfying. I decided to name my library, “The Bhagavan Das Library for Advanced Tantric Studies”. I thought it was official and important enough, and got back to the business of reading and collecting.
The BDLATS had another good day, about a year ago, when our dear friend Paul JJ Alix asked us to care for a portion of his collection for a spell. The excitement was lessened only slightly by the arrival of 11 boxes send C.O.D. I realized that this was the way to go. I stopped borrowing books, insisting that now, I only housed collections.
Well, we had a good day today, at the library. Nothing as fantastic as the collections we obtained from Baba or Paul, but still a solid haul. A Craigs List find. Fifteen books for $40. Mostly Chogyam Trungpa. One book by Musician John Cage. I didn’t bother haggling, and I almost always haggle. For the sport of it.
It was an easy transaction, the gentleman dropped them off at the yoga school, and said he was happy they were going to a good home. I gave him his money, and thanked him.

Here is the inventory:
Dharma Art (Dharma Ocean Series)
The Lion’s Roar: An Introduction to Tantra (Dharma Ocean Series)
The Heart of the Buddha (Dharma Ocean Series, 1)
The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo (Shambhala Library)
Orderly Chaos: The Mandala Principle (Dharma Ocean Series)
Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
Secret of the Vajra World: The Tantric Buddhism of Tibet
Dakini’s Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism
Kundalini: Yoga For The West
Healing with Form, Energy, and Light: The Five Elements in Tibetan Shamanism, Tantra, and Dzogchen
The Masks of God, Vol. 2: Oriental Mythology
The Masks of God, Vol. 3: Occidental Mythology
Silence: Lectures and Writings
Trancending Madness
The Bliss of Inner Fire: Heart Practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa