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Tantra of the Tachikawa Ryu: Secret Sex Teachings of the Buddha Paperback – 1 Mar 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Stone Bridge Press (1 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933330880
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933330884
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 12.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,311,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

John Stevens has written many books on Japan's martial, sacred, and erotic ways--including the seminal study Lust for Enlightenment: Buddhism and Sex--and is a respected authority on Esoteric Japanese culture. He lived in Japan for thirty-five years, where he was a Professor of Buddhist Studies and an Aikido Instructor at Tohoku Fukushi University.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...like all books of this genre they tell you really enough detail to be fascinated but then, because all the teaching of this stuff is really post-initiatory and in person you're left only with a tantalising glimpse - Like someone showing you where all the vault locks are but no hints about where they hide the keys at night. Has a feel of Marniers " White Tiger Green Dragon" but its own style. I didn't give it 5 stars as I wanted more information and bibliography but have just ordered the authors earlier book so may find it there. I think the kind of " enlightenment interruptus" that all published books of this kind and type offer is to an extent understandable given the topic but it really is a frustrating headache to those of us who live in the sticks away from centres of learning. Good book - will read it again I'm sure - was so good I sat up to 3.30am reading it this time! May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness
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By saloper on 13 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is certainly very interesting even though I have not understood if all the stuff in it is objectively described or if the author emphasizes the things he likes the most of this heretical school
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A short book surprisingly full of information, fun and easy to read. 12 Nov. 2010
By AlchemistGeorge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An easy fun read, well written. I couldn't put the book down. [sacred sexuality is a big interest of mine]

The book is written in the form of a narrative - a monk is seduced by a woman, confesses to his abbott, and the abbott asks the monk if he wishes to study sexuality as part of his spiritual path. The monk agrees and is initiated into the Tachikawa "school" (ryu), which includes sex as a major aspect of its (Buddhist) spiritual practices. His 1000 day training under the supervision of an older nun/dakini is described: his daily routine, the order of the training, certain of the practices, his diet. After completing his training he goes on the pilgrimage to the 88 temples of Shikoku - during his travel he is introduced to two other groups that use sex as part of their spiritual practice. Eventually he return home where he leaves the temple and winds up married (in a spiritual and physical union) to the woman who originally seduced him.

A few parts of the text are quite explicit but it is all written in poetic euphemisms - which are all quite obvious in context - the monk's "little Buddha" enters through the nun's "jade gate" which leads to the "inner temple of truth."

Everything described here is very consistent with what I know of such practices in India & Tibet and also with my limited knowledge of Japanese Buddhism. The descriptions of a few rituals, the blessings, prostrations are all seem quite realistic, and are well enough described that you have a fairly clear picture of what is being done but, alas, not in enough detail to actually perform the practices - the chants, mantras, and mudras are not detailed. There is a surprising amount of information in the book - there are excerpts from five scriptures, the six vows for novices, a list of the seventeen stages of progress, and ten illustrations. One illustration, the photo of the `jewel in the lotus' sculpture, is very convincing.

The [sexual] practices of three separate groups are described in varying detail: the Tachikawa Ryu (Shingon), a Jodo Shinshu sub-sect, and `the Fuji congregation.'

After reading the book, I have no doubt that such sects actually existed (and perhaps still exist) in Japan. I'm familiar with Taoist groups and sects in China that were very similar to the Japanese groups described here. The author, John Stevens, has impeccable credentials as a Buddhist priest and scholar and professor at a university in Japan.

While the book is complete unto itself as a fictionalized narrative, if I were to find fault it would be that it is too brief. I wish that more information about the actual practices and meditations was included, either in appendices or even as a separate volume.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Too little 29 Nov. 2010
By A reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This slight volume is a very accessible translation of the Japanese text. However, there is not so much as a paragraph of introductory material, so it is very hard to place the text in any kind of context beyond that which is provided by the text itself. Even a page of introduction (when was this written? by whom? is it an orthodox Shingon text or something more heterodox?) would have been very helpful.

Given the fact that the text is intended to be imparted by a teacher directly, it is hard to see how this translation functions as a means of facilitating the tradition. But because it offers no supplementary material whatsoever, it doesn't function as an edition for the general reader either. So it's a little hard to see what the point of publishing the translation this way was, other than to titillate.

UPDATE 9-21-2011 Reviewing again the author's note hidden in the back, it says:

"This account the Tantra of the Tachikawa Ryu is based on actual events, real historical figures, and authentic Tantric tradition in Japan. Like all Tantric texts, it is condensed and cryptic; it needs to be augmented by oral instruction. Tantra is a living tradition, adapting itself to time, place, and social conditions. Old texts will fade away to be replaced by new ones in a different idiom but still rooted in the Tantric experience. May many new and original Tantric texts be composed in English and other modern languages to become an integral part of world culture!"

I really don't know what to make of this. Apparently it isn't a translation. Is Stevens saying that he fabricated this thing? In that case, it would be nice if it stated somewhere how exactly he is qualified to do so. It seems rather presumptuous to me, and somewhat duplicitous, given how little transparency there is around what exactly this book is supposed to be.
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