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The holo-man "Jonjer" (N. Staffs, England)

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Buddhist Phenomenology: A Philosophical Investigation of Yogacara Buddhism and the Ch'eng Wei-shih Lun (Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism)
Buddhist Phenomenology: A Philosophical Investigation of Yogacara Buddhism and the Ch'eng Wei-shih Lun (Routledge Critical Studies in Buddhism)
by Dan Lusthaus
Edition: Paperback
Price: £30.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A cognition mission, 8 Jun. 2015
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The staggeringly erudite Mr Lusthaus, who knows Sanskrit, Chinese, French and writes eloquently about abstruse matters in English, presents a thorough examination of Yogacara Buddhism, one of the twin pillars of the Mahayana.

He begins with a survey of the Western phenomenology of Husserl et al. and later uses some of their ideas to illustrate Yogacarin ideas. A thorough study of key concepts of the Pali Canon follows and Lusthaus takes pains to state that Yogacara is soundly based in original Buddhism.

His principal point, though, is that Yogacara is not philosophical idealism but, as you can guess from the title, phenomenology. He states this in a variety of ways (epistemology, not ontology, for example) and ultimately labours the point somewhat. We are left in no doubt that "Consciousness Only" is not an ontological assertion, but an experiential fact - everything we experience, we experience through cognition. If we try to imagine something existing outside of cognition, we can't because that imagination is a cognitive act.

Lusthaus argues convincingly that karma is embodied conditioning and that we construct our perceptions on that basis.

A long and difficult read, not helped by occasional digressions into things such as lineages, but recommended for anyone seeking to deepen their understanding of Mahayana Buddhism.


Total French Foundation Course: Learn French with the Michel Thomas Method
Total French Foundation Course: Learn French with the Michel Thomas Method
by Michel Thomas
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £54.65

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Total Misnomer!, 14 Feb. 2015
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This review would have been a five star one, because the method of learning is excellent for almost effortless learning. However, given the title of the package, it would not be unreasonable to expect a lot more content. The past tense is dealt with in a very cursory fashion by means of "handles" which, since you still have to think of the "whole verb" (i.e. the infinitive) it doesn't really simplify things.

Additionally, superlatives, comparatives, and constructions such as "either ...or", and "as...as" are neglected completely.

The name of the course should be changed to "Partial French."


Living Yogacara: An Introduction to Consciousness-only Buddhism
Living Yogacara: An Introduction to Consciousness-only Buddhism
by Tagawa Shun'Ei
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and accessible, 22 July 2014
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Yogacara Buddhism has played a similarly important role in the development of Mahayana Buddhism as the Prajnaparamita and Madhayamika, but there is much less material available than for these other two schools. This book provides a simple yet thorough introduction to such central Yogacara concepts as the alayavijnana (store-consciousness) the "seeds" that are stored there and the process of seeds conditioning manifest activity and manifest activity conditioning seeds.

It also discusses, in accessible language, the three subjective transformations that take place in our cognition of objects along with the various mental factors accompanying that cognition.

Recommended for those who wish to deepen their understanding of the Mahayana and of some schools, such as the Pure Land, that may seem un-Buddhist to Westerners.


Phallos Sacred Image of the Masculine
Phallos Sacred Image of the Masculine
by Eugene Monick
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important contribution to depth psychology, 22 Jun. 2013
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In contrast to Dominic's review, I find the author's style lucid and engaging. "The drift" that Dominic thinks he will never get is this: conventional depth psychology sees masculinity as a sort of "offshoot" of The Great Mother i.e having no archetypal basis of its own. Monick provides a cogent argument against orthodoxy and in favour of an archetypal masculinity. Students of the Qabalah will have no problem understanding this - the supernal masculine and feminine arise contemporaneously and as co-equals from the same source.

Monick goes on to discuss two types of phallus, the chthonic (i.e. the flesh and blood one) and the solar ( a supposedly spiritualised "higher" phallus). Monick shows clearly how the latter creates the patriarchy and all its horrors. He then shows how the recognition of an inner masculine reality which, when married to the anima, leads to restoration of wholeness in the male psyche. Such a male has no use for the patriarchy or any kind of subjugation of females, he has a "new consciousness" that is securely rooted in its archetypal origin, thus obviating any need for asserting his masculinity through power and control.

My only gripe is that Monick has not been very adventurous in the study of phallos' role in the animus. I take his point that, as male this is outside his scope, but only up to a point. Nancy Qalls-Corbett does an excellent job of studying the Sacred Prostitute in the animus in her book of the same title.

Recommended as a corrective for macho-men and macho-women.


The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts)
The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts)
by Nancy Qualls-Corbett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All men, all women, please read!, 20 Jun. 2013
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Dr Qualls - Corbett is to be congratulated on writing this enlightened and enlightening work, risking, as she surely did, the brickbats of her sisters in the so-called feminist movement, a movement whose rigid ideology, bigotry, simplistic stereotyping and intolerance merely mirror the characteristics of the patriarchy that they supposedly loathe. Equality of pay, education and opportunity is a matter of straightforward fairness, common sens and justice. After that, individuals should be left to pursue their lives as they see fit. And guess what - men and women are different!

In this book the author shows how merely aping male stupidity is not a path to fulfillment for a woman any more than it is for a man. She states:

"Ruled only by a conscious, masculine position, a man is cut off from his soul. The principle of Eros is not operative, consequently the man remains detached, unable to experience either his own emotions or his spiritual nature."

This is woman's sacred gift to man exemplified by the Holy Whore - to humanise him with the gift of The Goddess' love. Quoting the author again:

"From the union of the human and the divine, the Divine Child is born. The Divine Child is new life - life with new understanding, life which carries an illuminating vision into the world."

Since there are no longer Sacred Prostitutes (patriarchy allows only the profane version - strangely, men suffer from patriarchy too, just differently)Dr Qualls-Corbett offers a chapter for men on the relevance of the Sacred Prostitute to their anima development, and a chapter for women on her relevance to feminine psychology, thus putting that "illuminating vision" within all our grasps.

Read immediately before or after "Phallos: Sacred Image of the Masculine" then record your dreams!


Har Har Mahadev [DVD]
Har Har Mahadev [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dara Singh
Offered by Bollywood Shop
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, 19 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Har Har Mahadev [DVD] (DVD)
A delightful portrayal of the story of Parvati's arduous penance to capture Lord Shiva's heart and their subsequent adventures. Although the subject matter is, in one respect, profoundly serious i.e. the eternal quest for overcoming defiled states of consciousness and transcending ego-limitation, its presentation is light-hearted and entertaining, including some enchanting song and dance scenes. Thus this film shows how the Great Work is really leela (play).

The crudity of the special effects is as winsome as the degree to which the actors appear to be enjoying themselves.

Western students of Tantra, such as disciples of Swami Anandakapila Saraswati, may well find this a useful and enjoyable adjunct to their studies.


The Mass and its Mysteries Compared to the Ancient Mysteries
The Mass and its Mysteries Compared to the Ancient Mysteries
by Jean-Marie Ragon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and revealing, 3 Jun. 2013
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If you've ever puzzled over references to Christ as a solar deity, this book is for you. Ragon goes into great detail to show how the Roman Catholic mass is a pagan ceremony dressed up in Christian clothes. The twelve apostles are shown to represent the signs of the zodiac and the Virgin Mary the moon, consequently identifying her with Isis, Cybele, Astarte and numerous other goddesses of antiquity.

Recommended for guilt-ridden, disaffected Roman Catholics, students of the Western Magical Tradition and the incorrigibly curious.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 10, 2016 12:49 PM BST


Shin Buddhism
Shin Buddhism
by D. T. Suzuki
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A concise study of the deeper aspects of Shin, 29 July 2012
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This review is from: Shin Buddhism (Paperback)
Dr Suzuki is best known for explaining Zen to Westerners, but here he brings his gift for making the abstruse and obscure accessible to lesser intellects to Shin Buddhism.

That said, he does state in this book that his Pure Land doctrine will go "directly against the traditional or conventional explanation." What he actually does is present Pure Land Buddhism in the context of Yogacara and arrives at conclusions that are ineluctable in that light i.e. "you are Amida and the Pure Land is around you." Whether or not this is contradictory to orthodox Shin teaching is not for me to say, but it is certainly in accord with the "Visualisation of Amitayus Sutra" (often just called the "Meditation Sutra) in which we are told that the mind which visualises the Buddha's image is itself the Buddha.

Although there is little detail about the myth of Dharmakara, there is a short section on mythological truth and how it is a lot truer than literal truth. Again, this accords with the Yogacara in which literal truth is really a falsehood.

Recommended for anyone who wants to get to the heart of Pure Land and, indeed, Mahayana Buddhism.,


Ananda Nidra: Blissful Sleep
Ananda Nidra: Blissful Sleep
Price: £15.15

5.0 out of 5 stars The entire Tantric journey, 28 Mar. 2012
This is a high quality pair of CD's in all respects. Their authors are also authors of the books "The Essence of Tantric Sexuality" and "Tantra for Erotic Empowerment." They are senior students of the pioneering and innovative Swami Anandakapila Saraswati, himself author of several books on yoga and Tantra, and teacher of several distance learning courses via email. Briefly, these people know their stuff.

Using this extensive knowledge and experience, Michaels and Johnson have taken the yoga nidra model and used it to subsume the entire Tantric journey - "from nowhere to now-here" in Swami Anandakapila's terminology. Starting in your normal state of everyday consciousness you are taken through a process of deep relaxation that will reduce your brainwave frequency to around 7/8 Hz i.e. to the threshold of sleep and wakefulness.

After this you are guided to create a variety of imaginary and pleasurable sensory experiences in each sensory modality. This culminates in the imaginary recreation of an intensely pleasurable sexual experience. With the mind thus "one-pointed" you are guided to the "turiya" state, or witness consciousness which is the the Tantrika's real aim.

You may not get enlightened on the first playing, you may not get enlightened at all, but you will have a wonderful means of relaxing and recharging your batteries that lasts only a little longer than most soap operas and that does not require any contortions. Also, due to the pleasantness of the imagery and experiences, ananda nidra makes virtually no demands on your powers of concentration.

Recommended for both those who are trying meditation for the first time and as an adjunct to your practice if you are already treading the Tantric path.


Magick in Theory and Practice
Magick in Theory and Practice
by Aleister Crowley
Edition: Hardcover

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic is a mirror, 8 Oct. 2011
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This is essential reading for anyone who wants to know what Aleister Crowley was really about. It certainly gives the lie to those who believe that Crowley was a black magician - an invention of the gutter press during the 1920's.

In this work Crowley clearly explains his position on black magic as well as the basics of his own magickal system of Thelema. The clue to the absurd accusations of black magic lies in one of Crowley's other essays (An initiated interpretation of ceremonial magic) in which he states "Magic is a mirror, wherein one who sees muck, is muck."

Aleister Crowley devoted his life to the pursuit of Life, Love and Liberty, which is why he is loathed by the powers that be and the gutter press, who want to keep you in your place so that you can serve their iniquitous purposes.

Readers of any of Crowley's works also need to remember that he had an all-pervading sense of humour and often dealt with delicate or esoteric matters symbolically rather than literally.


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