Tantric Temples:Eros and Magic in Java

Tantric Temples:Eros and Magic in Java

Tantric Temples
Eros and Magic in Java
By Peter Levenda

CLICK HERE TO ORDER from Red Wheel/Weiser. $65.00

Tantra is one of the most misunderstood of the esoteric disciplines. In order to get a clear idea as to the nature of Tantric ritual and belief it is necessary to go where Tantra is still practiced and from where important Tantric teachings originated a thousand years ago: the island of Java in present-day Indonesia.

This book illustrates the history of Tantrism in Java with more than a hundred photographs of temples, statues and iconography dedicated to the system — some rarely seen before, including the recently-excavated “white temple” of Yogyakarta — and accounts of contemporary practices in the shrines, cemeteries and secret schools of Java. In the process, we will learn how this esoteric philosophy has affected the everyday lives of the most populous Muslim country in the world.

We will also learn that an important Tibetan teacher of the eleventh century studied at the feet of a Tantric master in Java and brought back with him to Tibet the sacred — and secret — teachings that are important to Tibetan Buddhist practice today.

When the Dalai Lama consecrated the newly-restored Borobudur Temple in Indonesia in 1983, he was signaling to the world the quiet relationship that has existed for hundreds of years between the two cultures. To the Tibetan leader, Borobudur is an example of Vajrayana Buddhism and was built as the world's largest mandala by architects schooled in sacred geometry. Yet, Borobudur is only one example among hundreds of others: many more specific and, in some cases, sexually explicit as well. In Java, where the Sultans still pay homage to the Goddess of the Southern Sea in a colorful and arcane ritual, and where Muslim men and women meet at secret shrines to marry a stranger before having intercourse in a sacred cemetery in order to obtain supernatural favors, the relationship between sexuality, religion, and power is clear and unequivocal.

It was this Tantra — the real Tantra — that has influenced secret societies, mystics, alchemists, Kabbalists and magicians for hundreds if not thousands of years. This book tells the story of how human sexuality became a metaphor and a template for both spiritual transformation and the manipulation of reality; of how various sexual acts and psycho-biological states became the basis for a comprehensive cosmology that incorporates every aspect of human experience.

Sometimes the secrets are buried where you least expect to find them. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. Sometimes … they are both. In the largest Muslim country in the world we will discover a path of Tantra so unique, yet so vibrant and alive, that we will be astonished that no one had heard of it until now.

2011
Hardcover • 352 pp. • 7.5 x 10.5
Full color
ISBN: 978-0-89254-169-0
CLICK HERE TO ORDER from Red Wheel/Weiser. $65.00

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Tantric Temples:Eros and Magic in Java