Customer Review

3.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Albeit a Bit Exoteric, Nov. 3 2011
This review is from: Stripping the Gurus (Hardcover)
This book, which discusses the relationship between spirituality and sexuality under the guise of an exposé, is a very fine work albeit it is likely to offend exoteric religionists as well as provide fodder for the anti-spiritual camp due to its relentless implication of the idea that sexuality and spirituality are absolutely mutually incompatible. However, stripped of its somewhat inflammatory language and fundamentally antagonistic bias one can use the information in this book to make the precisely opposite case: that sexuality actually plays a very important role in the spiritual life, as I also have argued in my exploration of the spirituality of Aleister Crowley. While historical exoteric religiosity certainly has placed a lot of emphasis on external or physical chastity, it does not follow that this is the correct interpretation. If one takes the view that spirituality is altogether different from religion, as I do, one can read this book with thorough enjoyment and no offence, accept all its statements and still be established in spirituality and spiritual practice. True spirituality is only practised and experienced by the few. For this reason, exotericism has usually emphasized physical abstinence, which is the lowest type of spiritual practice. But the esoteric interpretation is higher. Once one realizes that the dharma, to use the Buddhist term, is not based on external rules and actions but on internal states of mind and intentions, one realizes that chastity does not really mean the act of physical abstinence in itself, but more like physical and mental sexual discipline (brahmachariya). There are many monks and also lay people who completely abstain from sex and are not chaste. Per contra, there are some who, albeit not physically abstinent, are completely and thoroughly chaste in every respect. A buddha is not subject to duality, and is therefore capable of undertaking ANY action, without exception, without generating karma, because all their actions are the consequence of enlightened intention. Unfortunately the author does not explore this point of view, and this is the major limitation of his point of view. This may reflect the Western obsession with sex more than any special issue or problem with Asiatic spirituality, which appears to be the author's main target.
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