OCCULT TIBET: Secret Practices of Himalayan Magic
Intimations of esoteric spiritual practices swirl around Tibet like clouds over Everest. True to form, this book features alluring and moving images of enduring profound cold by raising body temperatures (tumo), extending the dying process into rich realms of visions and reincarnations and lucid dreaming (wherein the dreamer recognizes the dream state and actively manipulates it). These are just a few of the metaphysical realms explored by the well-seasoned Irish author Brennan (The Magical I Ching, Magick for Beginners and Time Travel). He takes pains to give Western parallel documentation to the fantastic forms he describes, but most interested readers will not need this support to explore these topics. The reason for this is Brennan's sound reliance on Tibetan energy theories, such as the chakras and their rtsa (energy courses), rlung (energies themselves) and thig-li (pervading essences). He claims, probably rightly, that "it is the manipulation of the energy system that underlies almost every spiritual and magical marvel Tibet has ever produced." Brennan repeatedly points to the rigorous exercises of breathing, poses, chants and physical challenges that may give rise to such feats in highly disciplined people, but perhaps only over years or lifetimes of study. For adepts of mystical practices or the legions of readers fascinated with all things Tibetan, Brennan provides a highly interesting, accessible, even somewhat practical guide to elusive aspects of a unique culture arising out of a high place of thin, cold air. (Apr.)
Forecast: Brennan is more of an expert on occult spirituality than on Tibetan Buddhism per se, but the rising popularity of both religious traditions bodes well for this book, which blends the two in fresh ways.
Release date: 04/01/2002