Yoga Tantra: Paths to Magical Feats
Dalai Lama, Dzong-Ka-Ba, Jeffrey Hopkins. Snow Lion Publications, $18.95 (181pp) ISBN 978-1-55939-237-2
Students of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition who have advanced beyond introductory levels will appreciate this challenging, more advanced teaching. Based on the third book in a series of Vajrayana teachings developed by a Tibetan scholar in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, this book explores ""paths to magical feats"" through a dedicated practice of Yoga Tantra. (Readers will probably want to begin with Tantra in Tibet, which Snow Lion published in 1987.) This volume builds upon the practice of deity yoga, which was introduced in the series' second book, in which a person ""joins one's own body, speech, mind, and activities with the exalted body, speech, mind, and activities of a supramundane being."" The introduction lays out the features of Yoga Tantra, drawn from lectures the Dalai Lama gave in India in 1979 and 2002, and is followed by more detailed expositions of the teachings. Readers who have minimal background in esoteric Buddhism will undoubtedly be confused by how the four mandalas correspond to the four seals and lineages, though even neophytes should be able to use the book to deepen their practice of ""calm abiding"" and mental focus. Highly advanced practitioners who have mastered yogic union can eventually attempt magical feats such as revealing treasure and mineral wealth in the ground, walking on water, walking in space, finding lost articles and controlling the mind of another.
Reviewed on: 10/31/2005