On January 11th of 2014, I received an email with an extraordinary gift – not to me, but to humanity.
Attached was a 500 page manuscript, the fruit of the author’s life’s work, on Indian Vajrayana, or Tantric Buddhism, in the period prior to and during the movement of Tantric Buddhism from India into Tibet. What made it extraordinary? Four things – the author, the work’s scope, its transmission, and its focus on a much obscured aspect of Buddhist tantrism.
The manuscript is the first work in English to focus on KarmaMudra, or sexual yoga, but maintaining it within the context of all the other forms of cultivation in Indian Tantric Buddhism. The author is an American Lama of the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, and a religious studies graduate of Wesleyan and Columbia Universities, who has translated a very special Sanskrit Practice Text (Sadhana) from ca. 800 CE, long languishing in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. This sadhana, included in the text in Devanagri, English transliteration, and English Translation, with full commentaries, includes and explicitly lays out a rare Vajrayana sadhana – deity yoga, subtle energy yoga, sexual yoga, and non-dual yoga, with KarmaMudra being the special focus.
In keeping with the vows of tantric buddhism, author John T. Houseman has also included the entire philosophical bases of Sravakayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana Buddhism, along with all of the basic empowerments, transmissions and cultivation practices of each of those Buddhist Vehicles.
Houseman’s work is also meticulously footnoted and, most remarkably, he has decided to release it to the public domain and distribute it freely and virally via the internet.
For those questioning whether coupled loving practice was historically a part of Tantric Buddhism, or if yab yum was just a visual metaphor for the union of bliss and emptiness, this work will prove a revelation.
For those already aware of the nature of KarmaMudra practice, but seeking a deeper contextual and practical understanding, this wonderful work is for you.
If there is any doubt that coupled love, attraction, and affection, can be as important as transpersonal compassion in Vajrayana cultivation, this book will dispel that doubt.
And those wanting to glimpse the historically egalitarian social culture of Indian buddhist tantrism, as it existed in the Indian siddha tradition prior to morphing into the hierarchical, patriarchal, and primarily monastic tantric culture of Tibet, with its , will also be fascinated…
Written, published, and distributed with the intention to reach those it will serve as a vehicle for enlightenment, the manuscript has been released freely by the author to the world… the practical fruit of his life’s research, translation and deep research available for all sentient beings, electronically published and rapidly propagated across the internet.
And so, here it is, free for you to download, in full-color .pdf format:
If you remain curious, the download page includes the table of contents and a brief bio of the author.
My profound thanks to John T. Houseman for this work and for his generation of compassion for all beings.
Please enjoy his gift to you.
Until next time,
Tao Semko for UmaaTantra.com