Pilgrims to Openness: Direct Realization Tantra in Everyday Life
January 24th, 2012 by Aldouspi

Pilgrims to Openness: Direct Realization Tantra in Everyday Life

Pilgrims to Openness: Direct Realization Tantra in Everyday Life

In nearly 70 heart- and mind-opening teachings, Pilgrims to Openness lays bare the compelling world view of  authentic Indian Tantra (Kashmir Shaivism) and offers the reader direct and powerful guidance for embodying greater freedom and fulfillment in human life. Shambhavi Sarasvati is a gifted teacher who has been deeply engaged in the practice and study of Indian Tantra (not neo-Tantra) for nearly twenty-five years. With compassion, wry humor, and insight, she leads the reader to understand p

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3 Responses  
  • Jody Greene writes:
    January 24th, 20122:30 pmat
    6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Breadcrumbs on the Path, October 22, 2009
    By 
    Jody Greene
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Pilgrims to Openness: Direct Realization Tantra in Everyday Life (Paperback)

    Looking for an introduction to Tantric philosophy? Heck, looking for a little instruction in living better, by which I mean, with greater ease? This is the book to start with. These essays are profound and insightful, but always rooted in the kinds of questions that come up in the ordinary course of our daily lives: why should we tell the truth? How do we work with our resistance? Do spiritual people have any fun? If I want to live a more peaceful and joyous life, what should I do when I get up in the morning (quite literally)? Words like Real get thrown around a lot in the world of spirituality, but this book has a realness to it that you can touch and taste. Grounded in the mundane, often in straightforward questions submitted to Sarasvati by ordinary practitioners, the essays here stick to the specifics of the everyday while repeatedly helping us to leap beyond. Sarasvati comes through loud and clear here as a canny teacher, an engaging writer, and a full, joyous presence on the path not just of tantra but of life. Hey yogis, tantrikas, skeptics, buddhists, seekers, humans: lost your way a little, or just looking for a way to keep on keeping on? There’s breadcrumbs galore here.

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  • Neal J. Pollock writes:
    January 24th, 20122:50 pmat
    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Intro to the Direct Realization approach, May 10, 2010
    By 
    Neal J. Pollock (VA USA) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Pilgrims to Openness: Direct Realization Tantra in Everyday Life (Paperback)

    This is a straight-forward presentation of the generic View (with some practices as well) of the Direct Realization “tradition.” As the author notes, such a “tradition” or approach is included in both Buddhist and Hindu Tantra as well as Taoism. I like the author’s use of “Daoism” which is truer to the actual pronunciation. The author does seem to be basically a Hindu Tantrika (e.g. Shiva Nature vs. Buddha Nature), which is fine–in fact from my POV better since I know far less about Hindu Tantra, making this book more interesting to me. However, the down side is her use of numerous, unfamiliar (at least to me), Hindu/Ayurvedic terms (e.g. Maharastrian, pitta, kapha) which are not generally explained–and without a Glossary. Of course, as in virtually all Eastern origin books aimed at the West, it includes some Eastern beliefs/myths (e.g. the 6 Realms & ancestor puja/rites), but this book has FAR less than most–though I find mythology (per Joseph Campbell) of considerable value.

    There are some very profound, yet simple, words of wisdom such as: p. 117: “People in Tantrik relationships pay less attention to their stories about the past, the present and the future.”
    p. 126: “The litmus test of any spiritual experience is what did I learn about Reality and how am I showing up in the world now,” p. 133: “letting go of our expectations of other people,” and
    p. 166: “you simply cannot derive benefit from complicated practices if your energy is depleted.” The author aims at practicality–for example, on p. 168, she suggest gentle Hatha yoga prior to seated practice (e.g. meditation) and more vigorous exercises afterwards. This agrees with Western psychological findings (both theoretical and experimental) of Activation or Arousal Theory. She alIso suggests performing self-massage with sunflower oil (low cholesterol–very good for cooking and salads)–though Edgar Cayce recommended a 50:50 mixture of olive & peanut oils (AURA GLOW,UNSCENTED 16 oz).

    However, I’d prefer if the author practiced the non-allness principle (avoid “all”, “never,” etc.) vs.:
    p. 162: “There is no such thing as Tantra w/o integrated practice based on the daily precepts of Ayurveda” and p. 166: “Tantra is all about conserving energy.” Though this is quite common. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the author’s gentle humor: p. 132: “The goal is to integrate, not disintegrate!”, p. 154: “shift our attachments from donuts to deities,” & p. 154: “I sometimes feel I am wearing an old sweater that has grown too tight.”

    Overall, this is a gentle, easily absorbed, well-written, mostly nonsectarian, introduction to Direct Realization traditions such as Ayurveda, Dzogchen, Mahamudra, Taoism, &, perhaps, Kabbalah.

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  • Lobsang Sherab writes:
    January 24th, 20123:09 pmat
    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    This is the REAL Tantric view, October 21, 2009
    By 
    Lobsang Sherab (Chicago, IL United States) –

    This review is from: Pilgrims to Openness: Direct Realization Tantra in Everyday Life (Paperback)

    For more than a thousand years yogis have been practicing Tantra, accomplishing amazing levels of realization and nourishing a living lineage. This book is a connection to that vital tradition. When you first encounter the Tantric view, it is radically orthogonal to our normal mindset, but Shambhavi does a wonderful job of explaining how it works on its own terms. Pilgrims to Openness takes the most esoteric of spiritual principles and shows us how they apply to the choices we face everyday in our lives. I practice Buddhist Vajrayana from a Dzogchen perspective, and this book is one of the best I’ve found at explaining Tantra in terms that a modern westerner can understand without watering it down or distorting its deepest significance. As an example check out the article on chakras from her website, [jayakula dot org slash chakras] which is also found in the book. This is the writing of someone who actually knows what they’re talking about and isn’t just parroting what they’ve read or worse peddling their fantasies as objective facts. In short, if you seek a real guidebook to spiritual experience, this book will be invaluable to you.

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