using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Winter 2013
70 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY WINTER 2 0 1 3 alternate subtle substrate of the human body—one that is either superimposed on, or in juxtaposition with, the body of flesh, blood, and bone. They note that while Western understandings of consciousness are predicated on the idea of a Cartesian distinction between mind and body, Eastern systems have long assumed a more integrated model. That said, Samuel and Johnston have solicited scholarship that suggests that the idea of an alternate “subtle” body has not been confined to one region, but rather exists across traditions in Asia and Europe, from Greek religion to Taoism to Buddhism to Sufism. The scholars featured in this anthology also demonstrate the impact of the subtle body model on modern thought, including popular philosophical sys- tems such as Theosophy. The publication of Religion and the Subtle Body corresponds with a minor surge in academic research into notions of the subtle body, and also into alter- native theories of the body more generally, within Indic and Tibetan traditions (David White, Janet Gyatso, Francis Garrett, and Vesna Wallace, for example) and among Buddhist teachers actively exploring the role of the body in meditation (such as Reginald Ray, Peter Levine, Judith Blackstone, and Rose Taylor Goldfield). The term “subtle body” is a close translation of a term found in Sanskrit sources, sukshma-sharira, rendered in Tibetan as traway-lu (transliterated phra ba’i lus). According to Samuel, the term’s origins extend back as far as the Indian Taittiriya Upanishad, composed during the fourth to fifth century, which discusses five coexisting bodies: the physical body, the vital breath body, the mental body, the consciousness body, and the bliss body. Samuel tells us that by the eighth century, with the emer- gence of the Buddhist niruttarayoga tantras, the term had come to refer to a complex subtle physiology that both coexists with, and functions in constant relationship to, the physical body and its cognitive correlate, the mind. This strain of Indian Buddhist tantric lit- erature became very influential in the Himalayan region, where it remains a major part of religious tradition to this day. Given the close relationship between this subtle physiology and the coarse flesh-and-blood body, it is not surpris- ing that in contemporary Himalayan (or Tibetan) Buddhist practice, the subtle body acts as a kind of bridge between the body and mind. This view can be found dating back to the work of Yangonpa Gyaltsen Pal (1213–1258), a Tibetan yogi and author of one of the earliest Tibetan handbooks describing the subtle body. In his seminal work on this topic, Description of the Hid- den Vajra Body, he explains that as an interface between body and mind, the subtle body has elements of the physi- cal, such as form, colors, and struc- ture. But it has elements of the mental as well; like thought and emotions, the subtle body can be reconditioned with focus, training, and intent, and even permanently altered to support a more enlightened state of being. Echoing a system found in many Buddhist tantras, Yangonpa taught that the activity of bridging body and mind takes place via a tripartite structure of channels (nadi), winds (vayu), and drops (bindu), the key components of the subtle body. These components are interconnected and find expression in their subtle correlates of body, speech, and mind. The channels, as subtle cor- relates of body, are pathways. The winds, subtle correlates of speech, are energies that move along those path- ways. And the drops, which are subtle REVIEWS