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
72 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY WINTER 2 0 1 3 sensation can alter our relationship to the anger as well. While we tend to understand anger in terms of the thoughts that generate and feed it, we could just as well experience anger as a subtle energetic event passing through the subtle body. Anger now becomes more like a passing storm, a natural and simple event. In Religion and the Subtle Body, we discover that this connection between health and the subtle body is currently being explored in the American scientific community. Alejandro Chaoul, a profes- sor at a medical center in Texas and a practitioner of Tibetan yogas, heads an NIH-funded research study that is examining the effects of Tibetan subtle body practices on the outcomes for breast cancer patients. The hypothesis of the study is that teaching cancer patients the movements, breathing exercises, and subtle body visualizations found in the Tibetan yogic traditions can reduce stress and improve quality of life. By extension, according to Chaoul, these traditional practices can help people become “more sensitive to the subtle aspects of breath, body, and mind,” which helps them to better manage both stress and pain. He states that learning visualizations of subtle tantric physiol- ogy, when combined with breathing and exercises, brings the subtle body natu- rally into balance. Yangonpa, writing in the thirteenth century, suggests that there are reasons these yogic practices, passed down for hundreds of years, work to bring the subtle body into balance. He suggests that these methods can potentially cata- lyze a collapse of the divisions we make between body and mind, and through this collapse, we experience freedom. But we must first see the limitations of dividing ourselves into parts. In Yan- gonpa’s view, the subtle body is mas- tered by intentionally recognizing the radical integration of the dyads of body and mind, winds and mind, and body, speech, and mind. He says that while we might pay attention to components of the subtle body such as “energy center” (chakra), “energy wind” (vayu), and “channel” (nadi), the key to bringing the subtle body into alignment rests in seeing that all the components of our embodied experience are blended insep- arably. When this inseparability moves from being a thought to being an experi- ence, that is enlightenment. Yangonpa, and his predecessor Naropa, focused on the inseparability of the energy winds and mind. If we can bring mind into a radical union with energy winds, the theory goes, that alone liberates. Even if we are not now recipients of the esoteric methods to do this, Yangonpa’s idea of inseparability is eminently practical. Whether we become enlightened or not, we might naturally discover a direct experience of the sub- tle body—not a conceptualization of the body, but rather a “felt” body that includes our entire sensory field. The body seems to be coming of age in Buddhist practice in America, and we may do well to pay close attention to the shifting sands. Many of us relate to this body as a heavy and inconvenient vessel, the reason we are ill, sleepy, distracted, or uncomfortable. But the tantric tra- ditions provide us with a possibility that the body is more than a heavy and inconvenient truth. As the Hevjara Tantra famously states, “Great wisdom abides in the body.” In tantric view, the body is not only the door to wisdom, it is wisdom itself. Religion and the Subtle Body pro- vides an anthropological and sociohis- torical perspective on the subtle body; Training the Wisdom Body invites read- ers to experience the subtle body for themselves. The traditions and practices introduced by these two new publica- tions offer the possibility that the body itself is spontaneously sacred, expressing the qualities of awakening, every day, whether we know it or not. As human beings, we are challenged by these works to question previous assumptions and constructions we have made about our own bodies. And as practitioners, we are invited to view the body as the key to our own enlightenment. REVIEWS