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Introduction to Tantra

The Transformation of Desire
Narrated by: Fajer Al-Kaisi
Length: 4 hrs and 50 mins
5 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Summary

A new edition of this perennial classic. "The best introductory work on Tibetan Buddhist tantra available today." - Janet Gyatso, Harvard University.

What is tantra? Who is qualified to practice it? How should it be practiced? What are the results? According to Buddhism, every human being has the potential to achieve profound and lasting happiness. And according to the tantric teachings of Buddhism, this remarkable transformation can be realized very quickly if we utilize all aspects of our human energy - especially the energy of our desires. Introduction to Tantra is the best available clarification of a subject that is often misunderstood. Tantra recognizes that the powerful energy aroused by our desire is an indispensable resource for the spiritual path. It is precisely because our lives are so inseparably linked with desire that we must make use of desire's tremendous energy not just for pleasure, but to transform our lives. Lama Yeshe presents tantra as a practice leading to joy and self-discovery, with a vision of reality that is simple, clear, and relevant to 21st-century life.

©2014 Lama Zopa Rinpoche (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fundamental wisdom that everyone should be taught

The fact that this was read by an American opens it up to the world.

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A Great Introduction

Not over cluttered with jargon and technical words. I really liked this book. It gets straught to the point, metaphors used to describe difficult ideas are well chosen and easy to grasp.

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Meditative

This is yet another book that it so meditative and worth every minute of it.

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Educational and excellent

A complicated subject with a lot of folklore yet explained clearly and beautifully. Thoroughly enjoyed the book and the reader.

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  • Peter Occhiogrosso
  • 31-08-19

As an Intro to Tantra it conveys invaluable wisdom

First off, this is an Introduction to Tantra, not the whole ball of wisdom and practice, so we shouldn't expect more than it proposes. As an explanation of the aim of Tantra to work with and transform physical and psychological desire, I'd say it achieves its goal. If you're looking for specific practices, try his other Audible book "The Bliss of Inner Fire," which covers the tummo yoga of Gampopa in great detail. Yes, Lama Yeshe does focus on guru yoga, but once again, I find this to be an essential step. If you think you're going to gain realization just by reading books, without the guidance of many teachers and tons of practice, you're probably deluding yourself.

And to be real about it, all the greatest teacher can do is lead you to the well or show you how to draw water; you still have to do the work yourself. Sure, the true guru is the inner guru, and if you can discover that without any help, then more power to you. Jimi Hendrix was the greatest "self-taught" guitarist in the world, and yet his father taught him how to play acoustic at age 13; Jimi took it from there and flipped over and restrung a right-handed Strat, if you get my drift. I've been practicing for 20 years or more and I learned a lot from Lama Yeshe in this book, and am now enjoying his Inner Fire teachings. In the process I'm developing my own inner guru, but that doesn't happen overnight. I'm profoundly grateful to all my teachers, including my wife.

One aspect of the audiobook I decidedly did NOT enjoy was the reader's ignorance of how to pronounce certain very common Tibetan terms. Even a beginner knows to say Rin-po-SHAY and Bodhi-CHEE-tah, among other egregious flubs. Where is the audio editor in this process? How about choosing a reader who has a basic familiarity with Tibetan Buddhism? I suppose I should just accept the imperfections of samsara, but there is such a fingernail-on-the-blackboard effect to hearing bodhi-SEE-tah countless times that only the brilliance and warmth of Yeshe's words kept me going to the end. At least maybe I burned off some negative karma by overcoming my aversion :)

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  • Nursey
  • 24-01-18

Dry, Imperious

Fajer Al-Kasai gives a dry and imperious reading of this millenial-old knowledge and practice; sounds downright unfriendly. Lots of practical advice; kind of avoids zeroing into anything smacking of spiritual bliss, which I thought is what Tantra is about. I will reread, perhaps I am being too harsh just because I didn't glean from it what I expected.

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  • Eric R Linsky
  • 18-10-17

best intro to tantra I've heard

I wish i had discovered this understanding of buddhism a long time ago. I made the mistake early on of thinking that earlier buddhism (hinayana) was more authoritative and superior. I have since learned that i have almost no interest in early buddhism, and greatly prefer mahayana and tantric conceptions. this book will also be useful for people studying hindu tantra.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Dustin
  • 11-03-18

Poorly Pronounced Introduction

The narration was fine until Tibetan terms came up. I don't speak the language, but either this guy is right and everyone else I've heard is wrong, or it's the other way. Also, it's a very high level summary so there is nothing in the way of a concrete practice to really take from this text. I learned a fair bit, but got nothing I can take to my regular sitting practice.

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  • Cg West Sayville
  • 19-09-17

seriously perfect for beginners

you can feel the Integrity of this project. content and narrating are pure and clear.So the message goes down like honey.worth mAking a special time to absorb...good definitions are helpful and add to comprehension

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  • Teri
  • 06-08-17

Clarifies misconceptions of what Tantra really is about

Wonderfully enlightening introduction to the practice of Tantra. Straightforward and easy to understand without being abstract, while maintaining Tantra's divine qualities of mysticism.

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  • Reviewer
  • 01-10-18

Recruitment with different window dressing

I really wish this book had more content. It seemed to have a heavy tone of repetitive reinforcement. If Tantra is the Way, and we are supposed to find our own way by being a natural person, then this book has some hypocrisy to it . Everywhere in the narrative, the idea that you need a guru for your evolution and self realization is reinforced over and over. Like other religions it supports the idea that you must have a mediator to find your way. The other thing is that the author assumes all readers have low self esteem and are negative to begin with. It supposed that the reader suffers from low self esteem and doesn't have any spiritual experience or self evolution. It further supposed that the listener needs a guru to give all this attention to in trade for enlightened experiences.

If Tantra is supposed to be a "short cut" and our direct route to the God-consciousness within, then there should not be the necessary inclusion of a guru. Further, the meditation tells the listener to focus on the guru and the family of gurus/God's to invoke some kind of connection to them. All of our devotion is supposed to go to them. This instruction seems to further the distance between ourselves and the inner God-realization within each of us.

Like many religious indoctrinations, this book is no different.

There are no short cuts in life. All that we are and ever shall be can be found within us. But society has created systems that seem to loop and fall back onto itself. If you are a Buddhist, you believe that by praying and meditating on Buddha, you will find the Way. If you are Indian, you believe that by focusing on your Deity of choice, you will find the Way. Hopefully you get it right and do not have to reincarnate over and over again. If you are a Christian, you believe that if you focus on Jesus, you will find the Way and not go to Hell. Every religious approach supposes you cannot find your way. This book's philosphy uses the same belief only offers short cuts. But it doesn't have any "short cuts" to self realization because it still uses a mediator, the guru, as a means towards the Way to enlightenment.

Because the wording in the book has a very "must do" approach, the Narrator does a good job of sounding quite paternal and proud in every sense and does a good job of carrying the tone across in this audio book. Personally, it had some snooty undertones that did not help, although I belief the Narrator did carry the energy of the message exactly as intended.

The main technique and practically the only technique offered is to meditate. In this respect, it doesn't offer anything that hasn't already been done or discovered. The book advises the listener to find a master guru to learn more. So unfortunately, it did not offer anything that the listener could have the confidence to find within.

I got through half the book and realized the rhetoric was the same. I could barely finish it.

And just a side note here:

If evolving spiritually is an inner journey, and we are to find the Way, then nothing external (not even a guru) can walk that Path for us. At most, the events in our lives trigger something deep already within us that we bring to the surface of our awareness. We discover what is within and keep or discard our beliefs that help or impede us by our life experiences. Through these experience, we observe ourselves and learn about our nature and beliefs. We separate and make discerning choices of what we want to keep or let go of. This is the Path of the Self realized being. And you don't need a guru, a doctor, a psychiatrist, a medium to do this.

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  • Tatras
  • 29-01-20

Profound & Soothing for me

Short, but throughout rich and comprehensible work about tibetian buddhist tantra from obviously skillful and humble teacher.

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  • Miguel Martinez
  • 20-01-20

5th time listening

this book is an amazing treasure house of wisdom. I've listened to it 5 times and every time is more profound. A priceless pearl of teaching for the beginner as well as the advanced tantrika. May all be auspicious!

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  • Dr White
  • 14-06-19

Informative and easy to absorb.

Informative and easy to absorb. The succinct manner of delivery permitted the content to be easily understood.