Fly Fishing for Taimen in Mongolia
By: Ross Purnell
A scholar at the Gandan Tegchenling monastery explained to me that tantric Buddhism isn’t merely a religion based on sex positions outlined in the Kama Sutra. I was not completely shocked to learn that Western culture has created an inaccurate generalization of an entire religion based on scandalous images of foreigners. Tantric Buddhism (more accurately described as Vajrayana Buddhism) teaches a path to enlightenment through the ritualized practice of hundreds of different sutras, and the Kama Sutra is the only one that focuses on sensuality.
Unlike Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, which all worship external deities and seek a future paradise, Vajrayana Buddhism’s “pathway to enlightenment” attempts to create paradise in the present, through practice, repetition, and isolation. Meditation, physical manipulations like sex or yoga, chanting, and memorization are all potential pathways to a “place” that is actually just a perfected state of mind.
“You are going to the river fishing?” my guru asked rhetorically. “You can find paradise there, for yourself, while you are fishing. The deities we worship are inside all people, and paradise is all around us . . . you just have to become enlightened to truly realize it.”
This paradise is a state of singularity where you realize you don’t have a place in the universe: You are one with the universe.
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