I have an inherent sense of curiosity that overrides all tendencies to be close-minded. And Truth comes first and foremost, simply because there is nothing I could consider more important than the process of learning – of evolving – yet simultaneously not searching at all.
I was born a Mage, but I didn’t realise it until I was 22. Basically, if you could imagine a heavy intellectual with a mental map of how the universe worked – a perfect set of rules that seemed to apply to every situation via scientific empiricism – lost in a view of the world, that’s what I was. Confined to the subjective paradox.
I was studying Communications (Media & Filmmaking) – I was/am passionate about the medium of film and storytelling. Part of the criteria was to educate us on the great western minds that changed the paradigms of civilisation. Marx, Jung, Einstein, social theorists such as Foucault, and a delving into the ways in which the world is controlled by the media, manipulated by the media, inspired at times – and ever so rarely, how the media was used righteously to bring to light an obvious truth… the latter didn’t happen that often in history. I learnt linguistics and the notion of does the word create the meaning, or does the meaning create the word? I was made aware of the illusion of considering science to be factual. These are all extremely plausible and well set out arguments I was privy to, so in essence I learnt about how confused the world was made to feel under the veil of postmodernism. Merely another means of control.
By the third year, I realised that I didn’t really have anything of substance I actually wanted to say in my films – and I couldn’t accept that. During this scenario, I meet a woman, who soon enough begins talking to me about energy, and feelings, charkas and Reiki…
My instant response was, “What the fuck are you talking about?”
I sit her down, and she talks all night, and I just listen to what she has to say because at that point I was so involved in my head that I literally didn’t have a clue. She was explaining it to me not just in words… and at an instant… I had an inkling… and every one of my chakras began to unwind and blast open! My whole body was vibrating – which was – well – unexplainable to myself. I couldn’t put words to it… concepts to it… it was foreign – and yet right at home. There began the war in my mind. I literally drove myself insane trying to find a perfect “scientific theory” for what was going on. This is understandable, since it’s what I’d been doing my whole life.
After a year or so, I slowly regained my grounding… am actually able to converse with people again without feeling a deep-set loneliness that no one understands me. I reintegrate into society… into simply being able to talk about nothing all over again.
Upon hindsight… that first moment was the true flowering of the warrior code in me – but damn there was much to face yet. It was during this period that what was known about magick, and most of those that claimed/practiced it were of little to no help for me… because as good or bad as they may be at it… as much as they might have fine-tuned abilities… they still had emotional issues. They weren’t happy people… they weren’t complete. They were still imprisoned by their own selves. And I was nowhere near grounded to realise this… Of course, there was much that happened during this process of attempting to learn magick, but most of it was an orgasmic/painful struggle of achieving great feats and simultaneously failing miserably. Which can be a great teacher indeed. Yet the frustration was in not being able to have a base… a fundamental grounding that was intact and unshakable.
A good example I can use to explain is when about two months after my conversation with the first witch, I was speaking to a woman who was clinically diagnosed as unable to have children. She was an empath who was teaching me to fine tune my chakra awareness. When we were finished, she asked for a hug. As we hugged I felt a bolt of sacral chakra essence leave mine and enter hers. Two months later her hubby managed to knock her up! Now here’s the relevance of the example: There was no ritual involved… I didn’t read books or create spells about this… most important… I didn’t even know what I was doing. All I know is that I had the wish to help her – to repay her for her teachings.
After such incidents, to talk to other mages who insist on spells and reading a million useless books and especially… who insist on complicating the whole process of magick for ego gratification, seemed futile. I rather wanted to know how I did it. Even then I wanted to know the essence. Such incidents reoccurred many times, but the struggle was always that I couldn’t pinpoint the core of magick. I could theorise as much as I wanted… others could all have their opinions of how it may have happened… but it all seemed dogmatic on some level. What finally hinted that this wasn’t where I was going to find my liberation was the powerful sensation that something is “missing”.
All I could do was let it go…
At which point, I turn to discovering Buddhism.
The aspect of Buddhism that attracted me so intensely was its crystal clear logic, its ability to explain everything in such simplicity – and more importantly, the choice to focus on certain questions and to see the unimportance of other questions as relevant to one’s happiness.
I suppose at this stage I will explain Buddhism as I see it in order to lay some groundwork for what’s to come. What is often misunderstood in Buddhism is the notion that there is no God. As explained in the texts of Vikramaditya and the Vampire, there are three definitions of an atheist:
1. One who believes that there is no God or Gods.
2. One who believes that God/s may exist, but doesn’t really care about our welfare.
3. One who believes that God/s may exist, but isn’t really important in the whole scheme of things.
The Buddhist view of God/s falls into the third definition. There are 84,000 different paths within Buddhism, and some use deity worship as a tool to be harnessed up to a certain point of realisation. Some use the path of a hermit. Some use a meditation of daily action – no matter where you are or what you are doing: whether it be cleaning dogshit or having sex. And some – very few, but some – use everything as a means to realisation.
It is this great open mindedness that truly appealed to me. At first I didn’t realise the nature of this objective clarity, but I could literally feel a hint of the wisdom yet to be realised simply because the words and meanings offered within Buddhism seemed to come from a source completely free from restriction – Even the restriction of Godhood.
But of course, for the first year I lapped up everything Buddhism could offer to recreate a new mental picture of how the Universe worked. By the end of it, I could argue and debate Buddhism with the best of them – yet there was nothing there that was spoken from experience.
The notion of complete liberation seemed far more challenging, and far more frightening than the deepest pits of magick. The topic of which questions the Buddha considered important, and which he considered useless, can help in explaining this clearly:
As we all know, Man is in suffering. Most of us never seem to be able to keep our fleeting happiness… it comes and goes, and for many of us there is so much suffering that happiness could almost sound foreign. In the midst of this, a depressed scientist may try to find a temporary peace by involving himself in a new discovery. When the discovery is finally made, after a few moments of exaltation he returns to his melancholy. Men and women consistently ask questions about the universe, about purpose, about how everything works, if God exists, if we have a soul, what our purpose is, etc etc. It becomes an entertainment of sorts for most, and for others these questions take a far more serious purpose.
Yet, here’s the clincher. What if you knew the answer to all these questions? Then what? You’d probably go, “Ah, that’s what it is.” And return to a life of frustration, imprisonment, habit, reaction – the fight or flight instinct, moments of great joy, clinging, betrayal… etc etc. Knowing your purpose doesn’t make your path any easier. So you know that today you are going to fall into a ditch and break your arm… but it has a divine purpose… yet it doesn’t make the falling any easier.
It was during this period that I meet a guy who lives halfway across the world, who claims to be my teacher from many previous lifetimes – thousands in fact – and tells me that he is here now to reawaken me. The only thing that convinced me that he may be genuine was the wisdom of his words whenever he explained Buddhism, or anything about the nature of things, for that matter. It is the same with all things, and my first lesson in realising that it doesn’t matter who tells you something – it doesn’t matter how many people think highly of him/her – what matters is what they say. How close it rings to your own truth. It is as the Buddha says: Don’t take my word for anything – investigate the truth for yourself, and when you have experienced that what I say is true, then, it will be your truth.
Once again, curiosity gets the better of me, so I pack my bags and catch a plane to England. And there begins my training in the Highest Tantra. Yet, from the moment go every single preconception I had of Buddhism was ripped away. Every concept about the way the universe worked – all shred to pieces. They were concepts, after all. The Truth isn’t in the concepts. It’s like the difference between reading the menu and eating the meal.
There I went, thinking of what Buddhism is, what Hinduism is, what Paganism is, what Magick is, what Christianity is… each in its own little stereotypical box. And BOOM, suddenly, the whole thing was shown to be one and the same – only varying in levels of depth and nothing more. The Highest Tantra is a complete integration of mind – negating nothing, throwing nothing aside. I realised that there are four secret lineages of Buddhism, each which is a Coven in its own right. Yet the number of miracles I witnessed in the time I was there remarkably only managed to tear wide open that little doubt I had in me before that something was “missing.” Because now I knew that I truly knew nothing. The members of the Coven were such pure vessels of channelling that I had the fortune to speak to Krishna, Diana, celestial beings from the astral world, Buddhas, and on one occasion, Bob Marley, etc. Each with their own lesson to impart – their very own blessing to bestow. Despite the proof of such things, given in more ways than one, what defeated me was the training itself.
Once again, even if you knew all the answers to the Universe, jumping off a cliff is still a scary thing, even if a Dragon promises you he’ll catch you.
What I will not share here is the amount of information I received in terms of the nature of celestial beings, the relationships of the Gods, the gems within the Astral Planes, the true potential of channelling. Not only are these things not relevant here, but to share them would simply be a means of speculation. If you had told me of such things and I had not experienced them myself, I would not believe it. So, I don’t expect you to either.
That, however, was not the lessons I learnt from my teacher. So, let’s continue:
While I was there, being shown exactly how much of the world I had assumed to be factual and real, and how illusionary that truly was, I had more than a million questions. As one would. Most of the questions were egoistic dribble – theoretical, philosophical, and utterly unproductive to my own well-being. So, after a while my teacher made a rule that I was only allowed to ask one question a day.
This was the teaching of learning to ask the right question. Because if you had a million questions, and you knew that you could only ever ask one, you will learn to discern which one is most important to you – even if you learn the hard way.
Which leads to the skilfulness of knowing the right questions to ask. The ones that can actually help you in some way or form. There are three important questions within Buddhism:
1. What is the origin of Suffering?
2. What is the origin of Ignorance?
3. What is the meaning of Creation?
I’ll explain how this pertains to me. More than anything, the intention for Buddhism is to eliminate suffering. It is to eradicate it, to transcend it, to overcome it. To become liberated from the nature of cycles, of Birth and Death. Most people only truly turn to meditation when their suffering becomes so unbearable that their madness frightens them. Until then, people make all sorts of excuses to keep living life the way they are.
And that’s fine.
The most important question for Buddhism, to alleviate all ignorance of why you are imprisoned by the Universe, by Time and Space, by Matter, is; what is the origin of suffering? Knowing the answer to this is far more beneficial, because it can change you as a person. It’s like suddenly seeing for the first time exactly what material your prison is made of.
1. The Origin of Suffering is Self-Grasping.
2. Ignorance comes from sense of “I”.
3. The Meaning of Creation is Self-Realisation into our original form. When all are self-realised, then creation will end, as we will be creation itself.
With all the pieces falling into place, perhaps the best way to explain the meaning of these three answers is by retelling a story.
Around five hundred years ago, in a sacred mountain beset with caves, a few dozen hermits, yogis and holy men spent their time meditating to attain realisation. There were so many caves that each of them lived in seclusion, intently focused on their goal. The plethora of meditators were from different paths, and some believed in such a thing as a soul, a self, and attempted to attain this experiential understanding. Others believed that there is no such thing as a self or soul, so they focused on the realisation of this nothingness.
One day, a newcomer entered the arena. Pretty soon the yogis were convinced that this man was literally mad, because he wouldn’t leave them alone. He would invade their seclusion and scream at them.
For the yogis who were meditating on realising self, he would scream, “You fool! There is no self!”
And for the others who were focused on realising no-self, he would roar, “You blithering idiot, of course there is a self!”
The yogis knew nothing about this man, but he carried a knife with an engraving of a Dragon, so, that’s how they began to refer to him. Pretty soon it became obvious that he wasn’t leaving, and neither was he going to leave them alone. So, they came to a conclusion. They would hold a grand debate by the lakeside, and if they won, then he would either have to shut up, or leave. If he won, they would convert to his view. And if he lost and still didn’t leave, they pretty much decided they would kill him.
The day arrived. At sunrise the debate began – and those who were debating for Self sat on one side, those arguing for No-Self on the other. What happened next they didn’t expect.
Dragon kept switching sides! When one side presented an irrefutable argument for their view, and the opposition was lost for words, Dragon would come to their rescue and offer a counter-argument. And when the other side could not respond, again, he would explain a greater logic still. In fact, he presented far clearer views of both Self and No-Self than the swarm of hermits combined. Yet, as the debate continued, he was like a wild tiger, rampant, running around like mad, chopping off people’s hair. Screaming. An infinite reservoir of energy.
Finally, sunset falls upon them, and the debate is nowhere near concluded. So, the hermits propose to Dragon to somehow end the debate. Dragon looks across and motions to the only female meditator in the group, and he says, “There is a Dakini present among us. Let her decide the fate of this debate.”
The Dakini also happened to be the only person that Dragon had never bothered since his arrival. She replies, “Let’s meditate on it.”
And the congregation fall into a deep Samadhi – a deep state of pure awareness.
An hour later, when the hermits came out of meditation, each of them had realised the truth of Dragon’s teaching. One by one, they returned to their respective caves. Dragon, he entered his cave, and never bothered them again.
The realisation was this: To have a view of Self, or a view of Non-Self, are both extreme states of illusion. The hermits who believed in Self/Soul, believed it to be an absolute truth. And the hermits who believed in Non-Self, also thought of it as absolute. But how can one ever realise the absolute when one is looking at it from an angle? From a point?
This is the lesson of Tantra:
“The Truth can only ever be told in the contradictions. Or in Silence.”
Because a contradiction negates both opposing views, and thereby, eradicates them. Objective truth can never be in a view. It is like a finger pointing at the moon, but not being the moon itself.
Zen works in the same way. When you truly believe something as true, and then one day you suddenly see that its opposite is equally true, the two beliefs cancel each other out – creating a moment of silence in the mind. It is this moment of silence that is truly precious.
Dragon, is my teacher. The story is from one of his past lives – A small taste of his method of teaching.
And so, we come to Self-Grasping.
We constantly have thoughts: “I am this… I am that… I do this… I do that… I love this… I hate that…” If we let these thoughts come and go, just watching them objectively, with equanimity, well, then we are not slaves to anything. But the moment we cling to a thought, because we love the way it feels, because we want to feel more of it, at that moment, we open the door of suffering.
And finally we arrive at the completion of explaining the essence of Buddhism. Only one thing is left. The human imprisonment is formed in this way, according to the Buddha:
First; there is the Form, the Object. For instance, consider a waterfall.
Second; the Arising of Consciousness. Each sense consciousness is completely different and unique to the other. To see the waterfall is nothing at all like hearing the waterfall. The consciousness of it is different. So, when you hear the waterfall, Hearing Consciousness arises.
Third; Perception. This is the calculation of the information you are receiving. Your perception imputes that the sound is that of a waterfall, and makes a judgement based on the information: “Ah, a waterfall. I love waterfalls!” or “Damn, a waterfall, I can’t stand that annoying noise!” Perception is always subjective and relative to the individual.
Fourth; Sensation. If perception concludes that you love the sound of a waterfall, then you will get a pleasurable sensation – soothing, erotic, energetic, however you see it. Or if you hate the sound, you get a painful or uncomfortable sensation.
Fifth; Reaction. There are only two types of reactions. Craving or Aversion. If the sensation is pleasurable, the mind instantly craves for more. It’s the natural reaction. If the sensation is painful, the mind reacts with aversion. And by this craving and aversion, the reactive human is formed.
Every time you don’t respond to the craving or the aversion, in that moment, you are free. It is the non-reactive moments that hold the essence of your will.
When you remove everything that is not you, what will remain will essentially be you.
Now, this explanation of the five aggregates, as it is called, is not a Buddhist one. It was known in Hinduism, and most probably, even before. Yet during the time the Buddha was alive, every great spiritual teacher explained that the way to free yourself from being a reactive being is by transcending the Form/Object. If you crave beautiful women, then change the way you view beautiful women. Etc etc.
This didn’t work. At this point, Hinduism had lost its core to the decay of time. Buddhism began when the Buddha made a rediscovery. The key to liberation is not in the object of attention – but in the sensation on your body. By being equanimous – which is – to watch both your pleasure and your pain with a deep, passionate objectivity, you free yourself.
Now, I have explained everything you need to know about how I understand Buddhism – laid the groundwork for what’s to come. Now I can resume my story of the rebirth of the Warrior Code.
I was never very good at sports in school, so, I took up debating. I wasn’t very good at that either, but at least I didn’t feel so useless because of a lack of co-ordination. In fact, from as far as I can remember I never really finished what I started. Whenever I was faced with immense adversity, I’d give up – or pause. I suppose this is true for many people to an extent, but I really took it to the extreme. As I grew, so did this tendency. It was the primary cause of my depression. Much later I discovered that it is an attribute of ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder – a neurological phenomena where the dopamine that is a trigger chemical for focused attention is blocked from accessing the frontal lobes of the brain. As much as this is a limitation, it is also a gift – because those with ADHD have an uncanny creative potential. At 17 I wrote a screenplay for a film without knowing how one should be written. I made a short film without learning how to make one. I was finally following through – finishing what I started. The fundamental reason why is because I loved what I was doing. And that love kept me at it. But even this love for film has a spiritual basis.
Thus, it was inevitable that I would return to film. While I was busy grounding myself with this new spirituality that had invaded my life with its unavoidable truth, I meet an old friend who was doing a course in film. He tells me that it was me who inspired him to pursue filmmaking as a career – and suddenly the old spark ignited. I remembered my passion for it, and I took up the same course, where I left off. We made a short film together. Then, everything went pear shaped.
“When the student is ready, the teacher arrives.”
I find it difficult to explain the conviction that made me pack my bags in the middle of the night and leave for England with all the money I had in the bank, which was just enough for a return ticket. Indeed, I had fears that beat like little pangs at times, saying, “What if you’re completely deluded? What if he’s a serial killer?” My response to that almost inherently was, “Oh well. Fuck it. Gotta find out once and for all what the hell this is all about.” I’d never trusted that whisper in the silence within me as much as I did then – it was the first time it truly transcended all other emotions. The way I saw it, either I was completely wrong, or right on the mark – and this was going to be the proof. I’d die wrong, and well, it’d have been a lesson. Or… well, the opposite held possibilities unfathomable.
I must stress here that I wasn’t going to a so called “teacher” to escape from my world. It wasn’t a journey to a saviour who’d remove all my worries and with a wave of his hand, enlighten me. Romantic notions, indeed, came up, but when they subsided, the motivation was something else entirely. I didn’t believe because I needed to believe, or had to believe cause I had no other choice. I just had to see for myself, if that makes any sense.
Switch flights in England for Manchester, turn up, get picked up by one of Dragon’s students, and about a minute before we enter the front door of the house, I decide to turn around and go back home. *laughing* I didn’t.
Now. Explaining the rest is going to be difficult. Let’s see…
The moment I walk in and look into my teachers eyes, there was a recognition that took place that I still don’t understand – because the very moment afterwards, my brain kicked in. There were a few things I was expecting. I was expecting to see some sort of holy man. A guy in robes, perhaps. Anything that conformed to the regular doctrine of religious principles. Anything remotely “spiritual” in a visual form. But no. Just a guy, with eyes that blazed with a calmness that made it difficult to look at them for too long. Much later I discovered that I always turned away from his eyes because when people look at him, they see themselves – as they are – which can be very frightening.
He introduced me to the members of the Coven. The High Priestess, whom he was about to marry that very night, and I was to conduct the ceremony. Each of the members were called by their spiritual names. As in, the name of one’s celestial self. Every one of us has a spiritual name. Our body, and the collection of our actions and our thoughts in one lifetime may be given a name. But, when we die, and we return to the group of friends we will always have – they will welcome us by our spiritual name. Because it is the one that doesn’t change. It is the name of your essence, if you will. You don’t necessarily have to believe any of this, nor do you have to agree. I believe it because of the events that proved it to be true in my life. My spiritual name is Vajra.
This was one of the first contradictions that boggled my perception of things, because though we were made aware of an Essence that is unique to each person, one of the first things my teacher tells me is that there is no soul. *laughing* Now I have an inkling of why.
Emptiness is Form. Form is Emptiness.
About ten minutes after I’d sat down, after a long haul halfway across the world – I was feeling invigorated, unable to think, yet overjoyed – I felt I was home. Then, the second big surprise happened. About ten minutes after I’d sat down, Dragon gets up and says, “Come on, let’s go get some hash.”
I thought I’d come for some serious meditation training. Drugs?
I was soon to find out what Tantra really was. There are no books written on Tantra that can teach you what it is. It is not philosophical, nor logical, nor intellectual. The first step of Tantra is to transcend the mind. This is why Tantra negates nothing. Compares nothing. It doesn’t have a mental rulebook of morality. This is also why Tantra is perhaps the most misunderstood, and its methods controversial. This is why when asked about Tantra the Dalai Lama commented, “If you can eat a piece of shit, and it tastes like caviar, then, you’re Tantric.” The Dalai Lama kindly opted out from such practices. *laughing*
As you’re reading this, you may have several thoughts running through your mind as to the credibility of a spirituality that does not conform to a sense of morality. But morality itself is man-made. It is like that insightful line from K-Pax where the doctor asks the visitor, “So, if you have no rules in your planet, how do you know the difference between right and wrong?”
And the Visitor replies as if it is the most obvious thing conceivable, “Everyone knows the difference between right and wrong.”
It is an inherent knowing. And yes, in Tantra, one can do the wrong thing. But the wrong thing is not judged by the action. But by the intent.
It is this area of “judgement” that is most interesting. Judgement must always be left to the heart, for the mind is like a mad monkey. But that is a difficult principle to follow. The mind works with rules – that may or may not apply to a situation. It is always subjective, and therefore, biased in judgement. When the mind is transcended, judgement takes on a whole new meaning. Now judgement is done according to the situation.
There is a story:
The Buddha was once walking by the riverside when he came by a merchant ship that was about to set sail. Suddenly, he grabbed an oar, walked up to a man in the ship, and clobbered him to death.
This is the situation. The parts that are not seen in the situation is this: The Buddha, upon having attained enlightenment, could see both the infinite present, the past, and the future. He could also see the karma of every sentient being in the Universe. When he came to the ship he saw that one man intended to kill all 500 merchants in the ship, and steal their cargo that very night. He also saw the best way to resolve the situation was to kill this thief, because in that act, the thief would be absolved of all negative karma from his past.
Firstly, we can’t do this. We can’t see these things. And so, we can never have a pure intent to kill a person. At the same time, we can question if anyone can see such things, but that would be to miss the point. Which is that there are several factors that contribute to any given situation. So, the mind is never a good judge of things.
It’s like if you ever had an experience in your life when you suddenly are compelled to do something – with no idea why, and no logical reason to it. In fact, it seems almost crazy – but once you’ve done it, everything falls into place. And then, you see the purpose of the action. But what was the reason for this action? What were you trusting?
The final thing to say here is that there is an immensely fine line between trusting in, what I simply refer to as “my heart”, and being deluded by imagination. And part of the spiritual journey is to be able to discern with clarity exactly what it is you are listening to. And exactly what it is that is worth listening to.
We went out and got some pot, came back, smoked. As much as I had tendencies to believe that there is a quick-fix way to enlightenment – a method of ecstasy, of orgasmically attaining liberation and great understanding – my delusions of this were sharply broken soon enough. Dragon’s lesson was to teach me about the nature of craving. Unlike most spiritual traditions which use methods of abstinence and purity – which also brings with it the danger of elitism (but so does all things) – Tantra would allow you to crave for something, and then show you the suffering that is inevitable because of it. It is the Warrior path, the way of the few, the Thunderbolt path, immensely difficult to tread.
Yet it is said, “The harder the path, the greater the Enlightenment.”
The lesson of being able to use anything at all in your path to realisation is that as long as you don’t crave it, you master it. If you can smoke hash to your heart’s content while it lasts, and as soon as it’s finished, and there is no possibility of getting any more, if you can as happily move on – then, you’re Tantric.
There is the offshoot to this also. As much as we learn to not crave the greatest ecstasy – to experience a deep, beautiful, truly breathtaking experience, and then, without clinging to it – thirsting for more – continue to feel content. In this same way, if we can be as objective about the opposite, dark, harsh pain, loneliness, great doubt, torture… then, we are Tantric.
For we neither cling to pleasure, nor have aversion towards pain.