M. Shaw on Tantric Sexuality, Spirituality and Passion

"Sexuality can be central to one's spiritual path, because sexuality is the paradigm of how one relates to life on every level. In other words, whatever problems you have with life, or with your body or with your emotions become magnified and symbolized in the realm of sexuality. And similarly as you work to enlighten your sexuality, you are enlightening your being on every level. And so I feel that sexuality is the key to spiritual growth in these times. ......

If people choose to become celibate they have to do so with the realization of the perils of that path. The perils are profound alienation from themselves and from life and from the opposite sex. People may become celibate for a short time in order to emphasize or explore some other dimension of their being, but I think when people take on celibacy as a lifetime path they should simply consider the over-arching philosophy which would render that celibacy desirable. Often such a philosophy is a life-denying, anti-matter and often an anti-female gynophobic philosophy because women create bodies. We create and nurture life. We often become the target of life-denying, ascetical philosophies. And so I think people should question what is being offered by such a philosophy, what would they be gaining? And just evaluate it."

-Miranda Shaw
Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism
Enlightening Times interview

Miranda Shaw, Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies, Harvard University, Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at the University of Richmond, author of Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism and Buddhist Goddesses of India

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1 comment:

Vikram Madan said...

Hi Dev,

Very very nice post! I agree with these views totally.

If the underlying philosophy of taking up celibacy is 'self denial' then it is dangerous, and it cannot be called celibacy because the person is NOT planning to become mentally neutral to sexual impulses.

Abstaining based on negative attitudes and self denial philosophies is nothing but masochism!

In November 2006 I had written a blog entry which has the same views. Check it out, I am sure you'll like it.

Celibate Sexuality Part II