We hope you enjoy this soundbite from Doug ‘Qapel’ Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei on how Buddhism worked with the shadow before modern psychology existed to name this aspect of our psyche.
And a note of clarification: In the talk, you’ll hear Qapel and Sensei reference Passionate Enlightenment, which is a book by Miranda Shaw on the history of women in Tantric Buddhism.
Today’s bonus recording covers ideas that Qapel and Sensei explore in detail in their bestselling book, Wasteland to Pureland: Reflections on the Path to Awakening. The third section of the book is entitled ‘Crazy Wisdom’ and covers a wide variety of topics, including The Shadow, Tantra, Money, Sex & Power. Podcast listeners can download a free chapter from this section of the book by visiting planetdharma.com/crazywisdom.
Chris: Welcome to this Dharma if you Dare bonus episode. We hope you enjoy this Soundbite from Doug Qapel Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat Sensei on how Buddhism worked with the shadow before modern psychology existed, to name this aspect of our psyche. And a note of clarification, in the talk you’ll hear them reference passionate enlightenment. This is a book by Miranda Shaw on the history of women in tantric Buddhism.
Student: Yeah. Before we had psychology, for example, 500 years ago, how did practitioners clear or understand the shadow with regard to money, sex, and power?
Qapel: They didn’t. There was no psychology. So let’s be clear, awakening is not a static process. The fundamental aspect of awakening is that you see through the illusion of the self. Now every generation gets richer, and it gets fuller. So the awakening itself doesn’t change but it gets more full. So think about it as a balloon.
So before psychology and all this stuff, the balloon of awakening was like this. Now psychology comes in and changes the game. Quantum physics changes the game, right? Science changes the game, the arts, change the game, changes social-cultural social patterns, and changes the game. And psychology changes the game and in the next generation, it will change the game again, awakening balloons, But its essence doesn’t change. Does that answer your question?
Student: What I mean is how did they work with the lower three chakras before we had psychology, through ritual or meditation only?
Sensei: Well, and through things like renunciation or through its opposite. So the Buddha had a harem and then gave up sex.
Sensei: Supposedly in his lifetime. That’s, that’s how the story goes. And he had a fortune, he had a kingdom and he gave all of that up. So that’s definitely working with those three chakras and you know, people were begging him to stay and everything.
So that’s the renunciation path. And then if you look at the stories of the Vajrayana practitioners, especially the Maha cities Oh, they’re just flying in the face of the status quo at that time. So, you know, mothers walking out on their husbands and Children for example, or I think that was just one story. There are just two female Maha cities I think in the classic 87.
Qapel: In the classic. But as we go back to passionate enlightenment, we’re all these tantric male gurus that you hear about, in the 82, Maha cities all had female guru concerts. So these were people breaking all the traditions and all the cultural taboos of their society. Yes, that’s another reason.
Sensei: That’s a great book because she found original texts that had not yet been translated and that’s where some of the stories of these women who are wisdom holders came from. So a lot of it’s about who has the text who wrote the text, who’s translating the text. Another form of power.
Qapel: You also have to remember that our Western culture is very much about power and control Eastern culture doesn’t have the same orientation. Eastern cultures. Great constrictions on its people are about agreeing with the social malu, fitting into the social fabric, right? They don’t have the same issues about sex and money necessarily, but they do have it about fitting into the social fabric. So a lot of the Buddhist and tantric and Hindu practitioners were breaking the sadhus in Hindu culture, right? We’re breaking the fabric of their cultural paradigm. They did it by going outside.
Sensei: So that would be, for example having sex with somebody from a lower caste than you. That’s another common theme. Or having a teacher from a lower caste, social caste, than you.
Qapel: Yes, there’s still a cult. If you want to call it that in India, which is non-monogamous, they don’t marry. They get together occasionally, they wander around. They are nomadic, they don’t get married, they take the kids, and raise the kids cooperatively. They don’t fit into the fabric of the Hindu framework of values and culture in society. So awakening isn’t about breaking the rules of your society, awakening is about transcending the rules of your society, and in some ways, it makes you an outcast, but from a skill and means point of view, right? You have to be in the world, but not of it, you have to know how to give unto caesar, what is caesar’s, and still do what you need to do to break free.
Sensei: So, I think the short answer is these are ways that they worked with those three chakras are all the issues with three chakras. So self-identity, Power and control, sexuality, and security. I think the big differences are that because there wasn’t psychology, they didn’t spend a lot of time talking about it and processing it or narrating it. We spent a lot of time narrating our processes. Which can be good and it can be another kind of Eddie that we get lost in, depending on how we use it.
Qapel: I can’t say for sure, but I think the swollen balloon if you want to call it that in the coming millennium in the Aquarian Age, is going to be a large part of how we organize around human relations: gender, careers, etcetera. So, the Piscean Age identified successes as kind of like hierarchical colon fixed and relationships are nuclear and all that kind of stuff. I think the swollen balloon in the future is going to be undefined human relationships and undefined identities based on what you do.
Sensei: Not so fixed,
Qapel: Not so fixed. It’s gonna blow that out.
Chris: We hope you enjoyed today’s sound bite. Today’s bonus recording covers ideas that Doug and Catherine explore in detail in their best-selling book Wasteland to Pure Land. The third section of the book is titled “Crazy Wisdom” and covers a wide variety of topics, including the shadow tantra and Money, Sex, and Power. Podcast listeners can download a free chapter from this section of the book by visiting Planetdharma.com/crazy wisdom.