8/31 Advanced Training: Tibetan Buddhism and Tantra

Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and Tantra — “Yoga of the Vajra Body”

Tibetan Buddhists have long regarded the esoteric Tantric teachings of the “Vajra Vehicle” as containing the Buddha’s most advanced methods for body-mind realization based upon His liberative insights into the ultimate ground reality…a reality often described as “vajra”, meaning diamond-like, unbreakable, supremely powerful, or divine, and equated with “bliss-freedom-indivisible” or “being-awareness-bliss” (sat-cit-ānanda). Ritual and meditation are brought together for the purpose of liberating the ordinary body-mind complex from ego-centric ignorance. In late Indian Buddhism and Tibet, this path has been understood to be ultimately necessary for anyone hoping to become fully enlightened. The yogic technologies of the more advanced stages of the Esoteric path and thus considered precious, extraordinarily powerful, and like all super-powerful tools, potentially dangerous if incorrectly understood and implemented. This is the reason for the enormous emphasis on reliance on a guru (master) in Tantric practice systems, generally.

Unlike closely related Buddhist and Hindu yoga systems which seek to extract the practitioner from defiled and afflictive existence in Samsara, Tantric Yoga practices take up the raw experiences of human embodiment as the very basis for transformation. One is taught to seek the experience of the infinite universe within one’s very own body while still maintaining effortless continuity of wisdom and compassion to help other beings also discover their own liberating oneness. On the Tantric path, the practitioner learns to coordinate ritual media (mantra, mudra, and mandala) with yogic interventions of asana (posture), pranayama (wind-energy control), and pratyahara (retraction). As ritual virtuosity is combined with the insight born out of increasing meditative stabilization, a practitioner’s yogic manipulations of the wind-energies (prāṇa) of the subtle body-mind begin to reshape reality itself. Ultimately, like the Buddha himself, one is said to see THIS VERY PLACE as a divine realm of awakening.

This section of the workshop serves as an introduction to the central concepts and philosophies of Indic Tantra that have been most influential for the practice of yoga as we know it today. The lecture will provide students with an orientation to key terms and viewpoints, and it will especially address the influence of Tantric traditions — both Buddhist and Hindu — on supposedly non-Tantric, contemporary yoga. Basic meditation instruction will accompany the lecture; in spite of limited time, students will emerge from this class with a far richer understanding of their own personal practice, Tantric or not.

When: August 31 (Monday) 12:45 ~ 18:00
Lecturer: John Campbell
Fee: Bridge: 12,000 yen; Trainee: 11,000 yen
Venue: Be Yoga Japan, 4F ORE Hiroo Building, 5-10-26 Minami-azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo (see Google Maps)
Language: English (with Japanese Interpreter)
Interpreter:  Haruka Takahashi


John Campbell

John Campbell, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia and the Founder of the Contemplative Sciences Center (uvacontemplation.org), of which he is currently the Coordinating Director of Yoga Programs. He is a longtime practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism and has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga for over twenty years, seventeen of which were under the direct guidance of Shri K. Pattabhi Jois. In 2003 he was honored to become one the few Certified teachers of Ashtanga Yoga worldwide. He lives with his wife and three children in Charlottesville, VA.


2014-Haruka Takahashi
Haruka was first introduced to bodywork at an osteopathy session. She started yoga practice by herself, and cultivated it farther through 200h TTC after the earthquake. Having learned translation from an honorable translator, she started yoga interpretation in 2012. She sees translation as a way of yoga practice and loves to serve as an energy channel between a teacher/author and a class/reader.
Yoga Alliance 200h TTC
ITM Thai Yoga Bodywork Level 4
Leza Lowitz Restorative Yoga 20h TTC


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