The Mythology

//The Mythology

Women Of The Nyingma Tradition

The Nyingma school of Vajrayana Buddhism believes that women can become fully realised masters. This image was posted on International Women's Day to celebrate some of the female Nyingma teachers, often called dakini or khandroma.

Bhutan: Painted Phalli

Early in Paradise, the protagonist Akash finds himself living in Bhutan. This beautiful country is extraordinary on many levels. It is the last bastion of the original teachings of Padmasambhava - the Nyingma lineage - which has a very frank approach to sexuality. Right throughout Bhutan you will find phalli painted on the sides of buildings. They are there to ward off evil, encourage fertility, but they can also be read literally as a symbol of sex. Here are just a few examples:

Dakini

The background mythology of Paradise is Tantric Buddhism. One key figure is that of the dakini (khandroma or sky-dancer). She is nearly always depicted naked to signal her non-attachment to the world. 

The Gladiatrix

The more I find out about the Roman empire the more I'm impressed. Yes, it was brutal and there are things for which it is rightly condemned (especially infanticide and its treatment of children). Yet in many areas it was quite remarkable. Eva Cantarella, the eminent professor of ancient Greek and Roman law declared that Roman women of the 1st century ACE achieved a level of autonomy not seen until recent history. Under Christianity all of the freedoms were reversed. This is not to say that Roman women weren't subjugated, just that they were given more opportunities than later [...]

The Fall: The Most Insidious Myth Of All

In a previous post (Eros and Psyche) I talked about the conflict between the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian worldviews and that Western civilization is a schizophrenic mix of both. These worldviews have generated conflicting mythologies that have had an enormous impact on art and literature. The most appalling, sinister and damaging of all the myths is the Judeo-Christian myth of the Fall. We know that it never happened. Even the most devout Christian accepts that it is a metaphor. But what they still cling onto is the insane notion that it has an important metaphorical meaning. The reality is that it [...]

Eros And Psyche

Two great mythologies inform Western culture: the Greco-Roman and the Judeo-Christian. Greek and Roman myths have always been a rich subject for Western artists. However they often clash with Judeo-Christian values. One of the results has been a gradual sanitizing of the original Greek meaning. The myth of Eros and Psyche gives us two essential Western concepts. The word eros gives us erotic and psyche - psychology, psychiatry. The story of Eros and Psyche is the story of passion. Psyche is the most beautiful mortal on earth and Aphrodite becomes jealous of the adulation she receives. She orders her son [...]