Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Yoga of Doctor Orient

This is the first of what will probably be a number of posts about Owen Orient, the main character of a series of occult novels written by Frank Lauria, starting in 1970’s Doctor Orient.  Over the course of eight books (or at least the 5 ½ that I’ve read so far) Orient struggles against a variety of supernatural evils, various gangsters, and the Central Intelligence Agency, aka Computer Integrated Assassins.  The tools at his disposal are wide and varied- the ability to invoke angels; telepathy; and both kundalini and tantric yoga.  It’s that last part that first caught my interest, because there aren’t a lot of books with leads who use yoga to fight evil.

Like The Shadow, The Green Lama, Doctor Strange, and Batman, Owen Orient spent a number of years in Tibet learning esoteric arts under the tutelage of a wise master in the mountains.  This is certainly where he learned his yoga, and perhaps telepathy as well.  This teacher was Ku, leader of the Nine Unknown Men who are the secret masters of the League of Serene Thought.  We don’t get a lot of information about Ku, other than when he sent his student Owen back into the world he left him with a gift- a cigarette lighter with a mandala to help Owen focus.  Turns out Himalayan mystics like to smoke (more on that later).

Orient's 1920 Rolls Royce; not everyone gets the Batmobile
At first glance Owen Orient is a model of yogic abstemiousness.  He eats a strict vegetarian diet, practices asana and meditation daily.  In his own way Orient has committed to bhakti yoga, the yoga of service, by working to bring universal harmony to the world by spreading the art of telepathy.  On the other hand, Orient pokes around the edges of this puritanical lifestyle in a way that is distinctly tantric.  He may refrain from meat, but he does occasionally drink.  Orient smokes hand rolled cigarettes that are usually tobacco, but sometimes have a certain green herb scent to them.  He’s uncommonly attached to his restored 1920 Rolls Royce Ghost limousine.  Orient follows the tantric version of brahmacharya, following a path of subtle restraint in sexual relationships rather than chastity; that is, unless he has lost his senses inside a tantric dakini (books #3 & #4) or is snorting back rails of cocaine while locked naked in a bedroom with his boss’s wife for a weekend (book #5).  In one encounter Orient mentally weighs his commitment to ahimsa against the consequences of inaction, just before smashing someone’s trachea with a rusty pipe (book #6).  If tantra means straying from the classical path and embracing a non-dualistic worldview, then Owen Orient is quite the tantric yogi.

The two worlds of Doctor Orient- sometimes you meditate, sometimes you do cocaine off a semi-naked woman
Being a tantric yogi myself, I’m fascinated by what this outlook and lifestyle in the hero of an occult detective action series. What really catches me about Orient’s outlook is how closely it is informed by the same yoga as me in some ways, yet how widely it strays from my own in others.  People ask all the time what I get out of yoga- flexibility, nice ass, a better golf game, killer moves in the sack.  Sure, I have all of those, but that’s not the main lesson I’ve taken away from the last six years of yoga practice.  What I have learned from tantra yoga is santosha, or radical acceptance, and non-attachment to goals.  For me that means accepting I cannot on my own make the world a better place.  To think that is hubris.  What I can do is through my own practice help the best parts of me emerge, and hope that version of me will be reflected in the people I encounter every day- at least until it’s time for me to go full Vanaprastha and retire to a cabin in the forest.

Owen Orient, on the other hand, has never fully grasped this message.  He sincerely believes that being able to share his practices of telepathy and esoteric yoga will make the world a better place.  In pursuing this goal Orient loses friends, loses fortunes, sleeps with the wrong women, is nearly killed numerous times, has his heart broken and his house burned down, and ultimately becomes hunted by the CIA.  Attachment to goals is Orient every day, and he suffers for it continuously.  

More on Doctor Orient in the future.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Fallout 4 Pacifist Run

Another Pacifist Run for another Fallout game?  Heck, I haven't even finished New Vegas yet...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Kurukulla; or How to Turn Yourself Into a Sex-Crazed Buddhist Love Machine

Although I've know for a long time that Buddhism built on and follow Hinduism, I never thought about the idea that there are gods/saints in Buddhism as there are in Hinduism, or that they the two pantheons may share concepts similar to the way that the Greeks and Romans did.  My introduction to this concepts was through Steve Perry's novel Champion of the Dead and the Buddhist love goddess Kurukulla. 

You're going to want to enlarge this to find your personal connection with God

(Almost all of the text was pulled almost entirely from Hong gui Huan’s Magick Pagoda).
NAME: Kurukulla “Of the Family of Harsh Sound,” (pronounced ku ru ku le,) Also Ri J├Ędma “Joyous Manifestation” (pronounced rig byed ma) red joyous manifestation, Wang-gi Lhamo (pronounced dBang gi lha mo), Rig Che ma, One of the Action Family, Goddess of Power. Kuru means “harsh sound,” Kulla means “family.” Sometimes spelled Kurukulle.

AREA OF INFLUENCE / CONTROL: The generation of energy and power, the transformation of obsessive craving, according to folk custom the one to call on by unhappy lovers for assistance. The goddess who transforms dualistic desire into non-dual desire through her unbridled thunderbolt of lust, who influences all beings and enchants them through her bewitching power of love and desire.

USUAL IMAGE: An energetic dancing voluptuous female figure said to be 16 years of age, (because sixteen is the ideal number that signifies perfection, four times four.), She is fiery red, has one beautiful face (embodying non-dual wisdom beyond conventional distinctions of good and evil), her face is poised between fierce and peaceful, has three eyes, and dark yellow hair driven upward by her own intense internal power. 

Kurukulla has four arms and hands, the top two of which hold a bow and arrow, with ones underneath holding a hook in the right and a lasso in the left, all are made out of red utpala flowers which are a type of lotus that stands as a symbol of purity in Tibet because of the way it grows out of mud unsullied these tools are meant as implements of conquest. 

She wears a tiger skin skirt, and the five-skull crown which is usually associated with wrathful awareness, this however complimented with flower ornaments rather than human bone ornaments. 

She stands with her left leg pressing on a red corpse, (the corpse of egoism), and her right leg raised in dance position. 

She has a sun disc and lotus seat, and is surrounded by a circle of flames of immaculate consciousness studded with wishing jewels. 

Some images show her wearing a necklace of fifty human heads dripping blood as a symbol that she vanquishes the fifty negative emotions. 

SYMBOLS: The color red (energy), flower bow and arrow (which fire thoughts of desire in the minds of others), utpala flowers (purity), Hook (which attracts and summons others into her presence) & Lasso or Noose (with which she binds those summoned to her will). 

DETAILS:  Kurukulla is, in Tibetan Buddhism, a yidam, or that is a special deity one works with in meditation as a means towards recognizing one’s own awakened nature and to bind one’s mind by oath to a deity who embodies an enlightened mind. 

She is red to show her fierce energy, some mistakenly equate with her with Kali because of this, but her ferocity is tempered with calm, also her bow and arrow are made of flowers to shows that although the image of the bow’s tension is there and the arrow’s menace, with Kurukulla they simply relax into the spontaneous delight of self-accomplished non-dual pleasure.

While the above is as about as enlightened sounding as you can get, most people who call on Kurukulla by repeating her mantra do so in the hopes that a chosen and perhaps reluctant object of desire will become inflamed by love and/or simply lust…. Okay, mostly lust really.

As I’m sure you are curious what this mantra sounds like (purely for academic reasons to be sure.) it goes like this:

Om Kurukulle Hrih Svaha 

Or that is to sound it out


Use with caution, your results may vary. 

And as a further admonition it should be noted that many different forms of Buddhist have different ideas on Kurukulle and are just as straitlaced and stuffy about this sort of thing as your average Baptist minister, Rabbi or Catholic priest, and advise that if you want to make this work you have to say this mantra exactly one million times in one long sitting while for the first 500,000 you visualize the object of your affection seated in front of you powerless to resist your charms, and watch as he or she grows older in front of you and suffers all the pangs and arrows of life becoming ill and then dies, then for the second 500,000, ask yourself what it would be like if you devoted all this energy to enlightenment for the welfare of all sentient beings, of whom your beloved is also included. 

I however personally doubt the thousands of common folk who have used the above manta followed that advice to the letter and cut short the more than 28 hours of non-stop chanting the above would take or it would not have become so popular.

I mean what will those daffy prudes do to calm the general populace down next?

Me I would suggest that if you absolutely feel the need to try this get yourself some red flowers and candles and give it a good 16 minutes, as that seems to be a number linked to Kurukulla.

But what would I know? According to one person (who claims to be channeling Kurukulle herself) everything said by a man about her is a lie, and while I am doing my best to type this using only the half of me that has X chromosomes I figure its was only fair of me to tell you that.


Monday, February 2, 2015

From Chi to Cyber: The Journey of the Lin Kuei in Mortal Kombat

Sometimes you play video games for the great writing.  Knights of the Old Republic, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Planescape: Torment are a few that come to mind, and certainly there are others (Bioshock, Dishonored) that I haven’t played yet but reputedly have great writing.  Then there’s Mortal Kombat.  I’m not sure how many people play Mortal Kombat for the writing, but I admit that I’m hooked on one of the subplots in 2011’s Mortal Kombat.

There are a variety of factions kompeting in the kombat (forgive me the many k’s), like the Blood Dragon crime syndicate, Shaolin monks, and ninja clans.  Among the factions is the Lin Kuei, a cult of assassins that turns orphans into devout killers.  What makes the Lin Kuei particularly interesting is their decision to move past the spiritual practices of chi and prana and begin the adoption of technology in their art.

By adoption of technology, we aren’t talking guns and knives.  No, the Lin Kuei go all out, hacking off the lower body of their assassins and building armored cyborg bodies with lasers and rocket launchers around what remains of their killers.

Some characters enter the process willingly, others are dragged kicking and screaming to the blades.  All along the doubters worry that having their bodies cut apart will cut apart their spirit, and disconnect them from perfection.

As a yogi and as a bionic man, this notion disturbs me.  Prana, the yogic counterpart of Chi, rides the breath, and flows through all the limbs of the body.  When connected to your prana, the yogi can move with complete integration of the body, and ultimately with world.  As that connection takes our awareness out, it also draws our awareness inward.  Ultimately we see that the core within ourselves is the same in everyone we see, and at the center of us all is unity with a piece of perfection.

(This is why yoga people seem so fucking relaxed all the time)

So while I practice an art of peace, and the Lin Kuei practice an art of war, it is the same kind of energy that we tap into as we move.  Once you’ve touched it, cutting someone off from that energy is, frankly, horrible.  But how much machine does it take to cut you off from perfection?

How many times have I heard the first harrowing description of Darth Vader?  “He’s more machine now than man, twisted and evil.”
This guy lost his moral center even when he still had 95% of his original parts.

With that one sentence pop culture, even in the form of a movie deeply entrenched in eastern philosophy, teaches the world that the bionic and the spiritual are diametrically opposed, an idea that has spread through film and television at pace as fast as the spread of artificial organs and limbs through our bodies.  I am happy to report that this notion is, of course, wrong.

A few significant parts of my heart are artificial, made of Dacron and titanium.  Despite the very center of my being partially artificial and ticking like a clock, I am fully human, fully functional, and full of perfection.  My artificial heart valve may be loud, but it also keeps me focused and balanced.  Take that, Obi-Wan!

Ultimately that is the story of the Lin Kuei in Mortal Kombat as well.  The process of making them cyborgs does cut them off from themselves and their emotions, but it is a deliberate action.  In time one of the assassin-heroes, Sub-Zero, defeats the programming that cut him off from himself and turned him into a cold(er) killer, and returned to being the hero he strives to be.