The Vajra Path

Comparative & Cross-Cultural Perspectives On The Contemporary Evolution Of Tantric Buddhism

Module I: From Yoga Sutras To Yoga Tantras

Module II: Noetic Heat

Module III: Skillful Union

Module IV: Nonlocal Embodiment & Entangled Light

Module V: Dreamwork

Module VI: Death, Dying, and Liminality

From: February 2023
To: November 2023

Dr Ian Baker

Cultural Anthropologist & Explorer

The Vajra Path:

Comparative & Cross-Cultural Perspectives
On The Contemporary Evolution Of Tantric Buddhism

Dr. Ian Baker
Cultural Anthropologist & Explorer

This is a 6 part course presented by the cultural anthropologist & explorer, Dr Ian Baker, scheduled every 2 months during 2023.

Each Module is a stand-alone seminar though the squence of 6 seminars is constructed by Dr Baker as an integrated one year’s course.

This course presents contemporary perspectives on esoteric Buddhist practices that developed at the crossroads of multiple religious and yogic traditions.

Using the template of ‘Six Yogas in Nine Months,’ we will unpack the history and evolution of the so-called tantric ‘completion stage’ (nispannakrama), in the context of a tradition arguably in radical transformation.

After examining the roots of Vajrayāna Buddhism, we will explore alternative perspectives on human embodiment and their expression within yogic practices of ‘ascetic heat’ (Wtapas) and somatic incandescence (tummo).

How are these qualities cultivated and what are the results? What light can contemporary science shed on historical conceptions of the ‘vajra body’ as a locus of transformative experience?

From Noetic Fire, the course will progress through additional tantric completion stage yogas – nonlocal embodiment (Illusory Body), partnered union (Karmamudrā), clear light, dreamwork, and lucid death (Powa and Bardo Yoga) – drawing on contemporary developments in quantum science, aesthetic theory, and related disciplines, towards a renewed understanding of one of the most comprehensive systems of human transformation.

The course will consist of 90-minute presentations followed by 60 minutes of interactive discussion, offered every two months beginning on February 25, 2003, following Tibetan New Year celebrations, and concluding on November 18, 2023.

Module 1: From Yoga Sutras to Yoga Tantras

Date: 25 February 2023
4.00 – 7.00pm UK | 8 – 11.00am Pacific 

Check you local Time Zone by CLICKING HERE

On-Line Seminar

An exploration of the history and early development of Vajrayāna Buddhism, and the emergence of the Six Yoga doctrine. Where did the practices come from and where are they going now?


Module 2: Noetic Heat

Date: 22 April 2023
4.00 – 7.00pm UK | 8 – 11.00am Pacific

On-Line & (potentially In-Person/Hybrid, London UK)

A cross-cultural and interdisciplinary exploration of practices of ‘inner fire’ and their interface with polyvagal theory and psychoneuroendocrinology.


Module 3: Skillful Union

Date: 17 June 2022
4.00 – 7.00pm UK | 8 – 11.00am Pacific

On-Line

Drawing, in part, on contemporary advances in psychology and neuroscience, an exploration of the transformative power of intimate, partnered yoga, in the context of tantric Buddhist texts and teachings on co-emergent fire and nectar.


Module 4: Nonlocal Embodiment & Entangled Light

Date: 22 July 2023
4.00 – 7.00pm UK | 8 – 11.00am Pacific

On-Line

An examination of the tantric doctrines of Illusory Body (māyākāyāYour) and Clear Light (prabhasvara) in light of neuroscience, quantum mechanics, and contemporary practice.


Module 5: Dreamwork

Date: 16 September 2023
4.00 – 7.00pm UK | 8 – 11.00am Pacific

On-Line

Historical and contemporary perspectives on the practice of Dream Yoga (svapnadarśana ), or ‘is anything real?’


Module 6: Death, Dying, and Liminality

Date: 18 November 2023
4.00 – 7.00pm UK | 8 – 11.00am Pacific

On-Line

An exploration and revaluation of traditional Buddhist teachings on transitional states and the death process, or ‘why does love feel like dying?’


CCN operates a policy of sliding scale charges for its courses – in order that all may benefit from the courses available. Please contact Elizabeth if you require support or a full bursary for this course:

retreatsccn@gmail.com

Ian Baker

ABOUT THE TEACHER

Ian Baker, Ph.d, is an anthropologist and cultural historian with advanced degrees from the University of Oxford and the University of Strathclyde, in the United Kingdom. He was additionally honored by National Geographic Society as one of seven ‘Explorers for the Millennium’ for his field research in Beyul Pemakö, the ‘hidden land arrayed like lotuses’ in Tibet’s Tsangpo Gorge region.

He is the author of seven critically acclaimed books on Himalayan and Tibetan cultural history, environment, art, and medicine including Tibetan Yoga: Principles and Practices – The Heart of the World: A Journey to the Last Secret Place – Celestial Gallery, The Tibetan of Art of Healing – and The Dalai Lama’s Secret Temple: Tantric Wall Paintings from Tibet – a collaborative work with His Holiness the Dalai Lama that illuminates Tibetan ‘Great Perfection’ (Dzogchen) meditation practices.

He has also contributed chapters to academic publications in the fields of yoga and physical culture in Vajrayāna Buddhism (E.g.,Yoga in Transformation: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, Vienna University Press, 2018), Himalayan sacred geography (E.g., Hidden Lands in Himalayan Myth and History: Transformations of sbas yul through Time, Brill 2020), and entheogenic substance use in Buddhist Tantra (E.g., Expanding Mindscapes: A Global History of Psychedelics, MIT Press, forthcoming 2023).

He studied with some of the greatest luminaries of Tibetan Buddhism, including Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche, Dudjom Jigdral Dorje Rinpoche, and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and undertook prolonged meditation retreats in Himalayan caves.

He is the co-founder, with Dr. Nida Chenagtsang, of The Vajra Path, a platform dedicated to presenting Vajrayāna Buddhism in the contemporary world.

“Our minds have no real or absolute boundaries; on the contrary, we are part of an infinite field of intelligence that extends beyond space and time into realities we have yet to comprehend. The beyul and their dakini emissaries are traces of the original world, inviting us to open to the abiding mystery at the heart of all experience, the inseparability that infuses every action, thought and intention.”

[Epilogue: The Veils of Paradise, footnote 6].