Saturday 27th March 2021

Exploring Hidden Lands

Outer and Inner Pilgrimage in Dzogchen and Tantra

Ian Baker

In this seminar Ian Baker will speak about his explorations of Beyul Pemako, ‘the Hidden-Land Arrayed Like Lotuses’, in the eastern Himalayas, from the perspective of Dzogchen and Tantra, and the ways in which primal nature can support spiritual awakening and the unfolding of our innermost potential.

Beyul refer to secret or hidden dimensions of nature and paradisiacal realms in remote parts of Tibet and the Himalayas described by Padmasambhava in revealed scrolls. Beyul have outer, inner, secret and ultimately secret dimensions, corresponding to levels of initiation in the Buddhist Tantras.

Guided on his own journeys to hidden-lands by some of of the greatest Dzogchen masters of the 20th century, Ian will share their insights into how obstacles and adversities engage deeper levels of our being, and transform experience.

Discussion periods will further explore Dzogchen as an existential disposition that can enrich our own and others’ lives beyond the limits of formal practice.

The Tibetan tradition of hidden-lands will also be explored in terms of the ways in which we relate to our inner and outer environment, as well as contemporary approaches to spiritual practice, education, and inquiry in an increasingly insecure world.

Ian’s book, The Heart of the World: A Journey to Tibet’s Lost Paradise, 
is recommended reading for all seminar participants. 

To Listen To Recording

Ian Baker

Ian Baker is an anthropologist, author, and scholar of Tibetan Buddhism and Tantric yoga.

He was also recognised by National by National Geographic Society as one of seven ‘Explorers for the Millennium’ for his research on the Tibetan tradition of hidden-lands (beyul) in the world’s deepest gorge, the subject of his newly reissued book, The Heart of the World: A Journey to Tibet’s Lost Paradise, which explores the geographical and literary sources of the legend of Shangri-la in the remotest regions of the Himalayas.

In the final words of his book, The Heart of the World: A Journey to Tibet’s Lost Paradise, introduced by H.H. the Dalai Lama, Ian Baker writes:

“We feed on mystery, whether the enticements of unknown lands
or a masked dancer revealed more perfectly by what she hides.

The scrolls describing the beyul lead us similarly into wonder,
for they are accounts of processes of the mind
as much as in the external world.

There is no real separation or boundary
between our selves and the world around us,
and an ever-present wildness and radiance
lies at the heart of our tamest vistas.”

“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].

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