The Flaming Thunderbolt of Wisdom: A Penis Over Every Doorway. ~ Simon Hollington

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Sex is yoga, yoga is sex.

Photo credit: Bhutan National Tourism

So you think these modern yoga dudes are philanders, let me tell you about Drukpa Kunley, the greatest of Bhutanese Buddhist masters, whose sexual exploits inspired a whole nation to put an erect penis over every doorway, jutting out from under the eaves like some sort of phallic welcome mat.

Although he was Tibetan, in Bhutan, Kunley (1455-1570) is regarded by Bhutanese as the greatest of all Buddhist lineage masters. His means of teaching was sexual intercourse, drunken irreverence and ribald poetry.

How about this for a poetic song: “It would seem from your legs and muscular thighs that your pelvic thrust is particularly efficient, let’s see how you perform?” Drupka Kunley sang this to a woman in the high mountains. His motives – if you can call them that – were liberation from the ego through the thunderbolt of wisdom. Perhaps best not to try that one on your girlfriend until you’ve evolved a bit more.

When Drukpa Kunley turned up in town he would stand in the village square and say something along like this:

I have come without prejudice to help you, where can I find the best booze and most beautiful women.

Which would lead to a lot of muttering among the locals, along the lines, is he is man of God or a mad man?  Kunley was like Monet, who said in an angry repost to a journalist: “I paint with my prick.”

Crazy wisdom adepts are phenomena in the Himalayan regions.

They are duty bound to upset the establishment, with their prescribed rights and wrongs, sleeping at odd hours, partying, pulling apart established routines, dressing up, walking around nude perhaps-all of this is designed to bust the bubble of carefully constructed institutionalized behaviour and thought, projecting us out of ego-strapped self-limitation.

From the unwitting student’s view point it is both frightening and liberating, because once you let go of all preconceptions, you wonder what it was you were holding on to, letting go is a free-falling experience with without end: tantalizingly some call this surrender-bliss.

In the tradition of Divine Madman, Kunley was part of a tantric lineage established by the master Tilopa, in the 9th century. At odds with logic, morality, and order, and particular the hierarchical organised religions, which predominated, Kunley was a master of Mahamudra and Dzoken, a Buddhist lineage which in the end he transcended to reach a universal understanding.

These enlightened men and women lived and live in the eye of the hurricane, the spontaneous vortex where no filters of any kind exist. There is method in this madness: “Outwardly,” Kunley said, “I live for my pleasure and inwardly I do everything in the right moment. Outwardly I am a ragged beggar and inwardly a blissful Buddha.”

Photo credit: The Divine Madman

The crazy adepts or Divine Madman are still to be found in the foothills of the Himalayas, and elsewhere, there mission is to bring realisation to those who ask to enlightenment in this life time – and that requires a radical and technical biological approach.

Kunley used sex as a catalyst for change, for union, for self discovery, for hormonal enlivenment, creating the biological journey to ultimate connection. Sex and yoga are inseparable because it is the art of sex that raises consciousness and creates union.

What is lost to us in modern yoga is the whole practise and with that comes the sensuality of sex as opposed to the neediness, or obsessive behaviour we see in western society, whereby the fixation is on the physical practise to the point of narcissism, leading to behaviour patterns that are vulnerable.

We have forgotten that sex is the unifying principle of ying and yang in the quest for wholeness. This is strange because sex is everywhere – in the movies, in advertising, yes, and in modern yoga practise, you name it–and yet we do not understand or know how to actually enter this kingdom of heaven to find the loving completion of wholeness.  We still feel guilty and confused about sex and pursue it in tactical military manner, performing the act in a mechanistic way. Men, it seems, need only to finish–but withhold to allow women to relax only for them to release and collapse in heap for a while until the urgency of arises again. It seems more like a serious business born of engineering than spontaneous joy.

And yet it is an art and a self discipline (yoga) that can be acquired over time, with the right instruction–until the urgency metamorphoses.

Yoga should remove the western guilt, the male dominance, the giggling secretiveness, through a deepening biochemical understanding and the ability to retain your orgasm. Of course many eastern teachers have fallen-fowl of the western titillation–and that is always going to be the case, to judge this as bad or good is just a judgement. Women also seek the power of transmutation, consciously or subconsciously, just as much as those who are filled with the lust of giving.

There is nothing wrong with lust, it has its place–but at least give yourself the knowledge of the potential instead of the unconscious search, which you can see reflected on the faces of the poor humping chumps on line–it’s like they are in pain, looking for something they know they cannot hope to find. Let’s understand the full story of yoga, surely it is time to mature our understanding of the whole human system, physically, emotionally, biochemically, that is the science of yoga in its ancient pre-religious form.

Kunley’s lovers often became Dakinis: a term much misunderstood by neo-tantric westerners. These were women who trained themselves and equally men in the practises required to retain orgasm to heal and evolve through sexual hormones taken from the man and woman, once the penis has learnt to inhale. This is a process that sounds fantastic to our ears but is still practised today by those who have discovered the great secrets of semen/smegma exchange and the full potential of the limitless human body, learning to swap bodies in yabyum, the man becoming the woman, in fact, the true union of yoga.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Our reduced view of sex is filtered through two thousand years of religious suppression. The  religious elite wanted us to feel guilty about sex because they knew that it had the powerful potential (kundalini – growth hormone) of all for humans – to be healthy and free, with the ideal of eternal bliss in unity with the earth. Can you imagine such a notion in organised religion? God no.

The potential is there to evolve through the generations, or by inverting your orgasm to evolve in this life. Who in their right mind would agree to allow us peasants to experience that!  The odd thing is, the Christian priesthood lost the art themselves – hence the sexual confusion we see today among the clergy: you end up only with the notion of celibacy wrapped in morality, where else can the retained power go except to distortion.

Kunley is venerated throughout the Himalayers for his poetry which so encapsulates his earthy wisdom, and is the subject of a marvellous book, The Divine Madman by Keith Dowman and Sonam Paljor, translated from the Tibetan texts, and accepted by scholars as an accurate report of Kunley’s adventures.

When Drukpa Kunley was asked to make a gold offering for a particularly important Lama he took out his testicles and offered them instead. On another occasion instead of venerating an important Stupa, he turned to worship a beautiful girl standing watching saying, “she has the nature of mother wisdom.”  Another time he tied a sacred thread around his penis, and urinated on an ancient scroll. So forget your preconceived ideas of what a teacher should or shouldn’t be and salute those comedians who come along with their shocking diatribes and scoffing humour for they are the brave ones. All great teachers, it seems to me, are comedians and iconoclausts who shock us into realisation of our imprisonment.

Kunley never tires of girls,
Monks never tire of wealth,
Girls never tire of sex: That is the teaching on the Three Indefatigable

Read more from Simon:

The Pineal Gland: Pinnacle of Yoga.

When Yoga Becomes Yoga.

The Missing Link between the Physical and Spiritual: How the British Colonialist Deliberately Sabotaged Yoga. 

Simon Hollington is an eternal student of the tantric alchemical yogic tradition, as taught by John Burke, in the Australian bush. Thisyear, 2012, following a powerful meditation experience, Simon felt prompted to write about this subject. “Yoga in the ‘west’ needs to take the next step in the evolution of the practise,” Simon who for many was a free-lance journalist contributing to The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times, Sydney Morning Herald, comments, “What I have found is that most yoga magazines are in denial of the real aspects of yoga, and hide in the continuing highly detailed physical minutiae as opposed to broadening the experience of consciousness. Most systems of development on offer are incomplete to say the least.” Simon can be found on face-book where he writes a regular diary entitled Diary of a Mad Yogi.


Editor: Tanya L. Markul

Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook.

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anonymous Jul 6, 2015 4:07am


anonymous Mar 18, 2012 5:54pm

In the tradition of Divine Madman, Kunley was part of a tantric lineage established by the master Tilopa, in the 9th century. At odds with logic, morality, and order, and particular the hierarchical organised religions, which predominated, Kunley was a master of Mahamudra and Dzoken, a Buddhist lineage which in the end he transcended to reach a universal understanding.

this is a direct quote from the article – which inherantly accepts the Boddicitta as part of Tilopa's teachings which were iconocluastic by there very nature. I wonder if people have actually read the full article, or is this skipping type reading what face book has turned us into ….

    anonymous Mar 20, 2012 5:30pm

    No, we read it.
    The issue is what is "clear" to YOU, is not clear to anyone else, due to HOW it is written.
    Or maybe you completed your own thoughts in your OWN head?
    That's okay. Happens to the best of us.

    However, there is no projection occurring.

    The reality is, as I stated, the focus of tantra on solely sex, in the west, has cheapened the practice.

    I also speak with a person in india that is very adept at tantra.

    One of the things he has opined out to me is that tantra is also not about sex, however, because it can easily draw western women for orgies, ashrams in india seem to focus on that.

    This speaks volumes as to what I wrote, as it also speaks volumes as to other subjects as well, that I will not extrapolate upon here.

      anonymous Mar 21, 2012 4:20pm

      Fair enough I suppose. Can I refer you to my other articles on Elephant which expand on all aspects of alchemical practises – not so much sex as the understanding of sex from a new perspective …. all the best to you

anonymous Mar 18, 2012 5:49pm

I would dispute that Tantra came from India. Kunley is nothing but iconoclastic, but look I think I'll leave it there, and you can explore the book Divine Madman for yourself. It is interesting I have written four articles for Elephant on tanrtra and yet when one writes in a ligher vein about sex, everyone gets in twizzle – reflecting perhaps their own projection, including myself.

anonymous Mar 18, 2012 2:21am

there is an explanation in the Book Divine Madman, and unfortunately to expand on it in an article, well there is just isn't room. I was trying to show that sexuality has alternatives and can evelate spirituality or literally the spirit – because of the moral hangs ups of modern western yoga practise and the distortions therein, one can only show the way. Celebration of sex and why not – sex is a wonderful expression of our humanity – I thing you have applied your own projections here a little.Tantra is about everything including sex – I agree about Osho and the fact that he had not done the journey. I hope that those who read and who suffer with the confusion of neotrantra will be prepared to look further and I refer you to my four other articles which cover many other aspects – I have a weak spot for Kunley, as do the Bhutanese people, who understand his motives were not sexual, but nevertheless enjoy rebelious inconclausts.

    anonymous Mar 18, 2012 10:50am

    You are correct: Tantra is about EVERYTHING, including sex.
    In the west, and now in Ashrams in india as well, it's only about sex.
    See the disconnect?
    Moral hang ups of the west?
    India, where tantra came from, has more moral hangups than we do.
    We are all about Sex, sex, sex, and if we can now find a religious excuse to fulfill that obsessive addiction then we will use it.

    People don't need any more excuses to be irresponsible ego centric. They have created enough of those on their own.

    If Kunley's intentions were iconoclastic, that sure was not made clear via your article.

anonymous Mar 17, 2012 7:17pm

You make a good point, I think eventually the distinction can be made and the orgasm can take place while retaining the semen, at first it all seem improbable but with practise and time and guidance as well as taking the next step in the vajolli practise, however the nature of the sensation is liable to be different – extended and whole body and perhap[s self orientated. Drukpa Kunley holds a special place in my heart – I am suspicious of discussions that focus on religious points and then continue to go round and round in circles, Buddhism seems to – in many quarters – have become self conscious and intellectual, this is not what Kunley was about. True – it is a given that he has achieved the highest levels through dilligence, and was capable of bringing the heart of Buddhism to people via Bodhicitta, but the sickness is the endless discussion of these points rather than taking action – Kunley was a master and man of action – no discursiveness, it needs to be cut short otherwise one gets sucked into this game – feel it through the body that is the tantricas way – the body is key, not the intellect which has come to so dominate our world.
I regret it if I was in any way rude, however – I think if you read the article you will find the details of his lineage are there, and within that it is obvious that Bodhicitta must be in his heart to the pont where like Picasso he can abandon the rules of the game. I don't like rules much myself.

    anonymous Mar 18, 2012 1:17am

    Actually, because you elected to focus the article on the sensationalist sensory, there is no explanation as to how Drukpa Kunley had bodhichatta.

    Also, it seems that this is just a celebration of sex, which, if current news has not shown you anything, as well as the fact that western tantra and its focus on solely sex has been incorrect for Decades, there is no need for any more of this.

    Tantra is not just about sex, in pre religion or otherwise.

    It has only been focused on sex due to the west and Charlatan's such as Osho.

anonymous Mar 16, 2012 6:11am

Simon, through my readings and experimentation, I thought it was retaining the ejaculate and not necessarily the orgasm (the two being distinct). Would you please elaborate?

Also, I thought that your abrupt conclusion to your discussion above about Bodhicitta is odd. I don't see a problem, let alone "clearly" see a problem in his or her comments. If you wouldn't mind also elaborating on this, what problem are you referring to?


anonymous Mar 16, 2012 3:49am

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anonymous Mar 14, 2012 9:52am

Great article, Simon. I laughed a lot, too. One of the reasons that Drukpa Kunley was such a mindblowing teacher is that he challenged the spiritual status quo at every turn. All that could ever be expected with him was the unexpected. His way of teaching through being comes down to us today via performance art, poets like William Burroughs and Allan Ginsburg, and social comics like Lenny Bruce. He continuously threw down the gauntlet to live and practice as he did, with complete inner freedom, no matter how shocking his actions. Where the situation has veered off course in Yoga or spiritual communities is that it's become a case of "do as I say, not as I do."

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    anonymous Mar 14, 2012 2:59pm

    yes, also we have confused sex with being naughty rather than an sensual evolutionary creative loving way provided the work of self mastery has been done, I hope I made the fact that Kunley was a master clear.

anonymous Mar 14, 2012 7:41am

Your words about Drukpa Kunley are appreciated. This notion among westerners regarding "Crazy Wisdom Adepts" is misguided though. Any artist who paints Impressionism or is a "Cubist", or paints like Jackson Pollack were trained very precisely and accomplished detailed drawing in anatomy and so on. Before they were able to paint as they saw fit they had to do "the work"…they had to accomplish basic drawing skills. Today's "Yogis" who point to the "Crazy Adepts" and pretend to be as such have not done what is necessary to attain that level of realization. They have not learned to even do the "basic drawing". Yet they aspire to be "Crazy" or splash a canvas with paint with no foundation. You cannot make yourself "CRazy" because Drukpa Kunley did what he did and you find that interesting. Once again this is another article on Buddhism with no mention of Bodhicitta. Drukpa Kunley was the form of Bodhicitta…the heart of all Buddhist teaching. Yet once agin there is no mention of Bodhicitta.

    anonymous Mar 14, 2012 2:37pm

    i appreciate your comments, I hope I made the point that clear regarding the work done to arrive at this level of divinity.

      anonymous Mar 14, 2012 3:47pm

      To me, it is one thing to talk about Drukpa Kunley as a form of having fun with his exploits, but a much greater thing to discuss his ability to tame minds or create some kind of future karma through his exploits. The generic term "divinity" is in regard to the gods and is used by today's spiritualists. I would not regard Drukpa Kunley as seeking godliness but one who knows full well that even the gods are subject to karma so therefore would have aspired to go beyond "divinity". Really my point is the non-mention of Bodhicitta in every article which discusses Buddhism or Buddhist method written by western writers of those subjects. Your article, to me is all about ordinary sex. If bodhicitta is not the foundation to your Buddhist tantra then what you have is not buddhist tantra. Drukpa Kunley without Bodhicitta is not the Drukpa Kunley I have heard tales about and read about.

        anonymous Mar 14, 2012 7:57pm

        There is such a thing as pre-religious tantra. I think we have to give the read some credit of intellignece as to the motive in understanding these actions, and lighten up a bit … humour seems to get lost in the heavy discussion of the semantics when one is among religous clerics. You are divine I am diviine, there is no doubting this. I practise alchemical gypsy tantra, and never mention Bodhicitta, however, the motive must be obivous to us all – even crass westerners – an enlightened master hardly needs your approval to tame minds, whether one mentions a word to which one has attachment or not does not give this any more or less credability. The problem with religion is just this, the continuing discussion of semantics.

          anonymous Mar 15, 2012 7:06am

          Your version is your version so it is imperative that you classify my comments as "religious" doctrine. You can write as you wish. No..I do not believe that semantics is the only question here and I do not believe that Your brand of "gypsy tantra", as you describe it, is inherently Bodhicitta. "an enlightened master hardly needs your approval to tame minds," I hope you do not think I was questioning DK's motivation? Or maybe you are the enlightened master to which you refer? Simon…there is not one authentic Buddhist Tantric master who does not discuss Bodhicitta in the Beginning , Middle, and the End…of their teaching. No matter how many pictures of Drukpa Kunley or Bhutanese Penises you show to support your article, without Bodhicitta, they are just that, pictures for us to enjoy. It seems the west thinks that bodhicitta need not be discussed because it is obviously inherent in what we write. I think there is no mention of Bodhicitta because it does not sell and secondly Bodhicitta is not sexy enough.

            anonymous Mar 15, 2012 7:17am

            But really…as intellectuals, Bodhicitta is not discussed because we do not understand it. We do not understand that the Buddha would not have "awakened" without Bodhicitta. That realization cannot be attained without Bodhicitta. That without Bodhicitta Drukpa Kunley would have been nothing more than an ordinary confused idiot. But we are resigned to talk mechanics..inhaling penis, etc. How can we discuss "great masters" without the tantric life blood and heart…Bodhicitta?

              anonymous Mar 15, 2012 3:01pm

              Um …. clearly you have a problem, I send blessing for a speedy recovery and recommend beer and sun light and dancing …. as I mentioned pre-religious and pre-Buddhist tantra is real.

    anonymous Jul 6, 2015 4:06am

    Drukpa Kunley = Bodhicitta, bodhicitta, bodhicitta, bodhicitta, bodhicitta. Taking and sending. Transmutation, from the gray mundane ordinary consciousness to light!

    Couldn't agree more.

    although padma you might need to loosen up a bit and maybe have a shot of tequila with me sometime 😉

anonymous Mar 14, 2012 6:14am

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