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I Am A Tantric Master

An interview with Barry Long
by Andrew Cohen


Barry Long

"It can be said that I have been taught by the divine principle of woman, I have been led by her, I have been crucified by her and most certainly I have been loved by her. I am a product of that love, as is my teaching."

I am well and I would be pleased for us to spend some time together in September, if you let me know closer to the date. Could we leave the Absolute where it always is and talk about the love between man and woman, which seems so absolutely problematical?" Barry Long wrote to me last summer. . . .

This was to be my second meeting with Barry Long, spiritual teacher and self-proclaimed tantric master, who lives on the north coast of New South Wales, Australia, with Sara, "the only woman he now makes love with."

I had heard about Barry Long on and off over the last ten years, but met him for the first time one year ago at his country home north of Byron Bay, where I had been teaching. Our first meeting had been warm and respectful, initiated by myself as I had been curious to meet this enigmatic teacher for a very long time. Whenever two teachers meet as peers there is always an atmosphere of heightened attention as both individuals scrutinize each other in order to find out if the other is for real. In this meeting there had never been a discourteous moment or even a hint of competition. From this man who obviously had a very different teaching from my own, I had felt only respect and a deeply moving tenderness that was the mark of a man whose heart had been irrevocably touched by something infinitely greater than himself. In our first meeting we'd spent most of our time getting to know each other and had spoken only in generalities about our different approaches to that most delicate task: daring to teach others about the mystery of liberation. I was familiar with the fact that in Barry's teaching, the primary spiritual practice was "making love rightly," which was Barry's unique and very original approach to the ancient "left-hand" path of tantra. At the time I knew very little about what it was that he was actually teaching with regard to tantra; I only knew that he put great emphasis on it. When I returned to Australia last September, one year later, we had already decided to devote the upcoming issue of What Is Enlightenment? entirely to the investigation of spirituality and sexuality, and it therefore became obvious that we had to speak to the man who confidently refers to himself as "the only Western tantric master."

In preparation for my meeting with Barry, one evening I got together with our editorial staff to read excerpts from one of his books about the tantric path that he teaches. To my surprise, something unexpected happened. Simply through "listening" I received transmission, which means that I experienced a direct recognition of what it is that Barry is endeavoring to share with those who come to him. This was an important event for me personally, for it was the first time in my life that I was able to understand what spiritual sexuality could be all about.

Since my interview with Barry, I have studied more about his teaching on "making love rightly," and no matter what one thinks about the ultimate potential of spiritual sexuality in any form to truly liberate a human being, there is no doubt that what Barry Long is teaching is a serious spiritual path that demands sincerity and profound commitment from anyone who endeavors to pursue it. While Barry is often outrageous, regularly audacious and unapologetically romantic for a teacher of enlightenment, his calm abidance in absolute singularity always shines through—especially when you're sure that he's gone one step too far.


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