After a long time in the Hindu vamamarg tantra you converted to the Buddhist tantra. Can you say why you decided to make this change?
Nikolas Schreck: Taking refuge in Buddhism wasn’t a conscious decision. It was the result of spontaneous insights that came to me during a particularly intensive meditation session. Namely, what this flash of realization consisted of was that three of the basic Buddhist precepts I’d previously not accepted were undeniably true.
I don’t know how technical you want your paper to be, so I’ll try to put this in relatively simple terms. As you know, the Hindu-based Vama Marga’s yogic practices purify the personal atman, or eternal indestructible soul, refining it and dissolving the clouds of maya until the atman attains the state of one’s chosen deity, or ishtara-deva.
During this particular meditation, however, it dawned on me that yoking one’s mind to simply reincarnate as a deity rather than as a human being was still a relatively low step in the process of liberation. This accords with the Buddhist teaching that most of the gods are still enmeshed in the chain of samsara, and that their positive karma will eventually run out, which will return them to the lower states of being, such as human, animal, ghost, and hell-being. Through that realization, I understood that the aim of union with deity central to the Hindu-based Vama Marga was only one stage, but was not the end of the journey by any means.