- Paperback, 188 pages
The "Inner Fire" and the "Red Thread of Passion"
Today, almost twenty years after publication, many of the things first published in this work do not surprise readers anymore; and sometimes the information here presented has been superceeded by more detailed publications.
However, what makes this book special and unique - and it certainly was so at the time of its publication - is the frank discussion of the sexual element in two forms Buddhism took in Japan. Zen, the better known of these two, was (and still is) not widely known to have any sexual dimension at all - but the author shows that several highly respected masters of the tradition certainly heeded the so-called "Red Thread of Passion".
Lesser known, and exposed here in some detail, are the teachings and texts of the Tachikawa, a Tantric branch that split off the Shingon school. Drawing on untranslated Japanese works (and unpublished English ones), Stevens was the first author (since Robert van Gulik and his secretive Sexual Life in Ancient China) to enlighten the West as to this Japanese form of left-handed Tantra.