Gautama was wanderer and living outside of society

Gautama was both a wanderer and a renunciant, living outside of society, while also being a royal. Instead of choosing to live as a solitary renouncer, he took action to change society by establishing a group of monks called the Sangha and exerting his influence in the royal courts. The early Sangha was structured based on the archetype of the itinerant yogic practitioner, who was not associated with any particular caste but was esteemed by all castes. Their position within the Sangha was earned via the manifestation of their yoga’s dazzling holiness and its inherent power.

Over time, as the number of people grew, the temporary encampments that were utilized during the rainy season when traveling was not possible, became permanent structures. Additionally, early monasteries were established and received donations and support from the surrounding towns. However, despite the growth of monasticism, there were still many individuals who chose to wander freely, without being bound by the strict norms of the community. They enjoyed the freedom to explore the forest, sky, gorge, and valley, as well as engage in social interactions with the local people.

The emergence of the Tantric yogin can be traced back to a lineage of wanderers who were practitioners of a Buddhist yoga. This yoga was greatly impacted by grassroots movements that emphasized devotion to personalized deities, emotional expression, and catharsis via chant and dance. Although he adhered to the Mahayana tradition rather than the Tantric Hinduism practiced by the villagers, his approach utilized similar potent techniques. However, instead of seeking liberation via asceticism, his path centered on personal growth through intense and thorough engagement with the experiences and emotions of life.

The Indian practitioners, engaging in ritualistic dances with their intimate partners under the eerie ambiance of cemetery fires during nocturnal hours, were able to harness the ability to convert their inner demons into personal guardians. These individuals serve as the predecessors of the yogins we encountered in Ladakh.

The dynamic between the untamed yogis and the erudite monks of the traditional Indian monasteries is eloquently depicted in the narrative of Naropa (1016-1100 CE). This text is considered to be one of the significant narratives in the history of Buddhism. He was a renowned scholar during the eleventh century, comparable to Bertrand Russell, and served as the abbot of the prestigious Nalanda monastic university in northern India, near Patna. Additionally, he was known for his devoutness.

While engrossed in his reading, the silhouette of an elderly woman cast itself upon his books. She inquired if he comprehended the words or the meaning of what he was reading. Naropa claimed to comprehend the words. Upon hearing this, she joyfully danced. However, her mood quickly became disturbed when he revealed that he knew the meaning.

She reprimanded him for deviating from the truth in his qualifying statement and recommended that, if he desired to understand the fundamental teachings, he should encounter her brother, the yogin Tilopa. Naropa believed that his practical comprehension was still lacking, therefore despite facing significant resistance from his colleagues, he relinquished his post and embarked on a quest to locate the spiritu