The subtle body concept is found across many diverse spiritual traditions. Generally, it is regarded as the bridge between the physical and the cosmic. To attain cosmic consciousness or enlightenment, many spiritual traditions work with this subtle body system. Thus the Hindus have the chakras and nadis; the Taoists, chi and the meridians, and Tantric Buddhism deals with winds and channels. Although the concepts from different traditions have great similarities, they also show many differences. Sometimes the differences are subtle, sometimes they outright contradict each other. This book provides a great service to seekers and practitioners by clearly spelling out these differences. Comparing the systems side be side, it provides a clear view from a meta-perspective. Especially for those who have studied under more than one tradition, it can clear up a lot of confusion, and help one to avoid misunderstandings and grievous errors in ones practice. The first part of this book describes the subtle body system of the many spiritual traditions throughout the world, with emphasis on the Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist. The authors then offer several possible explanations of discrepancies and contradictions found among them, but refrain from giving any definite conclusions. By using a distillation process, and stripping away the religious and historical trappings, the authors then propose a pragmatic approach to understanding the principle behind these diverse practices. The second part of the book provides some exercises of different levels culled from the various traditions. It also contains a short but useful bibliography. Because of the vast territory covered and the tremendous amount of information encompassed, a book this size (189 pages) simply cannot possibly go in dept into any particular area. But for what it attempts to do, it succeeds admirably, making its points exceedingly clear. The writing, and the many illustrations and tables, are direct and easy to understand, and the presentation is non-dogmatic. Highly useful as a survey of various spiritual practices, a reference, and a source book for further study.
I like this book, although a) it draws from too many different traditions, b) the cover is kind of boring c) the drawings inside are somewhat simplistic.
there is a good section on practice in the later half of the book that is well worth checking out... it is practical (unlike the theosophical stuff out there)