Tantra Basics

What is Tantra? The spiritual art of love...of connecting spirit with form. It is experiencing love through through the beauty of the earth and all existence. It is about acceptance, rather than denial. It also embraces compassion...about truth within unconditional love... Tantra What are its elements? Is Tantra a yoga? Some call it Tantra Yoga. If we see yoga as union, then I agree. Others say Tantra is not a part of Yoga, which most people see as Hatha Yoga anyway, but rather an entire lifestyle. Many in the yoga community consider Tantra "something they would rather not deal with," so to speak. So, in that sense it is not about yoga as practiced in America, unless that yoga teacher also embraces the openness an sensual nature of Tantra. entirely Is Tantra a religion, or a movement within religion(s), or is it entirely separate from religion? Tantra is not a religion. It is a spiritual path. When religion enters, then barriers are drawn. However, some call Tantra a religion, although there is no organized body of thought or practitioners as such. Tantra cannot be encapsulated into a religion or dogma. neoWhat distinguishes Tantra from neo-Tantra? Historic/cultural Tantra follows many rituals, yantra and mantra. Neo-Tantra is an adaptation by a particular teacher. Few today follow classical/historic/cultural Tantra, which can be read in boring texts. Swami Virato teaches authentic Tantra for the 21st Century based upon Tantra's essential spiritual nature. However, learning technique, method and practice are the choice of the adapt. Swami Virato's sannyasins (disciples) are asked to become unconditional love. Tantra is essentially a lifestyle...a way to acknowledge our sensual and spiritual selves... To accept all...even the paradox... To open the heart totally. What is the exact relationship between Tantra and sexuality? sexuality? In Tantra, sexuality is total and filled with bliss. However, Tantra is not about sex. Sex practiced or performed in Tantra is what is taught by most teachers of this spiritual lifestyle. In Swami Virato's experiential events sexual ignition energy is used as a tool to raise the Kundalini, or the participants bioenergy. Swami Virato simply uses this energy as a tool. At some point Tantrikas experience a bliss-filled state that can be identified as asexuality. Perhaps because of general sexual suppression by cultures and religions, ancient carvings in Nepal and India depicting unbridled sexual sharing create indelible labels. Some Tantrikas do not engage in sex at all. Practice Is Tantra an attitude, a belief, or a practice? No belief. It is an attitude and there are practices, in sex, and many other areas of life that can be used as tools. Many of these include contemporary conscious psychotherapeutic methods, as well as Eastern philosophy and techniques, such as pranyama, yantra, mantra, etc., as well as simply applying expanded consciousness to one's existence. Are there common elements in its practice, if it has any? If so, how do these relate to any common attitudes or beliefs? When you say you "practice" Tantra, what do you do exactly? Tantra is a lifestyle of letting-go, feeling a oneness with everything. If we were to relate Tantra to life in general, we would say there is much more lay-back living, more enjoyment of our sensual nature, a sexual freedom which follows a lifestyle of let go as well. Practicing Tantra is to walk our talk...to visualize others as Divine... to meditate, get and give and receive massages ..and to say YES! more often...to seek for the purest, highest quality of life, yet to accept whatever we have...and to feel our Divine nature...God...Goddess. Origins/Ideals

Where and when did Tantra start, if it had an origin? While there are many opinions, there is no real beginning as such. See articles and books, particularly the Hindu vedas, and the spiritual philosophy of Tilopa and Milaropa. However, it is now known that using sexual-heart energy of the Kundalini for transcendence and connecting with God or Divinity was known by many cultures throughout the world. There are references to it in both the new and old testament's of the Bible, in the Koran, the Bhagavagita and countless other spiritual texts. Are there certain types of cultures where it arises? Interesting question. Tantra seems to arise and gain interest when we have gone too far with our material world. More of the lay-back, natural cultures like the Cherokees and Polynesians follow a similar lifestyle. Some pagan traditions also do. Whenever civilization has filled its members with fear, Tantra becomes popular. It is something we all experience at one time or another in our lives. Now, in Russia, Tantra has become very popular. Are there historical or fictional people associated with its origins? You can see glimpses of Tantra in Krishna's playfulness with the dakinis, and Jesus, no doubt, was also a Tantrika based upon his words of love and his association with Mary of Magdalene and Veronica of Nazareth. Tilopa, Naropa and Milaropa also were the so-called original messengers of Classical Tantra. However, even with the writings of Sir Richard Burton, much has been lost to antiquity Is there an 'ideal' Tantra, regardless of how it manifests today? If so, what is this like? Returning to the Biblical Garden of Eden, or a vision of Nirvana or Heaven. A community of people filled with unconditional love, bliss, a joy of life, tenderness and acceptance of all. Enjoying the good life, so to speak, unaddicted yet experiencing with totality and enlightened, of course [chuckle]. Is there an objective or ideal focus of a Tantrika? If so, what is it? Not really. Maybe enjoying God's existence at every moment and allowing enlightenment to occur in the process. Becoming aware...awake. Follow a form of mantra or yantra meditation, eat a proper vegetarian diet, be gentle and find love within you at each moment. The lifestyle itself is the gift and path.... What are the essentials of 'Tantric philosophy' if there is such a thing? Same as above. How does this relate to other Eastern or Western philosophies? Most philosophies and religions have a dogmatic point-of-view of existence. Eastern and Western philosophies are tied up in dogma. Tantra is about dropping dogma, and simply being in bliss. This is difficult to talk about since all talk is the beginning of a philosophy. Philo from the Greek language means "life" and "sophy" from sophic represents study. In Tantra life in its totality is beyond study... It is experience. Sociological/Cultural Are there certain sects of religious traditions which consider themselves or are considered by others to be 'Tantric'? Yes, many. Yogi Bhajan of the 3HO organization (adapted from the Sikh tradition) considers his path "white" Tantra. Pagan traditions call it Tantrik practice, Tibetan Buddhists follow a Tantra path (commonly called yellow Tantra), and aspects of Voodoo and Santamaria use similar practices as in black Tantra, and the worship of Kali, the destroyer. This is only a sampling. There are many texts available on Classical Tantra in new age book shops and select libraries. Swami Virato follows the path of red Tantra...for the passion of flesh and spirit. Are there Western forms of Tantra or rough equivalents? Not really. Perhaps what is being taught by most teachers today could be called Western forms. Quodoshka was a similar form practiced by Native Americans (Cherokee).

Can Tantra be found in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism? If so, in what forms and characters? Yes. Read the various texts. Some say Tantra predates all of them. Why do people get excited and mention sex when they hear the word Tantra? Because sex sells, and most Tantra teachers accent this portion of the Tantric lifestyle in their courses, workshops and seminars. However, Tantra is much more than sex. What inhibits Tantra, what stimulates it, and what kinds of people are more likely to practice it? Fear and a closed mind inhibit living the Tantric life, while dance, other movement, meditation and pranyama (various breathing techniques) stimulate it. People who are adventurous and open are more likely to connect to a Tantric lifestyle. Is it possible for Tantra to die out? Never!

What is Tantra? Nik Douglas

from Spiritual Sex The Many Meanings of Tantra Most People are unclear about what Tantra really is and what it can do for you. Probably the most common view is that Tantra has some connection with Oriental religion, with uninhibited sex, and with the lovemaking positions and techniques outlined in the Kama Sutra, Hinduism's oldest sex manual. To some, Tantra is a freelove cult, a survival of the psychedelic sixties; to others, it's New Age spiritual sex therapy, part of the California lifestyle, a slice of 1990s pop culture. None of these views of Tantra are wrong outright, but none really explain what Tantra actually is. So what is Tantra? What does it mean? And, most important of all, what is its relevance to us today? The word Tantra is Sanskrit, the sacred language of Hinduism. It derives from the root word tan, which translates as "to extend, expand, spread, continue, spin out, weave; to put forth, show, or manifest." Like the universe we inhabit, Tantra is continually expanding, spreading, and manifesting itself like a "cosmic weave," made up of different energies. We are part of this weave, as are our forefathers and foremothers, all life, and every type of energy and matter. This includes thoughts, actions, and all physical matter. Some Definitions of Tantra Because Tantra is a mystical subject, it is nearly impossible to define. Even eminent scholars have had a hard time explaining what Tantra actually is. The different explanations of Tantra indicate its multifaceted nature. Tantra is a spiritual science, which means it is also mystical, in its interconnectedness, the holistic wisdom link between ourselves and the universe we inhabit. By embracing Tantra, we become more "real," more "complete." How? By recognizing and stimulating our inherent sensual spirituality, we discover parts of ourselves that have remained asleep or have been repressed. With Tantra, an energy is released that is evolutionary and "upwardly motivated." We can learn to use this energy for pleasure, for achieving our worldly goals, and for aiding our spiritual evolution. Familiarity with Tantra can help a person to enjoy life to the fullest. It can help do away with guilt or fear, break down self imposed or limiting cultural boundaries, and guide us in our search for solutions. Tantra teaches us to become familiar with our mystical nature, and when we do so, our boundaries expand. We enter into new domains of awareness. We become empowered, more fulfilled, and more perfect. Traditional dictionary definitions of Tantra are revealing. A Sanskrit word, Tantra is sometimes translated as "leading principle, essential part, model, system, framework, doctrine, rule, theory, scientific work," also as "order, chief part, rule, authority, science, mystic works, magical formulas, means, expedient, stratagem, medicine." Finally, a Tantra is sometimes defined as "a type of mystical teaching set out mostly in the form of dialogs between a cosmic couple. intimate insightful dialogs, between God and Goddess, Shiva and Shakti, the male and female Tantric adepts, were at times written down and became known as Tantras. Naturally, these dialogs, being intimate, included sexual secrets as well as many other

fascinating topics. Tantra has been well tested over thousands of years, not in worldly laboratories but in the laboratories of the human body, by Yogi scientists and Tibetan Lamas who were not driven by commerce but by the earnest desire for spiritual knowledge and liberation. Their observations and insights have been passed down to us. The sacred Hindu and Buddhist scriptures known as Tantras provide detailed instructions on a wide range of topics, including spiritual knowledge, technology, and science. Their content is often paradoxical. In Tantra, science and mysticism go hand in hand, as do sensuality and asceticism. Just as advanced scientific treatises are difficult for the layperson to comprehend, so traditional Tantras require adequate preparation before they can be properly understood. © Nik Douglas

Tantric Ecstasy
t a time when even the word "sex" is suspect, with rock celebrities, a former U.S. President, and numerous sports stars in the news continually wrapped in some undertone, perverted picture of sex, it's vitally important to explore the depth of this misunderstood phenomenon from a new perspective...a spiritual one one. a We came into this body through the act of procreation...better known as sex. Unless you were artificially inseminated, you wouldn't be here unless a man and woman had sexual intercourse. They had it because it gave them animal pleasure, triggered by a deep spiritual pursuit. Quite basic from my point of view. While we are in a body, this pleasure underpins much of our lives. It matters not if you are a nun, monk or prostitute. Whether you deny it or not, sex runs much of your existence. Unfortunately most of us have lost that special ingredient of this physical attraction that moves us beyond mere physical pleasure to a deeper and more satisfying wholeness. At one time, long before so-called civilization permeated our culture, humans cultivated this pleasure to transcend into higher dimensions of consciousness, beyond the material, animal orgasm. Thousands of years ago, people had achieved a high degree of awareness and an alchemical formula for converting what we know as sex energy -- called by many names such as Chi, vital force, soul, etc. using it to enter into a state of Divinity. Their spiritual philosophy held sexuality as a divine rite and an expression of union or yoga. Unfortunately, as our planet moved out of the Taurien Age (4300-1700 BC) and became masculine and aggressive, it also lost this deep spiritual connection to this vital sex energy. While sexuality touches every part of our lives, it's sad that this most pleasurable life-affirming phenomenon --the act of creating our very birth--is today tainted with fear, abuse and general negativity. There was a time when people with an awakened consciousness practiced Tantra with an artistic and cultural lifestyle of pure bliss and harmony with each other and the universe. They lived in a state of enlightenment. Tantra, the art of spiritualizing sexuality, offers practical tools to transmute fear and attachment into love and universal power Like the spring flower freeing itself from the frozen snow, Tantra is again budding, offering the Aquarian Age an alternative--a way to reverse the negative energy on the planet, and a way to release yourself and reach transcendence. Put simply, Tantra is the total surrender, or letting go of all mental, emotional and cultural conditioning, so that universal life energy can again flow though us like a river without any effort. It is a letting go to universal oneness...to love. When fear is removed, Tantra remains. Tantra's History The word "Tantra" has many definitions, and perhaps its real meaning has been lost to antiquity. Some scholars claim it comes from the Sanskrit or Hindi word for fabric or tapestry, meaning that it is woven into one's life. Others say that is comes from two Sanskrit words tanoti and trayati Tanoti trayati. means to expand consciousness, and trayati means to liberate consciousness. One might then say that Tantra expands and liberates consciousness, making it the fabric of existence.

The highest possible synthesis between love and meditation, Tantra is also the connection between the third dimension and other planes of existence beyond mere materiality. While not a religious philosophy, Tantra embraces a deep spiritual understanding of life, and an ancient art of living in harmony with existence. It is a poetic science of super sexuality that dates back thousands of years, not only to India and Tibet, but to the Far East, Polynesia, and indigenous cultures of all parts of the world! The North America's native Cherokee culture, even practiced a form of Tantra called Quadoshka. Quadoshka It was used as a vehicle to achieve cosmic consciousness and union with Divinity. Tantra treats sexual energy as a loving friend, rather than something to be suppressed or talked about secretly in low tones. It does not deny sex, or consider sex a hindrance to enlightenment or Heavenly Grace. To the contrary, Tantra is the only spiritual path that says that sex is sacred, and not a sin, or something against God, whether in a marriage or not. Tantrikas are God-loving, rather than Godfearing. There is a most beautiful word for sex in the Sanskrit language, and that is Kama, which means sexlove together, undivided and indivisible. In Tantra, sex is always loving. Almost everyone is familiar with the 7th century classic the Kama Sutra, a Tantric treatise on lovemaking. Kama is also the name of the Hindu Goddess of love. And love is what Tantra encourages--total unconditional love, including the mind, the spiritual and the body. Letting Go To God Tantra doesn't tell you to control or suppress your sexual urges to reach God, but rather says the opposite. It supports development of this vital energy to achieve union with Divinity. The essence of Tantra is the full expression of being--a merging with, rather than a withdrawing from. It is the ultimate yoga, which is Sanskrit for union. In Tantra, the orgasm is with the universe. You become part of the primal energy of everything. In the Kama Sutra, genital contact is but one of the many kinds of intercourse. Tantrikas learn to make love with everything, letting go of all barriers to pure bliss. Sex becomes sacred and divine when you approach it from your heart and body, rather than your mind. It is common for Tantrikas to "drop their mind" when engaging in Tantric lovemaking. When the energy comes from a space deep within you--your essential Self--it connects you to God/Goddess/All That Is...moving you into the realm of spirit. The body is only layers of invisible energy in form, and it can be awakened if we let go to the sexual energy. This is the way of Tantra. It affirms the life energy within you in totality, so that those on this path find themselves whole and self-confident, with a positive panoramic view of everything. Tantra changes one's view of relationships as well. Tantrikas are less co-dependent, jealous or neurotic. They tend to be harmonious, fun and energy-filled. In the way of Tantra, you also discover that the relationship you seek outside is already within you. You simply need to learn about and cultivate the Tantric vision, a vital, bliss-filled approach to sex, love and life in general. Primal Energy Today, many people have been exposed to the use of energy for healing, as with Chinese medicine, Reiki, Touch for Health, etc. Yet, few people, except for the Taoists, use the body's most powerful energy center--the sex center--for the achievement of divinity, immortality and enlightenment.

In Tantra, sexual energy is used as the ignition for firing the Kundalini force, the body's biological life-energy system, merging it/you with universal energy. Mystics and metaphysicians call this reaching or achieving Godhead, Nirvana, Samadhi, Mooksha or union with Divinity. However, unlike Taoism (which actually stemmed from ancient Tantra) that says bring your energy inside for longevity, Tantra says let it go...let it all go! There is no reason to hang onto anything if eternity exists. In Tantra, sex is used as the Cosmic union of opposites to create the polarity charge, or potential, that connects with the primordial energy from which everything in the universe arises--the totality of ALL. On the Tantric path, we learn to use sexual energy in an extended way, not denying the physical (though nothing is really physical), but going further...deeper...higher. We dance with the electromagnetic force field of our partner, and that dance leads to Cosmic oneness. When this energy is matched and balanced correctly through a loving surrender with a partner, the sparks fly. In that moment of sexual embrace and energy exchange, a couple may achieve a Cosmic orgasm, with their essential selves exiting the body. Those who claim to read auras can often tell if people are Tantrikas. In Tantra we learn to open ourselves to others, not only on the physical but on all levels. Yes become more prominent in our vocabulary... The basic difference between unenlightened sex and Tantra, is that Tantra declares "the kingdom of God is within your heart." In Sanskrit it is called Pinde So Brahamande, "the physical body is the temple of God, and the body is the replica or representation of the entire Cosmos." 21st Century Spirituality Contemporary society considers neurosis and deviant behavior normal, no more a problem than the common cold. Our present social and cultural structure supports separation and has created division among individuals and nations, manifesting in violence, war and in general a world of perversion, devoid of beauty and love. Western (and now even Eastern) culture uses sex for manipulation--sexy models being used to sell cars, soap and other products--while at the same time suppressing sexual expression. Who will ever forget Jana Jackson and the Super Bowl! With sex being such a powerful force, we have created the perfect environment for neurosis, and sexual violence, and violence in general. Tantra says we can celebrate life when the idea of separation, or otherness, disappears from the body and mind, allowing people to meet on all levels of consciousness--physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual. In fact, Tantric partners often consider themselves "soul partners." Tantra, the art of spiritualizing your sexuality, offers practical tools to transmute fear and attachment into love and universal power. Jealousy, possessiveness, guilt and other negative emotions that drain your life-force energy, drop away. While most fundamentalist religions--even Eastern, Moslem and Christian philosophies--focus on the elimination of sensual pleasures, Tantra welcomes the full expression of bodily pleasure, recognizing that in the body is hidden the "bodiless," or the spiritual. The body is only layers of invisible energy in form, and it can all be awakened if we let go to the sexual energy. The art of Tantra should not be mistaken for material hedonism. Perhaps it could be called "spiritual

hedonism," which says, "eat, drink and be merry, but with full awareness." Remain awake as you enter into sex before the old habits come and take over. Just remain conscious of the energy. Tantra says Yes! to sex, Yes! to love, and Yes! Yes! Yes! to unconditional love. NOW! Enlightenment NOW! If you can learn to be conscious of the body and the breath, you can become conscious of the Universe. What Buddha said can be said of Tantra, "The truth of the Universe can only be realized within the framework of the physical body." So, while Tantra is associated with sexuality, it is essentially a merging with oneness, using the physical plane as the launch pad. We indeed create our own reality says Tantra, and this reality can be in the here and now--in the body through the Tantric orgasm. While it is possible to study Tantra for years, learning technique, meditations, and nuances, of the Tantric lifestyle, the very essence of Tantra assumes you already have all the knowledge to become enlightened immediately. DO IT NOW! Life ! wasn't meant to be a struggle. Simply available as a path to experience full enlightenment, Tantra doesn't ask you to believe anything. In fact, it says let go of all belief systems. Seek out a teacher that can guide you through the essential experience. In the experience itself you will discover your oneness with the universe.

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What is Tantra? A simple question without a simple answer, and any attempt at definition will necessarily be incomplete. The roots of the word are Sanskrit: Tan - thread, web, stretch, spread or expand, and Tra - tool or instrument. Tantra - tool for expansion or a weaving. Through Tantric practice one can experience an expansion of consciousness and recognize the interconnectedness of the web of existence. At the same time, Tantra can refer to any of a number of sacred texts in the Hindu, Jain and Tibetan Buddhist traditions. Many of these texts contain detailed guidelines for spiritual practice. From this perspective, Tantra is a vast body of spiritual and physical knowledge, encompassing an array of practices, including all forms of yoga. These practices are aimed at expan- ding consciousness and liberating oneself "through life and not through escape, using the body as an instrument."

In Tantra, the energies of the body are used as the fuel for spiritual develop- ment. In the West, Tantra is often called the "Yoga of Sex." While there is a kernel of truth in this phrase, the popular press has created a misleading impression that Tantra is about having better orgasms or about becoming a better lover. Since Tantric practices are designed to expand consciousness, they can expand a person's capacity to give, receive and experience pleasure, not only in the sexual realm but in all areas of life, provided that person is willing to do the work. Many Western Tantra teachers emphasize very powerful techniques for enhancing sexual pleasure and intimacy, while some traditional teachers discourage students from exploring sexual Tantra at all. from Ecstasy Through Tantra by Dr. Jonn Mumford

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