When most newcomers are asked what Tantra is, they say something about sex such as:
- it’s a spiritual approach to sex
- it’s about sacred sexuality
- it’s a teaching about sex for better relationships
- it’s a kind of kinky sex or some erotic type of massage etc.
The truth is: The Tantra Fundamentals are NONE of the above!
So then…what is Tantra, really?
What Are The Tantra Fundamentals?
Tantra is a tradition rich in spiritual techniques and practices.
Scriptures dating back to 300 and 400 CE clearly define that Tantra is rooted in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy.
Tantra is made by joining two Sanskrit words: tanoti meaning expansion and rayati meaning liberation according to some sources.
Tantra means the liberation of energy and the expansion of consciousness.
In other words, Tantra is a method to expand the mind and liberate dormant energy in the human system.
This is a reference to the universal truth. It states that everything in our reality is interconnected with everything and everyone else.
The two primary Tantra fundamental principles are:
- The science and study of energy
- A comprehensive spiritual path for the evolution of the human soul
What Tantra is NOT
Before we go on, it’s important to know what Tantra is not.
Tantra is not sex.
While it is true that there are teachings within the Tantra fundamentals that address sex and sexuality, these are not the basis of this broad system.
In fact, the tantric sex teachings represent only 5%-10% of the tantric knowledge.
One can visualize the global system of the Tantra fundamentals as an ancient tree with many branches.
Tantric sex is one branch of the whole Tantric tree.
Tantra is NOT a religion
Tantra is also not a religion.
It’s a non-denominational spiritual system that can be practiced by anyone, given the right attitude and dedication.
The reality is that religions are designed for the masses and Tantra was designed for the individual.
Dogma and creed which often raise their head in religions, have no place in tantric tradition.
Tantra is a “self-science.” A practical study of the self.
Where Did Tantra Come From?
Much of this tantric information I found here at somananda.org.
The origins of Tantra fundamentals are mysterious.
The most common acknowledgment is that it came from ancient traditions in India.
That was approximately 3,000-5,000 years ago, possibly from a Buddhist monk, but that hasn’t been proven.
After all, it was created thousands of years ago.
How Did Tantra Get To The West?
It’s said that Tantra first made its way to the West in the 1800s.
That’s when its philosophy was introduced to curious western academics.
In the 1960s and ’70s the hippie revolution, non-violence and ‘free love’ movement arose.
The sex-positive paradise that the sexual teachings of Tantra seemed to promise made sense to this generation and hippies embraced Tantra as their own.
Sadly, from that point onward, the spiritual dimension of the Tantra fundamentals were buried and the one dimensional sexual approach prevailed.
This distortion remains common today. Few people understand that Tantra encompasses an entire life philosophy. Not just a sexual practice.
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