f you absolutely don't know what Tantra is; and beyond the concept you haven't heard a thing - Wonderful! You are welcome to read on and enrich your knowledge base. Regretfully, most people don't really know what Tantra is and they feed on rumors and distorted concepts about the subject. The Western world have totaly distorted the elements of Tantra and suited them to various commercial and sales elements, thus emptying Tantra from its deep and reach spiritual contents. As a result, many think that Tantra is a combination of free and wild sex with various sexual techniques. Indeed, Tantra also deals with sex, but from unique motivations on which we will elaborate and with an exalted objective.
f you belong to that group who have heard various rumors about Tantra - we hereby invite you to forget everything you have heard, clean your mind and heart and read on as a blank page, so you may really understand and grasp how wonderful indeed, is this marvelous paradigm.
antra is not a religeon. It is rather an ancient paradigm. The most ancient Vedas (scriptures) date back some 5000 years ago. This concept have actually been the foundation for the later development of Yoga, Tao, Dao and other related phylosophies. Many aspects of this paradigm opted freedom and liberation from bonding frameworks and the fixed morals of powerful and religeous persons. Those people naturally feared the implications of Tantra and throughout history bloody persecutions of Tantrika (those who follow the Tantric concepts) were conducted. So many were killed, that Tantra went underground and became a top secret concept, spread by word of mouth. History of Tantra is fascinating and informative. Understanding the development of the different streams contributes much to the understanding of Tantra itself. Describing this History here is out of scope and there are many resources where one can study this topic.
n the next paragraphs, we shall describe very roughly, some of the very basic principles of Tantra. The idea here, is to enable one a general understanding of this vast subject, merely a brief glimpse to the ocean of knowledge and comprehension. We sincerely hope that what you read here, will make you wish to read and understand further - and even more, make you wish for actual practice of Tantra.
his is the most important basic principle of the Tantric concept. Whoever knows the deepest meaning of the Jewish "Shma Israel" prayer ("Hear O' Israel, the Lord our God the Lord is One") will easily understand this principle. The entire Universe, on all of its aspects and contents is one. Thus, there is no distinction between creator and creation, they are one. Many implications are derived from this basic principle. One with many perspectives is the idea of non-duality. If the entire Universe in one whole and there is no distinction between the creator and creation, then there is no "right" and "wrong" (except of course from our subjective ones, but Tantra does not care for these). The mere attempt of people (referring usually to the powerful, ruling and extreme religeous) to determine what they accept and what not, stands against the idea of the One. If there is anything which is wrong - than the creator is wrong. According to the concept, if a single Atom in this Universe is not holly, than hollyness can't exist at all. As it is so, Tantra is not interested in morals. It is not to say that there is no morality, but Tantra simply doesn't deal with it, since morals are by nature, subjective. The princilpe of the One also forms the elementary basis for the next principle, which also reminds us of a cardinal principle of the Jewish concepts, as it has been quoted by Rabi Akiva who taught the whole Tora in one sentence...
f there is no distinction between the creator and creation and all is sacred, then a sparkle of the divine exists in the soul of every living creature. Therefore, Tantra relates to every form of life with great respect and divinity. If you needlesely hurt a flower, you hurt the entire Universe. When I look into a person's eyes, I look at part of the divine itself. Unconditional Love of human kind, is elementary and important for every Tantrika and has various implications on our daily conduct. Let alone our human weaknesses of course, one finds Love for the other threaded among all those who live Tantra.
Many of us confuse and wrongly interpret the concept of Love.
People confuse Love with desire and passion, with an active performance of a loving action. Tantra teaches us to practice pure Love, to be Love itself.
When one reaches such a state, simply her presence helps others and attracts Love to her.
his idea is very deep and hard to grasp by anyone not used to it. Especially for those who never practiced Tantra or its derivatives (e.g. Yoga, Meditation or a deep, meditative prayer). According to this idea, we are entities of an intelligent energy (which finds its name in different cultures as soul). This entity is part of the creator and it finds itself a physical, existential expression form as a living body. The body is merely a tool with a purpose to enable performing of a certain spiritual advancement, as part of a long path of spiritual development. The mind is also a result of the living body. Anyone with experience in Meditation, is familiar with that moment where one can watch his thoughts as a bystander and experience the amazing phenomenon where he understands that a major segment of the thoughts running through his head, are not at all his!!! He did not think, or create them and can't even tell where they came from. Even more, an experienced meditator can quiet down her thoughts and personally experience this idea that she - her entity, being and mind are separate. This comprehension, that we are not our body or thoughts has a crucial implication on the Tantric paradigm on Life and Death and the ability to understand and practice additional principles. We shall describe some of them later on.
ife and Death are precisely the same phenomenon, in both extremes of the scale, along the same axis. Once born, you started living, but started dying at the same breath! Samsara is the great Life and Death wheel of reincarnation. Our souls, which are a spark of the divine, are doing one continuous spiritual work which is part of a path of spiritual development. Along this path, we are on this wheel of Life and Death. When we reach the supreme developmental level called enlightenment, we get off the wheel and reunite with the source, our creator. This concept is also found in the Jewish Kabbala. In fact, all the Tantric practices are aimed at reaching enlightenment - and as all humans - if we can create some shortcuts, why not? Combining the idea of Samsara with the realization that we are not our bodies nor our thoughts, makes the deep understanding of the Life and Death issue a lot easier. It releases us of a deep fear and turns the life in between into one tremendous celebration.
ife is a celebration. Don't we all say it? But, how many of us really turn life into one big celebration of seizing the moment? Tantra's attitude challenges restrictions, consensus, thinking and behavioral limitations and provides instruments that aid in reaching freedom and liberation. All those, enable Tantra to celebrate Life, Big Time. Coming back than, to History of Tantra, it is now easy to understand how in an ancient world of social, though and sexual appressions, prohibiting of drinking wine or eating meat - Tantrika posed a serious threat to all those people of power and influence. Many of those were priests, withdrawing power from the ignorance and limitations of those believers surrounding them.
antra is an attitude of saying "Yes" to everything. The basic concept is logical, simple and charming. If you initially say "No", you essentialy blocking yourself from the possibility of saying "Yes" to something which may be beneficial for you. But, if you initially say "Yes" based on internal strength, on your confidence in your ability to say a real "No" when you should, you celebrate Life Big Time. For Life is a sequence of amazing opportunities, worth utilizing, enjoying, learning and empowering.
ow simple and true, yet deep and Universal. Nothing exists but this moment, and by the time you managed to think of it, there it has gone! Past does not exist, as it has already ended. Future does not exist, as it hasen't arrived yet. There exists only the moment. Seize this moment and live it in total awareness, as it has no substitute.
This attitude enables us an amazing spiritual growth and a much more peaceful and complete life. We live dismissed of all that has gone. This is not to say we don't learn our lessons from the past, the opposite is true. But, we don't remain stuck in the past. We also life detached from future implications. Again, not to say we don't plan ahead our lives, goals and future, but we don't live in fear from any future outcome. We are not stuck bound to what we have planned, but living the moment fully.
here are several aspects to acceptance and surrender. Many see the issue of giving as a supreme value. It is indeed, such. But they usually don't realize - they don't know how to accept. When we accept, the mere acceptance is an enormous giving on its own. It may be a communicative aspect as accepting a compliment, or a physical aspect, like totaly accepting touch and surrendering without this immediate need to respond and give back.
An important concept in Tantra is accepting myself as I am, in a non-judgemental way. When I accept myself as I am (and there is no conflict here with my need for self development and transformation) I can really trully love myself. If I'm unable to really love myself, I'm unable to really trully love the other.
Accepting the other from a place of unconditional love and of non-judgement, without categorizing, is an elementary value. Try it out with people surrounding you for a period of time and watch the miracle happening.
Beyond all that, accepting a situation without judging or pondering, allows us to live a good life, rich and full of Joy, Love and serenity. We discuss here acceptance based on internal strength and empowerment, not on a basis of passive submission and giving up when there is no other alternative. When one accepts every situation, even if it seems dreadful, one experiences a whole, peaceful life.
he ultimate peace of mind is obtainable if the pendulum swinging between one extreme and the other in everything, finally comes to a rest in the middle point. Many enlightened mentors throughout history have taught this - including Buddha and Rambam (Maimonides, Rabbi Moshe Ben Mimon,1135-1204, Scholar, Doctor and Leader). The beauty of Tantra teachings in that resepct, is that it teaches to do try and experience the points of extreme, so we can really get to know the middle point. Based on its "Yes" saying, Tantra enables one to stream with any experience, so one can reach his/her middle point out of a real inner truth. It may sound as a conflict, but the basic idea is to realize your extreme limits, so later on with your life you can aspaire for maximal balance.
Throughout the years, that very same way of experiencing the extremes brought about pursuites of Tantrika by those who led a limited life and were afraid to lose control.
his concept is sometimes difficult to internalize for Western people, especially those who are not used to any spiritual work. As we conduct our lives, without paying attention, we get attached in our soul to many things. It may start from material items, even valueless, such as our favorite drinking mug. Well, you say, what's wrong with loving a certain mug better? The problem is not the Love, the problem arises if we can't accept with indifference and serenity, the fact that our beloved mug is broken (or even worse, someone else broke it). Mug is a tiny valueless item. Still, we often witness irrational responses to a broken item or any other worthless issue that went out of control or "order". It naturally gets worse when we examine our attachment to more important issues, our habits in life, various people, our spouse and even to our own body.
antra practices Non Attachment toward many things, until it becomes a habit and a way of life. The more non-attached a person becomes, the easier and peaceful her life becomes. She develops a tremendous emotional flexibility and easily adjusts to any change posed by the surroundings. One who is capable of more non-attachment can handle much better changes which happen to all of us such as loss of a job, leaving of a friend, God forbid someones death and even damage to his own body or his own death.
e also learn to observe everything that happens in our life, comprehending that it is not happening to us, but around us. We learn to watch every event as if it is a passing cloud in the sky and achieve an amazing serenity and bliss.
he sole purpose of Tantrika (at least in the original, ancient Tantra) is to reach enlightenment, where one attains the ultimate reunion with the one, the divine creator. When enlightenment has been attained, ones soul gets off the Samsara wheel, and ceases reincarnating here on earth. Very similar intention is described in the Jewish Kabbala. There are plenty of ways to attain enlightenment, but these are all various forms of Meditation.
or most Western people, the word Meditation almost automatically associates with a person sitting with eyes closed, perhaps humming some "Ohhhhhhhhmmmmm" or anything similar. It certainly does not have to be this way. Tantra is considered to be one of the ancestors of all meditations and it describes well over 100 different methods for Meditation.
editation is actually a state where our mind is quieted from any active thoughts. In this state, we are fully aware of our external surroundings and of our internal surrounding (body, feelings etc.) at much higher levels. Our senses are becoming sharper and our intuition, our sixth sense and ability to communicate in non-ordinary means are all significantly increased. Looking deep, we will discover that the complex of our active thoughts and conditionings (what we inclusively call "mind") is not allways supposed to be in use. When we are in course of solving a logic problem which requires an active mind, it is wonderful, but in many other situations, our mind simply screwes with every good aspect. It provides us with all the logical exuses in the world why we shouldn't do what's good for us. It limits our way of thought to pre-defined concepts, most of which are not even really ours. Even more - Meditation simply helps us be the owner of our mind, rather than the mind be our owner.
Many Tantric Meditations are dynamic and involve physical activity, use of a variety of senses and even actual work (there is no problem turning kitchen or cleaning work into a wonderful meditation). One of the interesting aspects is that throught Tantra, sexual intercourse becomes one of the deepest Meditations available. This turns sex itself into an experience, completely different from the one experiences by any average person.
ifferent Meditation technique combined with aware breathing enabled Tantrica to develop along the years a great awareness to their bodies. This awareness enabled many to actually "see" their bodies from the indise in dimensions which are different from those we are used to. Dimensions such as balance points, energy paths, energetic centers and more. Descriptions of the system called the Chakra system are related with ancient Tantra. From Tantra, these descriptions inseminated into many other Eastern medical systems. Chakras are circular energy centers located in many places in the body. The main Seven ones are located along our spinal chord. Every Chakra is responsible to various functional and mental/spiritual complexes. Most interestingly, there is an astonishing parallel between the evolution of human kind and the functionality of Chakras, from the most primitive to the most advanced to which we haven't yet arrived. When the Chakra is at a balanced state, energy moves in a circular motion and when out of balance, energy moves at a straight or irregular line. This phenomenon can be measured by rather simple means.
ow that you have read all these explanations (or have you not?) you can understand this topic at a greater depth.
Many of the concepts we have talked about, if not all of them, demand in principle a lot of internal work to comprehend and embed the principle, and even more - to implement it as a way of life. Who isn't looking for shortcuts? Perhaps some exist who will choose the long and tormenting route, but these will not be Tantrika.
Tantrika aspires obtaining an enlightenment not through "Via Dolorosa" of torment, asceticism and isolation. For a Tantrika, as long as the end result would be the one we initially aspired, than if we can cut the route shorter, and along it celebrate the wonderful celebration of life - Why not then???
antra makes use of Sensuality, Nudity, Touch and Sex to intensly and quickly internalize many concepts. Among those would be Love of mankind, separation of our being from mind and body, acceptance and surrender, non attachment and above all, Meditation and connecting with the One.
hen a person removes many barriers and protecting shields by being naked, when there is a direct contact with her by touch and when her mind is quieted by Meditation, there is not much to interfere with assimilation of the concepts.
According to Tantra, there are three states where one is as close as possible to enlightenment. These are Death, deep Meditation and the moment of deep Orgasm and they are all considered to be close to each other, since through all of them, we are nothing but a pure being.
hen why is it, that in most of the Western world Tantra has become a synonym with Swinging and partner swapping, wild Orgies, esoteric sexual positions and techniques for delayed male orgasm? So simple!!! Western world is mostly a material world, driven by power of the money and Sex, what can you do, has an enormous sales power. Thus, people of interest, took this amazing, unique attitude, stripped it naked of all its deep spirituality and turned it into piles and mountains of pornographic tapes and plenty of Internet sites full of bullshit and totally distorted information.
es indeed, should you learn Tantra in the proper places, you will be exposed to nudity, touch and dealing with sexuality, but these will come at the right time and place, to enable and enhance personal spiritual, social/emotional development. To help you live a prosperous calm and full life. Things will allways be performed while maintaining the honoring, sacred place. That very place where we see the person in front of us an integral part of the creator and the creation, which are one.