What is Real Tantra?
Tantra is primarily known in two forms:
* From India; related to Hinduism
* From Tibet; related to Buddhism
Each has its own scriptures, schools, traditions, and practices, which vary widely. In spite of the opinions, and financial interests of many people, the term Tantra is not immediately synonymous with sex, spiritual powers, or materialism. Starting in the early centuries of Common Era, newly revealed Tantra’s centering on Vishnu, Shiva or Shakti emerged. In Buddhism, the Vajrayana tradition is known for its extensive Tantra ideas and practices. Tantric Hindu and Buddhist traditions have influenced other Eastern religious traditions such as Jainism, the Tibetan Bön tradition, Daoism and the Japanese Shintō tradition
The word Tantra is made up by the joining (sandhi in Sanskrit) of two Sanskrit words: tanoti (expansion) and rayati (liberation). Tantra means liberation of energy and expansion of consciousness from its gross form. It is a method to expand the mind and liberate the dormant potential energy, and its principles form the basis of all yogic practices. Hence, the Hindu Tantra scriptures refer to techniques for achieving a result.
Buddhist Tantra developed independently of Hindu for many centuries, however, and they are barely related now in spite of a surface resemblance. Even if we limit our study to Buddhist Tantra, we are still looking at a vast range of practices and multiple definitions. Very broadly, most Buddhist Tantra is a means to enlightenment through identity with tantric deities. It is sometimes also called "deity-yoga."
Vajrayāna, Mantrayāna, Tantrayāna, Tantric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism are terms referring to the various Buddhist traditions of Tantra and "Secret Mantra", which developed in medieval India and spread to Tibet, Bhutan, and East Asia. In Tibet, Buddhist Tantra is termed Vajrayāna, while in China it is generally known as Tángmì Hanmi 漢密 (唐密, "Chinese Esotericism") or Mìzōng (密宗, "Esoteric Sect"), in Pali it is known as Pyitsayãna, and in Japan it is known as Mikkyō (密教, "secret teachings").
The term Tantra refers first to the continuum of vital energy that sustains all existence, and second to the class of knowledge and practices that harnesses that vital energy, thereby transforming the practitioner.
For thousands of years, the teachings of Tantra had been protected and isolated in order to preserve their purity and to protect the naive from harming themselves. Now that much of Tantra has been made public, it has been completely disfigured by the passions, desires, and ambitions of misguided people. The vast majority of teachings of Tantra have degenerated completely. One should study extensively before taking on any teachings or practice of Tantra. This has been emphasized by all truly authentic traditions of Tantra:
Tantra isn’t just a practice. It is a method of spiritual advancement as derived from a sophisticated lineage of yogic masters of the ancient world. These methods enable us to cultivate the energy of our bodies (physical, energetic), mind and soul, so we can blossom into our authentic natures. By doing so, we can more joyfully and skillfully
engage in our contemporary world. By recognizing our power within the quantum field of love and light, and the influences we can have within it, we can master positive change in our own lives and of the world.
Discipline, courage, hard work and intelligence are required because that is what any quest of the heart demands. Tantra, which molds the power of creation and ego into skillful means cutting through delusion, requires careful preparation. Great tasks require
great effort. With Tantra we are taking the mind and body as cauldron, feeling, ego, elements, and the world as alchemical ingredients, and imagination informed by divine power as a catalyst; and we are accomplishing the great magical task of alchemical transformation. The base metal of dualistic view becomes the infinitely valuable gold of pure and luminous awareness. Tantra is a path of tremendous power. This power
is not easy to use without getting burned by it. Yet, at the same time, it is a path of great joy.
There are many varieties of Tantra, but they can be classified into 5 types: White, Grey, Pink, Red, and Black, These are differentiated by examination of the results they produce.*
* *White Tantra:* those schools that produce beings who are clean of all egotistical desire, anger, lust, envy, etc. Such beings are known as Buddha’s, Masters, Angels, Devas, etc.
*Grey Tantra:* those schools who want to be White but do not renounce Black methods. They are caught in the middle.
**Pink Tantra:* (or in some cases, Violet) embraces both the spiritual and sexual aspects of practice. This is the path where the heart is open and lovemaking is practiced with honor and reverence and healing. Such beings are called Dakini, Daka, Deva, Devi, Ishta Deva Sadhana, Shakti Sadhana, and Buddhi
**Red Tantra:* consists of many passionate sexual practices. Traditionally the color red connotes femininity, potency, passion, and sex. This path can be liberating for the sexually repressed and may hold interest for the sexually obsessed.
*Black Tantra:* those schools that produce beings that sustain and develop the causes of suffering, namely lust, anger, greed, pride, etc. Such beings are called demons, sorcerers, Marts, Auras, etc.
The basis of all this lies in an understanding of Dharmakaya and sunyata, "the realm of essence" and "emptiness". The Dharmakaya is not a place or even a state of being or consciousness. Dharmakaya is the field of pure potential, which is exploding into actualized energy and matter at every moment. Each object or thing, even in its "thingness", is still in essence characterized by this field of potentiality. Things disappear, only the ultimate substance remains. Forms disappear, only the formless remains. Definitions disappear, the undefined remains. In other words, each "thing" is empty of permanent characteristics; its characteristics share the quality of pure dynamic potentiality and are always tending towards the expression of that potential via constant change and transformation.
Traditionally, Tantra was taught in secrecy, only to the disciples who advanced through rigorous training of the mind. A fundamental prerequisite would always be complete Chastity, something normal for any true monk or Nun. Reaching the stage of Tantra meant that one had mastered not only the foundational methods of spiritual discipline, but
more advanced ones as well, and was prepared for the highest or most secret teaching. It is important to understand that, historically, the lay or ordinary people were never taught tantrism. This is because one of the most elevated aspects of tantrism has a special relationship to sexuality. In other words, while it does not form the totality of its content, the sexual act itself is a genuine aspect of tantrism.
Sexual union provides a continuum of energy within the tantric practitioners which cannot be duplicated by any other means. This is why, without sexual union, certain types of spiritual realizations are impossible. However, because sexual union is a tremendous area of temptation, such practices have always been forbidden by all but the most elevated students.
So, the real reason that sexual intercourse has its place within Tantra is that there is an authentic spiritual function to sexuality. Let us be clear though: desires such as lust do not have any place in spiritual pursuits.
This explosion of essence creates fields of energetic perception. This energy is conditioned into forms by the play of cause and effect. The manifest world is not other than essence, but the essence is not limited to the shape or conditions of the manifest worlds. One might say that the world and all worlds are held together as form by the conditioned and habitual intent of consciousness. Our particular world is held together by the intent of human beings. The worlds of other beings are held by the force of their conditioned intent.
They are the radiance of pure potentiality, momentarily given shape by intent and held in a seemingly cohesive pattern by karma or patterned habitualized consciousness. A Tantric yogi shatters the tyranny of ordinary appearance - the forgetting of how things took on their seemingly real forms - by molding new structures of existence - private non-realities.
In the view of Tantra, the body's vital energies are the vehicles of the mind. When the vital energies are pure and subtle, one's state of mind will be accordingly affected. By transforming these bodily energies we transform the state of consciousness.
By nature, Tantra “weaves” together all aspects of your being and it helps you expand your consciousness. The fabric of life as it is, colourful, not just black and white, is able to give you complete fulfilment in all aspects of your being, right where you are, doing
exactly what you love and need to do. Tantra does not negate, dismiss, or reject anything, as many cultures, spiritual paths, and religions do. An ordinary, so-called “spiritual
Seeker” always tries to “get somewhere”“, reach some higher place”, “go into the light”, failing to recognize that all is light, all is consciousness. Tantra transcends limitations and unifies what is separated. By practicing it, you are not “going” anywhere or “getting” somewhere, but you are revealing yourself. You are waking up to your true nature and
The true nature of ALL things, as they really are.
The idea of Tantra is not identification with endless new conditioned forms of awareness and color. The point is to slip between the cracks into the matrix of pure potentiality itself. The goal is not achievement of unusual states it is to recognize your primordial intrinsic nature in all appearance. Then all appearance has the single taste of bliss and wisdom. That is not the end either it is the beginning of endless play.
Shakti represents all the manifestation, the karma, mind & emotions, energy and matter that comprises the universe, all the phenomena that may arise in the consciousness.
The interaction of these two aspects is indispensable to maintain reality. Shiva without Shakti is empty, dead. Shakti without Shiva is chaos. So there is no consciousness without energy and the opposite, ultimately understood from the non-dual approach: consciousness is energy and energy is consciousness. That is to realize through the sadhana.
Shiva is the un-manifested aspect of the non-duality being pure consciousness, immobile, pure witness, pure awareness, that cannot be understood but only felt or be.
Tantra is not something you practice away from the world and society. Tantra IS living, it IS the world, it IS life itself. It is a way to live your life to the fullest. It helps you be aware of polarities, the yin and the yang you have within, and harmoniously balancing them in perfect unison. Tantra is not “This” or “That”; it IS “This” and IS “That”. The raw side of life, the wilderness of existence, the untamed, the high and low, the calmness and agitation, the black and white, Grey an all the colors of the universe they are all part of life, they are all integrated into the divine. Therefore we could say that the process of Tantra is created to transform and purify all the manifested aspects (different layers of our being: energy, emotions, thoughts) in order to recognize the true nature of reality, the Self or in terms of chakras to activate Sahasrara which is the synthesis of all chakras, reuniting the two aspects of Shiva and Shakti. Therefore, even if moksha or liberation is not ones purpose in life, the tantric sadhana can also be taken to improve the quality of
Life in manifestation.
These systems are spiritualized forms of the dualistic delusion. Tantra, which in its
true form is Advaitic (or non-dual), transcends this limitation. Tantra is wisdom gone wild embracing the totality of what is. With Tantra you are not getting somewhere; you are just waking up to the true nature of things as they are. The colors inherent in clear
Light are not other than the light. The display whereby being presents its limitless mystery is not other than the birthless and deathless pure mystery from which Being comes...
In Tantra, both man and woman are revered as sacred and divine, and they should adore each other as embodiments of the Divine Principles. Their bodies are not mere physical vehicles of the Spirit, but holy temples that hide a terrible, cosmic, and immensely powerful force within them: Kundalini Shakti.
The Dance between Shakti and Shiva, energy and consciousness, creates Life.
Energy and Consciousness is the same thing. We are made of energy and consciousness, which, Tantra states are One.