Buddha’s teachings include both sutras and tantras. The sutras present the basic themes of practice for gaining liberation from uncontrollably recurring problems (Skt. samsara) and, beyond that, to reach the enlightened state of a Buddha, with the ability to help others as much as is possible. The themes include methods for developing ethical self-discipline, concentration, love, compassion, and a correct understanding of how things actually exist. The tantras present advanced practices based on the sutras.
The Sanskrit word tantra means the warp of a loom or the strands of a braid. Like the strings of a warp, the tantra practices serve as a structure for intertwining the sutra themes to weave a tapestry of enlightenment. Moreover, tantra combines physical, verbal, and mental expressions of each practice, which braid together creating a holistic path of development. Because one cannot integrate and practice simultaneously all the sutra themes without previously training in each individually, tantra practice is extremely advanced.
There are many benefits to achieve through a practice that includes Tantric techniques, and the effectiveness will, of course, depend on the individual person and what they already bring to the table, so to speak. A person or couple who has done some kind of activity in the personal growth arena may have a head start on the person who is just beginning to delve into the more interior aspects of life.
Most Westerners will only investigate the sexual aspects of Tantra, though the richer areas involve great personal evolution through consciousness. The sexual aspects give us practices that teach us focus and consciousness using sexuality as the vehicle. People will likely come face to face with some of the esoteric aspects in their practice of the techniques, though. These will be fringe benefits they won’t consciously undertake but that they will feel the affects of.
The word Kundalini is derived from a Sanskrit word ‘Kundal’ meaning coiled up. It is the primordial dormant energy present in three-and-a-half, coils at the base of the spine in a triangular bone called the Sacrum. The Latin name ‘Os Sacrum’ suggests that it is a holy or sacred part of the body. The ancient Greeks were aware of this and therefore they called it the ‘Hieron Osteon’, noting that it was the last bone to be destroyed when the body is burnt, and also attributed supernatural powers to it. Egyptians also held this bone to be very valuable and considered it the seat of special power.
In the West, Sacrum is symbolised by the sign of Aquarius and by the Holy Grail, container of the water of life.
The Kundalini, which is to nourish the tree of life within us, is coiled up like a serpent and therefore it has been called, ‘The Serpent Power’. It has been described in great detail in the Upanishads. Kundalini Yoga is supposed to be supreme in all the Yogas. Guru Vashistha asserted that Kundalini is the seat of absolute knowledge. The awareness of the presence of this primordial energy Kundalini within the human body was considered by the sages and saints to be the highest knowledge. The Kundalini and Chakras have been vividly described in Vedic and Tantric texts.
This column is dedicated to exposing myths about love-making and presenting little known techniques from the Tantric arts to encourage the full-flowering of female sexuality, that the healing of Woman, Man and Gaia may be realized —
Heaven on Earth now!
Tantra, from the Sanskrit word for fabric, is an ancient term that embraces a wide range of ideas and practices variously associated with Harrapan, Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist belief systems. In its broadest sense, tantra refers to a spiritual path that seeks direct spiritual experience through meditation, the use of ritual sacraments and sometimes, ecstatic sexual practices.
In essence, the physical world is seen as reflecting the greater cosmic order, and enlightenment is taught to be as readily attainable by direct experience of the material world as by the practice of monastic asceticism. Tantric yoga teaches that spiritual unity with the divine can be achieved in union with a partner. The physical act of love thus becomes, both figuratively and literally, an act in which the dualities of spirit / matter, mind / body and self / other are transcended. Perhaps the finest expressions of this longed-for state of blissful transcendence occur in the Yab-Yum (male principle-female principle) drawings that abound in tantric art, here represented in the Amitayus (Buddha of Long Life) and Kuntozangpo (Primordial Buddha) images.
Tibetan thangka paintings are two-dimensional images of multi-dimensional worlds that depict the many deities and their various spheres of influence. Beautiful artworks in their own right, they also serve, to the initiated, as mnemonics that map the esoteric coordinates of the physical, psychological and spiritual planes. Authentic transmission of the truths hidden within these images was only assured, over time, by the codification of complex symbolic systems handed down by generations of dedicated artists. Underlying each sinuously swirling image is a mathematically precise grid defining the exact arrangement of every element in the composition. Each angle, each colour. each object, fulfills its predestined place in a grander design, and the glory of the creation of expression lies in cleaving as closely as humanly possible to an ineffable ideal.
“Tantra Is the Science of Transforming Ordinary Lovers into Soul Mates”
Tantra is one of the greatest treasures that is—lying there, unused. The day humanity uses it, the earth will become aglow with a new love….This very earth can be paradise….It is impossible if you depend on nature. It is very, very possible if you depend on Tantra. —Osho
Recently a new friend, Vibha, who has been an Osho devotee for many years, was kind enough to share some thoughts on tantra with me. I’ll supplement our dialogue with quotations from Osho’s discourses, which she generously furnished.
M: How do you define “tantra?”
V: Tantra is a mystical experience born out of the union between man and woman. It is an opportunity to open to energy rising up through your body and to experience merging with the Divine. It is a doorway into cosmic oneness. Tantra offers methods to open the chakra system to a vertical flow of energy and to grace descending and permeating our lives.
Tantra is a way of accessing your natural potential to love and be loved in a balanced and blissful way. Sexual union is a door provided by nature to access an ecstatic state of being. The science of tantra offers methods to open that door with sensitivity and intelligence allowing you and your lover to journey together on a transformational path of ecstasy.
If you remain aware you will come to know that sex is not just sex. Sex is the outermost layer, deep inside is the love, and even deeper is prayer, and deepest is God himself. Sex can become a cosmic experience. Then it is Tantra. —Osho
When all the seven centers (chakras) of a man are in tune and in harmony with all the seven centers of a woman, then you have found a soul mate. Tantra is alchemy; it can transform your centers. It can create a rhythm and harmony between you and your beloved. It is love at its peak. —Osho Read More
Questions and Answers about Tantra and tantric practices
Lets Talk Tantra?
Clarifications and questions about Tantra compiled from some of the many interviews and briefings given by Dawn Cartwright on the subject
Q: Are these the correct definitions of Tantra: is it about total communication between couples that allows them to give and received deeper pleasure. It is a 5,000 year old spiritual practice that grew out of Hinduism and Buddhism with the belief that followers should focus on the here-and-now, and experience every part of life to the fullest –including sexual gratification?
Dawn: Tantra is a spiritual practice that dates back over 5,000 years. Tantra blossomed, as a kind of spiritual revolution, from ancient Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism. This revolution centered around the sensuality of life, taking the more puritanical practices of the old Hinduism and Buddhism to a place of greater aliveness through the inclusion of sexual practices and the admittance of women onto the path. Tantra began to be seen as the path of pleasure, and the sexual union between man and woman as the highest meditation possible. Today, many couples experience the rewards of this millennia old practice of Tantra as these meditations and lovemaking techniques lead them to deeper intimacy and greatly increased sexual pleasure.
Q: Would you say then that Tantric lovemaking is about partners being naked in every sense of the word–it’s not only a physical connection, but a spiritual one as well, with the goal being mutual pleasure that lasts as long as you’d like it to?
Dawn: Tantric lovemaking opens the partners to one another on every level; sexually, intimately and spiritually . . . yes . . . making them naked and beautifully vulnerable. It’s in this state that couples are able to really experience the passion of being fully seen and met and they find the desire and capacity to extend the connection into hours of loving, creating a deep sense of bliss between them.
Qianshou Kuanyin (Bodhisattva with 1,000 Hands) Dance was a performance by members of Chinese Art Ensemble of disabled people, broadcasted on China Central Television during the Spring Festival Eve Variety Show on February 8, 2005. Their instructors stood at the sides of the stage and wave their hands to count the beats for all dancers.
Kuan Yin is the Chinese name for the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. Folk traditions in China and other East Asian countries have added many distinctive characteristics and legends. Avalokitesvara was originally depicted as Buddha when he was still a prince, and therefore wears chest-revealing clothing and may even sport a moustache. However, in China, Kuan Yin is usually depicted as a woman, the Goddess of Benevolence, who is in charge of birth. In rural areas, villagers call her “Songzi Niangniang”, the Goddess who blesses women who want to get pregnant. So, Kuan Yin is often enshrined and worshipped by women.
The video is amazing, and keep in mind that those dancers are deaf and still their moves are flawless.