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.

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." We recogzine 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.

Tantric Yoga is based on the belief that the Universe is made up of Yin-Yang (Female-Male) principles, and that these Yin-Yang energies are also contained within the human body. Unification and harmonization of the Yin and Yang energy forces brings the experience of joyous transcendence and mystical ecstacy.

Spirituality and sexuality are not seperate. Rather, these fundamental and exquisite forces of our innermost beings are deeply integrated and united bringing a sense of divine balance and fulfillment within one's self. Through the study of the Tantras (sacred sexual teachings), we gain awareness and mastery over our subtle energy body and creative sexual energy flows.

Through continued practice while partners develop and master the tantric asanas (postures) and pranayamas (breathing techniques), they tone and strengthen their respective subtle energy bodies and learn to harmonize the Yin-Yang forces within themselves and each other.

As couples combine and channel the primordial, evolutionary force of the Kundalini energy, they begin to experince deepening levels of the tantric erotic sentiment and the mystic erotic thrill created by the maturing and upward movement of Kundalini energy. This eternal force which unites within them ascends as a powerful vortex of energy rising like liquid fire through their subtle bodies and into their 7th chakras at the top of their brains.

This union in turn begins what is often called a nectar rain of orgasmic splendor throughout the entire nervous system and aura ( electromagnetic field of energy around the physical body ).

It is believed that through this transcendental state of mystic love that all karmas and impurities of the mind and body may be burned up and the participants may be transported into the divine realms of consciousness.

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.

Tantric Yogi involves proper breathing and increased awareness of the energy centers of your body thus purifying the channels and chakras allowing the energies to flow freely through the body. This is done with proper breathing that pulls the air in and out of the body.

Tantric Sex is meditative, spontaneous and intimate lovemaking. Through it you learn to prolong the act of making love and to channel, rather than dissipate. potent orgasmic energies moving through you, thereby raising the level of your consciousness.

Tantra transports your sexuality from the plane of doing to the place of being. There is no goal in Tantric sex, only the present moment of perfect and harmonious union. Tantra teaches you to revere your sexual partner and to transform the act of sex into a sacrament of love.

Tantra teaches that lovemaking between a man and woman, when entered into with awareness, is a gateway to both sexual and spiritual ecstasy.

In India, traditional Tantrikas spent many years under the guidance of a spiritual teacher and engaged in elaborate yogic rituals to purify and master the body and mind.

These practices were intended to awaken the powerful psychic energies through which the adept could enter into higher states of consciousness When a disciple was deemed ready he or she partook in sexual rites with a partner.

Through the sacred act of love, they sought to merge the dual nature of their sexuality into an ecstatic union. Through this came the harmonization of their own internal masculine and feminine polarities and a realization of the blissful nature of the Self.

The Tantric path encompasses beauty, sensitivity, and exhilaration through eating, drinking, tasting, smelling, touching. It embraces and enhances all forms of creative expression, such as movement and dance, massage, martial arts, the fine arts, healing, and music.

Through experiencing and glorying in the delights of the body, the body becomes a temple in which you experience the sacred. It becomes a doorway to spiritual evolution.

-The Art of Tantric Sex by Nitya Lacroix

People who practice Tantra are called Tantrikas. They view sexual energy as a divine, all-encompassing life force that sleeps within the individual, permeates the universe, and affects everything we do from birth to death.

As sexual beings, we have the ability to raise that energy within ourselves and use it to directly experience alternate or mystical states of consciousness. In effect, we become "gods" and "goddesses," our bodies transformed into temples of male and female divinity.

As you follow the Tantric path, you will learn new ways to open, develop, and refine your senses. These techniques are part of the ancient science of Tantric Yoga, the spiritual discipline that works directly with sexual energy. They include awareness exercises that involve focusing attention on all the sensations that are available to you moment by moment.

In the beginning, techniques are helpful because your mind, body, and past experience often interfere with your awareness and ability to love. Who you think you are and how you think you should be often hampers your freedom to change.

- Sacred Sex by Jwala

The Tantra vision accepts everything. There is nothing forbidden in Tantra. Everything that a person experiences, regardless of whether it is usually Judged as good or bad, is an opportunity for learning. For instance, a situation in which you feel sexually frustrated is not viewed negatively in Tantra, but as a teaching. It provides an opportunity to understand your motivations about going into sex.

In Tantra there is no division between what is good and what is bad what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. For instance, Tantra, as I understand it, places no moral judgment on your sexual preferences. In Tantra the focus is not so much on with whom you do it but rather on how you do it. Hence, Tantra can be practiced by anyone who is attracted to this path.

The Tantra vision is one of wholeness, of embracing everything, because every situation, whether pleasant or unpleasant, is an opportunity to become more aware about who you are and how you can expand your capacities. And this provides a great opportunity for integrating all aspects of yourself, including those parts that you may normally reject or hide.

This vision also recognizes that within each adult human being there is a natural, unspoiled, childlike spirit who can openly and innocently explore unfamiliar territory. The innocence of this spirit remains intact and represents our natural capacity to enjoy life, to love, to play, and to be ecstatic.

Because Tantra believes in wholeness, it embraces opposites, seeing them not as contradictions but as complements. The concepts of male and female therefore are not set apart, forever divided by a gender gap, but are viewed as two polarities that meet and merge in every human being.

Tantra recognizes that each human being, whether man or woman, has both masculine and feminine qualities. What this means is that by discarding our gender stereotypes, we can expand our sexual identities tremendously, honoring the polarity in ourselves that until now has been largely ignored.

In Tantra the man can be encouraged to explore his soft, receptive, vulnerable, feminine aspects. He can slip out from beneath the weight of his male responsibilities, stop performing, and relax, taking his time in sex, making love without a specific goal, allowing himself to receive while his partner initiates.

For her part, the woman can explore her masculine dimension, recognizing that she is capable of dynamic leadership in lovemaking, taking the initiative, creating new ways of guiding, teaching, and giving herself and her partner pleasure.

The man does not give up his masculinity, nor does the woman abandon her femininity. They simply expand their potential to include the other polarity.

In Tantra, when the male and female polarities merge, a new dimension becomes available-the sense of the sacred. When the sacredness of sexual union is felt, it is possible to experience your connection to the life force itself, the source of creation.

This connection lifts your consciousness beyond the physical plane into a field of power and energy much greater than your own. Then you feel linked, through your partner, to everything that lives and loves. You feel that you are a part of the great dance of existence; you feel one with it.

- The Art of Sexual Ecstasy by Margot Anand

Buddhism was the crowning cultural achievement of Pala period India (eighth through twelfth centuries) and an internationally influential movement that swept throughout Asia, where it has survived in many countries to the present day.

Tantric Buddhism arose when Mahayana Buddhism was enjoying a period of great philosophical productivity and intellectual influence. Flourishing monastic universities offered a life of study and contemplation but also provided a direct route to tremendous wealth, political influence, and social prestige.

A monk who enjoyed a successful academic career might be given land, servants, animals, buildings, precious metals, jewels, furnishings, art, and the privilege of riding on an elephant in official processions.

Admiring patrons offered these gifts as tokens of their esteem and as a way to gain religious merit. One monk was even offered the income from eighty villages by an enthusiastic royal patron. The monk declined .

Building upon the great achievements of Mahayana philosophy, yet impelled by a spirit of critique, Tantric Buddhism arose outside the powerful Buddhist monasteries as a protest movement initially championed by lay people rather than monks and nuns.

Desiring to return to classical Mahayana universalism, the Tantric reformers protested against ecclesiastical privilege and arid scholasticism and sought to forge a religious system that was more widely accessible and socially inclusive.

The Tantrics believed that self-mastery was to be tested amidst family life, the tumult of town and marketplace, the awesome spectacles of a cremation ground, and the dangers of isolated wilderness areas.

The Tantric revolution gained popular and royal support and eventually made its way into the curriculum of monastic universities like Nalanda, Vikramasla, Odantapur, and Somapur. These institutes of higher learning were patronized and attended by both Hindus and Buddhists. They featured philology, literature, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, and art, as well as the "inner sciences" of meditation, psychology, and philosophy.

While the monasteries served as the institutional strongholds of the faith, wandering lay Tantrics carried Buddhism to the villages, countryside, tribal areas, and border regions, providing an interface at which new populations could bring their practices, symbols, and deities into the Buddhist fold.

Practices that had great antiquity in India's forests, mountains, and rural areas, among tribal peoples, villagers, and the lower classes, were embraced and redirected to Buddhist ends.

The renewed social inclusiveness and incorporation of an eclectic array of religious practices reshaped Buddhism into a tradition once again worthy of the loyalty of people from all sectors of Indian society.

Tantric Buddhism drew adherents from competing faiths, expanded geographically into every region of the Indian subcontinent, and continued outward on a triumphal sweep of the Himalayas, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.

- Passionment Enlightment by Miranda Shaw

The word Tantra refers specifically to a series of esoteric Hindu books that describe certain sexual rituals, disciplines, and meditations. These ancient Indian books, over two thousand years old, were written in the form of a dialogue between the Hindu god Shiva, who is "the penetrating power of focused energy," and his consort, Shakti, who represents the female creative force and is sometimes called "the Power of Tantra.'

Ancient Tantra is a spiritual system in which sexual love is a sacrament. We are not teachers of ancient tantric traditions and rituals, but we have developed a system based on tantric philosophical concepts and techniques that we have found applicable in our life and in the lives of our students. It is a system that can elevate a couple relationship to the level of art. We refer to it as the Art of Conscious Loving.

Few of us have benefited from a formal education in sexuality or sexual love. Even though we are children of the sexual revolution, we are still largely conditioned by belief systems that may have instilled in us guilt or fear or insecurity or shame. Such negative imprints, although they may reside quietly in the subconscious and cause only minor or occasional disturbances, rarely allow us to journey into the spiritual potential of sexual love. Tantra can help us do just that because a spiritual goal is as important to the tantric couple as their love.

Tantra is a school of many courses in which there are many levels of study and an unlimited degree of potential for spiritual gain, for sexual delight, and for worldly success. In our workshops and seminars we use techniques that we have developed from some of the ancient tantric lessons. These techniques are designed for the uninitiated, for the beginner. We share them with love and with deep respect for the potential for pleasure, for healing, and for spiritual growth they can provide.

It is one of the tenets of tantric philosophy that the discipline, the tantric lessons is reborn age to age. We hope you will share our excitement over how extraordinarily well suited to our modern age and culture these ancient eastern lessons are. They are important tools for today's couples who are searching for a significantly different way of relating to each other, couples who want to sustain love and sexual passion for a lifetime together.

Tantric sex does not promise instant results; it is not a "one minute" technique for achieving sexual prowess. But for couples who want to enrich their relationship, it can release a particular kind of energy that can bring about harmony between them and increase their sexual pleasure and intimacy. In sum, tantric sex can create an extraordinary partnership.

- Tantra: The Art of Conscious Loving

Tantra in both Hinduism and Buddhism, esoteric tradition of ritual and yoga known for elaborate use of mantra, or symbolic speech, and mandala, or symbolic diagrams; the importance of female deities, or Shakti; cremation-ground practices such as meditation on corpses; and, more so in Hindu than in Buddhist tantra, the ritual use of wine, meat, and sexual intercourse.

Mantra in Hinduism and Buddhism, mystic words used in ritual and meditation. A mantra is believed to be the sound form of reality, having the power to bring into being the reality it represents. There are several types of mantras. Sanskrit verses used in the Vedic sacrifice are known as mantras. Bija-mantra or "seed-sounds, used mainly in Tantra, are syllables without semantic value having an occult affinity for particular deities or forces; use of such mantras usually requires initiation by a guru.

Mandala is a concentric diagram having spiritual and ritual significance in Hindu and Buddhist Tantrism. The mandala may have derived from the circular stupa and the ritual of walking around the stupa in a circle. The mandala is seen as a microcosm embodying the various divine powers at work in the universe, and it serves as a collection point for the gods and universal forces.

Tantric practices use both ritual and meditation to unify the devotee with the chosen deity. In Hindu Tantra, practice is graded into three types, corresponding to three classes of devotees: the animal, i.e., those in whom the guna, or quality, of tamas (darkness) predominates; the heroic, those in whom the guna of rajas (activity) predominates; and the divine, those in whom sattva (goodness) predominates (see Hindu philosophy).

The practice of the heroic devotee entails actual use of the five elements, called the five m's: fish (matsya), meat (mamsa), wine (madya), aphrodisiac cereals (mudra), and sexual intercourse (maithuna).

The animal devotee, not yet ready for the heroic practice, performs the rituals with material symbols; for the divine devotee the rituals are purely internal and symbolic.

The object of the rituals, attainable only by the divine devotee, is to awaken kundalini energy, which is identified with Shakti, and merge with the Godhead.

In Buddhist Tantra, or Vajrayana, in contrast to the Hindu, the female principle of "wisdom (prajna) is seen as static, whereas the male, or "means (upaya), is active.

In Buddhism, rituals that appear to break basic moral precepts have for the most part been dropped, but the complex meditation practices have been retained.


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