Friday, April 20, 2007

Tantra: Divine Romance

As part of my April A-Z blog challenge on all things mystical, here's the letter T...


In my earlier blog about the Kama Sutra, I mentioned that the ancient text had a great deal more to offer than advice on bedroom gymnastics. Today let's talk about another mystical word with more to offer than the distinctly sensual connotation imparted to most who hear it: Tantra.

Indeed, sexual rites are an important part of this tradition, but only a part. Tantra is a term which applies to a variety of beliefs throughout Eastern religions, including Hindu and Buddhism. The word tantra is taken from Sanskrit, meaning "continuity," "weave," or "loom." Tantra is based around the ideal that within each human being lies all elements found in the universe; a complete microcosm of energy inside all of us. In short, we are the universe made manifest. Thus, by experiencing energy on a personal level by way of meditation, yoga, sexual rites, and other mind-expanding techniques, tantra followers believe they are better able to understand the universe itself.

In Tantrism, as with many religions, this energy is formed of both male and female components, and goddess worship is a part of this practice. As humans are the microcosm of the universe, but inherently only posess either male or female energy, ultimate bliss can only be experienced by uniting this duality. The melding of our male/feminine components creates a cosmic whole, and that completion can provide a unique sense of universal balance. Tantric sex, then, is not a mindless concern of frothing orgies, but rather a sacred and deliberate practice for the attainment of spiritual knowledge and personal enlightenment.

True, many have adopted tantric techniques with no interest in the religion other than spicing up their bedroom routine. It is certainly possible to experience heightened and unique sensations by doing so. As such, many texts have sprung up in recent times describing (and typically, illustrating) "tantric sex" as a stand-alone companion guide for the bedroom.

Certainly, one need not be a practitioner of tantra as a whole in order to enjoy some of its better known benefits, though arguably the level of pleasure the weekend dabbler could achieve would not be as intense nor spiritual as the devoted follower.

If you are interested in learning more about tantra as a whole, check out these sites:
http://www.tantra-kundalini.com/
http://philtar.ucsm.ac.uk/encyclopedia/hindu/devot/tant.html
http://www.khandro.net/Buddhism_tantric.htm

OR, for more on the pleasure principle aspect of tantra, try these:
http://www.thirdage.com/guides/romance/sex/tantra.html
http://tantra.com/

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