In its most general term, Tantra refers to all those traditional techniques (usually born in Asia) that aim at mental and physical concentration. There are variants of Tantra in many Eastern religions and cults, its two main focuses being Hinduism and Buddhism. Esoteric traditions of Tantra developed during the first millennium BC.
What does Tantra mean?
The term tantra (understood as the definition used in the Hindu traditions), also refers to any systematic “text, theory, system, method, instrument, technique or practice” of general application to a cult itself. In other words, for Hindus tantra is the set of practices and methods for carrying out their cult.
The parts into which tantra is divided
Rituals are the main focus of the Tantras. However, a Tantra is not a set of fixed and immovable rules or rituals, but is the set of practices and ideas. Due to the wide range of communities and cults covered by the term “tantra” in its oldest and most original form, it is impossible to describe tantric practices in a definite and concrete way.
The sexual part of the human being is part of Tantra
Most people think that Tantra is simply a more spiritual view of human sexuality (or perhaps a more sensual view of human spirituality), or a form of sex therapy and nothing more. The reality is that, as we have said, Tantra was much more than that: a very general set of norms and practices present in ancient India. Tantric culture, unlike prudish and sexist Western culture, provided a positive, proto-feminist and sensual sexual approach, as part of a much broader set of norms. The sexual part was only a part of Tantra, like tantric massages.
Tantra has been misunderstood for many years
Tantra in all its versions and religions said that all reality is an expression of divine energies or of the gods. The mere fact of being born is to flow from the unmanifest divinity and to reach Zen or enlightenment is simply to flow back to those gods.
This realization and understanding, for the human being, comes through the use of one’s body as a spiritual tool. Also the use of complex physical rituals, the chanting of sacred words and some degree of transcendence of the dualistic perceptions of good and evil, sacred and profane.
Because all reality is ultimately beyond good and evil and is merely an expression of divine energy, the Tantric texts assert that all reality can be used to reach the divine, including through our own sexuality.