Showing posts with label Tantra History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tantra History. Show all posts

Origins of Tantra - Where Does Tantra Come From?

 



The Origins and Presentation of Tantra. 


From the time of its initial appearance in the West till now, the word tantra has been marred by major misconceptions. Tantric writings were found by missionaries in India in 1799, and the term was first used in the English language. These were not works by Buddhists. In reality, the existence of Buddhism was not widely understood in the West at the time. 

The term tantra was then only known as the title of these writings, the contents of which were completely different from what people anticipated in philosophy and religion texts. 


The missionaries were mostly taken aback by the fact that other people held religious and philosophical beliefs so unlike to their own. 

To them, tantra meant nothing more than these extended treatises; yet, because the subject matter dealt with in these treatises was so odd from their perspective, the name began to acquire a strange meaning, which has not been confirmed by careful analysis of the texts. 

Unfortunately, as in so many other cases, once a false perception is created, it takes a near-superhuman effort to dig out and correct all of the incorrect notions and strange implications that have grown up around it. 

In a technical sense, I'll try to explain what the term tantra truly implies. First and foremost, the tantra of the Hinduist school must be distinguished from the tantra of the Buddhist school. 

These two faiths, both indigenous to India, used the same language, Sanskrit, for a long time. However, each tradition had its own set of rules regarding how its terminology should be used. 


What one tradition meant by a phrase was not always the same as what another tradition meant by it. 

When Buddhist studies first began in the West, which was just a few decades ago, the initial investigators concluded that because Buddhists used the same Sanskrit phrases as Hindus, they meant the same thing. This was the first in a series of erroneous assumptions they reached. Let us try to grasp tantra as it evolved in the Buddhist tradition. 


The Sanskrit term prabandha has been used in close relation with the term tantra since the beginning. Prabandha is a Sanskrit word that signifies "continuity." 

This is a state of being that is divided into two parts: we must begin someplace and then go in a certain direction (and perhaps arrive at a goal). Tantra was presented in this manner. It refers to a current human condition that develops from the question of how we will behave. 

Tantra also considers how we will be in terms of relationships, acknowledging that man is constantly connected to something or someone. Tantra handles the topic of being in a variety of ways, resulting in several presentations. The first method is known as Kriyatantra. 

The emphasis of the Kriyatantra is on how a person acts. Kriya is a Sanskrit word that meaning "activity." Here, action is viewed as a metaphor and dealt with in a ritualistic manner. The concept of ritual does not have to be a mystery to us. 


When a guy approaches a lady, he removes his hat, which is an example of ritual. 

It's a structured gesture of some sort. It's also a method of approaching a human connection. 

The Kriyatantra places a strong focus on relationships, which is reflected in this type of codified gesture. In this scenario, the focus is broad and encompasses many elements of the relationship. 

The Kriyatantra takes a unique perspective to human relationships in that it focuses on the simplest and most basic phases. 

A child's bond with his parents is the first type of relationship. There's a sense of power at work here. Someone needs to inform the youngster what he or she should and should not do. 


When this relationship position is translated into a theological framework, the concept of man being subject to a transcendental entity emerges. 

This is likely the most widely held belief, and it is also the Kriyatantra's structure. In this case, the practitioner seeks to earn favor with the person with whom he has a relationship. 

This, together with the Kriyatantra's strong ceremonial focus, are two of the Kriyatantra's key qualities. Purification is also emphasized in this tantra. Several ablutions are included in the ceremony. Some of them are entirely symbolic in nature, and the sensation of cleanliness associated with them may appear overdone. However, we must keep in mind that in an emotional situation like this, the feeling of being clean might become incredibly significant. When someone says, "Now before you eat, wash your hands," it has a lot deeper meaning than when someone says, "Now before you eat, wash your hands." 


Another hallmark of Kriyatantra is its emphasis on purity. 

But man isn't satisfied with being instructed what to do. He is also a thinking entity who will inquire. And this is where the Caryatantra, a different approach to tantra, comes in. Tantra relates to a relationship scenario once again. 

However, the focus has shifted in this case. We are no longer merely concerned with adhering to certain established norms of relationships, but also, to some measure, with comprehending their ramifications. 


This indicates the beginning of a period of self-questioning. 


  • Why are we acting in this manner? 
  • Why do we act in such a certain way? 

We do not dismiss our actions at this moment, but we do inquire about their importance. And we do so by thinking about it more. We strive to understand it, which might be a form of meditation. A balance between cognition and action begins to emerge at this point. 

This shift from simple acceptance of authority to a more complex connection with the person with whom we are dealing correlates to a shift in the nature of our connection with the person with whom we are dealing. 

It is no longer possible for a master to command his slave or servant what to do. There is now a greater sense of closeness, camaraderie, and equality of position. 

The first is still eager to learn, but the second has realized he is in the same boat as the first. It is a friendship connection, and friendship can only exist if the other person is accepted for who he or she is. 


Friendship is difficult when you are in a position of servitude. 

However, friendship can progress beyond this first level of closeness. Friendship frequently necessitates our attempting to learn more about the relationship. 


What is it about this relationship that makes us want to nurture it? 

This process of inquiry leads to the creation of further understanding. The focus has switched once more. We enter the Yogatantra through this new component of the complete circumstance of how we are together. 

The term "yoga" has a lot of different connotations. 

It signifies "to harness" in Buddhist context. It is connected to the English term yoke etymologically. It is bringing everything we have to bear in order to achieve deeper information. As a result, the circumstance, or tantra, in which this is the focus is known as the Yogatantra. 

There is a level of cooperation here that is superior than that between two buddies. However, there is still opportunity for improvement because we still see others as being slightly different from ourselves. This is where the Mahayogatantra, the fourth division, comes in. Maha literally means "great," however it is used here not so much to signify "great" as opposed to "little," but rather to convey the idea that nothing could be better. It's used in the strictest meaning. 


In its approach to the issue of interaction, the Mahayogatantra shares this feeling of absoluteness. 

We no longer make distinctions; we are just who we are, spontaneous and uninhibited. The question of whether the other is a friend or not is no longer relevant. There is perfect unification; we are all one. 

As a result, there is a transition in the tantras, starting at the level of a child's relationship with its parents and progressing to full adulthood. 

Thus, when we use the term tantra, we are referring not only to a specific event, but also to a process of growth and inner development that occurs when we attempt to comprehend what exists. This process continues until we arrive at a suitable evaluation of experience, a suitable method of perceiving. 

There is a dialectical link between action, how we act, and the knowledge we have gained. The more we know about someone, the more we learn about them, the more receptive we become to them. We learn to see what he need and cease imposing our ideas about what he should require. We start to be able to assist that person in finding his own path. This brings us to tantra's practical meaning. 


Tantra, as a method of inner evolution, allows us to see more clearly, allowing us to become true people rather than merely amorphous creatures. 

Tantra, on the other hand, goes much further. It goes beyond the concept of development or growth. Within the tradition, there are additional phases and subdivisions that deal with the fact that life continues even after we have learnt to correctly connect to our issues. The premise is that spiritual practice is a never-ending process. 

We begin someplace, progress or develop, and eventually arrive at a certain destination solely from the perspective of discursive cognition. It's not as if once you've reached enlightenment, the process is over and everything is done. 

Rather, because we continue to live, we must restart our lives on a regular basis. Nonetheless, we have discovered a method, a means of communicating, a certain continuity, through the previous stages. Tantra's primary meaning is the continuation of a manner of connection. In some ways, this is a really basic point. However, we discover that there isn't much more difficult than this type of simplicity in general.



You may also want to read more about Tantra Yoga here.