Neotantra

Neotantra is a term used to describe the modern western use of the word Tantra. The term refers to both the New Age and modern Western interpretations of traditional Indian and Buddhist tantra. Some of its proponents refer to ancient and traditional texts and principals, and many others use tantra as a catch-all phrase for "sacred sexuality", and may incorporate unorthodox practices. In addition, not all of the elements of Indian tantra are used in neotantric practices, in particular the reliance on a guru, guruparampara.

Practitioners

Teachers of this version of tantra frequently have the belief that sex and sexual experiences are a sacred act which is capable of elevating its participants to a higher spiritual plane. They often talk about raising Kundalini energy, worshiping the divine feminine, activating the chakras, and experiencing full-body orgasms. The word "tantra," in this context, often refers to the set of techniques for cultivating a more fulfilling sexual or love relationship. On the other hand, there are also some truly dedicated scholars and teachers in the field of modern tantra.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, later known as Osho, used his version of tantra in combination with breathing techniques, bio-energy, yoga and massage in some of the groups at his ashram. He is the author of many books on meditation, taoism, buddhism and mysticism, and at least six on tantra. One of them is Tantra, The Supreme Understanding, in which he unpacks the verses of the Song of Mahamudra, by Tilopa. In addition out of his discourses on the Vigyan Bhiarav (or Vijnaya-bhairava), the 112 practices for enlightenment resulted the much longer 'The Book of Secrets'.

His students continue to develop his concepts. One of his students is Margot Anand, who founded a school called "Skydancing" tantra. She is the author of dozens of books including the Art of Everyday Ecstasy and the Art of Sexual Magic.

Another modern tantrika is Daniel Odier who believes that Desire can be a valid pathway to transcendence. He has translated and interpreted the yoga spandakarika, and has written books on tantra, buddhism, kashmiri shaivism, and meditation.

Criticisms and misuse

Unfortunately, the word tantra is often misused by sex workers to embelish their practice, and is just a thin veil over what is basically prostitution. In less extreme cases the practices are improperly advertised as tantra when in fact they are at best "sexual education."

Georg Feuerstein, a Buddhist who also trained in Hindu Tantra, writes in the epilogue of his book Tantra: Path of Ecstasy:

"Many are attracted to Neo-Tantrism because it promises sexual excitement or fulfillment while clothing purely genital impulses or neurotic emotional needs in an aura of spirituality. If we knew more about the history of Tantra in India, we would no doubt find a comparable situation for every generation." He goes on to say, "Today translations of several major Tantras are readily available in book form... This gives would-be Tantrics the opportunity to concoct their own idiosyncratic ceremonies and philosophies, which they can then promote as Tantra."

Related concepts

There are accounts suggesting that sexual practices by individuals with no spiritual agenda may trigger a range of transcendent experiences, as psychologist Dr. Jenny Wade describes in her book, Transcendent Sex.

References

See also

Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

This article is based on "Neotantra" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Neotantra&action=history