Living in harmony with oneself, attaining complete happiness, self-realization, and overcoming significant barriers are just some of the many possibilities that Tantra offers us. The positive energy emanating from tantric practices and teachings has caused it to gain an increasing number of followers. The secret knowledge and practices that were once accessible only to a select few have been partially shared so that everyone can have the tools for a happier life without causing suffering to other sentient beings and to remove the causes of suffering, thereby achieving the state of Buddha's awakening even within a single lifetime. A brief description of the history of Tantra is available on YouTube in a video that I recorded.
The true path of Tantra, also known as Traditional Tantra, as we know it today, dates back to the 2nd century CE, but the knowledge itself, i.e., Tantra, is much older and is around 2500 years old. Initially, it was practiced exclusively by monks. It was only through the second transmission of Buddhist teachings that the practices began to be gradually made available to a wider audience. This tradition reached Poland in the 1970s, which means it arrived 1800 years later.
Sutras i Tantras
I will try to explain Tantra in a simple and easy way. I am still learning it myself through meetings with monks from Tibet and Nepal and through the texts written by them. I will try to share this knowledge with you by providing a summary of the most important information. Tantra is a part of Buddhism. When we use the word Tantra on our website, we mean Traditional Tantra, and not other distortions mentioned later in the article.
Buddha was a human being just like us, but at a certain point in his life, he realized that despite having everything, he was not truly happy. This led him to seek happiness by striving for the state of Perfect Buddhahood. He focused his life on actions that helped others achieve lasting happiness, practicing bodhichitta. Through this way of thinking, speaking, and acting, he accumulated the necessary merits and wisdom to attain the state of Buddhahood.
Due to the fact that people are different and not everyone assimilates knowledge in the same way, Buddha Shakyamuni taught his methods through which he himself attained the state of Awakening. He delivered information in a way that was understandable to all and ensured that the practices he described would truly yield results on the path to Awakening. For this reason, the teachings of Buddha can be divided into three Vehicles or "Ways" (in Sanskrit: yana):
- The Vehicle of Listeners - Shravakayana,
- The Self Awakened Vehicle – Pratyekabuddhayana
- Vehicle of perfect Buddhahood – Bodhisatwayana
The Vehicle of Shravakayana and Pratyekabuddhayana together form the Hinayana Vehicle.
The Vehicle of Bodhisattvayana forms the Mahayana Vehicle.
A part of the Bodhisattvayana Vehicle forms the Vajrayana Vehicle.
Hinayana is translated as the "lesser vehicle," Mahayana as the "greater vehicle," and Vajrayana as the "indestructible, diamond vehicle" or the "vehicle of the indestructible fruit."
The same teachings can be further divided into two Vehicles: Sutrayana and Tantrayana. In this classification, we have the Vehicle of Listeners, the Self Awakened Vehicle, and the Vehicle of perfect Buddhahood, which together form Sutrayana - the Vehicle of Cause/Property. The parts of Bodhisattvayana that constitute Vajrayana form Tantrayana.
The Tantras, which are the teachings of Buddha, are actually much older than the Vajrayana Vehicle and date back approximately 2500 years ago when Buddha Shakyamuni (Siddhartha Gautama from the sage of Shakya) was born. He is considered the founder of Buddhism.
What is Tantra?
Tantra is nothing but the teachings of Buddha related to Vajrayana. Vajrayana, on the other hand, is one of the three main paths to liberation. It is often referred to by various names such as Mantrayana, Tantrayana, Tibetan Buddhism, and Esoteric Buddhism. Vajrayana teaches how to purify the mind from anger, hatred, and aggression, and instead cultivate love and wisdom. This state can be achieved through meditation, chanting of mantras, visualization practices, and maintaining a pure state of mind.
In society, there is a prevalent belief that when hearing the word "tantra," various sexual connotations immediately come to mind. This is because some practices that are not actually tantra are mistakenly labeled as such. For more information on this topic and why there are these sexual associations nowadays, you can refer to this video. It is important to note that these sexual connotations are associated with the various "colorful" variations of tantra, such as white tantra, red tantra, pink tantra, black tantra, as well as left-hand and right-hand tantra.
Even though they include the word "tantra" in their name and often mention spirituality in their descriptions, they have nothing to do with Tantra.
This article does not focus on describing Tantra because there are Lama monks who have the appropriate vision to convey accurate information while preserving the purity of the original teachings. Personally, I suggest that if someone is interested in receiving teachings on Tantra, they should only do so from Lama monks who have the necessary qualifications. For more information about real Tantra you can reach out to The Power of Spiritual Development book available @ Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/8396363900
Below, I will describe the different distortions of Tantra.
Let's start with white tantra, which involves yoga and meditation. It mainly focuses on purifying one's soul and cultivating the heart. Its goal is to achieve union with pure pleasure through practices such as breath control, mental concentration, and meditation. By unlocking our mental barriers, we strive to live in harmony with ourselves. However, it is not Tantra.
In pink tantra, the integration of spiritual and sensory aspects is important. It is primarily dedicated to couples who wish to overcome feelings such as nervousness, obsessions related to touch, pleasure, or love. Tantric massage can be classified as pink tantra. The practices of pink tantra aim to teach the enjoyment of gentleness, intimacy, and non-sexual stimulation through touch and massage. However, it is not Tantra.
The next variation is red tantra, which is one of the most widespread distortions. It emphasises embodiment and physicality, with a focus on sexuality. It promises its followers the potential to experience deep physical sensations while simultaneously developing energetic aspects. However, it is not Tantra.
We have just mentioned three distortions that are most commonly confused with the true Tantra, which is taught in Vajrayana. As you can see, each of these mentioned colors offers something different and relates to a different sphere. One can choose what aspect they want to improve upon. However, the difference between them and Vajrayana is that Tantra is Tantra, and all these so-called "colors" are not Tantra and have nothing to do with Tantra. Nothing. Zero.
What is Black tantra?
The greatest threat, when it comes to the individual distortions, is "Black Tantra," which is to Tantric Buddhism what Satanism is to Christianity. The dark power of such distortions lies in the fact that it is a complete contradiction to the original Tantric principles, representing the complete opposite of the teachings of Buddhism.
The energy that was meant to help in attaining happiness and enlightenment is instead used for manipulation and committing evil deeds. Instead of developing Bodhichitta, one focuses on oneself, disregarding whether an action causes suffering to other sentient beings. Followers strive for liberation at any cost, believing that this path will lead them to liberation. However, their beliefs and practices only further distance them from the liberation they seek.
When individuals become solely focused on illusory spiritual self-development, they lose their desire to engage in group dynamics. Concepts such as compassion, assistance, love, and friendship cease to exist for them, which are fundamental values of traditional Tantra. The craving for momentary pleasure leads to highly unfavorable consequences for those involved in such practices. These practices also generate karma that returns to them. Such individuals become dissatisfied, constantly criticize others, harbor a lot of anger and suffering, resulting in further negative occurrences.
In black tantra, there is no such thing as moral or ethical backbone. Hatred, mutual insults, and contempt are the prevailing emotions accompanying it. The only community in which they "fulfill" themselves is a group of selfish individuals who insult and despise one another, while not considering themselves members of any group at all. They strive to repel others by presenting a repugnant image of themselves, aiming to sever any relationships with other people (such as family). They do not want anyone to be connected to them unless it is in a subordinate position.
In the practices of black tantra, people are promised true freedom, but it comes at the cost of losing oneself. It is a particular branch that carries unimaginable consequences. It has been known that individuals who have chosen to engage in such practices often end up in closed hospital wards. However, this path suited them due to their disengagement from life. Some of them believe that by entering such a place, they have contact with intelligent people who have chosen, just like them, the best path for spiritual self-development.
In the context of black tantra, individuals who engage in it often have access to care, food, and intoxicating substances, allowing them to solely focus on themselves and their pursuit of liberation. Drugs often play a significant role in practicing black tantra. They serve as a means through which practitioners can experience everything more intensely or in completely different ways than when sober. Additionally, sexual practices are encouraged to be as diverse as possible. There are, for example, group sex as a practice, exchange of partners, copulation with animals - the more and more varied, the better, the less inhibitions a person has, that is, the more liberated he is. The main point here is that often everything is done on the basis of top-down matching of the partner by teachers or dominatrix, and even by cohabitation with themselves.
The practices you described involve harmful and unethical behavior, which can have severe consequences on individuals' well-being. Engaging in manipulative and controlling relationships, coercion in sexual activities, and the use of psychological pressure are not only unethical but also deeply damaging to individuals' emotional, psychological, and physical health.
Such practices go against the principles of consent, respect, and personal autonomy. They can lead to emotional trauma, the erosion of personal boundaries, and the manipulation of individuals' sense of self. It is important to recognize and condemn these negative aspects, as they can have long-lasting effects on the victims involved.
It is crucial to promote ethical conduct, informed consent, and respect for personal boundaries in any spiritual or personal development context. Individuals should be empowered to make their own choices and engage in healthy and consensual relationships that promote their well-being and growth.