What does Tantra mean?
Tantra is a Sanskrit word that contains two syllables. Sanksrit words typically have several meanings and can be unfolded in many different way. Tan-tra can easily be translated as “expansion, liberation”. This refers to many things, most generally to to expansion and liberation of consciousness.
What is the general concept of Tantra?
The focus of tantra is on reaching the state of supreme consciousness, with absolute truth, with radiant beauty, and with bliss. This can also be expressed as communion with the divine.
How does one expand one’s consciousness?
There are many techniques, but the most general is to transcend boundaries. But in order to transcend our boundaries, it is very useful to become aware of them and to understand their mechanism, how they are acting in our life, and why they are there. The techniques of Tantra are designed to discover our boundaries and limitations, understand them, and then transcend them, liberating us from our bondages and sufferings.
I thought Tantra meant some kind of very erotic sex…
Actually, no, not at all. Tantra utilizes many techniques to attain communion with the divine. Many of them are practiced by an individual aspirant. Some of them are practiced in a group, and some of them in a couples situation.
When Tantra is practiced in a couple, there is one practice called “Maithuna” in which there is communion with the divine of both parties in the couple, as well as between the couple, forming a closed triangle between the three parties. As such, for obtaining these states there are suggested practices that are given in some of the ancient texts. Some of these practices are intended to bring pleasure to your partner as a sign of devotion in the form of actions and offerings. The Kama Sutra is one of the main texts that provides such information…. But this is not Tantra as a whole, but only one very small aspect of it.
How does one become a Tantric priest/priestess?
There are no two priests/priestesses who’s foundation in Tantrism is the same. To become a Tantric guru, expert, or priest/priestess it means going through a series of initiations that can be different for each person. Those initiations can come through physical transmission from guru to disciple, through letters, through meditation, and other forms of personal experiences. If one is interested in taking this path, then it is highly advised to recieve guidance from an experienced tantric for the assignment of sadhana, or personal practices.