Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Modern Buddhist Tantra

At the beginning of the main "how to learn tantric sex" part of this blog, I made some highly critical comments about the way religious tantra is being marketed in the West. Ninety-nine percent of it is a blatant scam, an attempt to sell a fake, cotton candy version of Tantrism using sex as bait to get people into a cult.

Most of the ideas that are being peddled by these scammers as "spiritual truths" can be traced back to 19th century European mysticism, not to Asian religions, and especially not to Tantra. Even some of the most basic elements, like chakras, were words borrowed from the East, given totally different meanings in the West, and then exported back to Asia in an unrecognizable form. But no matter what you have been told, Tantra is NOT just another flavor of Western mysticism in Eastern clothing.

Authentic mainstream Buddhism as practiced in Asia has never interested me. It is deeply ascetic and monastic, and I have no interest in renouncing the real physical world, stifling all pleasures and desires, or becoming a monk or nun. And the watered-down, sanitized form of Buddhism taught in the West has always struck me as passive and weak – a wimpy, artificially-neutered shadow of the real thing.

I am also severely prejudiced against the typical form of Tantrism currently practiced in India, the home of my ancestors. This is an embarrassingly sleazy form of fake witchcraft and sorcery that preys on poor people, with "tantric wizards" peddling useless charms and hexes and fake cures around the edges of Hindu temples.

And, until recently, I had not given Buddhist Tantra more than a glance, because it seemed to be filled with bizarre demons and spirits and a lot of the same magical nonsense as the Hindu version.

However, at the urging of several of my friends and tantric sex preceptors, I have recently been reading David Chapman's blog Vividness and a number of related sources. And Chapman has just about convinced me that the kind of tantric sex that I have been studying, practicing, and writing about CAN live comfortably within a modernized form of Buddhist Tantra.

Since I know some of the readers of this blog are looking for something more than "just" fantastic sex, I wanted to share some of Chapman's ideas about what a truly modernized form of Buddhist Tantra would look like.

For him, Tantra is not some tacky hedge wizard selling you amulets. Nor is it some goofy crystal-brained New Age guru selling you "sacred sex" on the installment plan. And it is definitely not an ascetic, life-denying way to achieve nirvana in some far-distant future. On the contrary, it is a muscular, no-nonsense application of a pragmatic problem-solving philosophy to effective action in this world.