Friday, December 21, 2007

Tantra as Therapy: Was Osho Wrong?

I recently corresponded with an Indian doctor on the subject of Tantra as "therapy," so Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson's critique of Osho's promotion of that idea is timely for me.
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) had a profound influence on what is now known as "Tantra" in the Western world. Rajneesh came from an academic background, did not have traditional training in Tantra and was not part of a lineage-based system. He had an extensive textual knowledge and was a very effective popularizer. He fused cutting-edge, Western psychotherapeutic techniques of the 1960s and '70s with Tantric texts and used the phrase "neo-Tantra" to describe his system. He was a controversial figure throughout his life, and he remains one today.


Many contemporary Tantra teachers were trained by Rajneesh or his disciples, and others have embraced his ideas, at least in part. Rajneesh helped inspire the widely held notion that Tantra is a form of therapy; sometimes this belief extends to Tantric sexual practices and includes the idea that "sexual healing" can be effected through various practices designed to produce emotional release and purge traumas that are often thought to be stored in the genitals. We view these ideas with skepticism. Read more
I disagree with the classical Tantra notion that only healthy, well-integrated people are ready for Tantra, but, on the other hand, expecting Tantra alone to make one healthy and whole is probably unrealistic as well.

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