Tantra, or Tantrism, is the broad term by which Western students of India’s spirituality designate a particular type of teaching within Hinduism and Buddhism. What that teaching is cannot be readily summarized, because Tantrism comprises a very wide spectrum of beliefs and practices. However, to proffer a simplified description, we can say that most schools of Tantrism include the following features:Eleven features of traditional Tantra are listed. The discussion then turns to neo-Tantra:
Neo-Tantrism, by now a stable feature of the New Age movement, is a popularization of Tantric teachings. In many cases, the teachers of this new-wave Tantrism appear not to have had the benefit of proper initiation by a competent Tantric guru; nor have they, generally speaking, studied the Tantric scriptures in sufficient depth to have a clear understanding of the extraordinary heritage they purport to represent. The danger of misunderstanding and vulgarization is obvious when we scan the popular literature.Why is misunderstanding and vulgarization a danger exactly? Every field has amateurs and professionals, dilettantes and experts. Why should Tantra be different? What is wrong with sharing knowledge with interested people even if they are not and may never be interested in making a full commitment to practicing traditional Tantra? That is exactly where most of the next generation of Tantric practitioners will come from - from those who got a taste of Tantra and wanted more.
If you have had a taste and would like to know more about traditional Tantra, read the full article.