Tantra involves a slow, sustained form of sexual intercourse founded on Indian mysticism; particularly, an esoteric current of Hinduism.
The word Tantra also applies to any of the scriptures (called Tantras) commonly identified with the worship of Shakti, a divine representative of female energy. Tantra deals primarily with spiritual practices and ritual forms of worship, which aim at liberation from ignorance and rebirth.
Tantrism originated in the early centuries of the first millennium and developed into a fully articulated tradition by the end of the Gupta period (320 to 550 CE). It has influenced the Hindu, Sikh, Bön, Buddhist, and Jain religious traditions.
As tantric practice became known in western culture—a development that started at the end of the 18th century, and that has escalated since the 1960s—it has become identified with its sexual methods. Consequently, its essential nature as a spiritual practice is often overlooked.
Tantric sexual methods may be practised solo, in partnership, or in the sacred rituals of groups. The specifics of these methods are often kept secret, and passed from practitioners to students in an oral tradition.
In Vajrayana Buddhism, tantric sexual practice (Sanskrit: Maithuna; Tibetan:Yab-Yum) is one aspect of the last stage of the initiate’s spiritual path, where he or she, having already realised the void of all things, attains enlightenment and perpetual bliss.
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