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Monday, 16 April 2012

Tantra and The Five Trainings.

For me the Five Trainings have always been a natural fit with Tantra. In Theravada, the Trainings are called Precepts....despite the fact that "sikka" actually means "training", "precepts" never come into it. To view Tantra as a complete free for all where everything goes is, I feel, a mistake. We need rules, otherwise there is the temptation to degenerate our practice into an amoral mess, where our basest desires can take over and justify themselves.
So as a Tantric I observe the Five Trainings. Here's my take on them:
  1. No Killing. This is not a prohibition against eating meat. For some of us, vegetarianism simply isn't workable. It means treating all being as Manifestations of The Divine. Treat the insects, snails, slugs, spiders, and rodents that inhabit our houses and gardens as something more than nuisances, killing them is not necessary and often means the introduction of poisons into our lives. Also, it obviously means not killing people.

     2. No Stealing. Because we want to be trusted, we have to live in a trustworthy manner. To project Tantra as something more than a philosophical covering for getting sex in any way, shape or form, we need to live utterly trustworthy lives. Stealing can involve trust. Steal the trust in a relationship and it will have genuine and often fatal problems. In fact stealing trust, in my mind, is far, far more serious than stealing money or property, for you can give them back. Trust is a different matter, once trust is stolen it can often never be given back. At any rate, for Tantra to be seen as a valid expression of life, we have to be trustworthy.

  3. Sexual Misconduct Obviously NOT the same creature as Theravadins talk about. For them marriage is a completely monogamous event. It is perfectly permissible to have multiple sexual long as the person you are in any sort of commitment to is o.k. with it and everyone else you engage in sexual activity with is knowledgeable about the nature of the relationship. So Friends With Benefits are are multiple FWB's, so long as everyone is o.k. with the sharing. In my first marriage, my wife lost interest in sex and what she consented in having was so far from meeting my needs as to be on a different planet. I bitched loudly that this was Sexual Misconduct. Even Brahmavamso Maha Thera agreed with me. To deny or to give such bad sex that your partner ends up wanting to go elsewhere for sex in an explicitly sexual agreement such as marriage and it is very much Sexual Misconduct.

  4. Harsh Speech I'm very much a follower of the approach that if you can't say something good...then SHUT UP!!! I would include whinging, whining and generally refusing to do something about a bad situation that you find yourself in, in this Training. I have Aspergers Syndrome, when I get excited "fuck" & "cunt" tend to come out. Not Harsh Speech....can't control it, tried my entire adult life with no joy.

  5. Intoxicants I'd include the usual culprits of alcohol and narcotics. I would add nicotine and  media. Nicotine is a known stimulant...which is why those revoltingly unhealthy models that stalk the catwalks in Paris all smoke, nicotine reduces the hunger impulse. The media as intoxicant is something I would have to agree with Ven Thich Nhat Hanh on. We can't be healthy if we pour violent images into our minds. I've never seen the point in Splatter Movies. And since I've embraced Tantra my alcohol consumption has fallen through the messes with my yoga and kills whatever stamina I have for both sex and exercise. In becoming Tantric I have embraced sobriety. This body and mind are our temples, why is it that we insist on fouling them with substances that are known to be poisonous and every intoxicant is known to be harmful. Mass consumption of violence leads to desensitisation and violence in people...which is something that as Tantrics we should rightly abhor.

This then are my views on why Tantra can and should use the Five Trainings. At the very least they will provide us with structure and form within which to grow. We cannot wander aimlessly and be at the mercy of our own whims and expect to grow spiritually. The Five Trainings will provide people who deal with us a sense of where we are anchored. To use Tantra as an excuse to be utterly amoral, is I feel, to inflict a grave wrong on everyone we meet and primarily ourselves. The very first person an immoral act hurts is the person who does it. 

    Sunday, 8 April 2012

    The Divine

    Bliss is Divine. So is exercise and taking proper care of ourselves.
    We are all present in our bodies and they are the vehicle which we inhabit until death. They are, in a way, our temples. It is through the body that we gain fully 95% of our information about the world. It is through our bodies that we give and receive pleasure. Our bodies are our access point to The Divine.

    A healthy body is intensely pleasureable. Both to be in and to look at.  The healthier you are, the more enjoyment is gained from Union. Also simple math: the better you look the more sexual partners you will attract.

    The Divine is to be found in sexual pleasure. One of the deepest and most intimate of all gifts is that of orgasm.  Never had someone complain about being reduced to a panting, quivering blob. The more skilled you become at giving orgasm, the deeper the orgasm you will be able to give....and this includes giving yourself orgasms. Let yourself enjoy The Divine. There is nothing "sinful" about a healthy, active sex life. If anything with the endorphins that are released during sex and the subsequent improvement in mood are absolute benefits. Wikipedia has an entry on orgasm

    Now that you've worked your way through that piece of medical explainia, you can see where there is solid evidence to back up what I'm saying, so don't do it because it's it because it's good for you. It's also good for your relationships. As I tried... and failed to explain to my ex-wife, people rarely, if ever, divorce someone because of a messy house. However they can and I certainly did, divorce because of a woeful sex life. Marriage was both a joy and orgasm free zone.

    Since embracing both Tantra and The Divine life, as you can imagine, has become a much brighter event. Rather than ploughing my way through heavy novels, I now engage in books on oral sex, massage and yoga. Giving gentle touch is The Divine. So learning to massage is to engage in worship. So is giving your partner the joy of watching your toned body move through the asana of Sun or Moon Salutations.

    The Divine....everything is worship.