Advanced Yoga Practices
Tantra Lessons

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Lesson T66 - Tantra and Family Values  (Audio)

AYP Plus Additions:
T66.1 - Buddhist Consort Practice vs. Marriage and Family

From: Yogani
Date: July 22, 2009

New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of this tantra yoga archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "What is tantra yoga?"

Q: I am married with two children, and find that tantric sex with my wife is not what it used to be. Can you advise me on where I may find a tantric partner purely for spiritual cultivation?

A: This question comes up quite often in private correspondence, and it is time to give it a public answer. As we know, marital infidelity is common in modern society. Perhaps it always has been. It is even condoned in some cultures the keeping of "mistresses" or "misters," as the case may be. I am not here to judge the moral implications of marital infidelity. However, there are certain practical considerations. Marriage is primarily for the children, for their security and nurturing. So whenever a marriage is compromised, the children are compromised. That is the long and the short of it. If there are no children, it matters only to the partners who may be affected, a far lesser consequence in the long run.

From the standpoint of spiritual teaching, tantra ought not be used as a reason (excuse) to commit adultery. It only gives tantra a bad name. Perhaps this is why tantra as a whole has been relegated to the back shelf of spiritual systems in centuries past, an unfortunate side effect of the irresponsibility of its so-called practitioners.

By the same token, the resurrection of tantra, and its popularity in modern times, is owing largely to its honoring of the role of sexuality in spiritual development. There is a role, as we have been discussing in these lessons. But tantra is about much more than sex, as we have covered previously (see Lesson T1). For practical reasons, it is important to understand this. If you believe that tantric sex is on the leading edge of your spiritual development, and you are willing to risk the wellbeing of your family in its pursuit, you may find that you are making a serious mistake. Tantric sex by itself is only sex. Much more is necessary to make it work in promoting the process of human spiritual transformation. There is also such a thing as "spiritual fidelity," being consistent in maintaining an effective integration of practices leading to our permanent liberation from the suffering associated with self-identification with the body/mind.

While some may find their way into the broader scope of yoga practices via a stand-alone approach using tantric sex, it is more common to be distracted from undertaking an effective daily routine of practices that can lead steadily to enlightenment. The fog of eroticism for its own sake can create that kind of distortion and delay in progress, and finding a way out of that illusion can take time.

This is why in the AYP approach we begin with deep meditation, and mostly non-erotic methods for cultivating ecstatic conductivity and radiance in the neurobiology. It is from that stable platform of practices that we are able to tackle the erotic aspect more directly, with the aim of enhancing spiritual progress in a balanced way, without creating overwhelming distraction. The erotic component begins in earnest with adding siddhasana to our sitting practices (see Lesson 75), and moves to incorporate tantric methods into our present sexual lifestyle, whatever that happens to be. We do not create a new sexual lifestyle for tantra. Tantric sex in the AYP approach is for serving our spiritual path within the lifestyle we are already living, not the other way around. By structuring our practices in this way, inner silence cultivated in deep meditation leads our development rather than sexual desire. It makes a big difference in the outcome, in both the rate of unfoldment and the quality of the result. It is, after all, "stillness" that is at the root of our enlightenment, not ecstatic energy. We need the marriage of both for completion, but stillness (pure bliss consciousness) is the underlying reality of who we are, not ecstatic energy. The maturing of ecstatic radiance eventually becomes the vehicle for "stillness in action." Stillness first, ecstatic radiance second, not the other way around. Tantric sexual practice supports this emerging dynamic, leading to a constant outpouring of divine love. It is good to keep the horse in front of the cart. Otherwise, there is no telling where we might end up.

All of this is to say that your request is not primarily a spiritual one. It is the age-old urge to procreate in a bed other than our spouses. If you are honest with yourself, you will realize that this is true. If you are willing to proceed on that basis, that is your choice. But let's not use tantra as the reason. It is a misrepresentation of what tantra is. If tantric sex were the way to enlightenment all by itself, you may have a good reason to seek sex elsewhere. But since it isn't, there is no reason, except the need for a sexual adventure. See it for what it is, and perhaps you can let it go. Either way, there is no condemnation here. But there is a risk to those you are obliged to care for, which it is suggested you be mindful of as you proceed.

If you are strong in sitting practices (deep meditation, spinal breathing pranayama, etc.), then you have everything you need no matter how you proceed, and the ecstatic component will find its fruition in the life you are living, regardless. It should be mentioned that tantric sex is not a prerequisite for cultivating ecstatic radiance or enlightenment (see Lesson T9). So there is not a spiritual requirement there that is worth risking your family for.

Our family life can, in fact, be an ideal environment for spiritual development a relatively stable situation, which at the same time provides constant testing of our spiritual resolve, and with the ability to greatly strengthen our abiding inner silence over time (see Lesson 98). In serving our spouse and those dear ones we have brought into the world, we are providing spiritual opportunities for generations to come. This is not accomplished by molding our children to our will, but by the example we set in how we live our own life (see Lesson 256). Our gift to our family and to the world is our own spiritual development. There is much responsibility in being a yoga practitioner and a parent, and much joy in the journey. We are the world, and our individual spiritual development is the worlds spiritual development. Tantra and our spiritual development are consistent with traditional family values. Let us proceed as responsibly as we can for the sake of all.

The guru is in you.

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Note: For detailed instructions on the methods of tantra in relation to the broad scope of yoga practices and the enlightenment process, see the AYP Tantra book.  For detailed instructions on building a daily practice routine with self-pacing, see the Eight Limbs of Yoga Book. Also see AYP Plus.

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