The Magic of Tantra
When I tell people that I practice Tantric Buddhism, they tend to raise their eyebrows a bit. People tend to think about one thing, and one thing only when they hear the word Tantra: sex. Of course, Tantra is about a lot more than just sex. It is a way of looking at the universe. It is a way of looking at the universe that delivers the method to achieve genuine inner and outer peace. The magic of Tantra lies in the fact that it is at once one of the simplest (though definitely not the easiest) ways of looking at the world and at the same time the engine of rapid, powerful transformation.
The foundation of Tantra is Sacred Outlook. Sacred Outlook is not a complicated doctrine or dogma. It is quite simple. The essence of Tantra is that everything is primordially good, and therefore, we should accept whatever and who we are. It goes even further, it also demands that we live on the razor blade’s edge that is the exact middle between existence and non-existence, between eternalism and nihilism. In the extremes, our actions become mechanical and robotic. Humans are not robots or automatons. Humans are humans, vibrant, spiritual, and alive. Tantra deeply acknowledges not just our humanity, but also acknowledges everything as it is.
Just recently, I was sitting amongst the beautiful red rocks of Sedona, absorbing, feeling and returning the energy of that place. I felt as if I was without substance, simply an ordinary part of everything that is, holding it in a loving and intimate embrace. The ordinariness was indeed the very magic that I needed. I felt like I was embracing everything, and everything was embracing me in return, unconditionally with love. But, there was no “magic” to be found here. No sadhana, no ritual, just sitting and being with ordinary space.
I continue to experience magic every day. Maybe not in big doses, but sometimes, just seeing cherry blossoms in Jerome, or just a simple tree along the pathway to the office, there is magic there. It is utterly and completely simple. John Lennon wrote:
“Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do, nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too […] Imagine all the people sharing the world”
What John Lennon imagines, Tantra makes possible. We don’t need to imagine it could be true, we simply acknowledge it is true. Though demanding and unrelenting, the path of Tantra is incredibly simple. It is the path of unconditional welcome and love.
The ordinary magic of Tantra is something we can and should use to transform ourselves and in turn the world. The Buddha is said to have taught that upon achieving enlightenment, we can stay at the shore and become a Righteous One, or go back to the world as a Bodhisattva, one who lingers a little longer to help others discover their true nature. The Tantric practitioner is the Bodhisattva. Upon discovering the ordinary simplicity of what is, they return, back into the world to show others the magic of all that is ordinary.