Generally a tantra is a spiritual text, “thread,” rule or path with a related discipline. There are many different types of tantras within Hinduism and Buddhism. Most paths share the belief that apparently male and female energies combine to transmute ordinary consciousness to a higher level of spiritual awareness. In Hinduism the right hand path refers mostly to meditation on Siva’s relation to Shakti. In the left hand path, a complex series of rites are performed by an equal number of male and female aspirants. These rites culminate in sexual union in which the male does not ejaculate because semen is believed to contain mystical power, especially when spiritually united with the female’s Shakti.
C. G. Jung was interested in the ideas of tantra and monastic celibacy, saying that monks sacrificed the worldly activity of ordinary sex for a rich inner reality. Critics of the idea that sexuality should be sacrificed for a deeper (or higher) spirituality argue that sexuality has been unjustly debased through the years. Some feminist critics also say that many who devalue sexuality never had sex based on genuine love between equal partners. This may be partly true but it also reduces the many sided issue of celibacy into some kind of misogynist hangup. Many saints and yogis, alike, paint a very different picture with regard to the necessity of celibacy in advanced stages of God realization.
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