In the West, Tantric traditions were often referred to as Tantrism.
This term is a rather new word creation, which was coined by western scholars and does not successfully address the self-understanding, or even, acceptance of the majority of Tantra traditionalists.
André Padoux, one of the world's leading specialists in Tantrism, commented:
"The word" Tantrism "is certainly a Western neologism: Traditionally, India only knows texts called tantras, which are far from encompassing all tantric literature, nor are tantric texts called tantras, and India knows the word Tantraśāstra, "the teachings of the Tantras," as well as the adjective Tantrika, "Tantric," which is opposed to Vaidika, "Vedic," which introduces a new form of revelation and rites in opposition to Vedic traditions and rites. "
The word "rites" that has fallen here is essential. Because ritual and rituals are probably the only significant connection, the one common denominator of recent practice, especially in the West, with the ancient Tantric traits of the East. ...
The teachings recently transferred to the West tend to focus heavily on the description of ritual, meditative and, most importantly, body-related practices. These rituals and their teachings are indeed very practice-orientated.
The number of goals hereby ranges from worldly success to final liberation, however defined.
Nonetheless, misinformation and misunderstandings also play a prominent role in our medially determined public sphere. Because, in the western rites there is almost always a common practice applied by female teachers and female companions, Tantra is often confused with sex or even set equal.
Yet the complex history, the almost unmanageable diversity, the many different approaches and interpretations should not lead us to overlook one important aspect:
At all times, in all parts of the world where Tantra has been taught, lived and received, the basic goal has always been and remained the same. To give ourselves and others a deeper self-understanding and a happier life experience!
In our next contribution we will go east again ...