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What is the origin of Tantra?

The term Tantra brings together diverse, very disparate origins and orientations. They come from different religious and cultural worlds.

This makes it difficult to find a general definition that really includes all tantric aspects. We will try here to tackle the problem anyway, ie. in the following contributions, to address as many influences and traditions as possible. In doing so, we also respond to trends that give themselves a tantric reference, attest a tantric originality and yet certainly appear more modern, not to say "European".

The adjective tantric, an English word derived from the Sanskrit term t?trika, simply means „that which refers to the tantras“. Tantras are canonical texts that focus primarily on ritual and meditative practices. The term Tantra thus also encompasses the practice associated with these scriptures, which is traditionally spread by the T?ntrikas, also known as Tantric practitioners.

It remains multi-dimensional and reasonably confusing

For Tantra in its history and practice, many labels have been coined. None of these "labels" are valid and acceptable for all orientations and participants.

This diversity behind the same or similar terms you have to try to keep in mind, if you write or read about Tantra.

Thus, in some original scripture, there is no mention of the term tantra. Hindu tantric traditions use words like ?gama, jñ?na, sa?hit?, siddh?nta, vidy?, and upani?ad, while Buddhist traditions also use the terms s?tra and kalpa.

And even though the East Asian tantric Buddhist lineages have preserved Chinese translations of many tantras, the script name tantra is neither common nor does it identify itself as explicitly tantric.

And yet there are cross-overs and connections

The development of tantra as a close link between text and practice spans most likely at least 3000 years.

The fact that the history of dissemination of tantric traditions involves the transmission of teachings along an unbroken line, from Master to disciple, the so-called Gurupara Para, is the essential and connecting aspect.

The concentration on the line can be found everywhere in the Tantric world. Originating in India, this focus has been transferred to Tibet and East Asia and remains a major concern of contemporary Tantric communities.

But more about that later in our magazine.

In the following let us concern ourselves with the western expression of tantra ...