Yoga versus Tantra

Discussion in 'Eastern Religions and Philosophies' started by GuruZero, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. GuruZero

    GuruZero Tim the Enchanter

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    I do not mean to make this sound of a lecture....I am open for critical responses and corrections.
    The way I see it; Yoga we strive to purify ourselves, we deny the world we try to be some kind of an ascetic to kill our lower selves and ascend; here is the picture;
    [​IMG]
    The Tantra, on other hand does not think we need to ascend in order to attain God's consciousness. We can do it if/when we transmute our desires and urges with awareness, we can use those energies to attain. When we see karma and reincarnation for what it is, i.e. the constructs of our mind, they will lose their potency and will have no effect on us anymore.
    Tantra is life affirming while Yoga is life denying.
    This does not mean to negate Yoga as Yoga works too. All methods work as long as they offer a technique not just mere talk. Tantra works better for a western mind.
     
  2. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    Both yoga and tantra have several meanings, and in my experience discussion will bear no fruit unless such diverse words are narrowed down so any discussion participants are actually talking about the same thing.
     
  3. GuruZero

    GuruZero Tim the Enchanter

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    I've just outlined the main difference, as I see it. Of course, many tantric texts the practitioner is a "yogi" but I think this is because of the Sanskrit language is interpreted(translated) without the insight of these intricacies (i have outlined). Many so called experts are oblivious of these facets. Just look at the literature on Tantra - it is full of smut and racy books (not that is anything wrong with that.... :)
     
  4. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Yoga in the West is a completely different tradition than the Eastern systems from which it was formed. Tantra as well is taken very much out of context; everyone associates tantra with sex. So the first question is which traditions are you referring to. East or West.

    That being said, even in the West I would not say yoga is life denying. Not at all.* Yoga in the West is often more about stretching and limbering with some metaphysical trappings attached. There is nothing wrong with that necessarily. It is just analogous to a meal where one breaks bread but skips the main course and rest of the meal.

    The best Yoga teachers in Western settings use a combination of body (stretching and proper breathing), mind (positive thinking, discipline) and spirit (meditation, energy channeling). The objective is self discipline (Yama (social) & Niyama (personal)). This would be analogous in Western religions to the person that goes to church once a week and listens to the sermon.

    As there is so much more to the adherent of serious religious disciplines than showing up for church, so it is with the basic concept described above. Indeed it is merely the first step towards the final yoga goal of the Eightfold Path (Moksha, or Enlightenment with the capital "E")

    Tantra, in a nutshell, is about channelling and controlling the energy centers we all possess (chakras). Tantra and yoga are not opposing disciplines. Indeed Tantra is one form of yoga. They can be practiced together, side by side.

    *To put my comments in some perspective, I taught yoga for over 20 years. Trained with a great many of the major traditions and teachers. So my knowledge was over a vast range of systems and none very deeply. Because I could never pick one tradition I felt was superior to all others.
     
  5. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    See, there you go. Main differences? Between which definition of yoga, and which definition of tantra? If I entered this discussion, I have high suspicions that we wouldn't at all be talking the same language. That was my point. It's like you're talking about agriculture in tropical Brazil, and I might as well be talking agriculture in the Gopi desert. There is nothing at all in common.

    So please define what you mean by yoga, and what you mean by tantra. Otherwise all discussion is moot.

    This site will give you a sense on some of the varied uses of the term 'yoga'.

    https://www.bigshakti.com/definitions-of-yoga/
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
  6. GuruZero

    GuruZero Tim the Enchanter

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    OK. Lets take the words of Yoga and Tantra out of this whole discussion. Words are just words and I do not care of their intricacies. Basically, the approach of enlightenment has a two pronged approach (whereby both works) if done right and with conscious effort.
    • denying the world
    • embracing the world
    Which one you do belong to and why?
     
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  7. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough. I do not believe denying the world is healthy or useful. So I choose the latter. I think that because I believe we are in this reality for a reason. Reasons. This reality is not but a stop over until the next one, the latter of which is the important one. It is quite the opposite. Life should life affirming to use your words.

    Where I think you are missing the boat is that detachment actually is important as you suggest. Rather than a detachment from life though it is a detachment of the self within life. The proper path is to participate and also keep your inner center separate from the actions, reactions, results of your participation. Like all else in life it is a balance.
     
  8. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    There are many valid viewpoints. Although I hold a particular viewpoint, I don't hold that it is the one and only correct one. So in that sense, I'm not up for debate. I've been taught that within the sushumna there are 14 separate nadis, all beginning at the muladhara, and culminating at the sahaswara. So it is not a matter of 'You should' or 'This is correct', You are wrong, or all that jazz. There is plenty of room for diversity of thought within the dharmic traditions.

    In my sampradaya, renunciation is not running from the world, but controlling the mind as to not be affected emotionally by the goings on in the world. This is called affectionate detachment, and is a mystical teaching. Yoga is as defined by Patanjali, so the starting point is the Yamas.
     
  9. GuruZero

    GuruZero Tim the Enchanter

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    Some of the traditional non-duality schools (I call them old schools) have tenets that are of cultivating ones karmic balance, purifying the body with absenteeism from meat, sex etc. Now, all these are very hard to do, especially when after close examination the law of karma is not an absolute truth or certainty! It is a very potent factor, if you believe in it.... but in my opinion, it will not hinder my self-realization (I might have to be reborn and that's a different matter altogether). Your world view would create your reality, thus be careful in what you chose to believe in....
     
  10. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    Absenteeism from meat, and absenteeism from sex? For most people, one is probably 100 times more difficult than the other. At least one third of India is vegetarian, whilst probably less than 500 000 souls take the old sannyasi path. But I digress. Yes, your world view creates your reality. That is why the east/west paradigms are so far apart.
     
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  11. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely. A statement I can get behind. To a point. It would be more properly stated in my own words that your world view creates your belief and understanding of your reality. Reality is not controlled by one's belief structure. It has a bad habit of throwing one a curve ball you never planned on, saw coming, nor expected. Still it doesn't negate the importance of structuring your reality as much as you can to achieve the goals you desire.
     
  12. GuruZero

    GuruZero Tim the Enchanter

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    Just as a side note; being a vegetarian in India is markedly easier, than for example in the US or Europe where meat is cheap and available while vegetarian dishes are harder to find. Vegetarian restaurants are available in California but many of them are expensive and not too good.
     
  13. Senthil

    Senthil Active Member

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    Personally, I have found it incredibly easy to be a vegetarian in the west, but then I don't eat out much. I think that many immigrants falsely associate vegetarianism with Indian food, when many cuisines of the world have great vegetarian dishes. It's sad that immigrants from Hindu countries are fed the myth that they have to eat meat to survive in the west.
     
  14. ShivaLover

    ShivaLover New Member

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    I will try to explain, but this mind is not perfect and contains limited knowledge.

    The difference between yoga and tantra is that yoga(I'm gathering we are probably talking about non-dual Vedanta) is that yoga believes there is only prakasha(the light of absolute Brahmin) and that the phenomenal world is maya, but they cannot explain how maya came to be which means its separate from Gods prakasha thus turning their monistic school of thought into dualism.

    Monistic tantric schools like Trika/Kashmir Shaivism believe that God is both prakasha(the light/ground of all being), vimarsha(Gods dynamism/ability to create) and maya(the gross world). Tantra doesn't deny the world, it is often called the house holders way or the heroes path because it is much more difficult to know thyself in the world rather than escaping it.

    The reason tantra doesn't believe in trying to abstain from sex, meat, trying to purify the body or engage in austerities is because those are limited actions and God is not a limited thing. You can't abstain from something you already are. Lord Shiva, God, Krishna, etc. is a persons very nature, it is sex, the action of eating meat, etc. When you deny yourselves of things in hopes of achieving something you're moving further away from the mark. Because you already are Self.

    This doesn't mean one should run around and act like a buffoon, drink, use women etc. Such behaviors also moves you further away from lifting the veil of primal ignorance aka anavamala.

    I hope some of this makes sense. I haven't studied the tantras as much as I use to. If anyone is interested in learning a little more about tantric Shaivism you can google Trika and the Wikipedia page gives some good cursory knowledge. Or you can aslo look up some of the luminaries like Abhinavagupta, Vasagupta, Utpaladeva or one of the last Trika masters to have lived, Swami Lakshmanjoo.
     

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