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Tantra usually refers to a specific brand of religious practice common to the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain traditions since at least the 5th century. In the orthodox classification of Hindu religious literature, Tantra refers to a class of Sanskrit treatises similar to the Puranas (medieval encyclopaedic collections of myths, legends, and other topics). Tantra is probably most frequently associated with tantric sex in the West, despite the fact it is an incredibly broad concept and, consequently, rather difficult to define exactly. It is also associated with a certain type of black magic practice (the practitioners of which are known as tantriks), which Rationalist International has described as 'one of the most dangerous and wide spread superstitions in India'. One such tantrik attempted to kill noted Indian skeptic Sanal Edamaruku on live TV using only his alleged powers. Needless to say, he failed miserably. The video can be found here
Some tantric texts discuss cannibalism as a religious practice. The Hevajra Tantra discusses a ritual undertaken while sitting upon corpses, where a feast is consumed composed of a mixture of cow, dog, elephant, horse and human meat; as well as eating "kingly rice", which apparently is the flesh of particular kinds of human beings. Another tantric text, the Candamaharosana Tantra, suggests that initiates should drink water which has been used to wash a woman's vagina and anus. The Guhyasamaja Tantra advises us that 'those who take life, who take pleasure in lying, who always covet the wealth of others, who enjoy making love, who purposely consume faeces and urine, these are the worthy ones for the practice'. Adherents and scholars of Tantra are divided as to how literally these provisions are to be interpreted.
Other tantric texts suggest that enlightenment can be attained through sex with a sixteen year old girl: "The Prajna (yogini) of sixteen years he clasps within his arms, and from the union of the vajra and the bell, the Master's concentration comes about." However, apologists for Tantra insist, "Obviously, 16 is only the symbolic age of the yoginis..." Later, after a discussion of incestuous passages in tantric texts, the same author argues "Undoubtedly, this has all to be taken symbolically but, here again, Tantra's enemies take it literally and charge the Tantrists with systematic incest...uniting sexually with the whole family, etc."
Victor and Victoria Trimondi describe the importance of molesting children in some forms of Tibetan Buddhist spiritual practice:
“”Youth is a further requirement which the mudra has to meet. The Maha Siddha Saraha distinguishes five different wisdom consorts on the basis of age: the eight-year-old virgin (kumari); the twelve-year-old salika; the sixteen-year-old siddha, who already bleeds monthly; the twenty-year-old balika, and the twenty-five-year-old bhadrakapalini, who he describes as the “burned fat of prajna” (Wayman, 1973, p. 196). The “modern” tantric already mentioned, Lama Gedün Chöpel, explicitly warns that children can become injured during the sexual act: “Forcingly doing it with a young girl produces severe pains and wounds her genitalia. ... If it is not the time and if copulating would be dangerous for her, churn about between her thighs, and it [the female seed] will come out” (Chöpel, 1992, p. 135). In addition he recommends feeding a twelve-year-old honey and sweets before ritual sexual intercourse (Chöpel, 1992, p. 177).
- Hugh B. Urban Tantra, Sex, Secrecy, Politics and Power in the Study of Religion, 2
- Paul Williams, Anthony Tribe, Buddhist thought: a complete introduction to the Indian tradition, p. 236-237
- For those not au fait with the jargon of Tantra, prajna means wisdom; yogini means a female spiritual practitioner; vajra is a thunderbolt-shaped ritual object, which among other things signifies the penis; a bell, among other things, signifies the vagina; thus their union is a coded reference to sexual intercourse.
- Andre van Lysebeth, Tantra: the cult of the feminine, p. 277-278
- Victor & Victoria Trimondi, The Shadow of the Dalai Lama, "THE TANTRIC FEMALE SACRIFICE"