What is Tantra?
The word tantra is related to the Sanskrit term meaning 'to weave'. There
are a number of ways of understanding the term 'weaving' within the context
of religious practice; my favorite involves the weaving together of various
internal and external forces to help us in our pursuit of the spiritual.
A more operational definition, and the approach taken in this book, is that
offered by the Dalai Lama, exiled leader of Tibet, and one of the most avid
proponents of interfaith dialogue in the world: tantra is a means by which we
actively change how we see ourselves, our world, and our relationship with
the divine. With this understanding, we can move beyond the cultural
idiosyncrasies that might hold us back from taking advantage of the
techniques that can weave us into better Christians.
Why isn't attending church services and receiving the sacraments enough to
become closer to God?
For many Christians it IS enough to attend church, receive the sacraments,
and exercise the ethics taught in their tradition. There is nothing wrong with
that - it provides a structure for daily life and gives a framework of meaning
to their lives. In fact, there is nothing in the book Tantric Christianity that will
replace those foundational Christian practices.
However, I have noticed that the very ceremony which works so well for
some can act as something of a barrier to a relationship with the divine for
others - in much the same way that having a highly regimented pattern of
communication in a marriage could seriously impede any sense of intimacy
between husband and wife, such a structured approach in opening
ourselves to Jesus might not serve everyone well.
Is this some kind of a New Age approach to Christianity?
Absolutely not! I can respect the impulse toward a more direct experience of
God that drives so many people, particularly teenagers and younger adults,
to embrace different New Age gurus. Unfortunately, this approach is typified
by a lack of solid reasoning which makes those following these 'teachers'
subject to horrible flights of fancy.
More akin to a visit to Disney Land than a true spiritual quest, the New Age
movement is rooted in a fascination with mystical fireworks. While such
fireworks can certainly be experienced with Tantric Christianity practices,
they are not the focus. In fact, both Christian and Buddhist spiritual masters
are agreed that such phenomenon as visions of holy beings, other places
and times, etc., can be indicative of broadening one's horizons beyond the
mundane, but really mean little in themselves. If taken too seriously, such
experiences become a trap that will leave one even further from the path of
true discovery than before.
I've heard that Tantric rites focus on sexuality - is that what your book is
NO! It's unfortunate that the Hindu Tantra from India has become so closely
linked with sexuality. There is some validity in the association, but the
emphasis here in the West is extreme. While there is an occasional
reference to 'spirituality' thrown in, Hindu Tantra here is largely concerned
with the extension of pleasurable sensation . The tantra in Tantric
Christianity is Buddhist and, while there are some very advanced practices
that involve sexual congress, they are not commonly employed and I have
made every effort to present practices that are in sync with Christian
Enriching your life in Christ through profound Christian Meditation
What is Christian Meditation?
Meditation has become a difficult word to define; for some it means thinking
about a given topic 'really hard', for others the word implies some sort of
mental flat line with a complete lack of activity, and for many it has
connotations of being strangely 'tranced out'. Tantric Christianity works with
a more traditional meaning for the word - focused attention to a particular
object of contemplation. The object can be static, as with a word or phrase,
or a visual image. It can also be a dynamic visualization, as with the
generative meditation which is found in Tantric Christianity.
Meditation is specifically Christian Meditation when the primary purpose is
the worship of and union with the Triune God - God the Father, God the
Son, and God the Advocate. There are no magic words or gestures, but the
intent is magical.
Bringing Ancient Buddhist Technique to
Modern Christian Meditation
What is Tantric Christianity?
Tantric Christianity: Bringing Ancient Buddhist Technique to Modern
Christian Meditation is a workbook that gives today’s faithful Christian the
means to get out of their own way as they look to see God.
For years now, very sophisticated Eastern methods of meditation have
become quite accessible. At the same time, interest in Christian meditation
has been growing. Authors such as Thomas Keating and John Main teach a
method called Centering Prayer which is a wonderful way of stilling and
focusing the mind, but leaves the practitioner largely unchanged (see the
On the other hand, in Tantric Buddhism this focused state of attention is just
the starting point. From within that stillness, specific practices are engaged
that guide the meditator to greater understanding of their relationship with
the Divine and through a reformation of the way that they see themselves,
their world, and God.
While Buddhism and Christianity are obviously very different, the Tantric
practices included in Tantric Christianity work, not because of the theology,
but because of how humans are wired. Taking these tried and true
techniques and applying them with Christian imagery and theology allows us
to take advantage of their strength without compromising our own faith.