Understanding Tantra, Understanding Emotions – New Course

Tantra, Tantric Buddhism, Online Course, Ethan NichternI’m looking forward to the new class series which begins at the Interdependence Project, as well as an online course, tonight. I really enjoy talking about the tantric path in particular, primarily because it contains practices and frameworks that are incredibly useful in understanding and working with our human emotions. For me, Tantra provides a way to act skillfully with emotions that I haven’t found anywhere else in quite the same way. The tantric path also has many interesting teachings about visualization, sacredness, viewing the world as an inherently amazing place,  and also dealing with death as a practice of awakening.

Sometimes Tantra is associated with a sexually liberated, almost hedonistic path of “Crazy Wisdom.” In fact, that’s the title of a movie made about Chogyam Trungpa, the founder of the Shambhala tradition, who was a Tantric Master, among other things. While viewing all activities as sacred maybe misunderstood as some kind of intoxicated hedonism, in reality, the Tantric Buddhist path can only be practiced fully once one has committed to: 1) not causing harm, and 2) the bodhisattva path of acting for the benefit of all beings. While tantra has a very liberated approach in talking about the interconnection between wisdom and neurosis, sanity and confusion (this is the basis for its insight into human emotions), it is actually a very grounded, rigorous and compassionate path all about how to be a decent human.

We will be discussing and reading about some of the main ideas and practices of the Tantric Buddhist tradition, but we will also be combining them with practicing the discipline of “Doing No Harm”  that is contained in the earlier Buddhist precepts. For this reason, each week in between class we will be contemplating committing to a daily meditation practice, as well as working in a personal way with one of the five precepts to refrain from killing, refrain from stealing, to refrain from lying, to refrain from sexually confused activity, and to refrain from escapist intoxication.

I hope you join in, in NYC or Online.

 

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