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- Tantra and Family Values (Audio)
T66.1 - Buddhist
Consort Practice vs. Marriage and Family (Audio)
July 22, 2009
It is recommended you read from the beginning of this tantra yoga archive,
as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "What
is tantra yoga?"
Q: I am married with two children, and find that tantric sex
with my wife is not what it used to be. Can you advise me on where I may
find a tantric partner purely for spiritual cultivation?
question comes up quite often in private correspondence, and it is time to
give it a public answer. As we know, marital infidelity is common in modern
society. Perhaps it always has been. It is even condoned in some cultures
the keeping of "mistresses" or "misters," as the case may be. I am not here
to judge the moral implications of marital infidelity. However, there are
certain practical considerations. Marriage is primarily for the children,
for their security and nurturing. So whenever a marriage is compromised, the
children are compromised. That is the long and the short of it. If there are
no children, it matters only to the partners who may be affected, a far
lesser consequence in the long run.
From the standpoint of spiritual
teaching, tantra ought not be used as a reason (excuse) to commit adultery.
It only gives tantra a bad name. Perhaps this is why tantra as a whole has
been relegated to the back shelf of spiritual systems in centuries past, an
unfortunate side effect of the irresponsibility of its so-called
By the same token, the resurrection of tantra, and
its popularity in modern times, is owing largely to its honoring of the role
of sexuality in spiritual development. There is a role, as we have been
discussing in these lessons. But tantra is about much more than sex, as we
have covered previously (see
Lesson T1). For practical reasons, it is important to understand this.
If you believe that tantric sex is on the leading edge of your spiritual
development, and you are willing to risk the wellbeing of your family in its
pursuit, you may find that you are making a serious mistake. Tantric sex by
itself is only sex. Much more is necessary to make it work in promoting the
process of human spiritual transformation. There is also such a thing as
"spiritual fidelity," being consistent in
maintaining an effective integration of practices leading to our permanent
liberation from the suffering associated with self-identification with the
While some may find their way into the broader scope of
yoga practices via a stand-alone approach using tantric sex, it is more
common to be distracted from undertaking an effective daily routine of
practices that can lead steadily to enlightenment. The fog of eroticism for
its own sake can create that kind of distortion and delay in progress, and
finding a way out of that illusion can take time.
This is why in the
AYP approach we begin with deep meditation, and mostly non-erotic methods
for cultivating ecstatic conductivity and radiance in the neurobiology. It
is from that stable platform of practices that we are able to tackle the
erotic aspect more directly, with the aim of enhancing spiritual progress in
a balanced way, without creating overwhelming distraction. The erotic
component begins in earnest
siddhasana to our
sitting practices (see
Lesson 75), and moves to incorporate tantric methods
into our present sexual lifestyle, whatever that happens to be. We do not
create a new sexual lifestyle for tantra. Tantric sex in the AYP approach is
for serving our spiritual path within the lifestyle we are already living,
not the other way around. By structuring our practices in this way, inner
silence cultivated in deep meditation leads our development rather than
sexual desire. It makes a big difference in the outcome, in both the rate of
unfoldment and the quality of the result. It is, after all, "stillness" that
is at the root of our enlightenment, not ecstatic energy. We need the
marriage of both for completion, but stillness (pure bliss consciousness) is
the underlying reality of who we are, not ecstatic energy. The maturing of
ecstatic radiance eventually becomes the vehicle for "stillness in action."
Stillness first, ecstatic radiance second, not the other way around. Tantric
sexual practice supports this emerging dynamic, leading to a constant
outpouring of divine love. It is good to keep the horse in front of the
cart. Otherwise, there is no telling where we might end up.
this is to say that your request is not primarily a spiritual one. It is the
age-old urge to procreate in a bed other than our spouses. If you are honest
with yourself, you will realize that this is true. If you are willing to
proceed on that basis, that is your choice. But let's not use tantra as the
reason. It is a misrepresentation of what tantra is. If tantric sex were the
way to enlightenment all by itself, you may have a good reason to seek sex
elsewhere. But since it isn't, there is no reason, except the need for a
sexual adventure. See it for what it is, and perhaps you can let it go.
Either way, there is no condemnation here. But there is a risk to those you
are obliged to care for, which it is suggested you be mindful of as you
If you are strong in sitting practices (deep meditation,
spinal breathing pranayama, etc.), then you have everything you need no
matter how you proceed, and the ecstatic component will find its fruition in
the life you are living, regardless. It should be mentioned that
tantric sex is not a prerequisite for cultivating ecstatic radiance
or enlightenment (see Lesson T9). So there is not a
spiritual requirement there that is worth risking
your family for.
Our family life can, in
fact, be an ideal environment for spiritual development a relatively stable
situation, which at the same time provides constant testing of our spiritual
resolve, and with the ability to greatly strengthen our abiding inner
silence over time (see Lesson 98).
In serving our spouse and those dear ones we have brought into the world, we
are providing spiritual opportunities for generations to come. This is not
accomplished by molding our children to our will, but by the example we set
in how we live our own life (see
Lesson 256). Our gift to our family and to the world
is our own spiritual development. There is much responsibility in being a
yoga practitioner and a parent, and much joy in the journey. We are the
world, and our individual spiritual development is the worlds spiritual
development. Tantra and our spiritual development are
consistent with traditional family values. Let us proceed as
responsibly as we can for the sake of all.
The guru is in you.
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Note: For detailed
instructions on the methods of tantra in relation to the broad scope of yoga
practices and the enlightenment process, see the
AYP Tantra book.
For detailed instructions on building a
daily practice routine with self-pacing, see the
Eight Limbs of Yoga Book. Also see