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    Tantric Yoga

    As the influence of The Buddah was felt gradually throughout India and Patanjali's Yoga Sutra (see Classical Yoga) became codified, a movement began to integrate Buddist and Hindu schools of Yoga. This Movement began in the Mahayana (Great Vehicle) school of Buddhism, which taught that it is not worthwhile to attempt to achieve enlightenment unless one is attempting enlightenment for all humanity. Since the central core of the Buddha's teaching is the essential oneness of all existence, the Mahayana Buddist school, which began between two and three hundred years after the Buddha's death, maintained that no one could enter Nirvana unless all conscious beings were ready to enter Nirvana together. This movement came to be an attempt to unify or integrate the Buddist and Hindu schools of Yoga. The emphasis came to be increaslingly on a personal practice, rather than a religious belief system.

    The Tantric Movement that sprang up in the Buddhist side of Yoga, and soon after caught fire in the Hindu side, revolved around the concept that all of existence was a Tantra. At that time the word tantra meant "Tapestry" in Sanskrit. The object was to see existence as a tapestry - everything connected. If you pull on one part, another part moves. Kind of like a web.

    Tantric yoga, as practiced by initiates and handed down in esoteric groups, became a kind of "yoga within yoga". The word tantric eventually came to mean, "secret teaching", and the Yoga Tantras juxtaposed the Yoga Sutras (which were more like sermons, or "public" teachings) in much the same relationship as the Kaballah was to the Torah in the tradition of Hebrew mysticism.

    The core of these teachings came to center around the ancient concept of the "Kundalini" (go back to the Yoga Home Page and press the Kundalini button for more information on this aspect of yoga) and the concept of "Prakriti and Perusha". Prakriti is similar in some respects to Yin in the Chinese system of Taoism, and Perusha is similar to Yang. Prakriti has also been connected with Shakti energy in Yoga, and Perusha connected with the god Shiva.

    Prakriti is connected with the elements of nature, the panorama of all of the "things" that enter and exit existence from the Great Void (Maha Shunya). Perusha is of ten translated into English as the word "Lord" and stands for the apparent sovergnity of the mind, similar in some ways to the "I think, therefore I am" concept in Western thought.

    According to Tantra, Prakriti, which is essentially Female, and Perusha, which is Male, exist everywhere in nature. They are aspects of existence that permeate all of our experience. In order for one to live a fulfilled life, one must understand how to balance Prakriti with Perusha in perfect harmony. Implications of this philosophy can be found in all aspects of life: Food, clothing, work , relationships, nature, etc.

    Tantric Yoga in Buddhism spread primarly in Tibet, and other Mahayana and Vajrayana schools. In Hinduism it is found in the North, in Kashmir Shaivism and in Seikism, a religion that started in India about 400 years ago, and began as an attempt to bridge the gap between Moslim and Hindu beliefs.