Often in our classes and articles we talk about lineage of instruction and its importance in Tantra. The main importance of lineage is that it authenticates instructors as qualified to instruct others in powerful practices that are effective, safe, and will bring auspicious results. It also carries a transmission of power. This is true in any serious discipline where the impact on peoples’ lives is profound. It is not meant to be flag waving and saying “we are the best because of OUR lineage.” No. We are saying any Tantra practice you engage in should be able to reference to a valid lineage. There are five great lineages in the Tantrayana, we are Kagyu, specifically Shangpa/Karma Kagyu.
Kalu Rinpoche said “that all Tantrayana lineages lead to enlightenment. The details of specific practices may be different so to avoid confusion and shorten your path just stay with whatever lineage you began in”. All the lineages share valid teachings with each other, this is our disposition also.
Any serious training system will always have lineage, secular or spiritual. For example, a surgical doctor goes through rigorous training in accredited schools before he or she is given permission by their teachers and peers to cut anyone’s body open. They are considered qualified. We certainly wouldn’t want a surgeon who took an on-line course without any lab time performing surgery on us!
If we want to learn Kung fu well and safely it would behoove us to study with an authentic Shaolin monk who has been given permission by his or her teachers to teach the real kung fu, rather than from someone who read some books, went to a kung fu weekend and now has a dojo called “Bob’s Kung fu.” Studying with Bob’s Kung fu could result in serious injury or worse.
We also feel the same way about sexual yogas other than Tantra. I have a fair degree of study in Taoist sexuality also, and it went well because I chose to study the work of someone who had practiced his discipline within lineage; Mantak Chia. He came up through a lineage which gave him permission to teach and now those teachers and peers consider him a Grand-master and have given him that title. I still use some of the practices I learned in that school, but I do not teach them as I am not a qualified Taoist Sexual Master.
That is the key word, “qualified”. At this time in my own personal practice of Tantric sex I would rather play with a complete beginner than someone who has been to ten so –called “Tantric” workshops. The reason for this is that in my real life experience the ten-workshop-girl has received a mess of incorrect methods and ideas. Practicing with them is like having to untangle string before you can do anything with it. As a result of their confusion and imbalance the various traumas and afflictions they sought to heal and transform are now in fact worse than before. The methods they learned and the way to practice came from unqualified instructors who may in fact have imparted on students their own afflictions! I have encountered this a few times, it happened to me. A beginner is still conditioned and traumatized, but with correct instruction they can quickly move to deep healing and beyond those patterns. They are clear and unconfused. This does not mean that incorrect instruction cannot be corrected, it just adds time and difficulty.
I was at a social gathering once where a woman who was known as a Tantric teacher in her area was present. I found her attractive and a very nice woman. When I asked her about her training and basis of her instruction she explained she had been reading a book of Mantak Chia, tried one of the practices and had the most powerful orgasm of her life. When she resolved she felt deep love for her mother.
So I asked how many of those kinds of orgasms she now had. I was stunned at her reply. She had only had that one big orgasm, that’s it, never again anything like it. I sat her down and informed her that in fact she was capable of 11 different orgasms as a woman and these can be easily generated at will with correct methods. A couple more questions revealed she knew nothing about Tantra, nothing. She had not even read more Mantak Chia! This is a woman with no qualifications whatsoever charging people a lot of money for what she calls Tantra, yet she doesn’t even know the basic definition of the word. “Ralph’s Surgery”, “Bob’s Kung fu”, “Betty’s Tantra”, all possibly dangerous to self and others, buyer beware. (No offense to Bob, Betty, or Ralph!)
Please understand I am not saying there are not wonderful and effective sexual healers from other sexual disciplines, just don’t call it Tantra because it is not. Period. I don’t care how fluffy one feels about their sexuality, if one does not receive the oral instruction from a qualified lineage instructor you did not learn Tantra. Some sexual yoga methods can be learned from books, but know what you are learning is a form of KamaSutra or sexual yoga practice, not Tantra. Example, as a Taoist Sexual master Mantak Chia does not call his work Tantra, based on his study and practice he knows the difference, which I respect.
Authentic Tantra is an ancient unwritten oral tradition from an unbroken lineage 2,600 years old. The main reason it is not written is that it must be seen and heard live so that your own reflexive awareness as the wisdom intelligence of your mind and body can then do it. There is no need to see the sexual part live (unless you want to), but along with the correct oral instruction you must see & feel the energy of the practice done live. Receive instruction from a qualified practitioner of whatever style of Authentic lineage to have the direct experience of the human to human transmission. Just like sports, Tantra can’t be learned from books. Without watching someone like Michael Jordan play live we really don’t know what is possible in basketball. You have to see it done, just like Tantra. As they say “we don’t know what we don’t know”!
What validates the authenticity of a practice as Tantric or not is the understanding of the definition of the word and practice itself: “to weave light and sound with form”. How do I know it is not written, because part of my permission to teach the Secret Tibetan Five Element Tantra is called the “samaya (commitment) of not revealing that which should not be revealed.” Having had the good fortune of learning these secrets has resulted in a great respect for just how much remains unrevealed to most humans, including me.
So when you see an advertisement for a “Tantric massage” in the classifieds, it is a rub and tug with feeling. It may even be very healing and bring great enjoyment for the receiver, but is not and never will be Tantra, it is a massage with sexual pleasuring and/or happy ending.
One way to check the qualification of a Tantric instructor is to ask them their line of instruction, and if they know the “three secret syllables” and how they are used. Every beginner in our school knows this, if the instructor in question does not know this they are not Tantrikas (one who practices Authentic Tantra), and are definitely not qualified instructors. Always examine teachers, examine us, I was very clear in my examination of this line of instruction after wasting time and energy with previous unqualified instructors and practices that caused me harm.
Our desire is that Tantra be seen for what it truly is, powerful medicine to remove suffering, bringing joy and well-being. We wish for all to have access to the real medicine, joy, healing, and love. Those who misuse it for selling non-Tantric-sex and personal gain without qualification cause misunderstanding about Authentic Tantra. This may block those who might benefit immensely from it because they think it is some sort of prostitution. These folks simply need to get qualified, that is all.
May this clarify and benefit many,