Why are there no female Tibetan Tantra teachers and what part does jealousy play in all of this?
Q: Through my desire to make sex as spiritual as the rest of my life is to me, I began studying tantric philosophy and how it impacted my vows as a Zen Buddhist. Could you clarify how it is possible for some people to engage in Tantric practice and not be committed to each other, i.e., truly in love? I would like your opinion on what possible benefit jealousy has on an intimate relationship. I can't see it myself, but I'd like to understand. I do know there hasn't been a female tantric master in Tibet for over 500 years. Could this be a male over-ride on a sacred practice?
Lay practioners of Tantra in the West tend to take the teachings from many sources as they appeal to them. Since they are not following a particular teacher or the teaching of a lineage, they tend toward experimentation and experiences as a way to learn. Whether or not you agree with this approach, it is still a popular one in the West. People in the West experienced the sexual revolution of the mid-twentieth century and have more open-minded attitudes toward sexuality than people in the East do. Having sex with someone for the sake of pleasure without commitment is not uncommon. Still, many people find that sex without love is not deeply fulfilling and most of us still want an ongoing committed relationship where we can go deep in love and communion with another.
Jealousy is an aspect of passionate love that most people experience at one time or another in relationship. It is a hard feeling to allow and many people would prefer not to experience the feeling that someone else is getting something that you are being denied. The way through jealousy, like all difficult emotions is to open to the feeling. Give it space to simply be without pushing it away or clinging to the drama and pain of the feelings. Allow yourself to feel the emotion, and to be as generous and compassionate with yourself as you can manage. This allows the feelings to transform.
Yes, there is a male orientation that dominates the formal spiritual teachings in most countries. As in all areas of life, this is slowly changing and we are recognizing that once the wisdom and leadership of women was honored. We are once again moving in this direction.
The following question is answered by Johanina Wikoff, Ph.D. also known as "Dr. Josie." She is an author, lecturer and international workshop presenter. Dr. Wikoff will answer questions submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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