Definition of tantra in English:


Pronunciation /ˈtantrə/ /ˈtæntrə/


  • 1A Hindu or Buddhist mystical or magical text, dating from the 7th century or earlier.

    ‘Now, as knowledge, the Buddha taught many sutras and many tantras, and they are all words – words of advice given by the Buddha, the enlightened one who reached that level.’
    • ‘The practice of tranquillity meditation, or shamatha, is common to the teaching of both the sutras and the tantras, and it can also be performed within tantric practice.’
    • ‘Tantric Buddhism is influenced by Brahamanism and is concerned with yogic paths to salvation stressed in rituals and in texts called tantras.’
    • ‘Right there the Kalki initiated the youth, and for four months he taught him all the highest tantras especially the three Bodhisattva Corpus commentaries.’
    • ‘Therefore make every effort on the path, uniting absolute and relative bodhichitta, which distills the essence of all the sutras and the tantras.’
    • ‘There is a difference between the instructions in the sutras and tantras concerning these positions.’
    • ‘It is thought that the Atharva Veda that deals with the occult including tantras was a product of the pre-Aryan thought process.’
    • ‘A final wave of new literature known as tantras appeared around the 7th century promoting radical forms of practice, including rituals and meditation techniques for accelerating spiritual progress.’
    • ‘There are no references to divination in the collections of sutras, but many can be found in the tantras.’
    • ‘What you hear elsewhere regarding mantras, tantras, sadhana, spiritual advice and scriptures, report to him and accept only what is approved by your guru, and reject what is not.’
    • ‘The visionary forms in which the deities are perceived in meditation and portrayed in art are simply appearances – their compassionate play, as the tantras say.’
    • ‘Once we have rediscovered that self, we enter the path of the tantras, the path where body and mind arise as the spontaneous expression of the continuity of our own vajra heart.’
    • ‘In this way different levels of teachings were given, including the tantras, that may seem to contradict each other and may even seem to be in direct opposition to each other's propositions.’
    • ‘However, he taught superior disciples the tantras in the form of a king or in the aspect of various meditational deities.’
    • ‘Coupled with fowl and cattle sacrifices, the bhagat's ceremonies include repetitive incantation of tantras in a local Dangi dialect and numerous yagnas and religious rites.’
    • ‘The monks also study various subjects of Buddhist sutra and tantra of both the Ancient and New traditions.’
    • ‘The Kalachakra tantra talks about a time when the three lalos, the barbarian kings, will rule the earth.’
    • ‘In a footnote to this discussion Semple notes that the Mahayana tantra belongs to the wider Sunyatavada Doctrine.’
    • ‘In addition, the Gelug tradition regards sound scholarship as a prerequisite for constructive meditation, hence, the teachings of both sutra and tantra are subject to rigorous analysis through the medium of dialectical debate.’
    • ‘In particular, the Kalachakra initiations empower the disciple to practise the yoga of the Kalachakra tantra, and, ultimately, to achieve the state of Shri Kalachakra.’
    1. 1.1Adherence to the doctrines or principles of the tantras, involving mantras, meditation, yoga, and ritual.
      ‘Shaktas use mantra, tantra, yantra, yoga and puja to invoke cosmic forces and awaken the Kundalini Power.’
      • ‘A scholar of Vedic astrology, he had, from the very outset, a deep affinity with the Eastern world, which attaches a lot of importance to the human body, as is seen in the practice of yoga, tantra and classical dances.’
      • ‘She says the eastern world draws her because "it gives the body the importance that is its due through the practice of yoga, tantra, and classical dance."’
      • ‘After participating in the Kumbha Mela, they went on a pilgrimage to various shrines, temples, and to yogis and sadhus, many of whom he had studied with while learning tantra, Ayurveda, occult teaching and yoga.’
      • ‘Siva's devotees facing death perform vâsanâ daha tantra, reconcile with and seek forgiveness from anyone they have offended, lest they leave unresolved kukarmas to go to seed and bear bitter fruit in future births.’
      • ‘Systems like yoga and various forms of tantra took this search for altered states of consciousness to heights no other culture ever attained.’
      • ‘He believes that people's attitudes to tantra are similar to those held about yoga before its surge in popularity.’
      • ‘Rather, they should perform the always healing vasana daha tantra [writing down and burning recollections of the past] and confine themselves to karma yoga, such as cleaning in and around the temple and picking flowers for the pujas.’
      • ‘The bhagats, who live in stark seclusion from the rest of the village, are said to possess occult powers, which enable them to exercise metaphysical control acquired by years of yogic penance, tantra and tatrak vidya.’
      • ‘I'd probably call chaos magic a western magic because it was developed by westerners, and tantra eastern because it was developed by easterners.’
      • ‘She says that this view of women as marginal to tantra is based on western constructions of gender & power (and their assumed universality) and she re-presents women as active participants in the creation of traditions.’
      • ‘I know as much about tantra as the next man other than the nuggets he's dropped in other talks, so it was great to hear a really knowledgeable, sensible, humble exposition of the subject.’
      • ‘In fact, the essential transformational practices of Tibetan tantra including those of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, were created to lead the individual practitioner towards these same ends.’
      • ‘Anyway, my question is basically this: what do you guys that are more heavily into tantra than the rest of us, recommend as a good place to start?’
      • ‘I think that book has very little to do with tantra (if it wasn't obvious).’
      • ‘Guru Rinpochey also gave widespread teachings from the highest classes of tantra and in particular to his twenty-five principal disciples.’
      • ‘The sudden flash is a key to all Buddhist meditation, from the level of basic mindfulness to the highest levels of tantra.’
      • ‘Thus, one of the things that I've been working on is a sort of metaphysical, mystical energy tantra, where the rush of energy is held inside you.’
      • ‘So, although the study of logic and Buddhist philosophy was not yet prevalent, the practice of tantra in extreme secrecy was much favoured.’
      • ‘In tantra, the breath is an expression of the intimate connection we all have with the vastness of sacred world.’


Sanskrit, literally ‘loom, principle, doctrine’, from tan ‘stretch’.