In the West, particularly in North America, the conversation around different styles of and orientations to Tantra has largely been dominated by white/eurocentric viewpoints.
Because the conversation regarding what is and is not “authentic tantric practice” has been largely dominated by this eurocentric viewpoint, the misperception has arisen that your ‘Tantra practice” can be categorized as either “Neo” Tantra or “Classical” Tantra.
Of course, those categories are being defined exclusively by the voices of those within these dominant power structures, and the voices of People of Color, in North America particularly, are largely ignored and, in some cases, actively suppressed.
But our tradition of Tantra, one branch of which was founded by a Black woman (The Black Dakini, Niguma), invites us to consider another pathway of authentic, tantric practice, and this is called “Lineage-based Tantra”, as explained in the video below.
Traditional Tantra was created, developed, and cultivated by People of the Global Majority. In fact, according to the references noted below, Tantric Buddhism flourished in India and Tibet between 600-1100 CE, and part of its success was addressing and counteracting the anti-black racism of the caste system in India.
At its very root, Tantric Buddhism has been part of a social justice movement, led by people who were very likely marginalized in their society because of the color of their skin.
Following and emulating that view, we believe that the modern conversation regarding what is and is not “authentic tantric practice” should no longer be dominated by white/eurocentric voices and power structures and that instead, the narrative should be led by “bodies of color and culture.” **
This is part of what it means to practice Tantra with an anti-racist lens. Come join the party at authentictantra.com.
*Sources for origins of Neo-Tantra: https://open.spotify.com/episode/27Qx86ytJhlLYATO7hVLLj?si=0GR4MspZSOmiVxF3JRGjmw
*Sources for the understanding of “Lineage-based Tantra”: oral teachings from Lama Tashi Dundrup, Kalu Rinpoche, Dali Lama, and “The Ocean of Definitive Meaning.:
Sources for Tantra as a social justice movement:
Niguma, Passionate Enlightenment text + bibliography, various books, essays, articles, and oral teachings on the roots and origins of Tantra.
**Quote – Resma Menakem