To us at IATE, “Authentic Tantra” is LINEAGE-BASED Tantra. Lineage = a particular teaching or set of teachings originating in the mind of an enlightened being (a Buddha), and transmitted from that teacher to their students in an unbroken oral tradition, dating back thousands of years. “Unbroken” means that the teachings have always been and continue to be held by an enlightened master.
In order for a teaching to truly be lineage-based, it must have originated with a human who has been recognized as having achieved (at least) the first stages of enlightenment. To date, there are no instructors in the field of Neo Tantra who have achieved this recognition by any school of traditional Tantric Practice.
The Tibetan Five Element Teachings offered through IATE are authentic, lineage-based Tantric teachings from the Vajrayana tradition of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. These teachings are said to be over 17,000 years old, originating with the Buddha Tonpa Shenrab, merging with “modern” Tantric Buddhism in the 10th century CE. The Tibetan Five Element Tantric Teachings are ancient shamanistic techniques from the Tibetan and Bon traditions, designed to balance, enrich, and heal the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual body- from the inside out.
These teachings were transmitted to our Lama (Lama Tashi Dundrup) by Kalu Rinpoche (1905 – May 10, 1989) over 40 years ago. These methods are part of the Shangpa Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhist Tantra. They have been passed down from Teacher to student as part of an oral tradition dating back over 1,200 years.
The Shangpa Kagyu lineage is referred to as “The Dakini Lineage” because it was founded by two women- Sukhasiddhi and Niguma. Niguma was known as “The Black Dakini” because her skin was described as being a very rich, deep, dark brown color. Being an anti-racist organization, we find it very congruent that the founder of our lineage was a Black woman whose skin was so deeply melanated that her “Blackness” has been one of her defining features for over 1200 years.
Niguma is said to have achieved full realization of enlightenment spontaneously, through her practice. She shared her teachings with her students through oral (verbal) instruction and at times initiated her disciples through Tantric sexual union practices.
Interestingly, the Shangpa Kagyu lineage is one of the only lineages that contains teachings for laypeople to work actively and directly with sexual energy, via the Tibetan 5 Element Practices. It is noted that this is also one of the only remaining lineages that was founded by women, and the only lineage that we are aware of that was founded by a Black woman.
The Tibetan 5 element teachings that we have been given permission to share relate to the “feminine” aspects of the elements. The feminine aspects relate to everything in the material world; our senses, our environment, our intuition, our bodies, our relationships, our community, and of course, our sexuality- all for the purpose of bringing health, balance, enrichment, pleasure, and joy.
Additionally, the Shangpa Kagyu lineage is referred to as “the practice lineage” because this tradition emphasizes the realization of consciousness which occurs through the actual practice of Tantra yoga methods, as opposed to reading and debating the scholarly works of the tradition.
With permission and blessings from our Lama, these traditional Tibetan 5 Element Tantric Teachings have been woven into a holistic set of sexual and non-sexual methods to create a powerful and effective modality for healing and life transformation.
This is why we refer to our work as ‘Authentic Tantra®”. IATE Founder, Devi Ward Erickson, chose to trademark the term “Authentic Tantra®” in order to legally protect her work and these teachings from the theft and appropriation that run rampant in the field of Neo-Tantra. IATE has successfully defended the trademark 8 times in 2022 alone.
This modality is referred to as “Authentic Tantra®” because the methods and orientation to practice are rooted in Tibetan Buddhist teachings on how to heal with the five elements and Vajrayana tantric practices. In this tradition, Tantra is understood to be a “path of healing and transformation”, and according to our Teacher, authentic tantric teachings should result in better health and wellness of body, mind, and spirit, in order to be useful and effective.
In the Authentic Tantra® modality, the Tibetan Five Element Teachings have been woven with contemporary cutting-edge knowledge about sexuality, trauma, and holistic healing in order to create effective methods for addressing the root causes of illness and suffering in our modern world.
Authentic Tantra® methods are based upon what we refer to as “The 4 Pillars of Healing”.
Each pillar involves practices that work to effectively dissolve the layers of trauma, ignorance, and cultural conditioning which are the root cause of unhappiness and suffering – thereby allowing you to recognize and embody your natural state of peace, joy, and bliss.
In traditional non-sexual Tibetan Tantra, the motivation to practice is to obtain freedom from suffering of body, mind, and spirit for all beings’ benefit, also known as enlightenment.
In the Authentic Tantra ® modality we use the Tibetan Five Element Tantric Teachings with the same motivation, while actively drawing upon the creative power of sexual energy to fuel and enrich the process of healing and transformation.
In this day and age, sexuality is the cause of tremendous pain and suffering. As practicing Vajrayana Buddhists we believe the need for authentic instruction in how to approach sexual connection with mindfulness and how to utilize sexual energy for healing and spiritual growth becomes more vital with each passing day. We believe it is imperative that spiritual teachers and teachings address the critical role that sexuality plays in being a healthy, whole, and integrated human being.
The Tibetan Five Element Tantric Teachings give us a guidebook for approaching sexuality from a standpoint of mindfulness and presence and offer us concrete tools for harnessing our sexual energy and using it skillfully.
There are many different approaches, lineages, and styles of traditional and modern Tantra.
We believe authentic Tantric practice should also include instruction in how to address sexuality from an informed, compassionate, and shame-free perspective.
Our sexuality is an integral aspect of our humanity. We can not be separated from our sexual selves via ignorance, trauma and wounding, and be whole and complete human beings. The path to enlightenment is about including the totality of our human experience, including and especially our sexuality.
Spiritual teachings that ignore, leave out, or seek to repress through guilt and shame any aspect of our human experience do not lead to the complete realization of our ultimate nature, and often instead lead to further confusion, dysfunction, and abuse.
The ability to incorporate and integrate all aspects of our human experience through skillful means, loving kindness and compassion is a hallmark of what makes this modality a truly authentic expression of the heart and soul of Buddhist Tantra.
The Tibetan Five Element Tantric Practices have been used as a healing modality for thousands of years.
Combined with the 4 Pillars of Healing; Meditation, Movement, Connection, and Pleasure, they become a potent form of medicine perfectly adapted to heal suffering on the levels of body, mind, spirit, and sexuality.
Tibetan 5 Element and Authentic Tantra® have proven to be practical and effective modalities for healing and personal growth.
We invite you to experience the benefits for yourself with our Tantra Healing Programs