Magic, Sex, and Liberation in Hindu Tantra

Session: Fall
Type: Online, Synchronous
Units: 3
Days: MON
Time: 9:40am-12:30pm
Academic Year: 2023 - 2024
Approval Required: No
Download: Course Document

The word Tantra is a combination of two words, the Sanskrit root “tan” and the suffix “tra.” Tantra means a technology that interweaves esoteric and exoteric practices so that the microcosm (devotee) unites with the macrocosm (universe). While New Age Tantra seems to be fixated on its sexual dimensions, in South Asia Tantra is stigmatized as black magic. Tantra is a protean phenomena. There are Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain forms of Tantra, with practitioners spread out in India, China, Japan, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Korea, and Mongolia. This course introduces and examines the themes of magic, sex, and liberation in Hindu Tantra. The six rites of magic: appeasement, subjugation, immobilization, enmity, eradication, and liquidation, will be studied. Sexual union will be analyzed within the logistics of the 5M’s: mamsa (meat), matsya (fish), mudra (fermented grains), madira (liquor), and maithuna (sex). Finally, Tantric notions of liberative gnosis will be examined. This course will use a lecture & class discussion format (camera on). Assessment includes: 1) two short, 2 1/2 page papers, an online ritual class participation, reading of required class materials, and the submission of a final 20-page paper. This Course is suitable for MDiv, MASC students. No prior knowledge of Hindu studies is required.

Relates to Thresholds: 1. Life in Religious Community and Interfaith Engagement, 2. Prophetic Witness and Work, 3. Sacred Text and Interpretation, 4. History of Dissenting Traditions and the Thea/ological Quest, 5. Spiritual Practice and Care of the Soul, 6. Thea/ology in Culture and Context, 7. Educating for Wholeness and Liberation, 8. Embodied Wisdom and Beauty and MFC Competencies: 3. Spiritual Development for Self and Others, 4. Social Justice in the Public Square, 6. Serves the larger UU Faith
7. Leads the faith into the future.

[20 max enrollment; Auditors excluded].