Tantric medicine can be found today in the Indian Ayurveda tradition as well as in the Buddhist treatises known as the Medical Tantras in the Tibetan tradition. Tibetans say that Buddha appeared in the form of the healing Buddha, or "Bhaishajya-guru Buddha," who symbolizes the healing or perfecting quality of dharma, and taught the Five Medical Tantras to qualified disciples, from which all of Tibetan medicine is derived.

In the universe of Tibetan Buddhism, the continuum of Tantric spiritual development is seen as having three categories: ground, path, and fruition. The ground is the practitioner, the path is the path of meditation, which purifies this ground, and the fruition is the blissful, unified state that arises as an effect of Tantric practice. So forget IPOs and hot sex. When the body and mind become aligned and peaceful, as with Tantric medicine, that's fruition in the true sense of the word.

This practice--given the right intention, training, guidance, concentration, and conditions--can sublimate and transmute sexual drive into higher, more spiritual aspirations. Through practices known as seminal retention, "melting and blazing," the "all-consuming fire of total embrace," "mystic heat," and so forth, advanced practitioners have been able to redirect the release of energy upward through the body, opening all the chakras in continuous waves of full-body, orgasm-like bliss and consciousness. Quite a contrast--in purpose and experience--to the more typical, brief, downward-releasing sexual climax, usually followed by dullness and sleep.

This transformation of energy is Tantra's capacity for developing samadhi (concentrative absorption), expanding consciousness, and opening into meditation. More than 1,000 years ago, the yogis of Bengal and Orissa in India developed this spiritual art, and a few still practice it in an underground fashion, as do the Tantric yogis and lamas of Tibetan Buddhism, where it still continues in the fullest form today.

Many Tantric practices, as I mentioned, do not involve a literal union of two people, though they are based in the symbolic synthesis of male and female, solar and lunar, compassion and wisdom. One such fundamental aspect of Tantric practice is Tantric medicine, an ancient methodology for healing both body and soul. Working with the so-called "subtle" body, which includes the various "sheaths" or dimensions of our being from corporeality on up, Tantric medicine employs diet, fasting, breath and energy practices, initiations, visualizations, mantras, mudras (ritual gestures), and yoga, along with a knowledge of the body's chakras and subtle energy (prana) channels to remove blockages and correct damage. By purifying the body along with the energy, the mind, and the spirit, this process can strengthen the immune system and prevent disease and mental imbalance and instability, and promote longevity, vitality, and spiritual and emotional development.

Tantric medicine can be found today in the Indian Ayurveda tradition as well as in the Buddhist treatises known as the Medical Tantras in the Tibetan tradition. Tibetans say that Buddha appeared in the form of the healing Buddha, or "Bhaishajya-guru Buddha," who symbolizes the healing or perfecting quality of dharma, and taught the Five Medical Tantras to qualified disciples, from which all of Tibetan medicine is derived.

In the universe of Tibetan Buddhism, the continuum of Tantric spiritual development is seen as having three categories: ground, path, and fruition. The ground is the practitioner, the path is the path of meditation, which purifies this ground, and the fruition is the blissful, unified state that arises as an effect of Tantric practice. So forget IPOs and hot sex. When the body and mind become aligned and peaceful, as with Tantric medicine, that's fruition in the true sense of the word.