Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism: History, Semiology, and Transgression in the Indian Traditions (South Asia Across the Disciplines)

By Christian K. Wedemeyer

Making experience of Tantric Buddhism essentially rethinks the character of the transgressive theories and practices of the Buddhist Tantric traditions, not easy the idea that the Tantras have been "marginal" or primitive and situating them instead―both ideologically and institutionally―within greater tendencies in mainstream Buddhist and Indian culture.

Critically surveying previous scholarship, Wedemeyer exposes the fallacies of attributing Tantric transgression to both the passions of lusty priests, primitive tribal rites, or slavish imitation of Saiva traditions. via comparative research of recent old narratives―that depict Tantrism as a degenerate kind of Buddhism, a primal spiritual undercurrent, or medieval ritualism―he likewise demonstrates those to be inventory styles within the eu historic imagination.

Through shut research of basic assets, Wedemeyer unearths the lived global of Tantric Buddhism as principally non-stop with the Indian non secular mainstream and deploys modern tools of semiotic and structural research to make experience of its likely repellent and immoral injunctions. cutting edge, semiological readings of the influential Guhyasamaja Tantra underscore the text's overriding challenge with purity, pollutants, and transcendent insight―issues shared by way of all Indic religions―and a large-scale, quantitative examine of Tantric literature indicates its radical antinomianism to be a hugely controlled ritual observance limited to a sacerdotal elite. those insights into Tantric scripture and formality make clear the continuities among South Asian Tantrism and broader currents in Indian faith, illustrating how completely those "radical" groups have been built-in into the highbrow, institutional, and social buildings of South Asian Buddhism.

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Wink, Al Hind, 220. ninety one. Davidson, Indian Esoteric Buddhism, 28. ninety two. this can be a part of what Davidson calls a “culture of army opportunism” attribute of medieval India. during this recognize, not less than, the analogy with Europe in actual fact breaks down, insofar as Western feudalism “rather than being a harmful political strength breeding particularism and anarchy, used to be a positive and unifying approach that made attainable the political rehabilitation of western Europe… and supplied the stipulations helpful for the formation of the powerful centralized states” (Lyon, center a long time in contemporary old idea, 24).

Accordingly, the land of Oḍḍiyāna turned emptied and within the south a lake grew. The land turned jam-packed with many nāgas. Then, Vajrapāṇi wrote the Tantras resembling the Guhyasamāja in a booklet of gold with melted sapphire ink. Ripening the nāgas of the lake [through initiation], he defined the Tantra and entrusted the quantity to them. Then, so much of them turned human and lived in a city at the shorelines of the lake. by way of working towards the issues of technique Tantra [such because the Guhyasamāja], such a lot attained the typical and ultimate powers.

It could even be famous that above the maṇḍala of the Esoteric group (Guhyasamāja) there's acknowledged to be an “adamant cover, akin to a caitya” (vajrapañjaraṃ caityam iva); Candrakīrti, Vajrasattvasādhana, eight, line 7. 109. in this paintings, see in particular Strickmann, Mantras et Mandarins and “Consecration Sūtra. ” a hundred and ten. that's, a sacred textual content printed and consequently hid for later re-revelation. Strickmann (“Consecration Sūtra,” eighty one) claims that it's “apparently the 1st Buddhist scripture to symbolize itself as a hidden ‘treasure-text.

See Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, 103. 114. Saddharmalaṅkāvatāra Sūtra X. 335: śūnyāgāre śmaśāne vā vṛkṣamūle guhāsu vā | palāle ’bhyavakāśe ca yogī vāsaṃ prakalpayet ||. one hundred fifteen. Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra III. 37ab: abhāvāt sarvadharmāṇāṃ saṃkleśo nāsti śuddhiś ca |. 116. Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra III. sixteen: na bhāvo vidyate satyaṃ yathā bālair vikalpyate | abhāvena tu vai mokṣaṃ kathaṃ necchanti tārkikāḥ ||. those sophists (tārkika), by the way, are exactly the bête noire of the Tantrika groups (a utilization additionally present in the Saṃdhinirmocana Sūtra, for example).

Calcutta: collage of Calcutta, 1967. Skalník, P. “Tribe as Colonial Category,” in Emile Boonzaier and John Sharp, eds. , South African key phrases: The makes use of and Abuses of Political thoughts. Cape city and Johannesburg: David Philip, 1988, 68–78. Skilling, Peter. “‘Buddhist Sealings’: Reflections on Terminology, Motivation, Donors’ prestige, School-Affiliation, and Print-Technology,” in Catherine Jarrige and Vincent Lefèvre, eds. South Asian Archaeology 2001. Vol. II, old Archaeology and artwork background.

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