Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism

Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism

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Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism fundamentally rethinks the nature of the transgressive theories and practices of the Buddhist Tantric traditions, challenging the notion that the Tantras were A’marginalA“ or primitive and situating them insteadA‘both ideologically and institutionallyA‘within larger trends in mainstream Buddhist and Indian culture. Critically surveying prior scholarship, Wedemeyer exposes the fallacies of attributing Tantric transgression to either the passions of lusty monks, primitive tribal rites, or slavish imitation of Saiva traditions. Through comparative analysis of modern historical narrativesA‘that depict Tantrism as a degenerate form of Buddhism, a primal religious undercurrent, or medieval ritualismA‘he likewise demonstrates these to be stock patterns in the European historical imagination. Through close analysis of primary sources, Wedemeyer reveals the lived world of Tantric Buddhism as largely continuous with the Indian religious mainstream and deploys contemporary methods of semiotic and structural analysis to make sense of its seemingly repellent and immoral injunctions. Innovative, semiological readings of the influential Guhyasamaja Tantra underscore the textA•s overriding concern with purity, pollution, and transcendent insightA‘issues shared by all Indic religionsA‘and a large-scale, quantitative study of Tantric literature shows its radical antinomianism to be a highly managed ritual observance restricted to a sacerdotal elite. These insights into Tantric scripture and ritual clarify the continuities between South Asian Tantrism and broader currents in Indian religion, illustrating how thoroughly these A’radicalA“ communities were integrated into the intellectual, institutional, and social structures of South Asian Buddhism.Internationales Archiv fA¼r ethnographie, Supplement zu Band xxxIII. Leiden: Brill, 1935. vassilief, v. ... An Essay on the Constitutive Imagination. Trans. Paula Wissing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983. . Writing History: Essay on anbsp;...

Title:Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism
Author: Christian Wedemeyer
Publisher:Columbia University Press - 2012-12-04

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