Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism

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 “marginal” or primitive and situating them ...

Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism

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 “marginal” or primitive and situating them instead—both ideologically and institutionally—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 narratives—that depict Tantrism as a degenerate form of Buddhism, a primal religious undercurrent, or medieval ritualism—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 text’s overriding concern with purity, pollution, and transcendent insight—issues shared by all Indic religions—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 “radical” communities were integrated into the intellectual, institutional, and social structures of South Asian Buddhism.

More Books:

Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism
Language: en
Pages: 336
Authors: Christian K. Wedemeyer
Categories: Religion
Type: BOOK - Published: 2014-05-06 - Publisher: Columbia University Press

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 “marginal” or primitive and situating them instead—both ideologically and institutionally—within larger trends in mainstream Buddhist and Indian culture. Critically surveying prior scholarship, Wedemeyer
Secret of the Vajra World
Language: en
Pages: 524
Authors: Reginald A. Ray
Categories: Philosophy
Type: BOOK - Published: 2001 - Publisher: Shambhala Publications

Demonstrates how tantra opens up the world of sensory experiences, covering the foundations of Vajrayana, the role of the tantric mentor, and the practice of retreat.
The Faults of Meat
Language: en
Pages: 352
Authors: Geoffrey Barstow
Categories: Philosophy
Type: BOOK - Published: 2019-10-01 - Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Vegetarianism is a hotly debated topic within Buddhist circles. This book provides a valuable new contribution to the discussion with translations of thirteen Tibetan texts focused on the ethical problems associated with eating meat, coming from a wide variety of perspectives and lineages. Should all Buddhists be vegetarian? Vegetarianism is
Food of Sinful Demons
Language: en
Pages: 320
Authors: Geoffrey Barstow
Categories: Religion
Type: BOOK - Published: 2017-10-24 - Publisher: Columbia University Press

Tibetan Buddhism teaches compassion toward all beings, a category that explicitly includes animals. Slaughtering animals is morally problematic at best and, at worst, completely incompatible with a religious lifestyle. Yet historically most Tibetans—both monastic and lay—have made meat a regular part of their diet. In this study of the place
Buddhism and Whiteness
Language: en
Pages: 384
Authors: George Yancy, Emily McRae
Categories: Philosophy
Type: BOOK - Published: 2019-05-13 - Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

In this unprecedented book, contributors use Buddhist philosophical and contemplative traditions, both ancient and modern, and deploy critical philosophy of race, and critical whiteness studies, to address the proverbial elephant in the room – whiteness.