Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism: History, Semiology, and by Christian K Wedemeyer

By Christian K Wedemeyer

Making experience of Tantric Buddhism essentially rethinks the character of the transgressive theories and practices of the Buddhist Tantric traditions, demanding the idea that the Tantras have been “marginal” or primitive and situating them instead—both ideologically and institutionally—within better developments in mainstream Buddhist and Indian tradition. severely surveying earlier 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 historic 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 ancient mind's eye. via shut research of fundamental assets, Wedemeyer unearths the lived international of Tantric Buddhism as principally non-stop with the Indian non secular mainstream and deploys modern tools of semiotic and structural research to make feel of its likely repellent and immoral injunctions. cutting edge, semiological readings of the influential Guhyasamaja Tantra underscore the text’s overriding trouble with purity, toxins, and transcendent insight—issues shared via all Indic religions—and a large-scale, quantitative research of Tantric literature exhibits its radical antinomianism to be a hugely controlled ritual observance constrained 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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