Current Page: 9 of 10
Re: Tantra--Hindu, Himalayan Buddhist--problems
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 28, 2014 12:04AM

Mr Schettini spent 8 years practicing as a Gelukpa monastic.

Later, he left the vajrayana environment and discovered the the Buddhadharma
as expressed practically, unromantically, without glamour, in the Pali Suttas.

Schettini saw the conformity that monastics and devout laypeople imposed upon themselves within the Vajrayana lineages.

These days when he reads the material written by Chogyam Trungpa, he is doing
so as an alert citizen, not a part of a conformist feudal minded community.

So when one reads a book, that is a most important matter.

What context are you in when you are reading a book or text?

Are you exiting a conformist community and determined to re-enter the
doubt ridden complicated world of participatory citizenship? Hungry
to discover how to live responsibly with persons who do not share your
beliefs, whose company you enjoy?

Or are you burdened by the pain of doubt and loneliness and craving belonging,
with your defenses down? If you are in this latter situation, being handed a
book by Chogyam Trungpa or some other guru may have quite a different impact.

And if someone is already part of a conformist community, sees you as a
likely recruit and recommends a book by Chogyam Trungpa, that might
be part of a subtle recruitment into deeper conformity and bondage, into
a group riddled with taboos and zones of secrecy and silence.


"Among Tibetan Buddhists this special relationship (vajra instructor) is governed by the rules of tantric guru devotion, which enjoin disciples to see the master as a Buddha, his every action* as awakened activity.

Despite caveats about imparting tantric instruction to inexperienced practitioners (i.e., people of unexceptional sanity), ‘secret’ teachings such as these are widely disseminated."

(*even when in contradiction to secular ethics or bodhisattva vows) Corboy)

Options: ReplyQuote
Speaking same word, perhaps not speaking same language
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 01, 2014 09:22PM

When Tibetan monks speak of "kindness" is this "kindness" synonymous with what Westerners see as benevolence?

Mr Schettini offers an interesting perspective.

> "The Double Bind of Guru Devotion"



> (One small excerpt)
> "Debate, Skepticism and the Gelugpa Art of
> Definitions
> Debate (‘tsenyi,’ mtshan nyid) was what my
> teacher Geshe Rabten cared about above all else.
> At least, that’s how we translated the Tibetan
> word, which actually means ‘definitions.’
> Tibetan boys learned by first memorizing cryptic
> texts and then being spoon-fed their meaning and
> sparring with one another in the public courtyard.
> This dialectical competition winnows out
> tomorrow’s teachers from the vast monastic
> proletariat by juggling ideas with great subtlety.
> However, it never really challenges authority.
> Guru devotion isn’t actually a feature of these
> logical teachings, but of tantra, which
> manipulates emotions — especially lust and anger
> — and which is taught long after the rational
> stuff. Nevertheless, in basic training young
> Tibetan monks learn to defer to superiors, mingle
> with peers and be kind to inferiors.
> "Stratification is part and parcel of Tibetan
> life. It’s built into the language. There are
> separate sets of nouns and verbs for talking up,
> across or down to others in Tibetan."
> Corboy asks, if the default response by Tibetan
> monks is 'be kind to inferiors", is this actually
> kindness as understood in the West?
> "Nevertheless, in basic training young Tibetan
> monks learn to defer to superiors, mingle with
> peers and be kind to inferiors.
> Kindness, or condescension?
> If so, and Mr Schietti is describing the Gelukpa
> sect in which he himself was a monk for 8 years,
> and the sect of which the Dalai Lama is supreme
> leader--
> If one was born Tibetan, learned to think in
> Tibetan catagories and is head of the Gelupas,
> what then could it mean to say, "My religion is
> kindness?"
> Is this kindness in the Western sense of the word?
> Kindness
> Kindness - Definition and More from the Free
> Merriam ..
> Merriam?Webster
> the quality or state of being kind. : a kind act.
> Full Definition of KINDNESS. 1. : a kind deed :
> favor. 2. a : the quality or state of being kind.
> b archaic : affection.
> Kindness | Define Kindness at
> the state or quality of being kind: kindness to
> animals. 2. a kind act; favor: his many kindnesses
> to me. 3. kind behavior: I will never forget your
> kindness. 4.
> Condescension
> Condescension - Definition and More from the Free
> Merriam ...
> Merriam?Webster
> the attitude or behavior of people who believe
> they are more intelligent or better than other
> people. Full Definition of CONDESCENSION. 1. :
> voluntary descent ...
> Condescension | Define Condescension at
> voluntary assumption of equality with a person
> regarded as inferior. Origin: 1635–45; < Late
> Latin cond?sc?nsi?n- (stem of cond?sc?nsi?).
> See con-, descension.
> Condescending | What is the Definition of
> Condescending ..
> showing or implying a usually patronizing descent
> from dignity or superiority: They resented the
> older neighbors' condescending cordiality.
> Relevant Questions.
> Condescend | Define Condescend at
> to behave as if one is conscious of descending
> from a superior position, rank, or dignity. 2. to
> stoop or deign to do something: He would not
> condescend to ...
> deference
> Quote
> []
> Deference - Definition and More from the Free
> Merriam ..
> Merriam?Webster
> a way of behaving that shows respect for someone
> or something. Full Definition of DEFERENCE. :
> respect and esteem due a superior or an elder;
> also : affected ...
> Deference | Define Deference at
> Deference definition, respectful submission or
> yielding to the judgment, opinion, will, etc., of
> another. See more.
> deference - definition of deference by The Free
> Dictionary
> Definition of deference in the Online Dictionary.
> Meaning of deference. Pronunciation of deference.
> Translations of deference. deference synonyms,
> deference ...
> deference - Dictionary Definition :
> Sure you wear ripped jeans to school every day,
> but you don't wear them to your grandmother's
> house out of deference to her. When you show
> deference to ...
> Deference - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
> Wikipedia
> Deference (also called submission or passivity) is
> the condition of submitting to the espoused, ...
> These examples can be defined as presentational
> deference

Options: ReplyQuote
Tantra aka Highest Yoga Teachings in New Kadampa, et al. .
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 05, 2014 04:27AM


Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition) new
Posted by: Misstyk Date: January 28, 2012 01:02PM

I haven't seen this issue raised, but maybe I missed something in all these 19 pages. I've come across several people in Buddhist forums who were in their teens, and were already practicing the Highest Yoga Tantra practices in NKT, the sexual practices. One gushed enthusiastically about how he'd only been in NKT for a year, was still a newbie, but was already doing these highest practices. He was 17. I came across a comment by an older ex-NKT member who complained that in NKT, they introduce members to the HYT practices much to early-on. I suspect this is done for the purpose of expanding the membership. Word probably gets around that NKT is about sex. I've also noticed in various videos of NKT protests against the Dalai Lama that the participants are all male.

Ole Nydahl uses sex as a draw for his cult. Is NKT a sex cult in thin disguise? What happens to women in NKT? Or are not all NKT centers the same in this regard?

Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition) new
Posted by: jnpphprc Date: January 28, 2012 02:22PM

It's just my opinion, but I think the NKT just put HYT out there every 2 years at the summer festival in Manjushri centre to draw crowds and make money...the sex is a side effect, but the main issue there is mass conversion and empire building. People collect these 'initiations' like Pokemon cards!
Maybe they have a chip about being isolated from mainstream Tibetan society?

It's funny how one of the basic precepts in any Buddhist lineage is 'not to misuse sex' but then even celibate ordained people are requested to quicken their step on the path by the use of HYT which is basically visualising weird deities having sex!

Maybe I'm being simplistic here, but I left Tantric Buddhism because it was too complex and distracting from the original message...when you're visualising yourself as these deities , you're not really acquainting yourself with the mind, so maybe that explains the hypocrisy in it all. People haven't really dealt with their own internal mechanics, just masked it all with tantra, so the machinations of the mind can raise their 'ugly heads' again at any time with a vengeance.

Re: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (New Kadampa Tradition) new
Posted by: jnpphprc Date: January 29, 2012 07:29AM

Hi 'Lineageholder'
I've a good notion of who you are.
I am living proof that people are introduced to Tantra unnecessarily. i never practised it at all till I was socially coerced into it on meeting the NKT. For 30 years beforehand I attended other Tibetan traditions' centres and nowhere was it expected of me. In the NKT it was an expectation, connected with the 'group mentality' that develops among the people who just want to 'belong'.
People egged each other on ...'will you be going to the empowerment?' , 'then there's the Fall festival...are you going to that?' 'Oh shame we won't see you, you'll be missing out. never mind, we will all be thinking of you'.

For those who know an illusionist from UK called Derren Brown, you may recognise the underlying pressure. If you don't know him, he's like the Penn and Teller of the Psychic world. He shows you how it's done.

If it's not about making money, why then are there a whole plethora of ritual objects, prayerbooks, textbooks, prints, CD's etc....not forgetting that for anyone who has had more than one book of GKG's, there is an awful lot of duplication. In his series of books, at least 1/3 of each book is given over to the repetition of the same 'Heart Jewel' prayers, etc, so you pay for same old , same old with each book.

For every 'empowerment' (and indeed what power do these things truly give) there is a rupa, a CD, a prayerbook (or more than 2 choices of prayer combinations if Heruka or Vajrayogini), photo cards and cloth covers for every book, lovingly (and foolishly) made by individuals that then get sold in the Dharma Shop. People compete to buy as many of these unnecessary objects as they can, to give away, donate to the merit shop (a second hand charity shop open onsite).

Buddha would be roaring with laughter! He advocated leaving all these 'needs' behind, not desperately collecting the whole set, whether it be an empowerment or a ritual object!

So Lineage holder, if one has had the Heruka and Vajrayogini empowerments, there is no need to do any more as all practices are supposed to be contained within these.

Does that mean you won't be needing to attend any more get togethers?
I know some poor fools who have attended 3 years of FP doing the Joyful Path (£1092 per year and £3276 over the 3 year period) That's for 1 book! ....then they did it twice more! They proclaim with great pride in FP's that it's the third time they are studying this book...

It takes roughly 15 years to do all the books recommended for TTP training. That's £16,380 around $20,000! ~Add on the festivals....and it's not about money of course!

Options: ReplyQuote
Teachers corrupted by celebrity sydrome
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 11, 2014 04:16AM

From Hardcore Zen



Someone I knew who’d gone to see Mr. Lama rather than attend my talk (grrrr) was gushing later on about how he could feel the tremendous spiritual power emanating from the Dalai Lama as he passed, ringed by his retinue of Secret Service men and fawning worshippers, and surrounded by a thick throng of people elated to be near such a holy being.

How much of what my friend was feeling really came from the spiritual power of the smiling little man at the center of that mess?

Corboy: A good question, indeed. Years ago, I attended a two day talk by the DL, and noticed how many people were 'tripping out' on him, using him as an intoxicant.

I've sometimes wondered if, when someone occupies a place in our imaginations, we feel a sort of dizziness when we encounter them in person.

Unless we stay alert, it can be tempting to attribute this dizziness to some sort of spiritual effect.

I first wondered about this when, after seeing many pictures of the mayor of our city, I happened to see him in person, just a few feet away, as he passed with his entourage to a meeting.

I had no personal investment in the mayor. But I recall feeling a certain surprise, a slight shock at seeing him 'in person' after so many years of seeing him only in photographs.

So, perhaps this is enhanced if the person occupies a potent place in our imaginations, then we see X 'in person.'


Hungry Ghost said, “I played in DIY political punk bands my whole life and always seemed to have some grasp on what kind of person I was. Then I played in a band with a record deal, fan base, worldwide touring and, it didn’t happen immediately, but after a few years of fans and promoters and club owners fawning over us and signing autographs I changed a lot – became entitled, reckless, confrontational.” He wondered if this kind of thing didn’t affect spiritual teachers who become super famous too. It does.

We don’t like to think of ourselves as being so mixed in with the people around us. I know I certainly do not. I want to think of myself as self-sufficient, self-determining, sovereign.

IMO a sangha of the name teaches us to investigate rather than foster intoxication.

Options: ReplyQuote
In nuce : "Buddhist in Philosophy, Hindu in Practice"
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 27, 2014 03:48AM

New comments following Stephen Schettini's article



tr April 17, 2014 at 10:34 am | Permalink | Reply

Hi Stephen,
Glad to know and hear yr views on TB. All valid points in my opinion.
TB can be described as; Buddhism in philosophy, Hinduism in practice.

OM was in use in Hindu/Brahminism long before the Buddha
The Buddha viewed Tantra and Mantra practices with disdain then.
The use of honorifics, his holiness, etc is cultural, pertaining more to dynastic practices in imperial China. So too praying for long life and venerating the Guru (happens in Hinduism as well).
Prostrations, again is very feudal.

Maha tantrayoga has its roots in Hindu and Taoism, and this was before the advent of Buddhism in China. The Taoist description is 100% identical, so go figure!
Mandala is again Hindu. I could go on and on and also list out rituals, superstitions that were forbidden by the Buddha.

On another note, for a year I was active in an online Buddhist forum, populated mainly by Westerners. There was a marked difference between TB practitioners, whom I found to be lacking in essential Buddhist knowledge (The Vinayas or Kangyur of sorts), focusing mainly on TB texts and more importantly, found them usually with closed minds.
This is compared with Theravada practitioners, who were mainly the opposite, open minded and well informed.

Posts such as, Nyingmas can get married, Karma can be extinguished, deviant behaviour written off as crazy wisdom or because the guru was enlightened… frightening. And they cannot differentiate between Bhikkus and Yogis.

Well, too bad, but its refreshing to see your views on the issue.
Kari August 17, 2014 at 10:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

It’s important to get the message out to students of Buddhism and prospective students that guru yoga is NOT required, nor a standard element, in Mahayana Buddhism EXCEPT at the highest level. Therefore, any teacher who requires blind devotion from beginning and intermediate students is on the make. I’ve attended teachings in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition for years, and no teacher has said anything about guru devotion, about being a representative of the Buddha, or any such thing. This doesn’t mean their behavior was impeccable–far from it. Women, and sometimes men if the teacher if female, always should be on their guard. Even in the Buddha’s time, male monks were not trusted in the presence of female practitioners and students, so we shouldn’t expect anything to have changed now.

And for those who would label such warnings and critiques as “samsaric”, “pointless” or “negative” : this is compassion in action. It is essential to forewarn students of the potential pitfalls inherent in situations involving faith and religious authorities who, being often all too human, may fall for the temptation to abuse their authority and the vulnerability of some followers. Educating people about this is how suffering can be prevented. Ending suffering for sentient beings is our mission as Buddhists.
Brec August 22, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink | Reply

My fiancée is under the influence of an extremist Buddhist group whose leaders demand that its followers adhere to a code of conduct that simply isn’t supported by the Buddha’s teachings. The six vegetarian days per month are added to by a further three vegetarian months (!!!), during which many normal, day-to-day activities are forbidden. When they found out my fiancée was engaged, they started to indoctrinate her with a list of things which, whilst part of normal married life, she was prohibited from doing and must avoid if she is to achieve Buddhahood. Of course, there is no substance to or justification for any of their diktats in the Sutra, but the way they seek to justify their outlandish demands is to say they are an ‘interpretation’ of the Buddha’s broad teachings. I dread my fiancée returning home from another gathering, because one never knows what the extremist cranks who lead the sect will have added to the list of what the followers must do. I am trying to break her away from these evil people, but it is difficult because her faith is so strong it blinds her to the fact they are preying on her and other decent, genuine Buddhists like her.
Mamculuna September 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

I haven’t read through all the comments, but I found this very enlightening. My own Tibetan teacher is interesting in that he doesn’t seem to lead us toward Tantra, though I know he practices it himself. AFter ten years, he still keeps us focused in sutra practice, and the books he writes are on that level. I’m glad of this, because when I first realized that the only teacher available to me was Tibetan, I was concerned about the very things you discuss. I’ve benefitted hugely from his teachings about some of the deities, but he’s never really led us into deity practice on the tantric level.

I am much more interested in pursuing mindfulness and dealing with the human issues in that way. I also read a good bit by Thubten Chodron, and find her approach (in most books) to be the way I want to practice.

So I wonder if this reluctance to move on to tantra is my own shallowness and laziness, or a wise way to practice? Your article makes me feel more comfortable with the path I’m trying to follow.
Maria October 23, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink | Reply

I have been to two tibeten buddhist centers now Drikung Kayge in Dehradun and Gomde. And I am shocked. It seems like things is turned upsite down. All the human problems that are the reasons for buddhist practice, in those tibeten buddhist centers just seem to flourish and grow even more than other places on earth. It seems like for most monks and practioners in theese tibeten buddhist centers the Ego had just grown into dimentions. The shadow ( jungian term) ia just totally overpowering.
I have experienced that instead of getting the guidence and help that I looked for, I got a huge dose of insanity/psychopathy at is worst. By that I mean emotional abuse.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Tantra--Hindu, Himalayan Buddhist--problems
Posted by: Misstyk ()
Date: January 22, 2015 10:41AM

I've been researching the history of Buddhism lately, and came upon the very interesting historical note, below. It turns out that one factor contributing to Buddhism's demise in medieval India was the introduction of tantra into Buddhism, which gave rise to Vajrayana Buddhism, considered at at the time to be a degenerate form of Buddhism. The abandonment of celibacy, the lust for power on the part of the advanced teachers, and the use of magic caused followers to abandon Buddhism in droves. This is confirmed by a number of respected scholars of Buddhist history.

Buddhism as a whole was becoming tainted internally in many ways from the end of the Gupta period when it permeated with primitive ideas of sympathetic magic and sexual mysticism. The direct result of this permeation was the birth of a third vehicle, “the Vehicle of the Thunderbolt”, Vajrayana. This new sect misinterpreted religious tenets and allowed the use of intoxicants; it was also lenient in the upholding of celibacy. The corruption of the Sangha, the rivalries between sects, and competition between various monasteries to lure donors weakened Buddhism and made it unable to compete with the reformed Hinduism.

The monks whose survival depended on begging and donation became greedy and often tied their knots with the oppressors rather than the ‘have-nots’ – the oppressed within the society, a trend which we are to see even today in Buddhist-ruled countries. From the many donations it received, the Sangha became rich, and monks began to ignore the tenth rule of the Vinaya and accepted silver and gold. With acquired wealth – donated by rich patrons – came decay and corruption within a faith where the monks had come to embrace a rather easy-going and even lazy lifestyle, quite mindless of the Buddha’s insistence on aparigraha, or non-possession. The Buddhist monasteries came to be known as repositories of great wealth.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Tantra--Hindu, Himalayan Buddhist--problems
Posted by: Misstyk ()
Date: January 22, 2015 01:14PM

Source of above quote on the demise of Buddhism in India:


Further reading: Indian Esoteric Buddhism: A social History of the Tantric Movement
by Ronald Davidson

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Tantra--Hindu, Himalayan Buddhist--problems
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 22, 2015 09:58PM

This sounds like a fascinating read.

And it resembles the situation in medieval Europe -- many
monasteries became wealthy, people lost respect for
monks and began to seek forms of devotion in which
the individual could seek personal communion with
the divine.


"The most damaging aspect of the Avignon papacy, however, was its
utter lack of moral seriousness. Clement V and his successors
transformed the Church into a spiritual Pez dispenser. The fertile'
minds at the curia had managed to create an indulgence for every
imaginable situation and every imaginable sin. For a price, an
illegitimate child could be made legitimate, as could the right
to trade with the infidel, or marry a first cousin, or buy
stolen goods...the opulent lifestyle of the Avignon popes
added further to the air of moral squalor that hung over
the town. "The simple fishermen of Galilee" are now "clad
in purple and gold", complained Petrarch.

(The Great Mortality, John Kelly, pp. 142 -143

And, yet one of the Avignon popes gave a scathing rebuke
when the cardinals and other prelates petitioned against
the begging friars who did maintain the vows of poverty --
which put the other, putting to shame the wealthy prelates
and monastics..


The Mendicants deigned no reply, but Clement spoke for them, denying the ... allegation of the petition that they were useless to the church, and
asserting on the contrary that they were the most valuable.

"And if their preaching be stopped, what can you preach to the people?"

If on humility, you yourselves are the proudest of the world, arrogant and given to pomp.

If on poverty, you are the most grasping and the most covetous, so
that all the benefices in the world will not satisfy you.

"If on chastity--but we will be silent on this, for God
knows how you satisfy your lusts.

"You hate the Mendicants (poor, begging monks),and shut
your doors on them, lest they see your mode of life, while you
waste your wealth on pimps and swindlers.

"You should not complain if the Mendicants receive some'
temporal possession*ns from the dying, to whom they minister
when you have fled nor that they spend it on buildings
where everything is ordered for the honor of God and the
Church, while you
((During the recent bubonic plague pandemic, many bishops and
rich clergy fled plague stricken dioceses, leaving only
a few brave monks to minister to the dying. Corboy

Under this fierce rebuke, even though uttered by a pope whom St. Birgitta ... case dragged on, and he died in Avignon, in 1360, before it reached an end.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/22/2015 10:11PM by corboy.

Options: ReplyQuote
Even a Licentious Pope Rebuked His Clergy
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 22, 2015 10:32PM

For all its shortcomings, the Roman Church preserved the
text recording this rebuke given by a self indulgent
pontiff to his own higher clergy.

Did the Vajrayana lineages preserve any textual
evidence that higher clergy rebuked and critiqued
monks and monasteries which scandalously accumulated
wealthy and whose higher clergy lived licentiously?

For all its excesses, the Western churches never had
a tantric tradition.

And even without tantra, there were scandals aplenty.

But at least in the non tantric churches, people
who misbehaved knew they fell short of the
moral standards and had the sense to be ashamed
of what they were doing.

Options: ReplyQuote
Tantric "Buddhism" --Feudalizing your Mind
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 27, 2015 08:34AM

Here is further information about the book Missytk refers to.

The author makes a case that tantra penetrated Buddhist practice
in a particular political context.

(Corboy uses this verb intentionally).

Indian Esoteric Buddhism: A Social History of the Tantric Movement

by Ronald M Davidson


Read more: []

This reviewer suggests that Davidson's analyses of Hindu tantrism
are less satisfying than (take note!) the evidence Davidson gives
for the political and social context in which Buddhist tantrism
developed in India.



Review of Indian Esoteric Buddhism, by Ronald M. Davidson

David Gordon White, University of California, Santa Barbara

JIATS, no. 1 (October 2005), THL #T1223, 11 pp.

© 2005 by David Gordon White, IATS, and THL


"...the monk or yogin in the esoteric system reconfigured his own practice through the metaphor of becoming the overlord of a ma??ala of vassals, with issues of scripture, language, and community reflecting the political and social models employed in the surrounding feudal society (2).

This argument is developed particularly in chapters three and four, with chapters two and three outlining the principal historical and sociopolitical causes for the breakdown of the prevailing Mah?y?na system of Buddhist polity, and chapter four the forms that the new institutional esotericism took.

It is in these chapters that Davidson is at his best, as he simultaneously develops a number of historical arguments to delineate the specificity of Buddhist Tantra in its South Asian contexts, contexts that were at once social, economic, political, and religious.

His core argument maintains that following the breakup of the Gupta imperial formation, datable to the death of Har?avardhana in 647 CE, the traditional sources of patronage for Buddhist institutions – the merchant guilds and imperial houses – also began to collapse.

In the six rough and tumble centuries that followed, in which military and political adventurism, s?manta-feudalism, Hindu Tantric orders and sects, and Islamic incursions from the west were on the rise, the esoteric turn within Buddhism was a strategy – that ultimately failed, given the fact that Buddhism effectively disappeared from the subcontinent by the end of the twelfth century – to adapt to the new Realpolitik.

The historical irony of this situation, as Davidson repeatedly notes, is that while the esoteric turn did not save the sinking ship of Buddhism in India, it made it highly attractive as an export commodity, which succeeded in penetrating into China, Tibet, Nepal, and Inner Asia, where Buddhism continues to flourish, often in an esoteric mode.

Davidson’s ancillary arguments, grounded in the assumption that religion is a human creation that projects a divine world rather than the opposite, are multifaceted and extremely insightful.

These include:

*a radical change in the tone of medieval panegyrics, toward an idealization of warfare and the apotheosis of kingship, leading to a combination of the heroic and erotic tropes that became the hallmark of much of Tantric expression (69, 87-89);

*the feudalization of the divine pantheon, with the imperial divinity favored by an overlord becoming the divine overlord for the family and village deities worshiped by the monarch’s vassals (71);

*an [page 4] explosion in temple construction (paralleling an explosion in the production of “unauthorized” scripture), with the efflorescence of regional styles in architecture and sculpture reflecting a fragmentation of imperial power and authority (73);

*the replacement of Buddhist st?pa consecration and Brahmanic ?rauta rituals with Puranic coronation ceremonies, which privileged high Hindu gods over the Buddha or the efficacy of the old Vedic rites (84-85);

*“elective affinities” between ?aiva values and rhetoric and the goals and needs of militaristic princes (“?iva…was, after all, a killer divinity with a permanent erection”: 90),

*leading to a shift in patronage patterns away from Buddhist institutions toward Hindu sectarian groups, resulting in turn in a defensive strategy on the part of Buddhist monks to conform to the dominant Hindu paradigm of var???rama dharma,

* the affirmation of caste and the stages of life, as well as in a sharp decline in women’s participation in the medieval Buddhist public sphere (91-98);(Corboy boldface)

* the translation of a loss of institutional support into the abandonment of Buddhism-specific philosophical categories, doctrines, and nomenclature, as well as the rise of skepticism and epistemology as philosophical tropes (99-105);

and the ruralization of the medieval power base, resulting in the vassalization of the so-called Buddhist monastery-universities into institutions that supported the feudal monarchs of the period both materially and through “magical performance” (105-111).

Read more: []

Chapter four, which contains the most original and compelling insights of the entire book, is devoted to the institutionalized Buddhist esotericism of the Mantray?na, which most fully incorporated the imperial metaphor, the expressions of which are found in the emerging canon of the Yogin? Tantras in particular.

Here, the argument is skillfully developed that from the early eighth century onward, Buddhist institutions adapted to the new political realities of medieval India by contracting into regions of strength and into edifices mimicking feudally grounded fortresses, and in behaviors that mirrored the activities of the kings they cultivated (167).

Mantray?na Buddhism, which was simultaneously the most politically involved of Buddhist forms and the variety of Buddhism most acculturated to the medieval Indian landscape, embodied the “imperial metaphor” of the practitioner becoming an overlord (r?j?dhir?ja) of the universe (114).

This it did in a number of ways that reflected the prevailing political ideologies of the period, as it internalized, appropriated, reaffirmed, and rearranged the structures most closely associated with the systems of power relations, ritual authentication, aesthetics, gift-giving, clan associations, and the sense of dominion that defined post-Gupta Indian polities.

While this reorientation and embrace of the new paradigms of power was not monolithic or orchestrated from some centralized Buddhist authority – because none existed – it was nonetheless pervasive: it was an ideology consciously and unconsciously adopted by a multiplicity of regional institutional cultures (115-116).

Most striking, as Davidson demonstrates, is the bivalency or paronomasia of several sets of terms bearing religious as well as military and political significations, the most remarkable example of such being the terminology of royal and monastic consecration, in which the terms abhi?eka, ma??ala, kula, mantrin, etc. are applied, [page 5] in congruent and mutually informing ways, to both realms (122). So too, the configurations of esoteric Buddhist ma??alas, such as the Trailokyavijaya ma??ala (138) or Kukura’s enactment of the Vajradh?tu ma??ala (243), appear to derive explicitly from medieval models of polity, in which divine kings ruled from the centers of circles of interrelated families, vassals, allies, and enemies whose boundaries were in constant flux. Once again, religious ma??alas are seen to be so many Buddhist attempts to sanctify existing public life and recreate the meditator as the controlling personage in the topsy-turvy world of Indic feudal practice (131), which, following Chattopadhyaya, Davidson identifies as “s?manta-feudalism” (137). This is mirrored in esoteric Buddhist practice, in which the placing of one’s chosen (through the casting of a flower) adamantine buddha at the center of a ma??ala sets up an immediate ripple effect of overlord-vassal relations with all of the buddhas of surrounding ma??alas (139). Furthermore, the very terminology of the geometric components of the ma??alas themselves – with their central palaces (k???g?ras) opening into arched gateways (tora?as), protected

Read more: []

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/2015 08:34AM by corboy.

Options: ReplyQuote
Current Page: 9 of 10

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.