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 suggestion that the Tantras have been "marginal" or primitive and situating them instead―both ideologically and institutionally―within higher traits 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 non secular undercurrent, or medieval ritualism―he likewise demonstrates those to be inventory styles within the ecu old imagination.
Through shut research of fundamental assets, Wedemeyer unearths the lived international of Tantric Buddhism as mostly non-stop with the Indian non secular mainstream and deploys modern equipment of semiotic and structural research to make feel of its doubtless repellent and immoral injunctions. cutting edge, semiological readings of the influential Guhyasamaja Tantra underscore the text's overriding predicament with purity, pollutants, and transcendent insight―issues shared through all Indic religions―and a large-scale, quantitative examine 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 constructions of South Asian Buddhism.
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Additional info for Making Sense of Tantric Buddhism: History, Semiology, and Transgression in the Indian Traditions (South Asia Across the Disciplines)
It's the historian, in spite of everything, who imparts identification, which means, and narrative functionality to the knowledge at her disposal. The narrative position and, therefore, the historic which means of any historic truth are in themselves indeterminate. Any occasion might be solid in various narrative contexts and serve a number of narrative features, whereas last totally trustworthy to the ancient list. on the most elementary point, occasions will be solid as both a starting, a center, or an finish: the 3 primary parts of narrative based on Aristotle. in spite of the fact that, whereas Aristotle turns out to have believed that occasions have been clearly and unavoidably so structured,7 such is demonstrably now not the case. One instance from (relatively) contemporary background may still suffice: the independence of India. one could simply see that its narrative position is underdetermined. at nighttime at the fifteenth of August 1947, sure occasions appear certainly to have taken place—new items of coloured fabric have been raised on poles at Lal Qila and in other places, phrases have been spoken, new professionals have been vested, festivities undertaken, whereas, while, a undeniable Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi slept (perhaps uneasily) in Calcutta. but, in what means do those disparate occasions cohere in a unified narrative? Did those occasions represent, for example, the top of British rule of the subcontinent? have been they as a substitute an average aspect in higher techniques of social and political swap happening in South Asia? Or have been they the beginning—the dawning—of a brand new age and a brand new order? it's all, i might say, and none, and greater than those. to exploit a Buddhist idiom, those are saṃvṛtisatya, now not paramārthasatya: every one is a truth conjured forth via the consensual contract of a signifying neighborhood, no longer realities that exist in and of themselves. each one are attainable methods of reading these occasions; each one serves the goals of a definite set of embodied pursuits; yet there's no autonomous, epistemic criterion in which we may well privilege one over the others as a truer presentation of the realities they signify. the best query in discussing narrative emplotments of old occasions is accordingly now not that's actual. relatively, the foremost concerns are (a) what's the semiotical good judgment or constitution that informs every one narrative? And, (b) what ideological ends does every one serve? White’s Metahistory complicated this dialogue by way of highlighting the mechanics of the modes of emplotment, rationalization, and ideological implication that constitution glossy historiography. Drawing at the paintings of Northrop Frye, White explored the style during which exact sequence of occasions can be rhetorically solid in both comedic, tragic, romantic, or satiric modes. for example, the heritage of any given phenomenon might be advised as an example of the triumph of excellent over evil (romance), a transitory triumph (comedy), a non permanent defeat (tragedy), or as a failure to grasp an international that's captive to demise and the threat of meaninglessness (satire). eight what's very important to notice approximately those offerings is the irreducibly ingenious aspect in them.