3 Matching Annotations
  1. Jan 2018
    1. Vedism and Brahmanism in Buddhist Literature, Srikant Bahulkar

      Veda and Tantra In his paper, Prof. Bahulkar offers insight into how certain developments of Buddhist tantras were, a result of Buddhist interlocutors being embedded in constant conversation with and dependent upon the socio-cultural context of Indic Brahmanism and Vedic culture. He mentions many interesting linguistic details like the connection of Mañjuśrī to the concept of the muñja grass, the yogic practices implied by wearing a cord of muñja, and the relationship to Brahma (perhaps in terms of prajña as being, “tat tvaṁ asi”, as indicated in this Monday’s talk). While the most familiar narratives would have it that Mañjuśrī historiographically hailed from the Pancha Śirsa Parvat in China, Bahulkar writes that, “Buddhist tantric cults belong to the same Indian soil where (other) tantric cults emerged” indicating that they did not emerge outside of India, a position which reflects ongoing debates, often politicized considering present and shifting locations of borders, (Nepal and India for example, or Nepal and Tibet) that sometimes take center stage among scholars of tantra regarding the search for an ur-Buddhist tantra. This issue also comes up in my own research on Vajrayoginī and, while it is certainly very intriguing, it can perhaps detract from other fruitful questions which focus upon the detail and the variety of overlapping narratives in which Buddhist tantric traditions emerged and continued to evolve on Indian soil and elsewhere. I admit though, as tempting as it is to want to trace origins, especially considering the vast amount of research initiated by previous scholars in the field, local traditions which may contradict, being more relevant to the experiences of individuals than linear historical time frames, are also worth of scholarly attention. Bahulkar gives a synopsis of the arguments of Sanderson, who broadly supports Kasmiri Saiva origins and of Ruegg, who argues for the influence of local indigenous cults with the addition of Gray, who shows us how the situation is rather complex. Bahulkar certainly indicates how interconnected if not inseparable Veda, Bhrahmanical traditions, Buddhism and tantrism have been over the ages, and to many this, might not be surprising. Given the problematic categorizations of religions and their very political histories however, our own scholarly and linguistic frameworks of tantra, Buddhism, Hinduism, Vedism and indigeneity are often more problematic and also just as interesting as questions of chronology.

  2. Jul 2017
    1. Engaged Buddhism has to constantly invent “what the Buddha would have said” about them. Second, Engaged Buddhism inherits Mahayana’s weakness. Engaged Buddhism is all about having good intentions; it mainly fails to take effective action.

      What the Buddha would have said? Tantric attitude: I'm the Buddha!

    2. We want to change things; there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the universe, but specific circumstances can be improved.

      Nothing wrong with the world, only specific circumstances can be improved.