History of Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhism: Power and Transgression

| August 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

We’ll go over the history of tantric Buddhism, its origins as well as its differences from other forms of Buddhist belief and practice. Then we’ll give an overall characterization of what constitutes this somewhat transgressive form of Buddhism. It’s a huge topic so this video should only be seen as an intro!

Suggested readings:

Ronald Davidson, Indian Esoteric Buddhism.

Richard Gombrich, “Who Was Aṅgulimāla?” In How Buddhism Began.

Geoffrey Samuel, The Origins of Yoga and Tantra.

Alexis Sanderson, “Vajrayāna: Origin and Function.” In Buddhism into the Year 2000: International Conference Proceedings (Bangkok, Los Angeles; Dhammakaya Foundation, 1994). 

Gareth Sparham “Tantric Ethics” in The Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Ethics.

Steven Weinberger, “The Yoga Tantras and the Social Context of Their Transmission to Tibet.”

Steven Weinberger, The Significance of Yoga Tantra (U. Virginia PhD, 2003).

Williams, Tribe, and Wynne, Buddhist Thought.

Check out my Patreon page!

Picture of the Goddess Devī from Wikimedia, author Arjunkrishna90

Other images courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Doug Smith

About the Author ()

Doug is Study Director of the Secular Buddhist Association. He has a PhD in Philosophy, with a minor in Buddhist philosophy and Sanskrit. In 2013 he completed the year-long Integrated Study and Practice Program with the BCBS and NYIMC. A long time scientific skeptic, he pursues a naturalized approach to practice. He is also interested in scholarship about the Tipiṭaka, and the theoretical and historical origins of the dhamma. He posts videos at Doug's Secular Dharma on YouTube. Some of his writing can be found at academia.edu.

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