History of Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhism: Power and Transgression

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.

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Picture of the Goddess Devī from Wikimedia, author Arjunkrishna90

Other images courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art